What is a PIM? (Product Information Management System)- And Why Should Retailers Care?

Marketing software has become the backbone of Digital Marketing strategy and management for e-commerce retailers and brick and mortar stores.

With a heavy focus on big data, omni-channel distribution and evolving consumer focus- organizational and data management software is more and more crucial for advertisers and sellers.Product Information Management 101

Product Information Management Systems (PIMs) have evolved alongside retail and present themselves as a useful tool for businesses both on and offline.

Below we provide a basic overview of what Product Information Management Systems are, how they benefit retailers, and if a PIM is right for your store.

What is a Product Information Management System (PIM)?

Product Information Management Systems work as both a product information storage and management system, but also as a tool through which to push product information to sales channels.Product Information Management

“PIM’s are a central repository for all things related to product data- both structured and unstructured.”- Heather Raines, R3 Consulting

In addition to storing and transferring data, PIMs generally bolster overall data quality and encourage data audits and cleansing- prior to that information getting passed to a sales channel.

What Product Information Does a PIM’s Store?

Product Information Systems are designed to store product data from multiple sources.

  • Core Product Data (e.g. product name, title, description,etc.)
  • Product Attributes (e.g. SKU, cost, pricing,etc.)
  • Product specifications (e.g. dimensions, warranty and packaging info,etc.)
  • Product related metrics
  • Omni-channel product information (e.g. mobile copy)
  • System triggers and business rules
  • Product copy
  • Product Digital assets/media
  • Supplier Information
  • Multi-language content
  • Extended Channel Information (e.g. Google category)
  • Store specific information (e.g. POS registers, product catalogs,etc.)

Product information management software PIM

As the hub of product information, PIM’s are generally used to push product information (such as the attributes listed above) out to sales channels- such as POS registers and CMS.

“A PIM provides a single repository for storing all outgoing product data. A central repository system of record gives a single view of the product data to the entire enterprise so everyone sees the same information.Product Information Managment

Data quality and data consistency are naturally improved by reducing the need to manage redundant information in multiple systems.“- Stephen Rogers, R3 Consulting

With one location for data, retailers have the added functionality of viewing all product information in one location- which improves quality, ease of management, and assists spotting inaccuracies.

Who Should use a PIM?

For large retailers, retailers with multiple SKUs, or aggregating product information to (and or) from multiple sources- a PIM solution can increase bandwidth, reduce manual processes, and eliminate data inaccuracies.

“PIMs improve control and management of the product data through system defined workflows, automated formatting of data and auto triggering of business rules and flags.”- Stephen Rogers, R3 Consulting

Product Information Management systems, while very useful aren’t necessarily the fit for your store- just as not all sellers should (or can) sell on Amazon.

Consider your online store, your product data, where your product information comes from, and what channels you send it to before you invest in vetting a PIM.

 9 Attributes of PIM- Ready Retailers

Product Information Management systems are leveraged by retailers to improve data-touching performance indicators including new customer acquisition, return rates, and conversions.

Below are 9 markers which retailers who utilize PIM software often share.

Use these product information markers (along with your related store variables, budget,etc. ) as indicators as to whether a PIM is right for your store.

    • High product SKU count
    • Frequent SKU transition
    • Convoluted fulfillment options
    • Various product information management contributors
    • Challenges associated with getting products to the market
    • Manual data procecess’
    • High Cost-per-product setup
    • Data collection from 2 or more channels
    • Cumbersome existing product management structure

While the above attributes constitute many of the variables which influence utilizing a PIM, keep in mind each retailer, store and brand needs will temper your technical solution of choice, and how you leverage that platform to improve performance.


About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, and an expert in Retail Search, Google Shopping and Digital Marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can also find her work on SEW, SEMRush, MOZ and Practical Ecommerce. See all posts by this author here.

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