How to Prepare for a Product Information Management Implementation [+Free Brief]

A product information management (PIM) system is a powerful tool that can support your business in many ways. We've put together expert tips for a successful Product Information Management implementation. Read our article and download a free brief to map all your product data processing needs for a successful PIM system.

To take full advantage of the PIM system, you must fully know your company's needs around product information and product experience management. It’s unlikely you'll find one person who knows all product data processing workflows and procedures across the company. This knowledge is probably scattered throughout many departments. To discover it, you must involve representatives from various teams and conduct a business analysis.

Use our free brief with the list of expert-selected questions to investigate your organization's needs and goals. It will help you gather information about data processing, determine critical PIM features, define essential requirements, and compare offers from selected vendors. You can also use it to identify your customers' and employees' pain points and preliminarily customize the new system.

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Product Information Management Implementation Best Practices

Proper PIM implementation is critical to manage and distribute product data across various channels efficiently. To achieve optimal results, following the best practices established by industry experts is essential. They cover vital areas such as data quality, governance, integration, user adoption, and more.

Identify All Products’ Data Sources

Before implementing a PIM system, companies usually don't have one central source for product data; different departments store data in their files and manage it independently. Such an attitude often causes the processing of incomplete product information – and results in multiple errors in product descriptions. It leads to a bad product experience and an increase in abandoned shopping carts.

To prevent this, prepare a list of all the files, systems, and other places where product information is stored across your company. Then decide which ones you want to use as data sources for PIM and which you should eliminate.

Take a close look at the following:

  • Internal systems (like ERP, CRM, MDM).
  • Folders on network drives (like Google Drive).
  • Local files maintained by different teams (e.g. marketing, sales, compliance).
  • Other databases (e.g. from suppliers and manufacturers).

PIM Implementation Best Practice #1

Pay special attention to whether your organization's present data sources are reliable. For example, supplier databases are often incomplete and internal records can be duplicated. If this is the case, you can't utilize them as a data source in your PIM system. Your tech partner should be able to advise you on the best data migration practices and the optimal information architecture for the new system.

Plan the Product Enrichment Process

Many organizations' product information management processes still need to be systematized. Implementing a PIM requires detective work to determine what happens to product data before you release it. The most critical processes to investigate are:

  • Product enrichment.
  • Product categorization.
  • Sharing in omnichannel (e-commerce, marketplaces, print catalogs, etc.).

At this point, you may discover that your current product information management processes are ineffective. Implementing a PIM is an excellent opportunity to improve them. How can you do this?

  1. Find out which teams are involved in the product enrichment process and work together to determine the process stages.
  2. Examine your product portfolio and check the rules for assigning products to specific categories. 
  3. Prepare a list of all sales channels you must feed with product data.

PIM Implementation Best Practice #2

The entire product enrichment process should occur in the PIM system to ensure consistent and error-free product data. This can only happen due to the joint efforts of all teams responsible for the products' data processing. Consider who will use the new system and what permissions specific users need. Remember that once the data has been uploaded to multiple sales channels, no one should change it again.

Design a Product Data Model

Creating a product data model is critical before deploying a PIM system. However, this creation is likely to be the most time-consuming step, depending on the size, kind, and number of sales channels in your product portfolio.

Data modeling requires a deep understanding of your catalog and product structure. The idea is to make it as simple as possible. All stakeholders, including your customers, should be able to navigate your site and search for specific products quickly and easily.

First, you must adequately categorize all products and create new data classes (model products) within each category. Then establish a list of attributes that should describe the model products. These can be any parameters like name, description, price, images, infographics, videos, etc.

Finally, create relationships between classes, develop a hierarchy of product categories, and provide primary conditions for data validation.

PIM Implementation Best Practice #3

You can define which product properties PIM should automatically transfer and which should be manually changed while modeling the data. You will be able to tailor the displayed information to specific sales channels or markets as a result. The same product may require further description in the mobile channel due to a smaller screen or additional attributes in a foreign market due to a different metric system.

Determine Necessary Integrations

The next step of the Product Information Management implementation process is defining the technology architecture. It should cover all the required integrations with other tools used in your organization. Most PIM systems available on the market allow you to quickly and effectively connect with any external systems, such as:

  • MDM
  • CMS
  • ERP
  • DAM
  • e-Commerce
  • Marketplaces (eBay, Amazon, Allegro, etc.).

For integration with well-known tools (like Amazon Web Service, Azure, or Google Cloud), you can use SDKs (software development kits). They are an easy, fast, and convenient way to extend PIM capabilities.

Nothing is lost if you need to connect a PIM with lesser-known systems. Ask your IT partner to create customized integrations tailored to your tech stack.

Plan for a Successful Product Information Management Implementation

The initial setup of PIM may seem complicated. However, it is worth spending enough time on it. A well-thought-out plan for information architecture and product data management processes will pay off quickly. You will see improved employee productivity, better customer experience, and lower cart abandonment rates.

Therefore, when choosing a technology partner, be guided by your technical considerations and their experience in implementing PIM in various industries. Your supplier should be able to suggest the best product information management practices and know how to implement them in your company. With such guidance, you can avoid many time-consuming and costly mistakes.

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and Plan a Seamless Product Information Management Implementation