What is a CMS?
A CMS (Content Management System) is a tool that you can use to create, manage and optimize your online presence, so that you can provide an improved online experience to your customers or to your website's visitors.
More specifically, a CMS is a software application that allows the creation and editing of online content including web pages, blog posts and webshops.
Nowadays, the role of the CMS has changed significantly from rather static webpage creation to managing the visiting user's overall digital experience across many different channels such as web site(s), social media, email etc.
A basic CMS solution allows you to upload or write content to a website, format it, add pictures and and also refine web searchability by means of SEO. But in today's multi-device, user-centric world, that's not enough. Digital marketing has evolved, focusing more deeply on customer experience while incorporating all the modern means of getting to that customer. More recently, we have even seen emerging a new breed of CMS systems dedicated to creating e-commerce websites, with extensive functionality dedicated to building webshops. Some of the most prominent examples of this kind of CMS are Kentico, WordPress (with WooCommerce plugin) or the e-commerce with CMS included, like Sana Commerce or Shopware.
What is a PIM?
As you may already know, PIM enables you to manage your product data in all its complexity, at the same time offering flexible connection with backend and frontend systems. It provides advanced features to enable product specialists and marketers to easily manage large amounts of product data, and to optimize it for different sales or marketing channels to optimize business performance.
PIM is perfect if you have a large and/or complex product catalogue. It will allow you to easily scale business to new markets and manage product variations, as well as different currencies or languages. It also allows you to control your data quality for minimizing product information errors and improving operational performance. Last but not least, it will enable your business to use all available sales channels (digital, physical, print) to reach your customers with up-to-date and relevant product information.
Pimics is a special kind of PIM that doesn't need intgration with your ERP if you use Dynamics NAV or Business Central, because it lives inside your ERP as a functional extension. This brings with it a few advantages that you can read about here.
You can find more information about PIM function and usefulness and more particularly about Pimics, in our previous blog posts where we tackle subjects such as PIM ROI or how PIM can become a major enabler for your business.
Which one is better?
CMS and PIM are only comparable for a narrow category of use cases, where product range is limited and product feature complexity is low. If product range size and product feature complexity will surpass a certain threshold, then the CMS stops being an alternative to PIM, and PIM becomes a must-have for properly managing your product data.
A CMS generally doesn't offer advanced product management capabilities and therefore it won't be able to manage and reuse product information in an efficient manner, especially if your business handles an increasing SKU count and you have expansion plans as to the markets or channels you want to sell in.
When choosing a digital platform, try to assess future needs of the company and business development potential. Take into account your most critical business case.
The ideal way to decide between CMS and PIM if you really have to, would be to build a PoC using real-world data sets and use cases. Factors related to how the solution integrates into your current or future IT ecosystem should also be considered.
Can PIM and CMS coexist in your ecosystem?
Yes, of course they can. And in some cases PIM and CMS will complement each other nicely, so it's not always a question of choosing one over the other. They can both play essential roles in making sure that your business delivers big on customer experience and makes the most out of your sales channels.
The way that your webstore looks is usually up to your CMS. The same can be said about email marketing automation, analytics management or the checkout and payment process.
As for the product details, product documentation and recommendations, or even inventory management, you'd better leave them to your PIM/ERP combo, with Pimics + Microsoft Dynamics being the perfect example.
As a graphic example, below you can see a diagram of how Pimics works perfectly together with Sana Commerce, creating synergies for companies using Business Central as an ERP.