What is PIM? According to Wikipedia, PIM (Product Information Management) is the “process of managing all the information required to market and sell products through distribution channels”.
Is that an all-encompassing definition? Well, not really. Because it doesn't take into account the all-important qualitative factor brought into the equation by PIM systems. After all, you can manage the information required to market and sell your products just by using Excel, home-brewed data aggregation solutions, many scattered information sources and a lot of people doing a lot of manual work. But that doesn't mean you are doing it efficiently, or that this can even be economically viable.
A PIM solution can integrate data from the ERP, CRM and any other product- or customer-related platform used by the business and deliver efficiencies and data quality advantages that make it a must-have for any business managing more than 1000 SKUs and/or wanting to sell online. For companies using Dynamics 365 Business Central, Pimics is special among PIM systems, working directly on the ERP data so that it offers additional synergies, plus no data exchange between Pimics and ERP will ever be necessary.
Ecommerce is becoming sine-qua-non
Ecommerce grabs a larger slice of the retail business each year. There is no denying that fact, and there is no surprise in it. COVID-19 only accelerated that trend, as people turn in larger numbers to ecommerce as a safer and easier way of purchasing the items they need.
Here is how emarketer.com summarises ecommerce evolution for pandemic year 2020: “Despite a challenging year for retail in 2020, we estimate that worldwide retail ecommerce sales grew 27.6% for the year, for a total of $4.280 trillion. This represents a substantial uptick from our mid-pandemic assessment of 16.5% growth. However, total worldwide retail sales declined by 3.0%, to $23.839 trillion.” (Global Ecommerce Update 2021 - Insider Intelligence Trends, Forecasts & Statistics)
As a natural consequence of the rising ecommerce tide, today's requirements concerning product information have moved beyond specifying basic features and functions. Of course, these details are still important, but product content must be complete and compelling. Ecommerce customers want to see a convincing story before they add the product to the shopping basket. With several websites selling the same thing, aside from price and availability considerations, the winner will be the one offering the most complete customer experience.
Customers like to make informed purchase decisions. If they buy online, you should give them all the information they need in order to choose your products. Plus, the product information must be consistent across online sales and marketing channels, as well as traditional offline channels such as printed catalogues or brick-and-mortar stores. At the same time, the way information is presented should be well adapted to each sales and marketing channel to take advantage of the particular strengths each channel has.
To PIM or not to PIM
If your organisation is not already using a PIM system, there are a few useful questions to ask yourself before you consider going the PIM route:
- Do we have a wide product range with a complex product data set?
- Does our organisation have an increasingly hard time managing this product range?
- Do we need standard classifications for our products?
- Do we need to streamline importing a big volume of product data from our vendors?
- Are there multiple versions of data within the organisation for the same product?
- Do we have accuracy or consistency issues when presenting product data to our customers? Do we need automated data consistency checks?
- Is our time-to-market (much) longer than we would like?
- Do we want to diversify our sales/marketing channels? Do we have a hard time coping with the complexity of updating all these channels?
- Do we want to diversify our geographies and need to keep product data in several languages?
- Do we want to increase our online customers’ satisfaction and have fewer returns?
- Do we want to keep up with modern ecommerce and offer a rich experience to our customers?
The questions above are just as many reasons to seriously consider using PIM. You can ignore PIM systems only if the answer is “no” to all these questions. Otherwise, you can see our article on what Pimics is about, or start calculating the Return On Investment offered by Pimics. It is time to change for the better!