If you’re a B2B manufacturer or wholesale distributor chances are you’re dealing with a large amount of complex and evolving product data.
Managing all this information can be difficult and time-consuming and if not handled correctly results in significant cost to your business such as ordering errors, ability to sell across channels and time to market delays.
To aid in the challenges of managing large amounts of complex product data, more and more B2B companies are opting to deploy product information management (PIM) solutions.
A PIM solution provides a single place to collect, manage, and enrich your product information, create a product catalogue, and distribute it to your sales and eCommerce channels. In addition, a PIM makes it faster and easier to create and deliver compelling product experiences.
There are a variety of PIM solutions available on the market, and it can be challenging to choose the right one for your needs.
Here are six features you should be looking for when evaluating a PIM solution:
1. Ease of use
After you adopt a PIM solution, you’ll be using it every day. This makes it crucial that the solution you choose has an intuitive interface that allows you to manage and enrich product data easily while giving you a clear overview of your product catalog.
Look for a PIM system that you and your team can master quickly so that you don’t waste dozens or hundreds of hours on training.
A good PIM solution should enable you to improve product data management processes, not just fill in missing fields.
It should include features that allow you to automate or even eliminate a number of repetitive tasks associated with product management, as well as enable you to streamline your product management process.
Opt for a PIM solution that can relieve you from tedious manual tasks and free up your team’s time so that they can focus on activities that will provide a greater impact on your bottom line.
3. Ability to customise
Apart from being able to support your current product information management process, your PIM system should also be able to adapt to any changes in your workflow or catalog structure.
Find a system that adapts to the way you do things, rather than using a solution that forces you and your team to adapt to it.
A good PIM solution will allow you to customise the way you import, export, manage, and structure data.
4. Flexible integration framework
One of the most important conditions your PIM system needs to fulfill is integrating with your existing technical stack, as well as any resources you plan on implementing in the future.
Your PIM solution needs to be able to integrate with your ERP, POS system, online storefront, mobile app, and all other crucial parts of your ecommerce operation.
Look for a PIM system that supports a variety of integrations and has a thriving community of technical partners, integrators, and developers that work hard on expanding the system’s integration capabilities even further.
If you sell products in multiple countries and offer product information in a number of different languages, it’s crucial that you find a PIM solution that offers localisation support.
Look for a PIM system that can help you manage different sets of product data for each locale with ease.
6. Flexible Deployment Models
A good PIM solution will feature flexible deployment options and enable you to set up and use it in a manner that suits your business the best. It should also allow you to transition to a different setup if your needs change. The most common PIM deployment options include:
On-premise – With this option, you’re responsible for the deployment and maintenance of the solution, including hosting the software itself. This approach provides you with the most flexibility and control but is also the most resource-intensive.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – If you opt for a SaaS solution, the software vendor will be taking care of deployment, maintenance, and hosting. While less flexible than an on-premise solution, it helps businesses save on IT resources.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – With this approach, the solution and data are hosted by the vendor. The business is responsible for handling maintenance. This allows for better customisation capabilities while allowing businesses to reduce costs.