What is a PIM system?

ensure a brighter dawn for your product information

Product Information Management software creates memorable product experiences by transforming raw data into complete, compelling, and compliant product information.

A Product Information Management (PIM) system is a central platform for managing all product content and data across channels. However, while that might be the dictionary definition, today’s PIM solutions deliver far more than just a product database. 

With the rise of digital commerce, tighter sustainability regulations, and growing expectations surrounding product experiences from both B2C and B2B consumers, implementing an advanced PIM system has evolved from a nice-to-have into a business-critical application. 

But what is an advanced PIM system? What role does PIM play in forward-thinking business models? And where does PIM fit in with your company’s omnichannel strategy, whether that includes e-commerce websites, in-person stores, showrooms, or even after-sales repair and maintenance? This guide seeks to answer these questions. 

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What is a PIM system? 

To understand PIM platforms, we first need to ask: What is PIM?  

Product Information Management software, commonly referred to as PIM software, acts as a single source of data truth for product-related information. PIM software serves as a cross-departmental solution to onboard raw product data and then transform it into complete, compelling, and compliant product information for all external channels. This is also known as PIM data

With product info consolidated in a single source of truth for all internal and external-facing workflows, PIM platforms eliminate internal data siloes and costly informational discrepancies wherever your products are—be it online, in the warehouse, or on a physical shelf. 

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PIM system: Key tasks, drivers & features 

As mentioned, the modern PIM has evolved beyond a simple data repository. Let’s explore the key tasks, drivers, and features that define today’s PIM systems: 

Product data governance  

Central to a PIM system’s functionality is product data governance. This involves managing and maintaining high-quality, accurate product information throughout a product’s lifecycle. It ensures that the data is consistent, reliable, and easily accessible across the organization now and in the future. 

PIM integration  

The flexibility to integrate with other business-critical systems is another indispensable feature of the modern PIM. In fact, this is often one of the first steps to adopting a PIM tool inside your organization. By integrating PIM with other tech-stack essentials like CRM and ERP systems, you enable the circular flow of data that maximizes the value you get from having a PIM system in place. 

Product data syndication 

Product data syndication involves distributing product info across multiple channels and platforms, ensuring that consistent and accurate product information reaches the final consumer—wherever they engage with your products. This feature meets the expectations of even the most complex omnichannel marketing strategy as is essential to exceeding today’s consumer demands. 

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Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA)  

While not every PIM on the market provides this advanced capability, Digital Shelf Analytics technology provides valuable insights into product performance on the digital shelf, such as: 

This feature provides brands, manufacturers, and retailers with key visibility across all digital touchpoints—visibility that translates to immediate optimization, improvement, and growth. 

Compliance management 

Advanced PIM systems also ensure your product data maintains compliance with the latest industry regulations and sustainability requirements. They help manage and disseminate critical compliance-related information, such as safety standards, environmental impact, and regulatory guidelines. As sustainability standards become part and parcel of modern business, this layer of support is invaluable.  

Digital Product Passport (DPP)  

The EU’s Digital Product Passport initiative is slated for a fast-approaching 2026, introducing new regulation and data-based accountability layers.  

PIM systems support the management of data needed to support Digital Product Passport compliance by providing transparent and traceable sustainability information throughout the product lifecycle. This can include: 

Internal collaboration 

An advanced PIM system benefits an organization’s internal team as much as its customers and partners. When data siloes are broken, cross-departmental collaboration happens easily. When every person on every team references one single source of truth for product information, the entire company walks in lockstep—circulating dollars from wasted resources back into your bottom line. 

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SaaS PIM solutions vs on-premises PIM solutions 

Today, PIM systems are primarily offered as either SaaS (Software as a Service) or on-premises solutions. However, there are considerable differences in the offerings between these two types of PIM system: 

Ultimately, the needs of the organization dictate which deployment model makes more sense. While SaaS PIM solutions deliver greater agility, on-premise options may offer greater control. 

PIM systems for manufacturing, e-commerce, and retail 

In light of the growing demands for product information, a PIM system provides value for any medium to large-scale enterprise. For example, here is a breakdown of the business-critical implications of a PIM system for certain industries:  

Whether managing vast volumes of product data for complex machinery or expanding into new regions and languages, a PIM system provides a scalable product data platform that evolves alongside your business. 

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Benefits of advanced PIM systems 

Leading enterprise-grade PIM solutions include advanced capabilities that further optimize product data management. This includes: 

With PIM as the foundational source of data truth, brands, manufacturers, and retailers transform otherwise overwhelming amounts of product data into profit-driving solutions. 

The role of PIM systems in digital transformations 

The world is trending toward digital, but it’s not just B2C retailers that are making the change. All consumers crave a frictionless path to purchase—in-store or online, B2C or B2B. 

Product information is at the cutting edge of this digital transformation. The ability to deliver consistent omnichannel product information (and therefore, product experiences) is integral to digital marketing success. In this way, PIM and e-commerce are intrinsically linked. 

PIM is also crucial for the implementation of a successful omnichannel strategy. PIM enables brands to lay the digital foundation for personalized engagement across a wide variety of channels, from third-party-owned resellers to social commerce platforms and in-person retail outlets. Leveraging advanced analytics and intelligent content management/distribution, advanced PIM solutions help craft tailored experiences across all marketing channels. 

With every channel operating in perfect sync, PIM ensures digital transformation is not just painless, but also profitable. 

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PIM system solutions 

Traditional PIM systems are being reimagined to meet the needs of an ever-evolving market. Inriver is at the cutting edge of PIM innovations for today and tomorrow, delivering the features and capabilities organizations need to fulfill consumer demands, regulatory requirements, and the transition towards circularity: 

With flexible SaaS deployment, inriver meets enterprises where they are on their digital transformation journey. 

inriver: The new breed of PIM system 

The way products are sold is evolving, and with it, so is the need for a more comprehensive Product Information Management system. As omnichannel expectations grow and customers demand more tailored product experiences, the need for a comprehensive PIM system has never been clearer. Add in the evolving regulations around data transparency and sustainability and only inriver’s advanced PIM solution can help you get the most value from your product information today, tomorrow, and always. 

Inriver’s composable PIM is the complete multi-tenant SaaS solution that turns product information into profit at every digital and in-person touchpoint. We offer the only platform on the market with built-in API-based syndication and digital shelf analytics technologies, giving you complete control over even the most complex omnichannel strategy. The inriver PIM solution powers the entire product journey and across every touchpoint. From sourcing and production to selling and recycling, the inriver PIM empowers you to deliver valuable product information to where it matters most. 

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Schedule a personalized, guided demo with an inriver expert today to see how the inriver PIM can get more value from your product information.

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frequently asked questions

what does a PIM system do?

A PIM system organizes product data into a central location to eliminate information silos. It enriches content, automates workflows, and publishes product information to any channel to create unified omnichannel experiences.

what is a PIM service?  

PIM as a service provides product information management capabilities via a cloud-based, SaaS model. This avoids the large upfront costs and inflexibility of on-premise PIM solutions.

what is a PIM solution and how does it enhance customer experience?

A PIM solution is software that centralizes product data to distribute consistent, accurate, and personalized content across channels. PIM solutions enhance the customer experience by:

  • Establishing omnichannel consistency
  • Providing relevant product data
  • Reducing informational errors
  • Personalizing product data for different audience groups

how can PIM software improve product data quality and management?

PIM software centralizes product information into a single source of data truth. This makes it easier to manage, update, and ensure data accuracy and consistency.

how does a PIM system contribute to effective product catalog management?

PIM software allows brands, manufacturers, and retailers to efficiently manage large catalogs, customize content for different channels, automate syndication, and keep product data up-to-date across regions.