PIM Vendors for Retail & eCommerce

PIM Vendors for Retail & eCommerce

Businesses selling products know how important it is to have accurate, up-to-date, relevant, and usable product data. A Product Information Management (PIM) system is designed precisely to provide those qualities, as well as being a centralised storage point for all product-related information. Managing all your product data from one place makes it easier to maintain and share across multi-functional teams. As the ‘single source of truth,’ it also ensures consistency when distributed across sales channels.

Therefore, when you make the decision to invest in PIM, selecting from PIM software vendors can be tricky. There are many options available on the market, so what should you be looking for so as to make the right choice? Below, we look at will discuss some key factors to bear in mind when assessing how suitable a PIM software vendor is for your business’s requirements.

We will cover:

  •   Assessing your needs
  •   Features and functions
  •   Scalability to match your growth goals
  •   Support from the vendor
  •   Cloud or on-premises
  •   Pricing and cost

Your requirements

Before looking for a vendor, you must identify exactly what your needs are to use the right criteria for your selection. A PIM vendor selection service helps enormously with this:

  •   What pain points will it solve when it comes to managing your product data?
  •   How much and what kind of data do you need to manage? Is it a platform which will handle a high volume of SKUs or a limited inventory?
  •   Do you have the know-how to manage the system yourselves? Or will you require support and training for your users?


These are just a few of the questions to ask yourselves before you’re able to make an informed choice.

Features and Functionality

The next move is to evaluate the features and functionality for the PIM systems offered by different PIM software vendors. The key features to look for in a PIM system include:

Product Information Management: the ‘basics’ – features like the ability to manage product descriptions, images and video, and product specifications.

Data Quality Management: A high-quality system should feature tools which enable maintenance of data quality, such as data cleansing and data validation. Nowadays, you should expect this function to be automated, with an alert feature, triggered when data does not reach a specified quality threshold.

Workflow Management: it should have workflow management capabilities which let you manage the complete product data lifecycle, from onboarding supplier data to syndication to your sales channels.

Integration Capabilities: it’s highly likely you’ll want to integrate your new PIM system with other tools, such as your eCommerce platform, ERP, CRM, or inventory control. Modern PIMs use API connectors, making it relatively straightforward to integrate with any legacy system.

User Experience

Usability is another essential factor to consider. Ideally, you want a user-friendly system which is easy to navigate, especially for non-technical (business) users. Look for a PIM system that has an intuitive interface, clear navigation, and a dashboard which can be customised to the needs of the user.


It is crucial that as your company grows, the PIM system has the capability to scale with you and match expanding needs. The large majority of PIM software vendors sell systems which can easily deal with increasing volumes of data or additional users. An associated factor in ‘futureproofing’ your PIM is upgrading and updates – probe the vendor as to their roadmap for future development and product enhancements.

Cost and type

Finally, total cost of ownership. PIM solutions differ greatly in price, according to variables. It can depend on the type of platform – Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud-based, subscription model, while on-premises software (installed by you) is usually a flat price (but don’t forget the hidden costs of installation and maintenance: you own it, you pay for it!)

There are also open-source or proprietary systems to consider – as you would expect, open source is cheaper (and even free in a few cases), but you are tied to a limited set of functionalities, with anything extra tied to an extra charge. Proprietary is more expensive, but its security measures are far tighter.

Other factors bearing on price include the business domain in which you operate, the kind of company, the volume of SKUs managed, content type, and data input sources and output destinations. The price is likely to rise if there are platform upgrades, or if the costs of third-party integrations go up.

So, no simple answer. But make sure the PIM software vendor chosen provides transparent pricing and no hidden costs. Finally, factor in additional costs, such as third-party consultancy partnership for implementation, training, ongoing support, and other managed services.

Consultancy support

There are multiple cases of PIM implementations which have failed in some way or other. This tends to happen when a business assumes that the only requirement is to select, buy and install the PIM software. However, the expertise of a PIM vendor selection service and further consultancy services will save a LOT of time and money further down the line in areas like the below:

  •   Business case development
  •   Audit
  •   Discovery
  •   Change management
  •   Design
  •   Build
  •   Testing
  •   Migration
  •   Go live
  •   Monitoring and support

A PIM solution is a significant investment. The decision you make on vendor and product will impact on your business for years to come. If you make an informed decision based on the factors above, that impact will be highly positive in terms of the following:

  •   Efficiency
  •   Speed
  •   Productivity, creativity, and collaboration
  •   Responsiveness to change
  •   Higher quality product data, to higher quality information
  •   Enhanced customer experiences
  •   Greater customer satisfaction
  •   Higher AOV and more cross- and upselling
  •   Bottom-line revenue

Assess your needs, evaluate features, analyse user experience, verify support levels from the vendor, ease of scalability, and check what’s included in the cost. Using a  PIM vendor selection service will offer you invaluable needs analysis, insight and advice. After all, you want to use your PIM system to optimal effect to provide a healthy ROI and keep you at the forefront of digital commerce.

Get in touch to learn more about how our vendor selection service can help you from picking the wrong solution. 

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