Choosing a product information management (PIM) system can be overwhelming. You’re aware of the benefits a PIM will provide for your business, but where do you begin looking for the best one to support your business?
Here are some questions you should ask to help you find the best solution.
What do I want my PIM to achieve?
To get the most out of your PIM, you must develop some key performance indicators (KPIs) as these can help you to keep your system integration on track. Consider some KPIs like these:
- Reduce time to market by X percent
- Establish an easy onboarding process for products/services on each channel
- Reduce time spent on updating product/service content by X percent
By taking time to plan, you’re going to get the most out of your PIM as you know exactly what you want it to do for you. For more on the benefits of a PIM, click here.
Which type of PIM systems could work best for my business needs?
Two main types of PIM systems are:
- On-premise – this type allows users to create a system from scratch. This means you’ll have complete control over your system design and data. However, developing is very complex (not to mention the actual implementation) so the setup costs can be quite high. You’re also responsible for all the maintenance, keeping up with updates and data security - also costly and time-consuming.
- Cloud SaaS – unlike on-premise PIMs, cloud SaaS comes with lower setup costs, maintenance costs and data security management because the cloud vendors handle that for you. Updates are all automated too. The drawbacks are that your data will be hosted on a third party, rather than your own systems, so you’re reliant on an SLA for data access and you’re not in control of when updates happen.
Delve deeper into the on-premise vs cloud SaaS debate in our blog post here.
What features do I actually need?
You don’t want to invest in more features than you need. Some of the key features your PIM should have are:
- Configurable and flexible
- Ability to integrate with your other business systems, such as a CMS and ERP
- Easy to import data
- Bulk editing capabilities
- Content analytics
- Easy to create and manage categories
- Ability to view data by channel/category
How easily will it integrate with my ERP?
We mentioned it briefly in the section above but it really is that important. It’s vital that your new PIM slots seamlessly in with your existing ERP system.
Firstly, you need to consider how closely you want your PIM and ERP to integrate. We suggest asking yourself these questions:
- Should a product/service’s lifecycle begin in PIM or ERP?
- Do you need your ERP to be visible in your PIM?
- Do you need to maintain PIM data in ERP without opening your PIM tool?
- Do you need to generate outputs in your ERP?
The answer to each of these questions will vary depending on your business, so have a careful think about these factors before you commit to installing your PIM.
Customisable or standard exports?
If your company uses unique naming conventions, it might be a better idea to look for a PIM system that offers customisable exports. This type of export allows your PIM to adapt your data naming and formatting while still exporting it to different channels.
Does it come with asset management?
If you want data and images linked to the right product, choose a PIM system that comes with asset management. You also need to make sure that your PIM is easy for your whole team to use, especially if you’re handling multiple apps, catalogues, emails etc.
The more channels, formats and languages in which you publish your product/service info, the more important it is that your team can access and use this data. You don’t want to waste time in poor management again, so pick a PIM with good, easy-to-use management capabilities.
Can the system pull data from any source?
As above, you need to consider where your data will be coming from. This will make sure that your PIM is capable of handling these sources, which will save your team time from doing it all manually. This boosts productivity, efficiency and lowers the chance of inaccurate or missing information.
Plus, consider how complex your data is; the more complex your product info is, the more carefully you should think about choosing a system that helps you to manage it effectively.
Can the PIM publish data to any channel and in any format and language?
This is particularly important if you’re a global corporation or you’re planning on global expansion one day. The right PIM should be able to post across many channels, be versatile in formats and publish in a variety of languages.
How much support does the vendor offer?
The right PIM might be easy to use but that doesn’t mean it’ll work flawlessly 24/7. And implementation projects are notoriously complex and full of potential pitfalls to avoid.
So, when you’re choosing your PIM system, also consider the vendor you’re buying it from. Will they provide you with the level of support you need throughout the setup and ongoing maintenance of the system? This is particularly important if you’re new to PIMs.
Learn how you can increase average basket value
A PIM system is one of the best ways to save on time and money in your business. However, it’s just one tactic in increasing your overall basket revenue. There are other systems you can invest in too, such as a sophisticated CMS or a modern CRM with sales force automation capabilities.
Download our guide on how to increase your basket revenue below to learn more about other tactics and how PIMs play a role too.