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SaaS PIM software: A 2024 guide

find the right type of PIM for your needs

If you’re in the market for PIM this year, make sure you’re choosing the best SaaS solution that exceeds the needs of your product information.

PIM software, which stands for Product Information Management, centralizes and organizes complex product data into one single source of truth for all internal and external endpoints.

However, not all PIMs are built equally. As more businesses shift operations to the cloud, SaaS (Software as a Service) PIM solutions are likewise seeing increased adoption—offering a scalable, flexible, cloud-based platform to take control of expansive product catalogs.

But what is a SaaS PIM solution? And what does that mean for you? This 2024 guide explores the key features, benefits, and leading providers in the PIM SaaS landscape. Discover what to look for when evaluating solutions to meet your business’s needs today and tomorrow.

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How does a SaaS PIM differ from other solutions? 

SaaS PIM solutions boast a few benefits when compared to on-premises solutions, especially in implementation speed and accessibility. As a SaaS PIM is usually hosted in the cloud, anyone with an internet connection and login credentials can access it.  

SaaS PIM differs from on-premises and hybrid PIM solutions in a few areas: 

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Single- vs multi-tenant SaaS PIM 

It’s important to distinguish between single- and multi-tenancy when dealing with a SaaS PIM solution. A single-tenant solution is built for, and used by, one singular organization—a single tenant. A multi-tenant solution, then, is built for many organizations to use.  

While single-tenant solutions offer the most control, they’re also significantly more investment-intensive in both up-front and maintenance costs. Multi-tenant solutions share the maintenance cost with other tenants, making the cost much lower and maintenance much faster.  

Combined with a SaaS framework, multi-tenant solutions allow for the freedom to scale as your business grows. With nearly zero downtime and always-updated software, multi-tenant solutions often serve as the ideal architecture for brands, manufacturers, and retailers. 

Security and compliance 

It used to be the case that organizations would favor on-premises solutions over SaaS solutions because of security. And while some enterprise organizations may still require some on-premises security, SaaS solutions now match or exceed the security and compliance capabilities of on-premises solutions.  

Select advanced SaaS PIM platforms are SOC2 Type 2 certified, meaning they adhere to high standards for security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Integration with trusted ecosystems such as Microsoft Azure further establishes compliance with both international and industry-specific standards. 

In addition, SaaS PIM solutions offer robust backup and recovery functionality, often at a lower cost than on-premise systems. Together, these factors show that the SaaS PIM platform is capable of handling security and compliance challenges over time, rather than just at a single point. 

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Benefits of SaaS PIM Software 

It’s clear already that SaaS PIM software boasts flexibility and ease of use, which come into play throughout a PIM software’s lifecycle:  

Key features to look for in 2024 

Selecting the best SaaS PIM partner can help your business meet the growing demands of omnichannel commerce and regulations in 2024 and beyond.  

Here are the key features to look for in 2024:  

1. Fully extensible data models 

Any business that plans to grow its catalogs or operations should consider a fully extensible data model as an essential requirement to provide the flexibility needed to manage an ever-evolving product catalog. Such agility is necessary to match the growing complexity of modern commerce operations.  

New products, SKUs, attributes, and compliance with emerging regulations and market demands are just a handful of the factors that put a strain on data management systems. Impending regulatory changes like the European Union’s Digital Product Passport (DPP) are just one of the reasons why flexible data models will be invaluable for enterprises. 

Fully extensible data models ensure your SaaS PIM solution can scale and evolve as your business does. This elasticity accommodates the continuous expansion of product lines and entry into new markets—all while managing an ever-growing volume of data—with ease. 

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2. AI, ML, and NLG integrations 

The integration of AI and Machine Learning (ML) is another key feature that will define the capabilities of leading SaaS PIM systems through 2024 and beyond. Harnessing AI and ML through integration with leading engines like OpenAI will allow SaaS PIM systems to generate impactful insights, optimize decision-making, and automate repetitive tasks. Advancements in AI-driven Natural Language Generation (NLG) can also enhance product descriptions and content enrichment. 

3. Multi-platform integration 

An advanced PIM solution isn’t just another layer in your tech stack—it’s the center of it. That means leading SaaS PIM solutions are equipped to integrate seamlessly with many platforms, from your CRM to DAM.  

Multi-platform integration makes sure that all the valuable data sitting in your current tools makes its way to your PIM—so that it can be enriched by your team and appreciated by your customers.  

4. Advanced data governance tools 

Brands, manufacturers, and retailers managing thousands (and, often, millions) of product data points know it takes a village to keep a handle on all that data. As the gatekeeper of your product data, an advanced SaaS PIM solution should have data governance procedures in place to make your product data accessible and functional for the teams that need to use it.  

The right PIM solution for your organization will supply plenty of flexibility in this area, as every organization collaborates differently.  

5. Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA) 

Real-time monitoring of all online sales channels enables your digital shelf touchpoints to remain complete, compelling, and converting. In the competitive e-commerce landscape, this functionality is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge in the market and delivering the right product experiences to potential customers.  

However, despite the business-critical nature of digital shelf analytics technology in 2024, many SaaS PIM providers are yet to provide integrated digital shelf solutions.  

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6. Supplier onboarding 

Streamlining onboarding for suppliers, co-manufacturers, and other partners is crucial for ensuring product data integrity from the start and meeting evolving regulator demands for transparent supply chain data.  

Supplier onboarding speeds up the process of rolling out changes across various product types, ensuring that product information is accurate across all touchpoints​. In 2024, ensure your SaaS PIM solution offers advanced supplier onboarding portals to help you capture all that necessary supply chain data. 

7. Automated translation 

To facilitate rapid global expansion and reach more customers, prioritizing SaaS PIM platforms that offer automated multilingual translation will be crucial. 

PIM software with extensible data models manages languages at an attribution level. This streamlines the localization phase when scaling into new regions and markets to connect you with new customers faster.  

8. GDSN/GS1 compatibility 

Standardization using GS1 like the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) makes your product data more shareable. This widely accepted data format helps keep your product information compliant across channels and maintains consistency across integrated partners. For omnichannel and global strategies in 2024, this SaaS PIM feature is table stakes.  

9. Data pool connectivity 

In the same vein of data standardization, data pools are another means of standardizing your product data to align with partners or industry entities. SaaS PIM software with data pool connectivity gives you the ability to conform to a variety of data pools to help ensure your product information is consistent and reliable.  

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Top SaaS PIM Solutions in 2024 

Multiple providers offer capable SaaS PIM functionality. However, subtle differences define solution leaders positioned to deliver the most ROI in the years ahead. 

 Capabilities 
PIM Vendor Translation Automation Supplier Onboarding PDS Brand Portals AI & OpenAI DSA NLG Fully Extensible Data Model Data Pools GDSN/GST 
inriver ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ 
Akeneo ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ❌ ✅ ❌ ✅ ❌ 
Pimberly ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ❌ ✅ ❌ ❌ ✅ 
Sales Layer ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ❌ ❌ ❌ ❌ ✅ 
Salsify ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ❌ ❌ ✅ ✅ 
Stibo ✅ ✅ ✅ ❌ ✅ ❌ ✅ ❌ ✅ ✅ 
Syndigo ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ❌ ✅ ✅ 

inriver 

inriver offers a feature-rich SaaS PIM and is recognized as an industry leader in the PIM market by analysts at Gartner. The inriver platform provides the complete solution with integrated market-leading capabilities. This includes data onboarding, AI-powered content enrichment, API-based syndication, and digital shelf analytics.  

inriver also leads the conversation surrounding sustainability and SKU-level traceability to enable compliance reporting. Notably, it is also the only SaaS PIM solution to offer a fully extensible data model—a key aspect in staying ahead of regulatory requirements. 

Akeneo 

The Akeneo PIM focuses on product data quality and governance through flexible modeling tools and structured workflow processes. The Akeneo solution offers syndication and AI-powered automation but falls short in digital shelf analytics and the flexibility of its data model. Akeneo is particularly known for its open-source PIM software. 

This solution also offers features similar to inriver, except for digital shelf analytics (DSA) and extensibility. It is particularly known for its flexible open-source model. 

Pimberly 

As a newer solution, Pimberly Cloud PIM features an intuitive interface and robust core PIM functions. However, there are gaps around certain leading-edge functions that may limit long-term scalability for enterprise brands, such as its lack of:  

SalesLayer 

Purpose-built for B2B selling, SalesLayer couples a rich attribute library with sales materials fulfillment integration. 

SalesLayer provides a strong foundation including automated translation and supplier onboarding. However, it lacks next-gen technologies like data pool connectivity, DSA, NLG, and an extensible data model.  

Salsify 

Salsify differentiates itself in a crowded SaaS PIM market by emphasizing digital shelf analytics and campaign measurement. 

It offers a comprehensive range of capabilities, but some features around data modeling, NLG, and long-tail integrations are less mature than its competitors. 

Stibo 

Known for their on-premise PIM solutions, Stibo Systems now offers expanding SaaS-based options and pre-built connectors thanks to advanced validation and data pools inherited from their legacy DAM platform. 

While viable, Stibo does not offer brand portals or DSA, which can be critical features for ensuring brand consistency across multiple channels. 

Syndigo 

Syndigo is a leader when it comes to market and buyer intelligence. As a newer SaaS PIM solution, Syndigo incorporates next-gen capabilities such as:  

While showing strength in data syndication and enrichment, Syndigo software lacks an extensible data model, with other core PIM capabilities still in the process of maturing. 

As the digital landscape accelerates toward e-commerce and global expansion, SaaS PIM solutions are evolving to meet new challenges and opportunities. Here are the five trends set to shape SaaS PIM in 2024: 

  1. AI influence: AI will continue to revolutionize PIM, especially in content creation and enrichment. Advanced PIM solutions will actively integrate AI to enable the creation of rich, compelling, and localized product content efficiently. 
  2. Digital Product Passports (DPPs): With regulations like DPPs becoming more prevalent, there’s an increasing need for PIM solutions that can manage comprehensive and accessible product information, ensuring compliance and transparency. 
  3. Product origin stories: Consumers are increasingly interested in the origins and sustainability of products. PIM solutions will play a key role in capturing, standardizing, and distributing this information in the form of authentic origin stories. 
  4. Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA): Understanding online product performance will become an essential factor in advanced SaaS PIM solutions. Integrating DSA provides agility in delivering compelling product experiences across digital marketplaces. 
  5. Cloud marketplaces for PIM procurement: The availability of PIM solutions on cloud marketplaces like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Salesforce will simplify the procurement process, making it easier for businesses to adopt PIM solutions. 

To keep up with these trends, a comprehensive PIM solution that supports every step of the circular product journey while evolving at the cutting edge of tomorrow’s innovations has never been more essential.  

inriver: The future of SaaS PIM solutions 

The right SaaS PIM for you in 2024 and beyond should offer more than simple data aggregation. It needs to extend further to provide the key technologies and solutions that can onboard raw, unstructured supply chain data, transform it into rich and compelling product information, and ensure this information remains correct, complete, and compliant across every internal and external channel. Only then can you be sure you are maximizing the value of your product data.  

That’s why so many forward-thinking brands, manufacturers, and retailers are choosing inriver as their SaaS PIM provider. The inriver PIM is the only SaaS solution that combines DSA with fully extensible data modeling and cutting-edge AI integrations into a comprehensive multi-tenant SaaS platform. By using robust data intelligence to unify commerce, deliver compelling product experiences, and elevate the buyer journey, the inriver platform can take your entire operation to the next level. 

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