Most e-commerce shops face the same problem as they begin to grow:
Being able to monitor and sort all their product information.
Many of them are unaware of the importance of this side of their business and end up in the following situation:
- The information that should be included in the product cards is in an Excel file instead.
- Sales volume is in the CRM.
- The prices for each sales channel are in another Excel file.
Does that ring a bell?
If all this information is scattered, your team will be less productive, errors will become commonplace, and your clients will begin to lose confidence.
That’s why more and more online stores are implementing a PIM – a management tool designed to avoid all these issues.
If you don’t know what a PIM is, don’t worry, because in this post we’re going to tell you all about them and their advantages.
Time to sort out all that file mess. ;)
👉 What a PIM is and what advantages it brings
First of all, let’s explain what it means:
PIM stands for “Product Information Management”, a management tool that centralizes all of a company’s product information.
In other words, it’s a kind of CRM where all the data from your product catalog is stored.
There are endless fields you can add to the PIM, but the most common are:
- Basic information about each product (name, model, brand, category, etc.)
- Technical specifications
- Text and media included in the product card
- Information on sales channels and marketplaces (like Amazon and Google Shopping, to name a few)
- Available stock
- Reviews for each product
- Appendices related to the product (its catalog, datasheet, etc.)
All that information can be transferred straight from Excel spreadsheets or from your CRM.
✅ Advantages of implementing a PIM into your e-commerce
A PIM does much more than just store all the information about your products.
Apart from that, if you’ve published any of your product cards on different sales channels, this piece of software allows you to modify them all at once.
Let’s see why that’s so important.
1. It reduces errors
But the person in charge of uploading the products is working from an out-of-date Excel file. This means various cards show incorrect information in terms of product characteristics or prices.
A PIM helps you avoid this situation because:
- All the information about your products is centralized and updated.
- You can edit the product cards on each sales channel all from within the PIM software.
Besides, a PIM warns you if the same product shows different information on different sales channels to avoid possible errors.
2. It reduces the return rate
If you’ve ever returned an item on Amazon, you may have seen that one of the possible reasons is: “Inaccurate web description”.
And this is more frequent than you think when you’re managing different sales channels.
Say a customer orders some white trainers on Amazon, but he or she gets a black model instead because they were the last ones in stock.
What happens then? The customer will most likely get a refund, of course, but he or she is also going to have a negative opinion of the shop.
Conversely, centralizing product cards and stock data can help reduce the return rate and improve your customers’ buying experience.
3. Increases your and your team’s productivity
Have you ever measured the time you waste each week looking for the latest version of the sales catalog?
Or that updated price list sent to your inbox a month ago?
If you did, I bet the sum total would surprise you. ;)
These little hitches are nothing but distractions that waste your time and cause you to be less productive.
And it affects your team just as it affects you.
Having all the information about your products just a few clicks away is crucial if you want to increase the productivity of your e-commerce.
4. It helps optimize marketing actions
On top of centralizing all the information on your products, a PIM can also offer you information about sales volume and other statistics.
It allows you to find quickly:
- Which of the different sales channels are yielding better results
- Which keywords are assigned to each product card (and if they’re working)
- Every product’s life value
That’ll make it easier for your marketing team to make the right adjustments to the sales strategy for your e-commerce.
👉 5 cases in which you should use a PIM
Still wondering if you should invest in a tool like this?
For reference, a PIM can be very useful if you find yourself in one of the following situations.
✅ 1. Your catalog is huge
Imagine you’ve decided to remodel your website and you have to move a whole product family to a new category.
Or that Black Friday is around the corner and you’d like to apply a discount to some specific products.
With a small catalog, those card-by-card changes don’t take so long – but what if you have to make changes to more than 500 products?
If that’s the case, you should resort to a tool that allows you to make large-scale modifications. ;)
✅ 2. Your product data is constantly changing
There are certain sectors (like outlets) where the information and the price of the products are in constant flux.
In both cases, using a PIM will allow you to make those adjustments much easier and faster.
✅ 3. You work with different sales channels
You’ve just seen how useful a PIM can be when you have to make changes to various product cards at once.
But that’s not all.
If there’s a marketplace among your sales channels, you should know that each one has its own system for uploading and modifying products.
And not all of them have very user-friendly interfaces. ;)
In those cases, a PIM works as a sort of interpreter: it merges with the different marketplaces you’re using and allows you to make all the modifications without leaving the platform.
✅ 4. You ship internationally
Selling abroad is another way to make your e-commerce grow.
As you know, however, that means adapting to the business standards of each country in which you operate (their currency, legislation, etc.).
What’s good about a PIM is that it gathers all that information and applies it to your product cards according to the country where they’re shown.
Useful, right? ;)
✅ 5. You have a big team
Managing all the information in your catalog can be simple when there are only two or three people working in your online store.
On the other hand, it’s not as easy for bigger teams to keep all the members posted on product updates.
That’s why a PIM can become one of the key assets for a large or growing team.
👉 The most popular PIM options on the market
Let’s suppose you’ve decided to implement a PIM to improve your e-commerce product management and speed up your team’s work.
Now what? Where do you start?
There are several companies offering this service, but we wanted to make things easy for you by finishing this post with a list of the most popular options:
- Sales Layer: A small Spanish company that’s crept into the PIM market. Among other options, their software includes an analytics section that informs you about inconsistencies among product cards across different channels and advises you on how to optimize them.
- Akeneo: It’s an open-source platform, so if you work with a CMS like PrestaShop or Magento, it’ll bring you lots of versatility (although you’ll need a web developer to get the most out of it). Besides, this company has its own training platform for e-commerce.
- Primcore: A recommendable option if you’re looking for full service. This international agency takes care of everything, including the design of the e-commerce and the PIM integration.
- Salsify: Finally, Salsify operates through a SaaS (Software as a Service) model with a cloud-based PIM. This makes it easier to customize the tool’s functionality.
The different software options from these companies are compatible with the most prominent e-commerce CMSs (like Shopify, PrestaShop, and WooCommerce), so don’t worry about that part. ;)
👉 Already decided that your e-commerce needs a PIM?
As you’ve seen, a PIM is an excellent tool when your online store is starting to grow.
It allows you to reduce the mistakes that lead to lost sales while improving your marketing strategy and increasing your team’s productivity.
Not too bad, right? ;)
The ball’s in your court – pick a PIM, synchronize your product information, and do away with those spreadsheets once and for all.