Are you considering purchasing (or replacing) a PIM system to facilitate your product data management? In this blog we will give you some guidelines, and general ‘things to think about’ when starting this journey. Since you have made it this far, chances are high you are aware of what a PIM system is, and what it can (or cannot) do for you. However, proper writing etiquette (Wikipedia) demands that we start an article like this with an introduction, to ease you into the subject. So, we’ll start with a brief ‘PIM for dummies’ section to make sure we are all on the same page.
Also, you might be wondering why a company like Mydatafactory is giving out free advice around selecting PIM-systems? Continue reading, and it will all make sense…
PIM is an acronym for Product Information Management; the process of managing all your product data, with the goal of marketing (and selling) your products through various distribution channels.
There are various systems out there that will enable you to collect your product data in a central hub and distribute it to various sales and e-commerce channels. For example, PIM systems can provide platforms like Amazon or Google Shopping with your product data. As our shopping behavior is becoming more and more digital (especially in a world dominated by COVID), having good product data becomes more important as well. It has been proven, over and over again, that having extensive, relevant, and correct product data has a significant positive impact on the sell-through rate of your online goods. In other words, good product data makes you more money.
Selecting the right platform to manage your data can be quite an intimidating process. In order to help you out, we have listed a couple of things to keep in mind to get you off to a good start. Let’s get into them.
Let’s make a bold (not really) assumption here and say that you are having ‘challenges’ with the current manner of dealing with product data. You are looking to purchase a PIM system for a reason, after all. You are not alone. There are more people, colleagues and external, that have to deal with the same product data you have to deal with, and probably in a suboptimal manner as well. Go out there, ask around, and make sure to involve everyone that might be impacted by the decision to purchase a PIM-system.
More specifically, make sure that you are aware of everyone’s challenges and specific situations they are running into. You want to prevent having to redo a part of the process because you forgot to involve someone, who has a specific issue with product data they want to solve with the same system.
This does not mean that 20 stakeholders have to be closely involved in the entire process. That is a good way to make sure the process will take 3 years or more (eww). Just make sure that you are aware of everyone’s needs and requirements and update them regularly throughout the process.
A PIM system enables you to store and manage your product data in one single place. Unfortunately, your product data won’t magically appear in your newly purchased PIM system. You are going to have to make that happen. Believe it or not, this is one the most underestimated parts of implementing a PIM solution.
Do yourself a favour and make an overview of ALL the various places your product data is currently stored. This means putting on your detective hat, and detect all the various places, platforms, and tools where your product data is currently living. It is usually a good idea to combine this with the previous step, and have all relevant stakeholders tell you where they store and manage their product data.
Pay close attention to the various ways in which these tools and platforms can potentially be connected to the PIM system you’re about to select. You want to make sure they can be integrated easily. Look out for platforms like
Also, keep in mind the various formats in which data is stored. Your PIM system will need to be able to work with all of these. Formats like
At this stage, you should have a good overview of who your main stakeholders are, and what their main challenges around product data are. Also, you should have a complete overview of where your product data is currently stored and maintained.
With all this input, create 3 or 4 very specific use cases that you want to achieve with a PIM system. Start with the end in mind; think about the various ways in which you want to use the PIM system to make your life better. The input you have gathered from stakeholders and their challenges is very useful here.
Having these use cases prepared enables you to much better evaluate whether or not a certain PIM system fits your needs. Instead of going through the regular product demo’s that only show the good parts of the tool, you can ask very specific questions, and pose very specific issues that you want to see them solve with the tool.
In some cases, it can be very insightful to let a potential candidate setup a solution for you in their live environment, with some of your actual product data as input. Having your various data sources mapped out (as you did in the previous step), is very helpful here. You might be charged for this, but it will enable you to make a much more informed decision.
This is the part where it becomes clear why we are giving out advice around PIM selection. PIM systems are great in many ways, and we cannot recommend them enough. However, a PIM system is only as good as the product data you put into it. If your data is of low quality, you cannot expect a PIM system to work miracles for you.
And this is where we come in! At Mydatafactory, we specialize in product data. More specifically, we specialize in making your product data better. And with the use of machine learning and AI, we do it faster than any other company out there. That’s the one thing a PIM won’t solve for you, but we will. Want to know how? Get in touch with us!