Managing your product data is of utmost importance if you want to grow your business to its full potential. That’s especially true for omni-channel retailing. You’ll want to consolidate all your data across all your channels. The more organized your data, the more efficient your internal processes will be.
That’s why Product Information Management solutions were invented. But how do you wade through the many choices of PIM systems online? What’s the best PIM solution for your business?
What Makes a Great PIM?
Most PIM systems no doubt offer a host of features for robust data management. That said, we’ve listed six key features we think your business needs to look for to get the best PIM advantages.
You’ll want your PIM system to readily integrate with any platform. A good PIM should have connectors to sync well with most third-party applications of e-commerce apps or your suppliers database. So you can gather data from any source, be it your ERP, flat files like Excel or CSV, and easily export to your sales channels. Look for PIMs with excellent modularity with open-source systems.
Customizability & Configurability
Every business has unique needs for product inventory management, depending on the nature of its products or services. As your business grows, it’s going to accumulate various sorts of product data and details, all of which you have to keep track: price, labels, technical descriptions (like size, color, and weight), SKUs, photos, videos, PDFs, advertising campaign, operating manuals, QR codes and barcodes, availability, orders, warranties, supplier info, and so much more.
Good PIMs let you customize the product grid with category trees and hierarchy to better manage your data, define priorities between various data sources, and allow you to clean and choose the data you want to appear on your catalogs. Customizability also lets you fine-tune a single product to make product launches easier and more immediate to your sales channels.
Managing enormous amounts of product data can be overwhelming if no proper scheduling system is in place, or if they aren’t automatically published on your relevant sales channels. Good PIM systems aren’t just automatic, they also let you be in control of the workflow to ensure data quality, and save you time and effort as well. They have to intuitive too, so instead of full exports, for example, you can only do partial exports of only your recently updated products.
Data inconsistencies can be costly. A single typo on a product catalog or an unentered value on your e-commerce site can break a sale. See, your PIM doesn’t just streamline internal processes, it also greatly enhances your business’s O2O opportunities.
Good product inventory management systems have safeguards to maintain data quality before you can export to your sales channels. Various checks such as validation rules for each attribute, validation workflows, history of changes, and reports on data quality help ensure data is complete and accurate in real-time.
Two other features to look for: role-based access management and editing rights per entity, which are important when you’ve got multiple administrators working on your team.
Good PIM solutions have multi-locale management that lets your back office automatically translate and localize product information. Needless to say, localization means being UTF-8 compliant to support every character set of various languages whether it be Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, etc. From the back end, localization immediately goes in effect at your sales channels, giving you the edge to cater to more customers and conquer new global markets.
However feature-packed your product information management tool is, if it doesn’t have a user-friendly UI you won’t be able to use all those PIM benefits to their full potential. Look for a user-friendly and configurable UI especially the Admin Panel, for effortless and intuitive navigation. So you can switch between processes easily, manage product data and all its attributes, review history and logs at a glance, keep track of the workflow among team members, etc.
How Different PIM Solutions Stack Up Against Each Other
There’s a generous mix of PIM solutions in the market, making for healthy competition. Some of the popular PIM systems are Heiler, Hybris, IBM, Stibo Systems, Riversand, EnterWorks, inRiver, Pimcore, and new entrant to the market Akeneo.
But not all PIMs are equal. There are also subtle yet important differences among them.
Pimcore, for instance, don’t have support, while IBM hasn’t had a significant release since 2009. Hybris, Heiler, and EnterWorks lacks connectors with open-source e-commerce apps. Meanwhile, Riversands has no digital assets management (DAM). Some are more focused on CMS than true product inventory management. And of course, pricing is an issue too.
How IT Consultis Can Help via Akeneo
For PIM business solutions, IT Consultis proudly uses Akeneo because, right now, Akeneo stands to be the best of the bunch. It’s beautifully open-source so it smoothly integrates with any third-party platform. It’s got ergonomic features—from customizability to quality control to localization are well-thought of. The enterprise edition offers full support. Reasonable pricing also sounds good for both emerging startups and established businesses looking to change their PIM.
Most importantly, it’s got the modern sense to perfectly integrate with omni-channel organizations.
In time, your product data will get complex and multi-layered as your business expands: that’s a fact. You don’t want to get swamped with the constant influx of data. Stay on top of everything with the best product inventory management solution.