PIM systems are making their way into the e-commerce world. The introduction is a strategic project that aims to provide a uniform and central basis for all product information. A PIM system unfolds maximum benefit when, in addition to providing data for all channels, it is also used productively for other relevant corporate tasks and communication goals. The requirements are therefore manifold and the choice of the appropriate system is decisive for success. Oliver Frömmer gives tips on what to look for when choosing a PIM system.
Tip 1: Basics
Determine right at the beginning which requirements the PIM system must fulfil in terms of your corporate strategy and your marketing strategy. To do this, get everyone involved and do not hesitate to consult external consultants.
Be sure to have the system demonstrated in a test run. Define several use cases relevant to your company and have them demonstrated using your own product information and media files.
Tip 3: Use instead of features
Don’t be blinded by an abundance of functions. Not everything that is possible must be necessary for your needs. Specific tools, e.g. for data mapping, marketing planning or publishing, are certainly useful if you have corresponding, recurring tasks. If not, they are not only superfluous, but may even prevent comparability when choosing a system.
Tip 4: Data maintenance
Make sure that data management and data maintenance are media-neutral and as granular as necessary. This ensures that your product information can be found quickly and precisely for the respective application at any time.
Tip 5: Open source vs. licence
In addition to the established providers of PIM systems that require a licence, there are also numerous open source systems on the market that need not shy away from a comparison. A closer look is therefore worthwhile.
Tip 6: Matching partners
Look for a provider that really suits you. The introduction can take several months and requires close cooperation if it is to be done in a way that conserves resources and goes live quickly. To achieve this, you need to be able to communicate with the software provider on an equal footing. A small SME and a software company often do not form a dream team. Service providers who specialise in the implementation of PIM systems are often helpful here. Benefit from their project experience and their more solution- and service-oriented approach.
Tip 7: Introduction I
Do not underestimate the effort involved in integrating a PIM system. Be sure to think in terms of sub-projects. Iterative approaches in the project are very much on the rise. The advantage is quick results in the individual phases, which can be built upon again and again.
Tip 8: Introduction II
The introduction changes processes, tasks and responsibilities in your company in the long term. This can lead to differences of opinion in individual departments or in the project group. PIM projects therefore need the support of the management level so that in such cases the company’s goals remain in focus and, if necessary, uncomfortable decisions can be made.
Tip 9: Leading system
Free yourself from the traditional idea that the ERP must be the leading system. This may still be true for item creation (e.g. for item numbers and price data). But data enrichment can be done in the PIM itself, or the leading system is best defined individually for each process and piece of information.
Tip 10: Online and offline
PIM systems manage your product information and make it available for a wide variety of tasks and channels both online and offline. To further increase the synergy effects, interlink online and offline channels. Possibilities include QR codes, personal URLs in print mailings or even displays at the POS operated by the PIM.
Find more information about the costs of a PIM system here.
These tips are an excerpt from the e-book “100 Tips for E-Commerce” by the partner network United E-Commerce. The complete e-book can be downloaded at www.united-ecommerce.de/e-book.
Author: Oliver Frömmer, Sales Manager of SDZeCOM GmbH & Co. KG and expert for Product Information Management at United E-Commerce.