PIM, Special software or just a term...

 

Lately marketing managers are more and more confronted with incorrect and not up to date product displays and application or promotional images. They are calling me and ask me what is a PIM and do I need this. I have been now in catalogue management for a more than 8 years and I think it is time to get some facts.

PIM, Special software or just a term.
Lately marketing managers are more and more confronted with incorrect and not up to date product displays and application or promotional images. They are calling me and ask me what is a PIM and do I need this. I have been now in catalogue management for a more than 8 years and here is some info for you all.

What is a PIM?
Product Information Management is a new and new trendy name for a well structured and complete database that contains product information which can be automatically connected to other output models.

What is well structured product data?
All product variables like, name, price and other and images in one accessible datasource. This can be a online store environment like Magento, Prestashop or a backoffice system. As long as your product is the relation between all the different data and your management controls. 

There are many software solutions built for catalogue management.

Now the trick called PIM
Building a catalogue is easy, but the hard part is getting it complete, in the right format and keeping it up to date. Now this is where most of the software solutions let you stand on your own.

Why obligatory fields don’t work…. A programmer can never answer this question. Because the people working with the database always will find a way to work around these checks.

What you need are smart reports that check your database on missing or out dated data.

How to get reports?
First you need to make a product variable mapping sheet. In these variable you make a definition of each product variable and which specification like allowed characters, length, options or raster image requirements.

Field (attribute) mapping

Ex

Attribute

Type

Options

Limitation

Sku

Textfield

 

Numeric

Product Name

Textfield

-

Alphanumeric  50characters

Color

Select

Yellow, blue, green

1 select only

Image

Jpg

 

2000px X 3000px

French name

 

 

 

Spanish name

 

 

 

Reporting time
Once you have all these field mapped and data is in you ask a programmer to write a script which checks for you all the conditions and missing data. He will give you a nice report that is your to do list.

Do I need special software?
No, is the answer. What you do need is any flexible database management environment that can generate output formats such as XML, CSV and be defined by you as a marketeer / business developer and not by a programmer. Preferable in a cloud or online hosting server.

Why do you need a well structured and complete database?
If you want to make your next step in e-commerce like product feeds and , work in large teams with multiple suppliers of marketing material you will need to start thinking PIM.

My product database is well structured and complete what now?
Then you are ready to feed your relations with adequate and up to date information. Start building XML feeds towards the InDesign templates of your design agency so they always have up to date images or build a product feed towards resellers providing them with up to date product information. And you’ll have the

About Folkert Elzinga
Online marketeer connected to Young-dogs e-commerce specialists with over 8 years of experience of building and maintaining online catalogues. I have been working with over 50 stores up to 200.000 products and uncountable variables. Contact directly through folkert[at]young-dogs.nl.