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What is PIM data?

organize product-related data in one place

Product Information Management software is the foundation of a successful sales and marketing strategy, built on data onboarded from across the value chain.

Behind every product on today’s market lies an elaborate web of data. As a product moves through its circular journey—from manufacturing to marketing, to recycling, and beyond—this crucial data must move with it. 

But data fluidity is not enough to win on the digital shelf. This data must transform from raw figures to compelling product details that tell a story, deliver value, and exceed customer expectations. That transformation happens in a PIM

PIM data, then, is your product data, product taxonomy included, before, during, and after its transformation. This data is the fuel that powers a PIM’s capability to close the loop on a circular product journey. 

To meet today’s e-commerce demands, brands, manufacturers, and retailers need to know where the raw data comes from, how to import it into a PIM, and how to facilitate its transformation.

inriver x Office Depot

Read the success story of the global office supplies brand.

What type of data is stored in a PIM? 

In short, any public-facing data related to your products can and should be stored in a PIM. This includes but is not limited to: 

A key word here is public-facing data. Private company data usually doesn’t belong in a PIM. It likely belongs in an MDM solution, standing for Master Data Management. Let’s look at the difference between these two similar systems. 

yellow ballpoint pens in production

What is PIM? 

A PIM system, or Product Information Management system, acts as the centralized data hub for brands, manufacturers, and retailers. Its primary role is to onboard, organize, enrich, and distribute product data across digital sales channels, in-store channels, and among internal stakeholders. 

What is MDM? 

The software known as MDM, or Master Data Management, can be thought of as PIM’s internal counterpart. MDM is the single source of truth for company-related data, like customer data, supplier information, and manufacturer details.

MDM vs PIM

While both MDM and PIM manage data, they do so differently. The difference between PIM and MDM lies in the type of data they handle, and the end user who sees that data.

Where does PIM data come from? 

A rich network of product-related data supports products in today’s market. But where does this data come from? In short, data is onboarded from a vast number of sources across the entire product journey. This includes data from material sourcing and manufacturing through to sales, after-sales, and beyond. 

Here are the most common sources of PIM data: 

Internal data sources

You likely have a wealth of data sitting right beneath your fingertips in your various internal systems. These may include: 

printer-copiers lined up in electronics store

Supplier data sources

Suppliers hold a vault of critical product information that your customers will likely want to know about. The same is true for regulators. A growing number of legislative initiatives, like the EU’s Digital Product Passport, will enter the regulatory conversation in the coming years. 

From raw materials to packaging details, supply chain data is increasingly essential if you want to be able to create the product origins stories that are increasingly influential in buyer decisions and regulatory requirements. Supply data sources include:

Internal team members

In smaller companies, there may not be a sophisticated tech stack of systems to tap into like the ones listed above. In this case, there may be other databases or sources within the organization from which to extract product data. 

Your team may store product data manually on spreadsheets or other internal communication systems. You may also need internal subject matter experts to refine and organize product information management data manually. 

Digital shelf sources

With Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA), you can gain valuable insights into your products directly from your digital sales channels. DSA technology tracks how your products are performing online and how buyers behave. This insight can help with digital shelf optimization, letting you and your team refine and perfect your customer experience instantly through enhanced data quality. 

Colorful pen shelves in office supply store

What does PIM do with this data? 

PIM transforms raw product-related data into complete, compelling, and compliant product information used by both internal and external end users. When using an advanced PIM solution with end-to-end capabilities such as product data syndication (PDS) and digital shelf analytics (DSA), this process occurs through four distinct processes:

Onboard

Onboarding data from suppliers and internal data sources is an essential part of managing your product data. From a centralized platform, you’ll be able to review and access all your data from one convenient dashboard, onboard suppliers with an easy one-stop portal, and, with a PIM built on a flexible data model, customize how your data functions with no limit on the amount of data you can onboard.

Enrich

This is the crucial transformative step, where raw data turns complete, compelling, and compliant product information that adds value to the end user, whether customer, buyer, or regulator. With an advanced PIM solution, you’ll be able to collaborate cross-company to add compelling details like images, videos, marketing collateral, product guides, and more. Some advanced PIM solutions also offer AI-powered product content creation for every market, taking your product experience management (PXM) to the next level.

Distribute

Some advanced PIM solutions come with built-in syndication capabilities. This means you can funnel your enriched product information across your digital sales distribution channels instantly, accelerating your time-to-market and maximizing profitability at every touchpoint, whether an owned channel or a third-party reseller.

Optimize

Once you’ve syndicated your product information across your digital touchpoints, it’s important to understand how it performs. Advanced PIM solutions have digital shelf analytics (DSA) technology built-in to provide key insight into product performance online. Category-level data allows you to tap into competitor, vertical, and individual product performance to refine your strategy—and supporting data—accordingly. 

Female office worker using copier

The data-led benefits of PIM

Having this enriched and transformed PIM data at your fingertips makes you a powerhouse in your market, allowing you to meet the exceedingly steep expectations of consumers and regulators alike. 

Not only can you serve your customers better with more organized and informed product data, but you gain the ease for more operational efficiency. Teams like marketing, sales, product engineering, and even accounting all stand to benefit from all your product data housed in one centralized PIM. 

Let’s explore some of these data-led benefits: 

inriver: The complete PIM for data-driven product journeys

The composable, multi-tenant inriver PIM offers the most comprehensive Product Information Management solution on the market. Powered by a fully extensible data model that evolves with your product catalog and the demands placed on it, you can be sure you have a solid foundation for even the most complex omnichannel strategy. With built-in syndication and digital shelf analytics technology, advanced data-sharing, and more, inriver offers the complete solution for every business in every market.

want to see the inriver PIM in action?

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

who uses a PIM system?

A PIM system is tailored for anyone selling products online. But its true potential is best realized by brands, manufacturers, and retailers with an omnichannel sales strategy. Any organization that seeks a one-stop shop for all their product info can and should take advantage of a PIM solution.

what is stored in a PIM?  

Accurate, updated, consumer-facing product data is stored in a PIM. It also stores relevant supporting details, such as product content, supporting media, and sustainability information. In essence, any information about your products, brand, or company that could compel your customers to convert can and should be stored in a PIM.