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    What Are the Limitations of Classic PIM Solutions?

    May 9, 2024
    8 minute read
    What Are the Limitations of Classic PIM Solutions?

    These days, printing out a stapled pile of travel directions — let alone drafting your route with a roadmap — might earn you some wayward glances from your fellow companions.

    But can you blame them? In a world with real-time GPS navigation — a tool that can reroute drivers around traffic, dynamically alert them to road closures or accident information, and even heads-up about speed traps — relying on “analog” mapping in the 21st century is seen as, well, a bit dated.

    In a similar vein: As the ecommerce landscape grows increasingly personalized, dynamic, and complex, it’s time for brands to take their classic product information management (PIM) solutions to the next level: specifically, with product experience management (PXM) tools.

    Here are the standout advantages of PXM and why an increasing number of successful brands are abandoning classic PIM solutions in their favor.

    What Is PXM, and How Does It Differ From PIM Solutions?

    If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between PXM and PIM solutions, let’s start with the fundamentals. While both tools are essential for managing your brand’s presence on the digital shelf, they provide distinct — albeit complementary — purposes.

    PIM solutions are designed to collect, manage, and distribute product data across various sales channels — everything from standardizing product information to ensuring accuracy and managing data quality. Essentially, PIM lays the back-end groundwork by organizing product data in a centralized repository, allowing businesses to maintain a single source of truth for all product-related information.

    PXM systems, on the other hand, take the foundation provided by PIMs a step further, focusing on leveraging its product data to create compelling, personalized, and dynamic experiences that resonate with customers throughout their journey. For example, a PXM may integrate with PIM data to enrich your product detail pages with high-quality images, video, social proof, or other detailed descriptions.

    Crucially, PXM systems can also adapt product information to fit the unique requirements and preferences of various sales channels and customer segments — optimizing the presentation for each context while maximizing conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

    A PIM is focused on maintaining an accurate, largely internal “single source of truth” with all of your brand’s product information, while your PXM is about bringing that data to life in a way that will delight your customers and drive sales.

    PXM: Elevating Your PIM Solutions for the Modern Consumer Journey

    Here’s a closer look at some of the specific trends and factors that are driving the popularity of PXM among ecommerce brands. 

    Mis-Architected for the Digital Shelf

    Originally crafted for internal data management, PIM solutions are great at keeping detailed product information organized and accessible.

    However, the digital shelf is not a static, quiet environment — it’s dynamic, if not outright chaotic. Classic PIM architecture is simply unable to keep up with the rigorous demands of today’s digital shelves, where vibrant, interactive product experiences are widely considered “must-haves” for successful ecommerce brands.

    Customers are inundated with more options and less friction than ever before. As such, the ability to break through the noise with rich, engaging product content — particularly when targeted and/or personalized — could well be the factor that makes or breaks a sale.

    Traditional PIM systems, with their rigid data models and limited support for rich media, are ill-equipped for this task. On the other hand, contemporary PXM solutions are designed to thrive amid these challenges.

    Overlooking the Reality of Online Shopping

    Ecommerce marketers know: Consumer expectations aren’t just rising, they’re changing all the time. In particular, today’s customers are increasingly drawn to experiences that feel tailored to their interests, needs, and context.

    Unfortunately, locking your brand into a “universally true” mindset overlooks the nuanced reality of online shopping. It can inadvertently tether brands to the past, prompting even once-loyal customers to seek other options.

    While maintaining a single source of truth certainly provides some benefit, traditional PIM solutions lack the capacity for the kind of dynamic personalization that is now considered the standard in the marketplace. 

    In contrast, PXM can deftly navigate these complexities, empowering brands to weave more compelling, relevant experiences for their customers — always evolving based on real-time insights and interactions, ensuring that each consumer encounter with a product feels uniquely engaging.

    Inflexible Data Structures

    While on the subject of a single source of truth: In an era where print product catalogs and static sales channels were the norm, the importance of developing a definitive accounting of your brand’s products was pretty self-evident — ensuring consistency, accuracy, and (ideally) clarity.

    Now, of course, things look a bit differently: Dozens of online retailers like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy dominate the marketplace, speaking their own languages and behaving according to their own local customs.

    It all underscores just how important it is to provide varied, personalized product data (and content) that can adapt to the varying needs of dozens, if not hundreds, of different channels. Try as we might, it’s the market — not marketers themselves — that decides which product data and content is necessary for each particular channel.

    Thankfully, therein lies the raw power of a robust PXM — optimizing your product data to be external-facing and accommodating the diverse requirements of a wide range of different retailers.

    PXM: Don’t Let Your Product Data ‘Leave Home’ Without It

    Considered in the context of a turbulent and ever-changing ecommerce landscape — whether changing consumer expectations, retailer requirements, or any other dynamic trends — it’s clear that that market has moved beyond the traditional role served by PIM solutions.

    Brands that can embrace this change — particularly those that successfully leverage the full potential of PXM to create engaging, tailored product experiences — will not only stay ahead of the curve but have the potential to establish new standards in customer satisfaction and loyalty.


    What Is the Next Gen PXM?

    Eager for a deeper dive into the promising frontier of PXM solutions? Download our latest whitepaper, written by our chief marketing officer (CMO) and co-founder Rob Gonzalez, for more insights on how to best leverage these solutions now and in the future.


    Written by: Chris Caesar

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    What Is the Next Gen PXM? Eager for a deeper dive into the promising frontier of PXM solutions? Download our latest whitepaper, written by our chief marketing officer (CMO) and co-founder Rob Gonzalez, for more insights on how to best leverage these solutions now and in the future. DOWNLOAD WHITEPAPER