What is PIM or Product Information Management?
Product information management, PIM for short, is where you curate the data required to market and sell products. It is a central repository that can neutrally feed information about your products to any channel like webshop, ecommerce App, ERP system or a product catalogue.
PIM is centralized management of structured product data
The core of a good product information management system is to manage all properties of your products in a semantically structured way. You should easily be able to define any aspect of your products including:
- Product pricing
- Product dimensions
- Product variations with photos
- SKU and stock information
- Detailed product properties and specifications
- Rich product descriptions including photos and videos
- Product translations
- Product currency information
Channel neutral chunks of product information
All the product information in a PIM should be accessible via an API using a channel neutral format. This means that developers can tap into your PIM and retrieve the product information they are looking for independent of programming language and channel they would like to use the information in. Good examples of channel neutral formats are validated XML or JSON. Validated JSON is what we primarily use in Crystallize.
This requires your product information system totally separate presentation from product information. When you look at PIM systems this is typically where they cut corners. You most often find presentation and content mixed in on blob e.g. HTML. This makes it hard to re-use the product information to other channels like voice. So, pay attention to this important core philosophy.
Easy to use product information editing interface
In addition to having simple to use and fast APIs it is important that your PIM has an easy to use editorial interface for managing product information. Significant time can be saved when using a properly designed interface for editing product information. User testing and scenario based prototyping is a good method for evaluating the interface when you look at a product information management system.
Of course my objective opinion is that Crystallize is a great PIM or product information management system. If you are looking for a PIM system; check out Crystallize - you might like it.