What is Product Information Management?
PIM (Product Information Management) actually stands for what it says it stands for: the management of product information. Wikipedia gives the following definition: “Product information management or PIM refers to processes and technologies focused on centrally managing information about products, with a focus on the data required to market and sell the products through one or more distribution channels”.
The central concept is that product information is entered and stored once. This place is the “single source of truth” (also called the “Golden Record”) and from here that information is distributed without being re-entered manually into a different system.
Concept of PIM
The concept of PIM started to gain momentum around 2003. It was applied mainly due to the rapid growth of ecommerce and the popularity of online stores. The main reasons for the rise of PIM were:
- Selling online requires companies to collect clear basic product information that consumers can actually understand. Without product information e.g. the name of the product, price and product category, the product could not be found and sold online at all.
- The Internet allows retail and wholesale companies to offer many more products online to their clients, often described as “long tail”, than in physical stores. While it was possible to manage product information in a spreadsheet, most online stores now offer thousands of products. These products are offered via the Web and also via a large collection of channels such as mobiles, tablets, stores, printed catalogs, etc. This growth demands a specialized system to manage so much information so widely distributed. The world of distribution and selling of products is becoming more complex. Companies have multiple brands across multiple countries with multiple price lists and promotions and are working with thousands of suppliers. The complexity of this world can no longer be managed without advanced processes and systems like PIM.
- Consumers demand more, better and consistent product information. In general, the more information, the more you sell. A detailed product description is rated as one of the most important features of a Web shop. To sell a product online customers want to search and compare numerous details and want to know all the specifications before they buy. People also buy services online, such as tickets and training courses and more consumers download their digital books or games. Likewise, they no longer accept a fuzzy picture but want high resolution photos, videos and 3D models.
- Companies are legally obliged to store more information about their products. Where are the materials source? How was the product manufactured? etc.
The PIM system takes a central role between different sources of product information and the distribution channels to which the PIM exports its data.