Differences between PIM in the B2B and B2C sectors

Product Information MANAGEMENT

E-commerce has long been established in everyday life. However, more and more B2B sales are now also being processed via the Internet. Despite many similarities, the differences between B2C and B2B are nevertheless fundamental and have a significant influence on the marketing strategies, sales processes and customer relationships of the respective companies. In this article, we explain the contrasts and what requirements are placed on a PIM system in each segment.

You can’t do without an online store these days – even small retailers in the B2C segment have now understood this. Your big advantage: online stores in the B2C sector have long been a dime a dozen. In addition, top dogs such as Amazon, Otto and Zalando are setting a good example of what really matters. B2C retailers therefore enjoy a lot of inspiration and experience in setting up their own business properly. The situation is different in the B2B sector. Although online business in B2B is expanding, there is still a lot of catching up to do. Of course, good user guidance, an appealing design and fast loading times are standard features of today’s online stores, which B2B retailers also have to meet. However, technology and design alone are not enough. The product data must be appealing, otherwise you don’t even need to try to sell online. Because unlike in a store, where a salesperson provides advice, in an online store this is done exclusively by the content. B2B customers in particular are more reliant on product information than private individuals because investments need to be traceable. But let’s start with a direct comparison of B2C and B2B to better illustrate the differences between the two areas.

B2C and B2B business in direct comparison


B2C stands for Business-to-Consumer. This refers to business relationships between companies and private individuals. The main characteristics include:

  • The focus is on end consumers and their needs and wishes.
  • The products are generally more standardized and aimed at the mass market, with less need for customization.
  • Broad-based advertising campaigns, emotionalization and the creation of a brand experience dominate here in order to attract customers and persuade them to buy.
  • Decisions are made more quickly and often more emotionally, based on personal preferences, prices or brand loyalty.
  • Although customer satisfaction and loyalty are important, relationships tend to be less personal and more characterized by mass marketing and automated customer service.
  • Prices are usually fixed, with special offers and discount campaigns being used to promote sales.

B2B stands for Business-to-Business. This refers to a business relationship between two or more companies. B2B is also known as industry marketing.

  • The target group consists of professionals and decision-makers who are looking for products that meet their operational requirements.
  • Products and services are often more complex, technically demanding and require specific customization for each customer.
  • Marketing strategies focus on building relationships, providing expertise and demonstrating ROI. The sales process is consultation-intensive and individualized according to the needs of the business customer.
  • Purchasing decisions are often complex and involve several stakeholders. The process is longer, as it usually involves a comprehensive assessment, negotiations and approvals.
  • The relationships are long-term, with a focus on personal support, customized solutions and a high level of service.
  • Pricing is often negotiable and can include discounts for large orders, long-term contracts or partnerships.

Online Business needs Data, both in B2C and B2B

Despite all the differences between B2C and B2B, both areas are ultimately dependent on product data. They are the core element of every online store. And although store systems also include the management of product data, they are not the right solution for this. This is because the purpose of a store system is to create and operate an online store. As a technical framework, the store system is effectively the bare store floor. It is the display of the products that makes the store attractive to customers. And if a company has a large, constantly changing product range or complex product structures, a store system reaches its limits when it comes to managing product data. This is why even store providers such as Shopware recommend the use of a PIM system. Details on this can be found in the Shopware article “PIM – Product Information Management” from the E-Commerce Knowledge section.

Without beating around the bush. Online sales require both a store system and a PIM system, whether in B2C or B2B. Therefore, the question “Do I introduce a store or a PIM system first?” is also superfluous. Rather, the question arises as to whether every PIM is equally suitable. To answer this question, we should first take a closer look at the requirements for a PIM system in B2C and B2B.

The Requirements for a PIM System in B2C and B2B

At the beginning, we saw how strongly B2C and B2B differ from each other. For this reason, it is not surprising that the requirements for a PIM system also differ significantly depending on the scenario. These differences reflect the respective challenges, target groups and sales processes.

PIM Requirements in B2C
  • Customer-oriented product descriptions:In the B2C sector, appealing, easy-to-understand and emotionally appealing product descriptions are required to encourage consumers to buy.
  • High image and media quality: Product images, videos and other visual content play a central role in B2C e-commerce. A PIM system must be able to manage high-quality media efficiently and distribute it via various channels.
  • Scalability for a wide range of products: B2C companies often offer a wide range of products. The PIM system must be able to handle large volumes of product information efficiently.
  • Speed and timeliness: The dynamic nature of the B2C market requires rapid updates and product information updates in order to be able to respond to trends and customer needs.
  • SEO optimization: Since B2C customers often search for products via search engines, the SEO optimization of product descriptions is a critical aspect of a PIM system.
PIM Requirements in B2B
  • Detailed product information: B2B buyers need comprehensive technical details, specifications and product performance data to make informed purchasing decisions. PIM systems must be able to manage and display deep, multifaceted product information.
  • Adaptability and flexibility: Products in the B2B sector often require customer-specific adaptations. A PIM system must therefore support flexible product structures that allow easy adaptation to specific customer requirements.
  • Multi-channel sales: B2B companies often sell through multiple channels, including direct sales, partners and distributors. The PIM system must guarantee consistent product information across all channels.
  • Complex price structures: B2B price models can include complex discount systems, quantity scales and customer-specific prices. PIM systems must be able to map this complexity.
  • Compliance and certifications: Many B2B products have to meet specific industry standards or regulatory requirements. The relevant certifications and documentation must be recorded and managed in the PIM system.

Although the specific PIM requirements of B2B and B2C environments differ, they do share some basic needs. Above all, this includes the central storage of all product information, seamless integration with other business systems such as ERP, CRM and e-commerce platforms, as well as ensuring data quality and consistency.

What should a PIM system in B2C or B2B be able to do?

All PIM systems basically fulfill the same purpose: the central management of product data. However, there are different features and areas of application. Therefore, the price should not be the decisive factor when selecting a PIM system, but rather whether the respective PIM system meets the requirements in the B2C or B2B environment. In a hybrid B2B/B2C environment, a PIM system must even be flexible enough to fulfill both sets of requirements and enable seamless integration of product information across all business areas and customer groups.

PIM for B2C

In the B2C environment, it is important to be found first if you are not necessarily one of the big players. The SEO optimization of product descriptions therefore plays a crucial role. This aspect should not be underestimated when selecting a PIM system. But an optimal customer experience through high-quality, consistent and easy-to-find product information across all channels is also important in B2C. A PIM system in the B2C context should therefore have the following features:

  • Tools for optimizing product texts for search engines, including meta tags, URLs and keywords.
  • Support for structured data to increase visibility in search engine results.
  • Efficient management of images, videos and other media to present products in an appealing way.
  • Functions for automatic adaptation to different channel requirements.
  • Tools for ensuring and monitoring data quality, including validation, duplicate detection and cleansing.
  • Consistency checks to ensure that all product information is up-to-date and correct.
  • Synchronization of product information across different sales channels (online stores, marketplaces, social media and mobile applications).
  • Ideally integrated AI support for the creation of unique content.
  • Workflow management for controlling product information lifecycles.
  • Collaboration features that enable teams to work together on product information and manage approval processes.
  • Interfaces to other systems such as ERP, CRM and e-commerce platforms to ensure a seamless flow of information.
  • API support for integration with external services and partners.
  • Adaptability to changing business conditions and market requirements.
  • Scalability to keep pace with the growth of the product portfolio and expansion into new markets.

PIM for B2B

A PIM system for the B2B sector must offer special functions to meet the unique requirements of business customers. Customer relationships play a special role, which is why a PIM must support the specific needs of business customers in terms of pricing, documentation and personalized product offers. Here are some key features that should be included in a B2B-oriented PIM system:

  • Comprehensive management of technical specifications, dimensions, materials and other technical data that are important for business customers.
  • Support for complex product structures, bundling and variants to map the diversity of B2B products.
  • Management of different price structures, discounts and contract prices that are specific to individual customers or customer groups.
  • Management of product certificates, safety data sheets, installation instructions and other documents required in B2B transactions.
  • Finely graduated access controls and authorizations to ensure that users can only access the data and functions relevant to them.
  • Seamless integration with other business systems to ensure consistent and up-to-date product information across the organization.
  • Support for multiple languages and localizations to meet the needs of global markets and international customers.
  • Workflow and process management tools for controlling product information maintenance, approval processes and ensuring data quality.
  • Tools for monitoring and improving data quality, including duplicate detection, data cleansing and validation rules.
  • Adaptability of the system to changing business requirements and the ability to scale as the company grows.
  • Functions that facilitate collaboration between different departments and external partners such as suppliers and distributors.
  • Support for product configurators and integration with CPQ systems to facilitate the creation of customized products and quotations.

Final thought: Differences between B2B PIM and B2C PIM

Before implementing a PIM system, there is one essential task: A thorough analysis of your own company structure, processes and specific product requirements in order to select the right product information management system for your individual needs. It is crucial to gain a practical insight through a guided demonstration and test access to ensure that the preferred PIM system meets your expectations.


OMN PIM is our Product Information Management (PIM) system. With OMN PIM you can collect, structure and process product data from various sources. Regardless of whether the data comes from external or internal sources. Created specifically for product information, OMN PIM is therefore the ideal place for all your product data along the entire supply chain. Whether master data, specifications, materials, manufacturing processes or product compliance details, OMN PIM bundles and links them all in a central location. Structured digital processes and functions for data governance and version control ensure transparency, sustainability and compliance. In addition, OMN PIM already uses AI today. Various AI services integrated into OMN PIM ensure that you get the maximum level of automation in the preparation and digital presentation of your product data. See the power of OMN PIM for yourself – free of charge and with no obligation.

Screenshot of OMN PIM, the PIM system for B2B and B2C without distinction

Would you like to get to know our OMN PIM?