What is a PIM or product information management?

PIM system: take control of your data chaos

What ist a PIM? A product information management system can issue all data – including product texts, images, documents and drawings – multilingually to different output channels, including apps, online stores and distribution platforms. Your product information will therefore be bundled into a single system managed by you. This results in a process that is constantly evolving and always up to date. We know that using and maintaining your data is vitally important – and that’s precisely why you’re in good hands with us.

 

Terms/glossary

  • Product information management system
  • Product information management
  • Content management system
  • Product database
  • PIM
  • PIM system
  • PIM software

  • 400% shorter time to market

  • 33% lower acquisition costs for new customers

  • 23% fewer returns


Be more efficient

  • Reduce product data maintenance through centralised data storage
  • Improve data quality with media-neutral management
  • Enhance your points of sale
  • Reinforce customers’ purchasing decisions
  • Optimise channel-specific exports of your product data
  • Accelerate your go-to-market
  • Reduce complaints and returns

What benefits can a product information management system offer me?

Approach target groups more successfully with better product information
People only consider purchasing a product if it can improve a situation for someone, whether by solving a problem, making life easier or simply making them look better. In modern product marketing, communication is always adapted to the target group. Good PIM software enables you to optimise the relevant part of your product information for different target groups and channels. Of course, every target group and channel then receives precisely the information you choose via automated processes. Your products are sure to be even more impressive when accompanied by finetuned pitches and product data.

 

Merge information from different sources
One of the main jobs of a product information management system is maintaining and providing a centralised record of all key product information. This also includes connecting ERP systems like SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle and more. Other software products, including software for technical drawings, translation workflows and media databases, can also be connected, allowing you to view and manage product information centrally in a PIM system.

 

Achieve a solid foundation for digitally transforming your product marketing
The modern world is digital and operates via digitised workflows. Data is delivered digitally by suppliers, agencies or in-house teams, and online stores, printers, retailers and partners now expect to receive product data in digital form. Those who neglect this digital data exchange will be left behind. However, the standards and systems for digital data exchange are constantly evolving. A modular PIM system boasting interfaces, connectors and integrations will allow you to embrace the digital transformation – making you a modern and efficient business partner.

 

Accelerate the launch of new products
Launching a new product on the market and positioning it successfully is a process consisting of many small steps. Some steps can be worked on in parallel, while others can’t be started until the previous steps are complete. Product information management software supports the smooth, speedy completion of each step towards your product launch with workflows and notifications.

 

Consistent cross-channel product information
The days when customers decided to make a purchase based on a printed brochure or catalogue are over. Today, customers are presented with a myriad of products through different sales channels. It’s therefore important that the product a customer sees in a report or online can also be purchased in an online store. The result? Consistent communications across all channels is no longer optional. However, without a system for managing your product data, it’s virtually impossible to guarantee consistency. With a PIM system, you leave the same, unique impression across every communication channel – whether in print, in your online store or on Facebook.

 

SEO for product data
There is one vital requirement for output channels used to advertise products over the internet: customers have to be able to find them. Your product descriptions must therefore reflect the search queries and preferences of your customers. However, since these search queries and preferences are constantly changing, you also have to continually update your product texts. Quite simply, those who fail to do this are discovered by customers less often. A PIM system will help you to master this task, ensuring that your products are found online before those of your competitors.

 

Quickly adapt product data for different target groups and markets
You need to tailor your approach to different target groups and markets. In a PIM system you decide which product information you want to tailor to which target groups and markets. If a new market is added to your portfolio, the system will simply expand its configurations.
With the transparency offered by a PIM system, you can gain an overview of all your product data and provide your target group with persuasive arguments.

 

More professional information exchanges with retailers and partners
Retailers and partners are often also engaged in the digital transformation or have already digitalised their processes. Anyone who is unable to exchange digital data in a professional manner will create unnecessary work for their partners. With the 4ALLPORTAL PIM system, you and your partners can establish an efficient, professional supply chain able to withstand any challenges on the horizon.

 

Efficient collaboration
When developing a product, many different stakeholders have to work together – but often do so using their own tools and based on their own workflows. Boasting a range of functions, product information management software offers a simple platform for cooperation, transparency and quality control. Product information is maintained in a PIM system and is available to all authorised persons 24/7.

When does it make sense to start using a PIM?

Do you have to use several different systems to maintain information for a specific product?
If you usually maintain your product data in different systems instead of conveniently using one PIM system, a product information management system will give you a handy overview of your data. By creating a new, centralised storage location, you and your colleagues can keep all your product data in one place.

 

Do you maintain product information individually for each output channel, including your website, online store, CRM system or print materials?
Does your current technology force you to maintain or manually transfer product data individually for each output channel, e.g. your website, online store and customer relationship management system (CRM)? A modern PIM system like 4ALLPORTAL guarantees a fast, accurate and reliable data exchange between systems via connectors.

 

Are you unable to get an overview of missing product data?
What information do your customers actually see when they receive and read your documents? Is all of this information correct and complete? With a high-quality product content management system like 4ALLPORTAL, you can be sure of the quality of your product information – including texts, technical measurements and media – and you’ll know exactly where you need to add your finishing touches.

 

Are your employees unsure of where to get up-to-date product data?
Do colleagues phone and email you to ask for the latest texts, pictures and information on your company’s products? And do employees prefer to create texts and documents themselves rather than use the high-quality materials already available? A PIM system will provide all users with the right information in the simplest way possible. Combined with a digital asset management system (MAM/DAM) like the one integrated into the 4ALLPORTAL, this solution is available not only for product descriptions and technical data, but also for media, videos, manuals, technical drawings and more.

 

Do you have to comply with different legal regulations in different regions?
Compliance with legal regulations is not always easy, but it’s vitally important to get right. However, it can be a challenge to always take this into account when maintaining your product data. PIM software can be a big help here by offering you workflows, hints and tips for correctly maintaining your data.

 

Does duplicate content regularly cause headaches for your company?
Having two of everything may not seem so bad at first – but it soon causes big problems when it comes to intact data storage. Duplicate data presents users and software with questions that are often impossible to answer. Which is the right version? Which of the data records should now be maintained? And what information can I send to my partners and customers? Thanks to intelligent mechanisms, the 4ALLPORTAL PIM system automatically detects duplicate content for you – meaning that your data remains correct and unambiguous.

Here’s how to make sure your PIM project is a success:

1. Preparation
To successfully complete your PIM project, the first, most important step is careful preparation. This particularly includes defining your goals and using them to work out the requirements of your new PIM system. At the end of your preparations, you’ll ideally have a specification sheet that will make it easier to compare suppliers and document your project’s success. Your preparations should also include thinking about your budget and timetable. Launching a product data management system can be expensive and time-consuming, and inadequate preparation can easily cause your plan to fall apart. Remember that managing a product database is also part of the job – it doesn’t end with completion of the project (i.e. the system launch). Empower a team to handle the system launch. Having a strong project manager at the helm can help to boost the success of your project.
When planning, try to take into account the interfaces that write into the system (e.g. ERP systems) or are populated through the system (e.g. website or online store).

 

2. Choosing the right partner
Once you’ve finished preparing for a PIM system, you have to tackle the hardest part of the project: finding the right partner. This isn’t simply a matter of buying a piece of software, as you also need to find a partner to manage your product data who you want to work with intensively over the coming months. This partner will be both your software supplier and a sparring partner during the launch. A good partner will offer open, honest advice and tell you when things are not going according to plan.
Pay attention not only to content (specifications and requirements), but also to the nature of your cooperation. In addition, be sure to ask for references you can contact to find out more about how each partner works.

 

3. Awarding the contract
Once you’ve found the right partner for your PIM system, nothing stands in the way of offering them a contract. Make sure that both of you clearly understand what is included in the price and what isn’t. That way, you can avoid subsequent, unplanned costs for things you need to launch your PIM system. It’s not unusual for new requirements to arise during the course of a PIM project, so make sure that you clarify ahead of time how you and your new partner will handle change requests.

 

4. First steps
The contract has been awarded and everyone is excited to start the project and launch the new PIM system. Now it’s time to get together in a joint workshop with the project team and your chosen partner to analyse your timetable and divide the project into work packages.
Your partner will help you plot the course to achieving your goals and draw up a joint roadmap for implementing the product information management system.
Of course, the entire configuration of the PIM system will be discussed in this (or several) workshops. Depending on your supplier and the adaptability of your chosen system, this can be a time-consuming process. However, you should not neglect this task, because the success of your PIM software (and, above all, user acceptance) will ultimately depend on a logical configuration that accurately reflects users’ needs.

 

5. Implementation
The implementation, in other words the configuration of the system, is generally carried out by the supplier. After relevant training, it can also be carried out by the project team – but since the start configuration is very involved, we recommend having your partner do it. Your desired modules are gradually set up in your desired form, and are then connected to other systems as needed. This is where you come in, for instance to connect your ERP system. There may also be other partners to connect, e.g. to stock an online store. Of course, we recommend involving this partner in the PIM project from the start to ensure that no information needed for a seamless connection is lost.

 

6. Review
During a project, there are usually regular dates (e.g. jours fixes or regular workshops) on which you check and document the project’s progress. This task will be completed by your project team. Alternatively, your partner may also handle this task and offer you intensive assistance with project implementation. Your partner will have access to experts that have implemented a product information management system many times before. It’s therefore not unusual for partners to also provide an external project manager.

 

7. Optimisation
It goes without saying that most projects need to be tweaked following their initial implementation. You should make sure that you plan this corrective phase into your project from the beginning. It is rarely the case that all of the requirements and desired configurations agreed during the first workshop are reproduced and accepted 100%. You often only see how everything hangs together at the end of the project when all systems are integrated. Now is not the time to give up, but to bring all those involved to the table as quickly as possible to work out a solution – if one has not already emerged during the course of the project.

 

8. Acceptance
For most people, the acceptance and/or launch of the new system is an insignificant step, but it’s actually very important. Acceptance makes it possible to reconcile the PIM system with your initial requirements (if these haven’t changed during the course of the project). In addition, it results in the system being tested again from the front to back.
Acceptance itself, i.e. the actual signing of a document, is designed more for the benefit of your partner than yourself. It shows your partner that the project has been jointly implemented and come to a close.

 

9. Operation
Your work isn’t done following acceptance of the system! For many, acceptance means the end of the PIM project. However, only the initial launch of the system is complete. The operation of the solution is also work and you should ideally define who will be responsible for ongoing operation of your PIM system before the project starts – and during the course of the project at the latest. It’s not unusual for additional modifications to be needed even after launch – or there may be subsequent projects to connect more systems. You should also agree with your partner how they will be available to you once the project has been implemented – such as through continued, regular meetings or service packages making them available to you on an ad hoc basis.


IMPORTANT(!) for all 9 steps and for you:
If you take these important points to heart and find a partner you can trust for your project, nothing will stand in the way of the successful launch of your new PIM system.

Industries:

Here is a list of some of the industries that can use a PIM system. Of course, this list is not definitive. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about how your industry can benefit from our PIM system.

 

  • Textil industry

    Textile industry (fashion, clothing, etc.)

    • Centrally manage all relevant product data like sizing, colour and patterns or fabric composition in a single system
       
    • Observe current styles and trends and tag the relevant products to make them easier to find
       
    • Create seasonal or promotional campaigns at the click of a button
  • Manufactoring and Design

    Manufacturing and design (plant and mechanical engineering, raw materials and materials processing)

    • Provide your customers with technical information and insights into your quality standards
       
    • Enrich your assets with product data sheets, technical drawings or product videos
       
    • Involve your domestic and international suppliers and track the production chain from raw material extraction to the finished product
  • Travel industry

    Travel industry (tourism, leisure, wellness, etc.)

    • Organise your information on hotels, tours, tourist attractions and travel offers (early-booking discounts, last-minute, etc.)
       
    • Use special tools for translation and make your data available to your partners abroad in multiple languages
       
    • Recommend popular destinations and give your customers the opportunity to learn about entry requirements, possible risks or cultural customs and traditions
  • Trade

    Trade (retail, wholesale and foreign trade, consumer goods, etc.)

    • Define the terms of delivery and payment for your products and issue them to your customers
       
    • Avoid distribution problems by being continuously informed about changing delivery dates and stock levels
       
    • Inform your freight forwarders and suppliers about legal and quality regulations
  • Automotive industry

    Automotive industry (vehicle construction, etc.)

    • Provide information such as sales locations, dealers, workshops and technical data for each individual component to various channels
       
    • Combine data on current trends in design, interior design or system operation with your product data
       
    • Filter your products by brand, vehicle transmission or possible procurement of spare parts
  • Furniture industry

    Furniture industry (kitchen construction, furnishings, interior design, etc.)

    • Save all price lists and parts lists in the system
       
    • Export important information such as assembly instructions and warranty and guarantee clauses to furniture stores or retailers
       
    • Present alternatives to your products, e.g. other colours, designs and dimensions
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