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PIM System - the Perfect Solution for Effective Product Catalog Management

PIM System - the Perfect Solution for Effective Product Catalog Management

Avatar Zuzanna Pajorska
31 March 2021
clock icon 8 min
product information management

Imagine you have 10,000 new products to introduce to your online store. How do you feel at the very thought of having to do this? If it's giving you a headache, your company’s product information management is likely in chaos. The solution to this problem is a PIM (Product Information Management) system. What is a PIM tool? What benefits does it bring to the business? You will find the answer to these questions in this article.

Let's Start with Product Information

Product information is a set of all data that allows us to accurately describe a product sold online and create its virtual equivalent. We can divide this data into 3 categories:

  1. Sales data (price, stock)
  2. Physical data (material, color, weight, etc.)
  3. Marketing data (photos, videos, descriptions, reviews, etc.)

This division seems clear and obvious - such a set of information is familiar to us. So what is the challenge? The problem arises when we sell, for example, 50 000 models of shoes in our store, and we have to add a dozen or even several dozen attributes to each of them (color, upper, interior, sole, shoe weight, nose type, etc.). That's not all! Once we have collected all this data, we need to distribute it to many sales channels - it can be our online stores, marketplace, or mobile applications. Creating, managing, and distributing such a large amount of data turns into a complicated project. This is where a tool like PIM comes in, which significantly facilitates work with a product catalog, especially when the information is used by many people and entities.

Product Information Management
Example of product attributes in PIM system

The Importance of Product Information in eCommerce

No matter what channel consumers buy in - product data drives sales. How is this possible? As many as 87% of consumers in a Salsify survey rated product information as extremely relevant or important in making a purchase decision. What's more, this principle holds in every category of assortment, whether it be fashion, electronics, or food. In each of these groups - participants in the Salsify study - pointed accurate product descriptions as an important factor in making their purchase (along with price and reviews from other customers).

Well-prepared product information is the essence of creating a positive shopping experience for customers. If a situation occurs in which a consumer comes across erroneous product information - then his impression of what he sees on the web will be different from what he receives after purchase. What will be the effect? The consequences are serious - most often it will be an increased number of product returns, and consequently loss of sales. 54% of shoppers said they would be much less likely to buy a product again from a store where they had previously made a return.

In short: how we present a product in an online store will determine its sales. The battle for building a positive shopping experience will be won by those who do it professionally and take care of the consistency of information in each channel. Regardless of the category of assortment, a significant influence on the purchase, apart from the price, has clear product photos, product reviews, and descriptions.

Product Information Management
Source: Namagoo (May 2018) Based on a survey of 1,372 online users who purchased at least once every 2 weeks. Question: In your opinion, what makes a better shopping experience? Check and answer.

Easier Product Catalog Management

Managing a product catalog is quite a challenge. It requires introducing a dozen or even several hundred thousand new products, adding changes, or sending information to various sales channels. Therefore, for this process to work like a well-oiled machine, proper work organization of the people co-creating the product content is crucial. Especially if several departments are working on their supplementation. The PIM system can help with that.

A PIM System is an organizational headquarters for product content and data. PIM enables the creation and dissemination of product information across various channels such as e-commerce systems, mobile apps, websites, catalogs, PDFs, etc.

The main role of PIM is to collect and manage product information. With one master database, we can more easily enrich product information and distribute it to multiple sales and marketing channels - all in response to the demands of the omnichannel market. Because the PIM system is a central source of data for the entire company, it allows several people (including external companies - e.g. SEO agencies, suppliers, etc.) to work simultaneously on the same database.

Product Information Management
Example of product card in PIM system

What are the Advantages of Using PIM?

  • Better product data management - the ability to share product information consistently across all sales channels (online store, catalogs, SEO, mobile, marketplace)
  • Eliminating errors - imagine that a large online store sells clothing from dozens of manufacturers. Each of them sends product information in different ways - one in an email, another in a PDF or spreadsheet, and yet another in a paper catalog. If we want to process this data and send it further - it is very easy to make a mistake. Meanwhile, we can give access to the PIM system to our partners, and in case of mistakes - the system will notify us automatically. Besides, as you know - a man tires faster than a machine!
  • Building a positive shopping experience among consumers - consistency in messaging is key to not alienating customers. PIM enables the delivery of consistent product information at every stage of the purchase path and across every sales channel (omnichannel).
  • Faster time-to-market - with PIM, all product data is collected in one place, making it faster to expand your product range and bring new products to market.
  • Save time - if your e-commerce team has been manually entering product data for the past, a PIM system will make their job easier and optimized. For example, instead of spending one day on data validation, the team can work on preparing more effective SEO descriptions that have a real impact on improving search engine visibility and thus increasing conversions.
  • Cost reduction - e.g. if we have about 10 thousand products in the catalog, 1 product is described by 1 thousand characters. The cost of translation into a foreign language is about $120 for one product, which generates costs of $120 000. With a greater number of languages, the cost can reach even $500,000 for translations alone! Using the PIM system, we can take advantage of translation tools based on machine learning. Then the cost of handling translations will decrease.

Why is a PIM System a Must-Have in eCommerce?

The pandemic has challenged many businesses to accelerate digitization. Companies that had previously sold in traditional channels had to move online to continue selling. Many of them were not ready to trade online. Therefore, even if we start with online sales with good automation of activities, we can reach a large scale within those few years. The sooner we start using PIM, the sooner we will be ready to compete on a global scale.

Author: Paulina Jóźwik, Content Manager, Strix

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