Product Information Management (PIM) is a term you’re likely hearing more and more. However, like many, you may be unclear about what PIM entails or how it can really help your business. From the CIO to the CMO and all throughout an organization, managing product content and data is an increasingly critical success factor. Omnichannel and e-commerce continue to be the retail priority, yet without content there is no internet commerce. Content is the driver for informing, differentiating and persuading a customer along their path to purchase. A Product Information Management System, or PIM, helps direct that path to you. Your brand, product, store or site. So, let’s take a moment to unwrap the basics and benefits of PIM.
What is Product Information Management?
Let’s start with the basics. A Product Information Management system is the central hub of an organization’s product content and data. It serves as a tool to create, manage, and distribute content seamlessly to every sales channel and customer touchpoint. A PIM system provides a single view of product information to the entire enterprise, bolstering data quality and consistency.
Forrester breaks it down. Here’s what the analyst firm says about PIM in its report, “Polishing Up Your Products — Why PIM Really Matters”:
“For eBusiness professionals, marketers, and product owners, product data is far more than just IDs, SKUs, descriptions, digital assets, and copy. All attributes related to the context of the product need to be part of the product master data model. Gathering all these attributes from internal and external data sources and assembling them in a contextual manner is where PIM comes in…Essentially PIM is a gestation engine where products mature from conception to a state where they are polished and ready to be marketed and sold.”
Why is product information so important?
Today’s effective product information has moved beyond documenting basic specifications, features and functions. While these details are still important, product content must be complete and compelling. It must tell a story. Doing so creates a differentiated experience that helps drive sales and brand loyalty. In fact, according to the Forrester PIM report, “71 percent of all US online adults who research products online use myriad pieces of product information including social ratings and reviews, digital assets, and editorial content from the manufacturer or retailer to help them in their purchase consideration process.”
Yet, despite these facts, most organizations face product data that is inconsistent and scattered throughout multiple business systems, trading-partner networks, and supply chain networks. The result? Inefficiencies throughout the enterprise. Without the right governance, content is often inaccurate and out-of-date. Mandatory regulations and requirements are also difficult to meet. New products are slow to launch, and manual processes leave e-commerce endeavors lagging. Ultimately customers are left dissatisfied with the shopping experience and often return purchases they do make. That’s where a PIM system comes in.
What are the benefits of a PIM System?
A PIM solution helps retailers achieve cross-channel integration, as well as collect and manage the data necessary to better understand customers and how they prefer to shop. Retailers are able to reach customers with the images, peer reviews and complete product details they desire to make informed purchases.
Immediate benefits and efficiencies arise from having a single repository available to all business users, including marketers, store personnel, logistics, trading partners, and customers. A shared view reduces errors and inconsistencies, as well as the labor involved in creating quality content. This leads to faster product launches and promotions. Ultimately, improved customer satisfaction reduces return rates and builds brand loyalty.
Take a look at some of the real-life results achieved by EnterWorks Enable™ PIM customers:
- Cutting six months and six figures from the production cycle of a 1,400 page catalog, as well as two percent increase in sales and four percent increase in gross margins over the first six months.
- Storing, managing and publishing product information 25 to 30 percent faster than pulling data from source documents.
- Faster time-to-market by reducing a months-long catalog cycle down to four weeks with increased accuracy and improved workflow.
How do I select the right PIM system?
There are several steps to consider before you can begin a PIM initiative or select the right PIM system. Talking to a PIM expert can help get the process moving.
Are you passionate – or even curious – about product content, but have questions about getting started? Then take a look at the First Steps Guide to prepare for a PIM project.
We’re PIM experts, so no matter where you are in your PIM journey, we invite you to chat with us about your product information challenges and discuss how EnterWorks’ PIM solution can address your issues and opportunities.
Polishing Up Your Products — Why PIM Really Matters (Peter Sheldon) © 2014, Forrester Research, Inc.