In an e-commerce system, one of the problems that occur the most is that neither of the systems is designed just for your product.
The information and data are usually related to various other products, which makes the customers complain about not getting the correct information and late deliveries. In order to improve the wholesome performance of the company, a PIM solution is required.
What is a PIM Solution?
PIM Solution manages the data which are essential for marketing and for selling the products in multiple channels. It is essential in creating an effective omnichannel sales strategy.
PIM solution allows a company to deliver detailed and accurate product information to the customers, regardless of their location or medium. It reduces errors and seamlessly updates the product’s data across all the channels with just one single system.
Product Information Management (PIM) ensures consistency in information, saves you time, and enriches a good experience for the customers. It enhances the overall efficiency of the organization.
To get exclusive insights about Product Information Management, don’t miss to read What is PIM? – An Ultimate Guide for Product Information Management
What to Expect from a Product Information Management (PIM) solution?
Here are some factors that need to be considered when one is opting for a PIM solution:
1. Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)
The stock keeping unit is a company-specific code that a company uses to follow their product’s information through various internal departments. It is the most basic identifiable information.
When you think about the PIM required, you need to keep in mind that it needs to be able to connect to your ERP. This is where SKU data will automatically occupy PIM fields whenever you add any new product. With SKU, all basic attributes of the products are uploaded automatically in PIM, so there won’t be any need for manual uploading.
Transfer costs between PIM and ERP are to be considered and you should also remember about the maintenance of sufficient quality data.
2. Use of media
Using PIM in e-commerce will require you HD quality photos and videos for the digital channels. Basic print quality graphics and images will not suffice in today’s world.
The number of images highly impacts the storage amount requirement. But, another important factor, which cannot be ignored, is the quality of videos, images, and visual materials, which also affects the amount of storage.
3. Number of Attributes
At the time when you consider how many Stock Keeping Units you want your PIM solution to handle, you might also take a quick look at how many attributes you are handling per SKU. This leads to an adverse effect on data storage and also the transfer costs. It indicates to the user how complex the situation has become.
The number of attributes is one of the important criteria which helps in calculating the amount of data storage and transfer costs. PIM solutions generally don’t have a huge problem in handling product information and content consisting of attributes, but there can be major differences in how simple it is to actually create and manage attributes for products.
4. Number of Users
Some vendors can ask you to provide the number of users of the PIM solution. Even though this does not directly associate with the production cost of your supplier, it may show your willingness and ability to pay for an enterprise-based grade solution.
Proper training should be given to the PIM users in order to provide seamless support to the customers. You might also need permission from different users. Therefore, the volume of PIM users could be a crucial factor in decision-making.
When there is consideration of the price per user, make sure to also find out what type of support the provider offers for the given price based on your growth plan. A very little support may indicate an immature provider, while too much may indicate that their product will require a detailed follow-up.
5. Number of Supported Languages
Inclusion of languages means adding complications to a situation. If you already know you will only need English and Spanish in your output channels, you might state that in your initial request through PIM.
Adding different languages or languages with other types of alphabets or special characters will add to the price of the solution. It will help in refining the content and launching it to different regions.
Very few PIM solutions have come with these kinds of set up in their standard software configuration, and these requirements will typically have to be assisted in a side project. Sometimes, providing local languages is underestimated from the side of the IT supplier of the company, but it proves to be quite accommodating.
6. Number of Locations
Even though PIM is seen to be in many ways a back-office software, the performance of a PIM solution will affect the overall performance of your e-commerce site.
This will mean that if you run an on-premises PIM solution, you may experience reduced and lower performance on real-time data lookup, compared to the usual performance. PIM solution ensures the right and correct data to reach the right destination.
Some problems may be solved by catching data, but it also has implications on how you work on your product launches and updates. The reason vendors will ask about locations is that the requirement for speed is high these days. Many suppliers are also able to provide you a solution that is mirrored across geographies, but this can be reflected in their price.
7. Functional Requirements
Mostly, the data in a PIM structure comes from vendors and suppliers. It normalizes data by creating standard templates from which vendors and suppliers can directly upload their product content.
Some provide a lot of unconventional data, while many vendors may provide these features as custom ads. Some vendors lack a range most important regarded core of PIM features.
Some vendors probably have criteria for pricing, but if you can give some input to the main content, it should be enough for a vendor to give you some price for it.
8. Output Channels
Some people use PIM solutions only for governing data which includes managing products, supporting services, and upgrading before they transfer them to Excel or upload them to some other systems.
The people who have been working in the PIM system for a while know that the actual benefits of a good PIM solution show up after you have integrated your PIM solution into different output channels.
Firstly, the more output channels you add, the more automation you will be able to do. This increases your value as a customer. A second reason that output channels are important is that they require more data transfer between system’s data which you, as a customer, are expected to pay for.
Factors That Determines The Complexity of a Product Information Management (PIM)
The following factors below are required to determine the complexity of a PIM solution:
- Your business model
- Types of products you like to manage
- The volume of products you like to manage
- Output channels the PIM solution will support
- Number of languages required
Product Information Management (PIM) Implementation Plan
1. PIM outlining and discovery sessions
First of all, you will be required to locate all your information and assets of the organization. Everything is recommended to be together in a single space before transferring it into PIM.
Complete a full-on facilitated workshop to get to know about the problems of clients and stakeholders and gain a shared understanding of business processes. Exploration of ideas and development of a design direction is done before beginning the process of implementation.
2. PIM system-oriented and data modeling phase
Provide a general overview of PIM which includes the features and functionality so that customers can make more informative workflow and data modeling decisions.
Identify the source data and determine the level of requisite granularity. Discuss each item’s classification, product attribute setup, class-based attributes choice list, and other data controls. With an application and a database, it is possible to imitate data flows to all stakeholder needs.
3. Designing of solution
You need to establish a system configuration and suggest ideas to process changes that reflect the usage of planned software of the PIM system. Configuration of a design is essential to specify the integration into the selected systems.
4. Configuration process and PIM migration
Install and set up a database and module of the client at the customer’s site or in the Cloud of the system. Configure the system with the data model that was to be agreed upon. You will need to complete the initial data and asset ingestion present in the organization.
5. PIM integration
PIM consists of data about the product information of a company.
Configuration of upstream and downstream integrations with PIM is executed which allows the ongoing data updates and feeds from the system’s sources into PIM as well as full along with incremental data feeds to recipient channels and systems.
It synchronizes the information between different channels.
6. Testing and reviewing the output of the solution
Verification of the standard and actual output comparison is done. If any deviation or error occurs, the changes are to be looked upon. A number of people are employed to use the PIM structure to build websites or publications, testing, and role-based workflow along with training.
7. Training and Rollout
The function is to provide super user training on the system including user administration and end-user training.
This is then led by the end-user training on system functionality which is role-based, and workflow to arrange for the launch of the PIM solution.
Management of the transition from training to final usage is continuously monitored to check the progress. It provides over daily support to the customers via helpline numbers, answering email queries by the desk/ support team.
If you want to learn about the PIM implementation, read Do’s and Don’ts to consider while Product Information Management Implementation.
Determining the Cost of a Product Information Management (PIM) Software
1. Analyzing your needs
These costs are incurred in the orientation phase and include doing your own research into the PIM market. Identifying the key internal stakeholders early is crucial so that it could ensure clarity and consistency in what the solution required needs to be and the variables applied to various layouts.
PIM cost analysis includes the current market values, visiting conferences, and workshops.
2. Aligning solutions with your company
A PIM solution must align and range with your company’s long-term goals and plans, including the existing processes for product data in other departments. The company has to assess the targeted groups of the new solution.
Once everything is evaluated, the system customization can be done at the earliest. This will include integration with other software, setting a lead on product information and product content, adding output channels and different team workflows through the PIM solution.
3. Implementation of the solution
After the completion of designing and alignment of data, the company can process with implementation.
Costs from this phrase are related to the onboarding, PIM platform processes, and installation costs, development of connections to your other systems of custom workflow solutions, or specific output connectors which are not covered.
4. Licensing fees
The clearest concept that needs to be considered is the aspect of cost. Licensing is important when someone is thinking of choosing a new PIM solution. On the other hand, we often see teams making the error of buying cheap tools that might seem cheap in the short term but actually turn out to be very expensive in the long term.
Licensing costs might be the most tangible as they are better in the short term but they are certainly not the most important in the longer term, for instance, companies charge less on lesser features.
PIM is a very effective solution in today’s e-commerce industry for improving the overall performance of the company. However, it sometimes requires serious attention to details and research before implementation.
If someone is planning to implement the PIM software, first they need to go through the product information management trends, and then try to define the business needs and calculate whether the decision is going to be advantageous in the future or not.