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What is a PIM and why might I need one?

May 12, 2020

The eCommerce industry includes a wide range of software designed to make selling online better, faster, and smoother. You’ve come across PIM systems and feed management but get some clarity and discover how you can use both in harmony.

What is a PIM and why might I need one?

What is a PIM?

PIM (Product Information Management) is a software solution that helps retailers manage product data in one system before publishing it to the desired selling channels. As retailers increase their digital market presence, brands are having to balance spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of data, which slows down their speed to market and can also be prone to human error. A PIM solution helps teams that create product content to work together with ease, reduce errors, whilst also making it a much easier process for retail teams to use.

Why do I need a PIM?

Generally speaking, customers are tech-savvy. When they begin a search for a product, either online or offline, they expect to find the item they want, swiftly and easily.
When it comes to online marketplaces, customers have grown to expect a connected and convenient shopping process. Often, brands cope with managing product data in various spreadsheets, which then needs to be tailored for the individual requirements of each digital route to market. With a myriad of possible online marketplaces, the numbers of spreadsheets and the variations of product data are multiplied. It’s no wonder that with these endless possibilities, retail teams can make mistakes. However, these mistakes often either slow down the route to market or – worse still – get published. Distributing incorrect product data and giving an all-round negative customer experience.

A PIM creates one point of entry for all data management, keeping content central and allows multiple teams to work on product data at the same time, instead of a linear workflow. Because of this, PIM speeds up your route to market whilst also enabling retailers to reach new digital markets.

The difference between feed management and PIM

Feed management tools, such as Channable, and PIM systems are often confused. Whilst both include product data, a feed manager enables you to generate new data feeds and send your product data to thousands of affiliate networks, online marketplaces, price comparison sites, and more, using information from your original feed. Feed managers do not modify your raw product information. Instead, they enable you to create optimized and updated information for the specifications of the marketing channels of your choice or your channel strategy.

So, what’s the difference between PIM and feed management systems? PIM systems enable users to centralize and modify raw product information, which can then be easily tailored to a specific selling channel. This enhanced product data can then be enriched and optimized for SEO, with a variety of attributes (such as photos, for example) added to create engaging product content. Feed managers can then be used along with a PIM system; once your product data is in order, you’d need to publish it out to the relevant channels, swiftly and easily. This is where feed management steps in.

PXM: The evolution of PIM

A PIM centralizes and manages product data. However, you may also hear people using the term PXM (Product Experience Management). A PXM is an evolved, updated version of a PIM and, instead of concentrating on just the data (as seen in a PIM), a PXM thinks about the people that use it, creating a tailored experience not just for the customer but the user of the software, too. Not all PIMs have PXM aspects but, for the solutions that do, teams are able to improve their workflow and their speed to market. For example, in OMIO, multiple team members are able to work on the same product’s data at the same time, allowing for a more radial workflow rather than linear. It also ensures that the way a customer sees the product content, such as a description, on Amazon is different from Zalando, and again for the Instagram shopping page. No matter what the digital selling channel, all of these are managed by OMIO, through its direct integrations with Channable.
The main difference is that whilst PIM is an internally facing system, PXM is focused on the customer. Both systems collate information to then push to a marketplace, but PXM focuses on what makes a retailer popular with a customer, with optimum levels of product data, photos, and SEO-friendly content.
PXM keeps the customer at the heart of the solution. So, alongside these improvements in workflow, a PXM solution also allows product data to be tweaked and tailored so that the right description is entered for the right product, personalized for the right channel with the right cultural expectations and context. Mix these descriptions with an array of images and attribute sets and the customer experience is underpinned with a truly positive network, leading to improved conversions, superior customer satisfaction, reduced returns, and, ultimately, strengthened brand loyalty.

What are the benefits of a PIM/PXM?

  • Take advantage of new marketplaces.
  • Increase speed to market.
  • Minimize errors + avoid product duplication = a better customer experience.
  • Respond quickly to social influencers and trends. If an influencer has been spotted with your products, the ability to update your product content to reflect this is paramount.
  • Work collaboratively across teams and gain a 360-degree view of product content.

OMIO, developed by Retail Assist, is proud to partner with Channable, helping retailers to future-proof their digital strategy. For more information on OMIO and how it can get your product data ready for the next decade of trading and beyond, visit our website here.


Anna Murphy
Guest blogger & Communications Lead at Retail Assist

Retail Assist is a UK-based software and IT managed services company.
Its fashion-specialist solution, OMIO, is a PIM with a PXM approach.