What is a pim-system?

Place your products efficiently in all markets

If your customers expect to receive accurate, complete and high-quality product information from you across all channels, then you should take a closer look at our PIM system. PIM is an abbreviation for Product Information Management. As you can see from the name, it is about managing product information. This means the administration of all product-defining information and its provision for use in output channels. In addition to the classic product master data (product prices, technical specifications, etc.), this information also includes advertising texts and associated image material.

Why do you need a PIM system?

Product information is often not available centrally in companies. Instead, it is kept on several systems, spreadsheets or databases. This results from the fact that generating it requires the interaction of multiple departments, such as product development, purchasing, marketing and sales. In addition, the product information created is mostly media-linked and cannot be used in a modular way. This complicates the use of product information in other environments and contexts. This is because, in order for the output channels (e.g. the online shop or print catalogue) to be operated correctly, it is essential that the product information is kept media-neutral. This means making publications independent of the channel. And this is at the heart of the matter. Because every department uses different systems such as an ERP, CRM or a translation management system to create, process and maintain data. Inevitably, this does not result in media-neutral product information. Manual merging and

adaptation of the data is no longer part of the cost-benefit ratio due to the sheer number of products and output channels.

In theory, PIM is therefore difficult or impossible to accomplish without the appropriate software. This is why PIM systems exist. They feature special software that consolidates the information from different systems and renders it media-neutral. The data is recorded, managed and outputted bidirectionally. At the same time, PIM systems are the central point of contact for everyone involved in the product. With PIM systems, product information can be completely created, enriched for advertising purposes and outputted multiple times across different channels. The channels can be an online shop, marketplaces (such as Amazon, Zalando, Otto, Real, etc.), printed catalogues, online catalogues or a catalogue within an app.

Product information is often not available centrally in companies. Instead, it is kept on several systems, spreadsheets or databases. This results from the fact that generating it requires the interaction of multiple departments, such as product development, purchasing, marketing and sales. In addition, the product information created is mostly media-linked and cannot be used in a modular way. This complicates the use of product information in other environments and contexts. This is because, in order for the output channels (e.g. the online shop or print catalogue) to be operated correctly, it is essential that the product information is kept media-neutral. This means making publications independent of the channel. And this is at the heart of the matter. Because every department uses different systems such as an ERP, CRM or a translation management system to create, process and maintain data. Inevitably, this does not result in media-neutral product information. Manual merging and adaptation of the data is no longer part of the cost-benefit ratio due to the sheer number of products and output channels.

In theory, PIM is therefore difficult or impossible to accomplish without the appropriate software. This is why PIM systems exist. They feature special software that consolidates the information from different systems and renders it media-neutral. The data is recorded, managed and outputted bidirectionally. At the same time, PIM systems are the central point of contact for everyone involved in the product. With PIM systems, product information can be completely created, enriched for advertising purposes and outputted multiple times across different channels. The channels can be an online shop, marketplaces (such as Amazon, Zalando, Otto, Real, etc.), printed catalogues, online catalogues or a catalogue within an app.

What is managed in the PIM system?

Product master data

Item number, prices, technical dimensions

Associated media assets

Images or graphics in various options

Advertising information

Advertising texts relevant to marketing

Product relations

Complementary accessories, successor models, spare parts

What interfaces does a PIM system have?

PIM systems have interfaces to upstream and downstream systems because on the one hand, they import data and, on the other hand, export it. An ERP or goods management system can be both an upstream and a downstream system. If it is upstream, the PIM system assumes all product master data stored in ERP. The ERP system therefore provides the basis of product information for further, actual enrichment. The PIM system can also transmit product information to the ERP. In this case, the ERP system would be downstream and would receive the relevant product data from the PIM system. The product information would only be created in the ERP system after receipt of data.

Suitable imagery is also required in order for the product information to be complete. Ideally, a MAM system should be available and connected to the PIM system via an interface. MAM systems are software solutions for the management of media files such as images, photos, documents, videos or audio files. They supply the PIM system with the image

materials linked to the product in question. At the same time, MAM systems ensure that the product data is automatically updated with newly created media.

In order to facilitate data preparation for different languages, translation solutions, known as translation management systems (TMS), can be connected to the PIM system. This means that the various language variants are also available centrally in the PIM system.

A connection is also required here to ensure that the created and released product information is exported to the various output channels. This can be a connection to an online shop, but also to a printed catalogue. Regardless of the channel, the PIM interface to the outside ensures automatic recording or export. The content is provided to the channels accurately and reliably. Because the goal of every PIM system is the brand-appropriate reproduction of the products.

PIM systems have interfaces to upstream and downstream systems because on the one hand, they import data and, on the other hand, export it. An ERP or goods management system can be both an upstream and a downstream system. If it is upstream, the PIM system assumes all product master data stored in ERP. The ERP system therefore provides the basis of product information for further, actual enrichment. The PIM system can also transmit product information to the ERP. In this case, the ERP system would be downstream and would receive the relevant product data from the PIM system. The product information would only be created in the ERP system after receipt of data.

Suitable imagery is also required in order for the product information to be complete. Ideally, a MAM system should be available and connected to the PIM system via an interface. MAM systems are software solutions for the management of media files such as images, photos, documents, videos or audio files. They supply the PIM system with the image materials linked to the product in question. At the same time, MAM systems ensure that the product data is automatically updated with newly created media.

In order to facilitate data preparation for different languages, translation solutions, known as translation management systems (TMS), can be connected to the PIM system. This means that the various language variants are also available centrally in the PIM system.

A connection is also required here to ensure that the created and released product information is exported to the various output channels. This can be a connection to an online shop, but also to a printed catalogue. Regardless of the channel, the PIM interface to the outside ensures automatic recording or export. The content is provided to the channels accurately and reliably. Because the goal of every PIM system is the brand-appropriate reproduction of the products.

Who uses a PIM system?

e-Commerce-Manager

E-commerce managers who sell their products online.

Marketing-Manager

Marketers who present their products across various channels.

Produkt-Manager

Product managers who are responsible for their products.

Purchasers

Purchasers who supply product master data themselves or via dealers.

Translators

Translators who need to adapt products to other markets.

Digitisation managers

Digitisation managers who drive digital transformation.

What is the advantage of PIM systems?

The great advantage of PIM systems is their cross-departmental use. Because PIM systems bring product information from different systems together, therefore creating a uniform basis for enriching them for advertising purposes. After all, the correct customer approach decides whether the product will be bought or not. And administrative data from ERP systems is not enough here. They do not provide an opportunity to prepare product data for communication purposes. But it is not only data acquisition and processing that are simplified and optimised thanks to PIM systems. Direct customer access is also improved. As PIM systems assume fully automated exporting, sources of error are completely eliminated. Your customer therefore always receives the same quality product, whatever the media. Your communication with a PIM system is not only tailored correctly, but it is also always up-to-date and consistent thanks to a central database.

The great advantage of PIM systems is their cross-departmental use. Because PIM systems bring product information from different systems together, therefore creating a uniform basis for enriching them for advertising purposes. After all, the correct customer approach decides whether the product will be bought or not. And administrative data from ERP systems is not enough here. They do not provide an opportunity to prepare product data for communication purposes. But it is not only data acquisition and processing that are simplified and optimised thanks to PIM systems. Direct customer access is also improved. As PIM systems assume fully automated exporting, sources of error are completely eliminated. Your customer therefore always receives the same quality product, whatever the media. Your communication with a PIM system is not only tailored correctly, but it is also always up-to-date and consistent thanks to a central database.

Which distribution channels can I use with a PIM system?

And how do you find the right PIM system?

Do you agree that a PIM system is necessary? Congratulations! Now it’s really just a matter of finding the right PIM system. Unfortunately, PIM systems are a dime a dozen. Finding the right system for your needs and without wasting a lot of time on research can be quite a challenge.  Here are 5 tips to help you quickly find your PIM favourites:

1. PIM listings and rankings

There are various platforms that present both an overview of the PIM systems and their ranking. If a company is listed there, you can assume that it belongs to a well-known PIM provider and that the solution is already established.

2. Open source vs. commercial software

At first glance, open source solutions are very lucrative, as you save the entire costs of acquisition. Nevertheless, one should not forget that open source solutions survive due to the voluntary commitment of the community as well as the demand. Warranty and support services are usually not included, and system supplements are associated with additional costs. If these points are not of any importance to you, then you should take a closer look at open source applications.

3. References

Take a closer look at the reference customers. Perhaps there are companies from the same industry or even from the competition among them. In this case, the PIM system is optimally geared towards your industry and your needs and has already been tried and tested. If references are not available, do not hesitate to ask the PIM provider for them without feeling under any obligation. A well-respected company will be happy to provide you with them.

4. Functional scope

In addition to the classic range of functions, PIM systems can still vary widely. Use real use cases to become aware of the requirements that your PIM system should meet. It is crucial here that you involve all those who will be working with the PIM system and that all interfaces are taken into account. Ideally, your catalogue of requirements will already be available. You can systematically query the required functions using this catalogue and concentrate on the essential facts instead of being presented with functions which may not offer you much added value.  

5. Advice and consulting

A PIM provider should always be able to not only develop a PIM system, but also to provide the customer with professional and competent advice. Therefore, find out whether the PIM provider also offers consulting services. If so, you can be certain that the provider will offer you a solution tailored to your needs. Whether it is based on your catalogue of requirements or whether you discuss this together in workshops. Feel free to benefit from the provider’s expertise; after all, it’s about the turnover you achieve through perfect product presentations. 

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