How many products does your business sell?
To survive and thrive, online stores are jam-packed with offerings, and some may be from affiliates too, plus your eCommerce shop is not likely to be your only sales channel.
With so many ways to sell stuff online, managing product distribution channels is a full-time job if your business doesn’t have a PIM (product information management) system.
How do you keep track of product data including brand advertising, price, product information?
Storing the data is one task, another is sharing it with your distribution channels. Using PIM (product information management) system to capture, store and control the access of product content to the various distribution channels speeds up the process from producer to consumer.
In this article, we look a little deeper into the PIM system and how it’s given businesses scalability to grow and secure more sales.
What is PIM?
A PIM is a software system capable of managing all the information needed to market and sell products through the different distribution channels, and it is integrated with the eCommerce platform, as well as, other sales channels and software systems.
A PIM can track in real-time all the data corresponding to the company’s catalogues and inventories and send it to all the distribution channels’ participants when required.
Before we dig deeper into the product information management system, let’s look who is in a typical distribution channel.
The distribution channel includes many participants from these categories:
- Producer or manufacturer
- Retailer or Seller to the consumer
- Intermediary (e.g. online marketplace)
Why a PIM?
If your product catalogue is extensive, has characteristics that change often, or you need to integrate several platforms in terms of catalogue management, a PIM will ideal for your business. Plus you need to have your retail data updated and your stock controlled throughout the product’s life cycle, as well as returns.
Also, there’s your distribution channel strategy, which includes marketing, SEO and sharing of content on blogs and social media. Plus your offline advertising strategy in magazines, on billboards and so on.
List of PIM functions
- Collect data from existing sources, such as supplier databases
- Sort and select products integrate them into one or more catalogues
- Manage product lifecycle processes, such as audit flows and jobs
- Control data quality, integrity, duplicates, etc.
- Manage all sales channels, such as eCommerce, mobile apps, social networks, and printed catalogues
- Select the catalogues and data you that will be distributed through each channel
- Send data to the web to print applications to create printed documents
- Process the products in different languages
- Help to comply with regulations, according to the local legislation of the destination country
There are many software systems and apps that can manage some of these functions, like using a CRM. However, you can use one system to manage the lot.
Timing is everything, so your next decision is to decide when will it be the right time to invest in a PIM and maybe your immediate action is to firm up your distribution channels.
When your growth strategy includes selling more products, and on a global scale, there are steps you can take to gain efficiencies and streamline your product information for capture, storage and sharing with your distribution channels.
Systems like PIM, make the job a lot easier, including working with different regulations and legislation as well as to the other formats, such as dates, currencies and languages.
Launching that new product or partnering with affiliates will be a lot easier when you have your systems ready and your team trained and ready for action.
Or if you’re just starting out and want to know more about eCommerce stores – and starting a business read more of our articles.