How a Product Information Management system helps you add value at all stages of the product life cycle
Firstly: What is a Product Information Management (PIM) system? How does it work?
A PIM system is a piece of software for storing and centrally managing a wide range of product information.
Function: A PIM system is based on a product information database that is filled with product information from data from various sources (ERP, Excel, PLM, etc.). The product information can be entered by various employees who interact with the products at all stages of their life cycle. The collected information is automatically or manually structured, categorized, improved and completed, translated into a wide range of languages and linked to suitable materials.
Once the qualitative product information has been created, it can be published for further use via various sales channels: Print catalogs, marketplaces ( Amazon, Ebay, etc.), electronic catalogs (BMEcat, ETIM, etc.), online shops (Spryker, OXID, Shopify, Shopware, Commercecloud, etc.), mobile applications, etc.
The main task of a PIM system is therefore not working with the products themselves, but working with the product information. This makes PIM software a good support throughout the product life cycle.
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Benefit of a PIM system, even before the start of the 4 product life cycle phases
PIM during concept creation
As early as the product concept creation phase, it makes sense to consider which product information may be important and which technical data should be used to describe this product. What benefits will this product offer and how will it differ from other products? It is also advisable to start working on the product descriptions early. This enables significant time savings as the product is prepared for market launch early. Creating high-quality marketing texts is very time-consuming and can be carried out faster and in a more standardized way with a PIM solution.
PIM during product development
Work on qualitative product descriptions must be carried out in parallel with the product development phase to avoid spending too much time when the product is ready for market launch.
Quick development and market launch of new products gives manufacturers a strategic competitive advantage.
That’s where a PIM system can help.
Not only does a PIM system allow you to start working on product descriptions early, but it also saves time when creating and translating qualitative product descriptions, and allows you to publish the information you create quickly on different channels. A PIM stores all your product data needed to bring products to market centrally.
Important information generated during your product development, such as drawings, 3D models, photos of prototypes, etc., can also be stored in a PIM system like a repository and made available to colleagues if necessary.
Benefit of a PIM system during the 4 phases of the product life cycle
PIM during market launch
During the product launch, marketing should take place simultaneously via all possible channels – print catalogs, wholesalers, portals, online shops (own and partner online shops), websites, web applications, etc. A PIM system not only helps to distribute consistent information across the required channels, but also makes it possible to increase the number of these channels without increasing their maintenance costs. Connecting the distribution channels to a PIM system enables the product data to be synchronized and updated quickly. Correcting errors also takes significantly less time than without a PIM solution.
PIM during the growth phase
Studies show that companies that have implemented a PIM system significantly increase their online sales (Between 17 and 56 percent conversion rate increase*¹) This is because it is easy to connect new sales channels to a PIM system. With a PIM system, manufacturers using a PIM system can create more complete and accurate product information than those not using a PIM system, as the information can be updated and added to multiple times in one place to reflect product development. Customers are more likely to buy a product with a detailed and qualitative description.
*1: Jorij Abraham: Product Information Management, Theory and Practice, Chapter 2.3 Operational Benefits 2.3.1 Increased Turnover, referring to an AT Kearney Study of 2014.
PIM during the maturity phase
Completeness, ease of use, accuracy and up-to-date status of information on products, promotional offers, discounts and bonus programs increase consumer trust and loyalty. In this phase in particular, the quality of the product descriptions is the decision-making criterion for the purchase. This criterion becomes particularly important in a competitive environment.
PIM during the degeneration phase
A PIM solution can also provide benefits in these phases in the value chain. Penetrating the market with campaigns and promotions via the different channels is much faster and easier to achieve with a PIM. A PIM can make actions appear productive that cannot be achieved with the current measures or can only be achieved with a great deal of effort. After implementing a PIM system, it is much easier to remove outdated products from catalogs. This means that the product range is kept up to date quickly and continuously.
The bottom line
PIM systems aim to:
- Condense work with product information to the highest possible degree of automation and to implement a "single source of truth" for product information in a system
- Relieve your employees of routine work and offer colleagues state-of-the-art usability and ergonomics at work.
- Reduce the effort involved in forwarding to sales channels
- Reduce errors and increase data quality
- Increase transparency on the status of product information and provide the organization with an effective tool for visualization and monitoring (workflows/dashboard)
Using PIM software helps companies to increase the productivity of their product information processes, shorten their time to market, and improve the quality of their data.
Better, error-free and quickly available product information contributes to both the topic of user experience and SEO and is a factor that helps to increase sales and customer loyalty in digital sales.