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Why you need a PIM?

There are many reasons why you need a Product Information Management (PIM) system. One of the most common reasons is you are spending too much time, money, and human resources managing your product catalog on your own.

A PIM is designed to save you time and help improve your efficiency. Imagine a scenario (which is a very common one) where you have multiple stores and store locations. Some stores sell different products, but they all sell some of the same products. Let's say you want to introduce a new product into all your stores. How would you do that? Without a PIM you would have to update every single store, add the same product detail information multiple times. How many hours would that take? Now imagine that same scenario with a PIM in place, where you have a centralized database allowing you to make one update and push it out to all your stores.

Not convinced? Let's do the math. You have 5 locations to update with 10 products to update every week. Let's say it takes 60 minutes to put together the product information, find a good image, add the product to the store, etc.

5 Locations x 10 Products a week x 60 minutes = 50 hours a week!

50 HOURS A WEEK! That's more than a full time position just for doing data entry. This is the true power of a PIM. It frees up those resources to be better utilized for support, training, sales, or marketing--roles that help increase the overall bottom line and help improve customer loyalty and satisfaction.

What Makes a PIM so necessary?

You may have heard the term in passing, as it's a disruptive technology experiencing rapid growth in the retail sector. So what is it and what does it do? PIM stands for Product Information Management; software that manages all of the data surrounding the products in your product catalog, sizes, weights, descriptions, reviews, certifications and so on.

A PIM is a software extension that integrates with online commerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify or BigCommerce, as well as other channels, data sources and software systems. The PIM works as an omnichannel software tool that allows you to maintain control over all areas of your ecommerce strategy.

A PIM has the ability to track all of the catalog and inventory data of a company in real time, sending it to sales channels in the right format and ensuring that an automated sync from the PIM to the channel.Not all PIM solutions include the variety of connectors needed to launch your omnichannel strategy quickly and efficiently. Legacy PIMs use open-source code, which require a team to configure and maintain connections to inbound and outbound channels.

What are the benefits of a PIM?

Increase your time to market (TTM) - While the definition of time to market (TTM) can vary depending on the company and product complexity, for the purpose of this article we are going to define time to market as the period of time from when a product idea has general agreement and resources are committed to the project, to the time the final product ships to customers.

Create faster processes - Automation isn't just a fancy buzzword. There's a reason software (like a PIM) are developed. They are made to take the human element away from tasks that are repeatable, predictable and can be recreated using technology. Things like spreadsheets are just systems that lead to human errors, endless revisions and no connection outside the owners of the spreadsheets. A PIM software invites a company to take the leap into the digital world and all its advantages.

Generate higher quality product content - A PIM allows different departments--from marketing to designers to make any necessary changes that enriche the product content, streamlines it to everyone and updates the data in real time in every channel or market. This includes a company that sells in multiple international markets.

How did we put it to use?

We had a scenario in which we helped a client who had more than 53 million SKUs dating back to the late 90s. In their product data we found millions of duplicates, stale data and an array of third party data. This was no easy task, as their SKUs resided in multiple places within the business. They had several brick and mortar locations, data from Ingram Micro, Amazon, and their online store in their legacy website database.

Having a PIM in place gave our client the ability to house this data that we mined from each of these data sources and reduce the product catalog down to a much more manageable 8 million SKUs. The data was plugged into the PIM using a combination of custom attributes and categories and gave them a centralized location for managing their product data. Once the PIM was in place, it was much easier to manage that many SKUs and allowed for better consistency in presenting products to multiple storefronts.

Needless to say, having a PIM greatly reduced the amount of time spent improving our client's business. Because of this our ultimate goal was achieved--a happy client.

If you'd like to learn more about PIM solutions, check out the following webinar replays:

Part 1 - Omnichannel eCommerce Explained

Part 2 - How to Setup Your Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy

 

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