How to implement PIM well?

Step-by-step visual guide on effective Product Information Management (PIM) implementation for businesses.

It’s just a tool!

No more no less. When you face a job to do, there are always many possible tools to choose from. I’m sure you want the best and most efficient one. For example, when you want to hang the picture on the wall, you can either use  a hammer and a nail, or a driller. 

Which one is better? No idea! You need some research. Check the picture size, the nail you need to sit in the wall etc. Then choose the tool. And remember, no system is better than people who use it. 

PIM is a tool for e-commerce. You can store your product information data wherever you wish!  If you love post-it-notes, go ahead. If you’re a fan of spreadsheets…. feel free! Create as many as you wish.

The question is, what is best for you, your people and your business?

Where do you keep your data and how does it serve you? C’mon! Be honest. Is it really a spreadsheet? or should I say, thousands of spreadsheets??? In fact it can only create a real hell! The PIM system is to make product information management easier. You will no longer need to store your product data in several different places, but instead create one central database.  You can effectively manage the distribution to many different channels and language versions. 

Are you ready to move to the next level? Do you really need PIM?

When you notice you struggle with product information management, there are far too many mistakes and your team needs years to move on with the data, it’s time for you.

When you plan to expand into new markets, develop your assortment, it’s time for you.

When you don’t use the full potential of cross sell and up sell to grow your customer shopping cart, it’s time for you. 

You probably are flooded by the growing amount of information about products, markets and other stuff. The risk of errors is very high and people feel lost and overloaded. So, make a decision first. I know it sounds weird, but yes, be sure what you want and what you need and then, go for it. 

Team, software and process. Your three mainstays of success. 

People first! Assemble the right team.

Who’s involved in the product management information process in your organisation?  I guess it may be category manager, marketing manager, IT manager and customer service. At least four people. All involved from different perspectives. All with their own responsibilities and requirements. Four stages of work and four points of view. 

Talk to them. Take each point into consideration.  The IT guy will have to deal with implementation. If he doesn’t get it, no one is going to take any advantage. Still ,the business goal must come first. It is not an IT project although it may seem one. It is a business project. The purpose is to optimise business. It is however a gift to the IT whose life gets simplified where a number of bugs and tones of different systems can be eliminated. 

With marketing folks it is obvious. Their job is to provide the best UX ever. They finally get the proper tool to keep all the relevant product description, multimedia, translations etc. in one place. It ensures the unified and properly designed product pages. The information export across multiple channels is faster and helps analyse the data easier. 

Guess what, I do not have to mention the customer service department… Better product description, well designed product pages, great multimedia and translations make shopping a real pleasure. Customers know what they are buying and are guided through an intuitive and easy path. This means less returns, less complaints……. and less work! 

Even if there is any, thanks to the central database with product information, the speed of response is still much faster. Employees know the assortment better and  experience improved flow of information. 

No need to have an MBI to see it saves time and money. PIM does optimise the business and workflow!

Get ready for a change internally 

Implementing the PIM system means a great challenge, but also a great opportunity. Eventually we are all looking for business optimization, time and money savings. However, you better get ready for some rocks on your way. New means dangerous, more work and struggle at first as no one is familiar with it. So, face it! Your people will need some time to learn and get used to it. Don’t be surprised and be patient. It will pay back. Once new is no longer new, it will create some business- critical benefits. And savings!

What to get prepared for?

Resistance and defiance. It will require time and a good implementation process. Make sure your team will receive proper training to feel familiar with the system. Probably the whole workflow will change. This means you and your team will need to rethink and redesign it from scratch. 

No worries. Only the beginning is going to be a little hard. The further you go, the more relief you’ll feel.  Say goodbye to all the mess, mistakes and tones of useless spreadsheets. Welcome smooth and easy workflow

The right provider

Make sure you know what you want. Don’t get caught in a bag full of empty promises, thousands of features you’ll never use. We are not talking about a fancy digital gadget. We are talking about a system which is going to be critical for your business optimization. 

Check the suppliers. Check their references. Check how their products match your business and your needs. Check the benefits you can get from them, not the fancy buttons and angel singing communicators. 

It is crucial to find how the implementation process looks and what will happen next. Will you get support and from who? Will you get product updates and how? Will you be able to develop the system when the business grows?

Check the list of some key factor which are worth considering when choosing a PIM provider:

Interface - Is it user friendly? 

Support - What kind of support you will get and from who?

Cost - Are there any hidden costs?

Implementation - Are you able to connect to any e-commerce platform?

Price - Is it flexible and scalable? 

Multimedia - Can you use all sorts of media? Does it improve the quality of images?

Translation - Is it possible to have multiple languages?

Customization - Can you use it the way you want it?

The process

Back to the point! You must think ahead. There are a few golden tips which are worth taking into consideration.  These steps will help you plan and design the whole process more efficiently. 

  1. Choose the PM

People! They create your business and they are going to do it. Make sure everyone knows the goal and pulls in the same direction. Set strong management, which will anchor the project and keep it under control. He or she will be in charge of monitoring all. 

  1. Find a tech support

You definitely need one. It should be a highly specialised expert who feels your goal and understands the tool at the same time. 

  1. Map the process

You need to know all required integrations and see the complete process of product information management. 

  1. Make a list of all necessary integration

When you see the whole process from a helicopter perspective, you are ready to identify all the stages and see how single elements should be connected to each other. Create a list of all integrations you will need to make the whole system working.  

  1. Identify extra tasks

The whole process is a big change for your business. Apart from standard implementation you may require some additional integrations to customise the system to your needs. Check all the plugins, servers and software. 

  1. Review your website

With the PIM you can create new product pages templates. It is a good time to revamp the look of your online shop and make it more effective and customer friendly. Design a customer path and put the outstanding UX at first.

  1. Keep it simple

Make sure you don't overpay for the features, which you are never going to use. No need to generate additional cost. 

  1. Think investment, not cost. 

Keep in mind that valuable things cost money. 

  1. Set timeframes.

I mean realistic deadlines. Make small steps.   Check the process and match dates. Be aware, work and changes need time for implementation. 

And… good luck!  You may not feel it at the moment, but believe me, you’re just about to face the new dimension of our product information management. The PIM system can become a core and a command centre of your e-commerce. 

Need any more specific information regarding the PIM system? Book a demo with one of our experts. Give us your greatest challenges and check us out. We may surprise you! 

Next step

Start your journey with
Ergonode PIM

Get rid of the product data mess, once and for now!