If you have thousands of product SKUs, odds are you either know what Product Information Management (PIM) is, or you wish you did. Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about managing your product info effectively.
We can all agree that spreadsheets suck, right? Yes, they’re great for small databases and budgets, but they are terrible for managing product information on a daily basis. If you’re a manufacturer or vendor you know how difficult it is to manage this data accurately, efficiently, and cost-effectively. Try mapping information for thousands of SKUs across a bunch of sheets – Excel just doesn’t cut it. That’s where Product Information Management comes to the rescue.
Think of Product Information Management as a central hub for all your product info (SKUs, descriptions, prices, specs, images, etc) placed conveniently between your data resources (Excel and other standard files, ERP software, photo/video banks and other rich data sources) and the end users of your product data (retailers, POS systems, e-comm platforms, catalogs, you name it). Instead of constantly updating and sharing spreadsheets around your vendor network, all of your product data can be managed and shared through one system. This ensures all your partners have the correct information all the time.
As your business develops and your product offering expands, your product information grows exponentially. Implementing a Product Information Management tool makes growing more manageable by letting you import, consolidate, organize, update, manage, and share this growing mountain of information effectively. This saves you countless data entry and data management hours, and drastically reduces the human error factor that comes with constantly updating spreadsheets manually.
Consistent product data makes processes and workflows easier to manage in-house. It also makes life easier for your end users and customers. In the ever-expanding omnichannel retail environment, customers are searching for and finding your products through multiple channels, platforms, and online sellers. If they see missing images or out-of-date descriptions they get frustrated and start to doubt the quality of your products and your brand as a whole. That means lost sales, plain and simple.
Clean and consistent product data, on the other hand, will make it easier for customers to find and buy your products. When you supply consistent data to all the channels you sell your products through, customers will see high-quality and accurate product information, and you’ll be able to increase sales, brand reputation, and market-share.
There are good PIM systems, and great PIM systems. All of them will help you manage your data better than a mass of spreadsheets, but the great ones can go a lot further.
If you have thousands of SKUs going to partners like Walmart, Amazon, Wayfair, or Shopify, the biggest problem is translating and exporting that data so it matches the specific demands of each retailer. Great PIM tools offer seamless integrations to export your product info to major retailers, going beyond standard PIM attribute mapping to deliver powerful data manipulation.
When choosing your PIM solution, be sure to consider its speed to innovate and how it adapts and grows to meet the increasing demands of the digital supply chain.