Why a PIM system is so important for digitalization
On the one hand, this is due to the wishes of customers, who are increasingly ordering via the Internet. On the other hand, globalization also plays a role. In this context, PIM systems promise to maintain an overview of products and the associated information. Is a PIM system really as helpful as is often claimed, or is it just a fifth wheel on the car?
WHAT DOES PIM STAND FOR AND WHAT IS THE CONCEPT BEHIND IT?
PIM is the abbreviation for Product Information Management. The idea behind such a system is to store all information in a neutral, system-independent format.
At the same time, there is only one central storage location within a company or network. The various sales channels are then supplied with product information from this one database. For a company, the product information of its own goods is very central data. In this context, data is the new gold and a PIM is the gold store.
A PIM system significantly reduces the effort required for product data management. In this sense, the tasks of product information management partly overlap with Enterprise Content Management. With the PIM, however, it is about the administration of commercial product information in a targeted and exclusive way, for example goods that are sold by a company.
Several providers have placed solutions on the market. Some of them deliver individually adapted systems. Alternatively, multifunctional PIM systems are available. These standard systems offer numerous functions. They are activated and used as required. The providers of such multisystems include IBM, SAP and Pimcore, for example. The basic implementation is similar in most cases. There is a central database in which all information is stored. Pimcore, for example, is based on PHP and MySQL databases. Connections and interfaces are established via APIs. The PIM is thus connected to all platforms and software systems that already exist and are used. In this way, integration into existing IT infrastructures is possible. Thus product information can be imported and exported very simply.
WHAT DOES A PIM-SYSTEM DO?
The main task of a PIM system is to make all information easily accessible and centrally available. In various scenarios, this ensures a more streamlined and optimized organization.
A company that offers products online on different platforms is a typical example from practice. A modern Internet retailer inevitably has different distribution channels. Instead of entering the products individually via the respective native systems, all information is stored in the PIM system. Product information management in turn provides interfaces to address these sales channels. This makes it possible to transfer products and information to one's own Internet shop or to Amazon with the help of a PIM. It thus functions as a system for all channels.
In addition, a PIM system allows for a customer-specific orientation of the offers. Specific target groups can be addressed directly and with individual information. Such a system provides various mechanisms for this purpose. For example, the range of goods on offer on the various sales platforms does not have to be exactly the same. The central system allows certain goods to be offered on only a few channels.
In this way, a company positions itself in a differentiated way. The reasons for this can be very diverse. It is possible that only certain target groups are active on a platform. These can be addressed directly with an individualized offer. Some PIM systems also go beyond pure information management. Pimcore, for example, brings with it tools with which classic offers in shops or advertising in print media can also be managed.
The advantages are obvious. Instead of having to monitor, edit and control several platforms, all modifications are made centrally and only once. Changes to articles do not have to be made laboriously everywhere, but only once. In addition, the central approach increases the quality of the data. Time previously invested in keeping product descriptions up to date can now be invested in improving the display.
PIM IN PRACTICE - WHEN DOES IT MAKE SENSE?
The value of a product information management system increases with the number of sales channels, products offered and branch offices. However, there are other factors that influence how helpful a PIM system is.
In certain industries it is necessary to update product details frequently. PIM systems help, in such a case, to keep the data up-to-date and synchronous. There are also situations in which software and hardware solutions that are incompatible with each other are used within an enterprise network. This makes it much more difficult to keep product information up-to-date and synchronous. The situation is similar when different external sales channels are used. Amazon, eBay and your own web shop are just a few examples of the many different platforms. In all these constellations, a PIM system can serve as a central database and interface. Practically all platforms are managed with one input.
A PIM system can also provide more effective work processes. The centralized approach makes it possible to react more quickly to changes. At the same time, new offers or offer updates can be rolled out without lengthy processes. This applies to all sales channels. These possibilities strengthen a company's position in the market. Being faster than the competition often makes the difference in these fast-moving times.
A PIM system also makes it much easier to expand business operations. If every sales platform is used directly, you first have to familiarize yourself with all the peculiarities. All offers have to be entered individually. The administration effort during operation also increases with each new platform. If a PIM system is used, these tasks are omitted. Once the interface has been set up, all existing products and the associated information are directly available. In this way, the range can be extended very quickly and easily.
However, these possibilities are not limited to the local or national market. Due to globalisation and optimised transport routes, the world is growing together more and more. Globalisation is now also playing a role for small and medium-sized companies. International sales markets should therefore also be taken into account in long-term strategies. Sales platforms abroad often represent barriers for companies. On the one hand foreign languages are natural hurdles, on the other hand the problem remains of having to deal with unknown sales channels. Various PIM systems are specially prepared for these scenarios. There are modules for language management and in some cases automatic translation is possible. Most systems also offer interfaces to the most popular sales platforms around the world. In this way, product information is easily translated into other languages and transferred to sales platforms in other countries.
INTEGRATING A PIM SYSTEM: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
Companies often shy away from the step of drastically changing product information management. After all, these are interventions in the core business. Concerns are often expressed because there is a phase of change for the employees. However, such platforms offer many opportunities and advantages that far outweigh the risks. The risks are further minimized if such system changes are accompanied or completely taken over by a professional service provider. GAL Digital is familiar with such system integrations. The digital agency supports and accompanies companies from various industries in the integration of PIM systems such as Pimcore. With such a system it is possible to become master of one's own data. The complete administration of the product data is then centrally stored and well structured. Contact us without obligation and find out what a PIM system could look like in your company.