What is PIM? A Comprehensive Guide to Product Information Management

What is PIM? A Comprehensive Guide to Product Information Management

Product Information Management (PIM) is the lifeblood of modern commerce, but what exactly does it entail? Here’s a comprehensive look at everything you need to know about PIM.


Product Information Management, or PIM, is the process of managing all the information required to market and sell products through your distribution channels. It’s more than just a software solution; it’s a central platform for handling complex product data, digital assets, and brand collaboration.

Table of Contents

What Does a PIM System Do?

Product Information Management, or PIM, is not just a term but a dynamic process that encompasses a wide range of activities. It’s about managing and enhancing product information across your selling platforms. Here’s how it works:

Collect & Centralize

A PIM system starts by collating product information from multiple internal and external data sources, such as an ERP, PLM, supplier feeds, or other databases. It acts as a central hub for all your product data, ensuring that everyone in your organization, from marketing to sales, has access to the same up-to-date information.

Update & Enrich

In a PIM platform, you can cleanse, enrich, and optimize all the data and assets you hold for your products (SKUs). This could include technical specifications like dimensions and materials, or commercial and marketing information such as product descriptions and pricing. With PIM, the possibilities for enhancement are virtually endless, and you can easily manage data hierarchy and product relationships, ensuring consistency across all channels.

Publish & Connect

A PIM system doesn’t just hold information; it makes it work for you. From a PIM, this data can be easily published across sales channels, such as marketplaces, resellers, or eCommerce sites. This makes it easy for customers and colleagues alike to access all the information they need, providing an engaging shopping experience.

Improve Selling Performance

Whether it’s images, videos, personalization renderings, or product categorization, a PIM system ensures that all these elements work together to enhance the shopping experience. By improving selling performance across omnichannel and multichannel touchpoints, PIM ensures that your products are not just visible but irresistible to potential buyers.

In essence, a PIM system is like the conductor of an orchestra, coordinating various instruments to create a harmonious symphony. It streamlines the flow of product information, enriches it with valuable insights, and ensures that it reaches the right audience at the right time. This leads to not just efficiency and accuracy but also a meaningful connection with customers, setting the stage for success in today’s competitive marketplace.

Why Do You Need a PIM?

Time, efficiency, collaboration – these are the cornerstones of a successful PIM tool. But let’s dive deeper into the practical side of things.

Practice shows that when businesses sell their products online, they often end up having a vast amount of product information across multiple channels. Without control over product data and a consistent omnichannel strategy, one product can often be displayed to customers with disparate descriptions, technical specifications, and marketing messages.

To make things even more complicated, product information is often scattered throughout different teams and stored by many employees in many different internal systems or files only accessible by them, instead of being available centrally. ERP systems and Excel spreadsheets cannot exchange information on their own, data may be saved in various formats, or only be available in hard copy form. This quickly leads to data silos and a challenge in which managing information of a constantly growing number of products easily turns into a spreadsheets crisis, which in turn has a negative impact on product data quality.

With a PIM system in place, everyone involved can work together to get products ready for sale on time and on budget. PIM isn’t just about data; it’s about making the product information management process fast, efficient, and productive, ensuring that these complex challenges are addressed and overcome. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, the benefits of implementing a PIM solution are clear and multifaceted.

What Kind of Data is in a PIM?

A PIM system is a comprehensive solution that caters to a wide array of product-related data needs. From core details to digital assets, pricing, specifications, variants, languages, and more, PIM serves as a single source of truth for managing and optimizing product information across channels. It supports global strategies, enhances customer experience, simplifies data handling, and offers flexibility to meet the unique requirements of various businesses and marketplaces.

Core Product Data

PIM systems maintain the core details of every product, such as the Product ID Number, SKU, and related information. It ensures alignment with the ERP for seamless integration of key data, offering a consistent foundation for all products.


Pricing information is another critical aspect managed by PIM. Whether directly handled within PIM or pulled from ERP, this data can be personalized and customized for various customer-specific offerings, ensuring dynamic pricing strategies.

Product Sales and Marketing Details

A PIM system facilitates rich product sales and marketing details, including names, descriptions, and alignment with SEO strategies. Ensuring accurate, clear, and complete descriptions helps potential customers find products through online searches.

Product Specifications

PIM covers essential product specifications like weight, size, materials, compatibility, and more. These details help customers understand the product’s suitability, facilitating informed purchasing decisions.

Digital Assets

Enhancing the customer experience further, PIM incorporates digital assets such as product images, videos, PDFs, user guides, and spec sheets. It adds depth to product information, providing a virtual experience of the product.

Variations and Families

By managing product variations and families, PIM helps businesses structure their products relationally. This system organizes how products relate to each other and extends to recommendations and personalization.

Channels and Feeds

With PIM, businesses can easily connect to front-end sales and marketing channels, centralizing all product information. This includes customizing workflows and data rules to match various channel requirements.

Import and Export of Data

PIM enables the quick and efficient import of product data from excel files, suppliers, vendors, and distributors. It allows for seamless organization and enrichment of data, making review and management quicker.

Language and Regional Management

PIM’s multi-language support empowers businesses targeting global markets. It allows for automated translations and management of language variants, ensuring smooth international sales.

Media Asset Management

Integrated with Digital Asset Management (DAM), PIM can handle visual assets like high-quality product pictures, marketing imagery, and varied image sizes, improving online product listings.

Marketing Messaging

Managing different marketing messages for various regions or languages, PIM ensures consistent structural layout and SEO-friendly listings, enhancing customer experience.

Variants and Value-added Asset Management

PIM handles different product variants efficiently, minimizing repetitive data entry. It also allows the addition of value-added assets like user manuals, videos, and downloadable guides for enriched customer experiences.

Point of Sales

PIM goes beyond online strategy by integrating with physical stores or distribution points. This includes storing point-of-sale information, shop data, and analyzing product performance across different locations.

Sales and Marketing Material

Beyond product information, PIM can also manage sales and marketing materials like technical specifications, operating instructions, certifications, and customized documents.

What types of businesses need a PIM?

A PIM system plays a vital role in organising and managing product data. From small online retailers to multinational manufacturers, any business dealing with complex catalogs and numerous sales channels can benefit from a PIM system. Product Information Management (PIM) systems are essential tools for businesses of all sizes that deal with complex product data and multiple sales channels. Recognizing the signs that indicate the need for a PIM system and investing in one can prevent costly mistakes and enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction. By addressing challenges such as inaccurate data, inconsistent pricing, and rapid growth, a PIM system becomes a valuable asset in achieving organized, streamlined, and scalable business operations.

Recognizing the Need for a PIM

Initially, most businesses focus on growth, often neglecting the importance of organized data management. As the business evolves, managing inventory, customers, suppliers, and documents becomes increasingly overwhelming.

The Importance of a PIM System

PIM software is the solution to the growing complexities of product management. It centralizes and streamlines product information management, ensuring consistency and accuracy across various channels. By implementing a PIM system, businesses can ensure efficiency and enhance customer experience.

10 Signs Your Business Needs a PIM System

Inaccurate or Inconsistent Product Data: Misalignment in product data across different channels can result in operational inefficiencies, errors, and loss of customer trust. A PIM system resolves these issues by centralizing and standardizing data.

Employees Spend Too Much Time on Basic Tasks: By automating data entry and updating, a PIM system saves time, increases accuracy, and allows businesses to scale without overburdening the workforce.

Your Product Has Many Versions and Variations: Managing multiple product variations becomes easier with a centralized PIM system.

Losing Track of Important Documents: PIM software facilitates digital storage and easy access to vital documents, mitigating the risk of losing track of them.

Inconsistent Imports of Product Information: With various sources and formats for product data, PIM helps standardise and validate information, ensuring a smoother management processing the risk of losing track of them.

Customers Struggle to Understand Your Products: Through detailed information and improved presentation, PIM enhances customer understanding of products.

Struggle to Meet Customer Expectations: By ensuring accurate and up-to-date product information, PIM enhances the customer experience and helps maintain consistent branding.

Business Growth Outpacing Your Ability to Manage: For rapidly growing businesses, PIM offers scalable solutions to manage the ever-increasing volume of product data.

Inconsistent Pricing Management: PIM ensures that pricing information is accurate and up-to-date, helping to meet customer expectations.

Your Current PIM Isn’t Sufficient: As your business evolves, your PIM system may need to be updated or replaced to keep up with changing needs.

What are the benefits of a PIM system?

Better Organisation and Quality of Data:

Centralised Data Hub: By storing all product information in one location, a PIM ensures consistency across all sales channels.

Validation and Enrichment: Automated checks and enrichments reduce errors, ensuring high-quality data that enhances the customer experience.

Improved SEO:

Automated Updating: PIM platforms can automatically update product data across sales channels, ensuring that search engines have the latest and most accurate information.

Competitive Advantage: Improved organisation and meta-field completion help your products rank higher in search results, enhancing visibility.

More Efficient Data Management:

Time Saving: Consolidating data management processes through workflows and automation allows different departments to focus on value-added tasks.

Examples of Efficiency: Some brands, as mentioned, have significantly reduced the time spent on product referencing, even gaining the equivalent of a full-time employee.

Reduced Time-to-Market:

Rapid Launch Capability: Having all information in one place facilitates quick product launches, giving your brand a competitive edge, especially during high-demand seasons.

Implementation of an Omnichannel Strategy:

Seamless Integration: PIM systems provide the tools needed to manage various distribution channels, ensuring a uniform customer experience.

Channel-Specific Customisation: Functions like dashboards and workflows let you monitor and tailor data for each channel.

Improved Conversions:

Enhanced Customer Experience: Providing accurate and consistent information helps customers make informed decisions, boosting confidence, conversion rates, and reducing returns.

Internationalisation and Multi-Market Expansion:

Ease of Expansion: PIM platforms simplify the process of entering new markets by connecting with ecommerce platforms and allowing regional customisation.

Increased Revenue and ROI:

Combining Factors: The cumulative impact of enhanced efficiency, conversion rates, and omni-channel strategies translates to increased revenue and a strong return on investment.

Ownership & Transparency:

Workflow Tools: Create ownership and streamline collaboration.

Powerful Search: Enhance access to information about product recalls, audits, and reports.

Minimising Custom Applications:

Reduction in Customisation: PIM replaces custom applications built around ERP, leading to more agility and less complexity.

Reducing Management Costs and Risks:

Automation: Processes like onboarding product data can be automated, saving costs and reducing errors.

Reducing Costs and Risks of New Systems:

Flexible Features: PIM offers default features that are adaptable and more cost-effective than traditional systems.

Increasing Data Quality:

Standardisation and Clean Data: User-friendly interfaces and quality checks maintain high data quality.

Golden Record Principle: Combines data from different sources to create the perfect dataset.

Who Uses a PIM System?

A PIM system is a multifaceted tool that provides tailored benefits to various roles within an organization, be it eCommerce, product management, sales & marketing, IT, or senior management. By centralising product information, automating manual tasks, enhancing collaboration, and providing a secure environment, PIM plays a vital role in modern business operations, contributing to strategic growth, customer satisfaction, and overall efficiency.

Product Management

Product and Category Managers / Product Merchandisers: These individuals use PIM systems to gain full visibility of products throughout their development lifecycle. They can segment data for relevancy, automate campaign rules, and react to live stock data to remain in control.

Sales & Marketing

Sales & Marketing Teams: PIM systems keep these teams informed with accurate and current product information. From automating campaign planning to creating rich product descriptions optimized for search engines, PIM assists in ensuring a seamless customer experience.

IT Team

IT Professionals: PIM empowers IT teams by allowing them to automate workflows and integrate with other technological solutions through open API architecture. The robust permission settings and audit trails within PIM ensure that critical data is managed securely and efficiently.


Executive Management: The top-level management, such as CEOs and CTOs, can leverage PIM to enable growth through a robust digital presence. PIM helps in mirroring the in-store experience online, ensuring quality product data, and boosting employee well-being through efficient work processes.

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