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    How To Choose the Best PIM Software

    9 minute read
    How To Choose the Best PIM Software

    Without a central source of truth for product information, such as SKUs, titles, universal product codes (UPCs), and technical specifications, you risk sharing out-of-date information across your core channels.

    A product information management (PIM) solution standardizes, centralizes, and controls your data, while giving teams autonomy to enrich and optimize product experiences.

    The problem: There’s a wealth of solutions on the market, all with their unique features and integrations, which makes it challenging to know what makes the best PIM software.

    10 Questions To Ask To Find the Best PIM Software

    As you continue your journey of adding a PIM solution to your ecommerce tech stack, here are the questions you need to ask to choose the best product information management solution for your needs.

    1. Does the PIM Solution Offer Flexible Data Modeling and Governance?

    There’s a lot of product content to manage if you want to win on the digital shelf — marketing content, channel-specific product content, rich media like enhanced product content, engaging product experiences, and more.

    If a PIM solution is too rigid, your internal teams will continue to lean on siloed spreadsheets or systems outside of the PIM. This means you can’t govern the data and you lose all the benefits of a PIM solution.

    Look for a PIM solution that:

    • Supports unlimited categorization and variant axes, so you can organize and easily scale products on the digital shelf;
    • Benefits from an extensive validation layer that allows you and your team to define rules for each category or variant;
    • Governs every part of your product content — from core data and marketing copy to digital assets and rich media — all in one place; and
    • Defines and enforces internal data quality standards through descriptive validations and central product taxonomy.

    2. Does the PIM Solution Offer Channel-Specific Content Management

    Online marketplaces, social selling platforms, and your ecommerce website all demand different types of product content.

    If you’re currently keeping each channel-specific version in a separate spreadsheet or other disparate, non-governed places, a PIM solution can fix this problem by bringing everything together in one place.

    Look for a PIM solution that:

    • Lets you manage channel-specific content versions in one central location;
    • Has content mapping tools so you can perform customized property mapping and match the requirements of different retailers and marketplaces; and
    • Enables specific changes within a channel without disrupting the core underlying data.

    3. Does the PIM Solution Offer Integrated Workflows and Collaboration Tools?

    Collaboration is crucial on the digital shelf. The best PIM software empowers users to collaborate and coordinate content updates in one central place, while still ensuring a robust approvals process is in play.

    Integrated workflows and powerful collaboration tools help you and your team gain real-time visibility over the entire content enrichment process. They can also cut manual task time by automatically creating tasks and following up.

    Look for a PIM solution that:

    • Dynamically assigns tasks based on role, region, or channel ownership;
    • Enables editing, commenting, user tagging, and approving of drafts directly within the PIM system;
    • Reduces manual content management tasks through integrated and automated workflows;
    • Makes it easy to set up no-code workflows that everyone can use; and
    • Visually tracks modifications between content drafts.

    4. Does the PIM Solution Offer Seamless Integration With Other Systems?

    Your tech stack is likely made up of multiple tools — maybe you have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool and digital asset management (DAM) software, as well as your ecommerce platform, content management systems, and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

    There’s a lot to juggle, so it’s important to choose a PIM solution that seamlessly connects your tech stack and can pass data efficiently from one to another.

    Look for a PIM solution that:

    • Has a fully customizable API integration so you can connect your workflows with other systems and tools;
    • Enables a single, organized version of product truth that you can use as a source of integration with internal and external systems; and
    • Balances configuration ease-of-use with advanced customization options. 

    5. Does the PIM Solution Offer Operational Agility?

    To compete on the digital shelf, you have to adapt to industry and platform changes quickly and efficiently.

    The digital landscape is constantly in flux, and many legacy PIM solutions are rigidly built around a single data model. This makes it difficult to implement changes without disrupting the rest of the data.

    A PIM solution with operational agility lets you make quick, easy changes like adding new attributes to the data model, adding new validation rules, and importing new types of content. 

    6. Does the PIM Solution Offer Security and Compliance?

    You don’t want to fall foul of compliance regulations. Keeping your customer and product data safe and secure is incredibly important for building trust and remaining on the right side of the law. The best PIM software provides robust built-in security measures and helps you stay compliant on every platform.

    Look for a PIM solution that:

    • Enforces end-to-end content compliance by automatically comparing live product content with internal versions to immediately spot discrepancies;
    • Has a disaster recovery process with multiple layers of backup, including automated data backups and documented recovery procedures;
    • Carries out annual testing or an annual security audit; and
    • Segregates data by platform and customer to prevent exposing data to unauthorized users at other organizations.

    7. Does the PIM Solution Offer Cloud-Based Architecture?

    Approved users can access cloud-based solutions anywhere and anytime. This eliminates the high costs of maintaining location-dependent hardware and manually updating systems, while simultaneously reducing the amount of downtime.

    Look for a PIM solution that:

    • Is built on cloud-based architecture and requires zero hardware to maintain; and
    • Enables immediate access to new features and functionality with no downtime or upgrade processes.

    8. Does the PIM Solution Focus on Time To Value, Business Usability, and Flexibility?

    Implementing a new companywide solution takes a lot of work. You need to get stakeholders on board and provide each team with the resources they need to succeed.

    Choosing a PIM solution that focuses on fast time to value is crucial for seeing results quickly and inspiring teams to continue using the tool. But it’s also important that the solution is easy to use in multiple scenarios.

    Look for a PIM solution that’s flexible in terms of features and customization and that provides ample instructions for getting started.

    The solution will become an integral part of your business, so it needs to have a short learning curve and an ability to adapt to multiple use cases. 

    9. Does the PIM Solution Offer a Seamless Onboarding Experience for First-Time Users?

    It can be a struggle to convince an entire company to start using a new tool — especially if the old ways of doing things are deeply entrenched in day-to-day activities.

    The best PIM solutions will eliminate the need for clunky spreadsheets and multiple file versions saved across individual devices. But encouraging your team to successfully replace what they know with something new is crucial for solution adoption rates.

    That’s why it’s critical to choose a PIM solution with a detailed but seamless onboarding experience — particularly for those who have never used a similar solution before or who aren’t as open to digital transformation.

    Look for solutions that come with a dedicated onboarding pro or have a library of documentation, resources, and training you can explore. 

    10. Does the PIM Solution Offer Customer Support and Services?

    The chances of companywide adoption diminish if there’s little to no customer support once you’re set up. To succeed, teams need to be able to quickly troubleshoot problems and remove friction from their processes.

    The best PIM solutions have built-in customer support channels and easy-to-access services. Even better, they might provide you with a dedicated customer success agent who’s on hand to answer your questions and help you create the best PIM ecosystem for your company.

    Choose the Right PIM Solution for Your Organization

    It’s easy to fall into a research wormhole when looking for the best PIM software. It helps to go into it with a clear understanding of what you need from a solution and to filter your options by core features and capabilities.

    Ideally, you want your PIM solution to provide end-to-end control over all your product content — regardless of channel — and to enable integrated workflows and analytics that bring your team and their tasks together in one central source of truth.


    The Forrester Wave™: Product Information Management, Q4 2023 Report

    Download the Forrester report to discover critical trends in the PIM market and find out how the Salsify PIM solution compares to other evaluated offerings.


    Written by: Lizzie Davey

    Lizzie Davey (she/her) is a freelance writer and content strategist for ecommerce software brands. Her specialty is combining customer research with actionable copy to create pieces that people actually want to read. Over the past 10 years, she's worked with top industry brands to bring their vision to life and build...

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    The Forrester Wave™: Product Information Management, Q4 2023 Report Download the Forrester report to discover critical trends in the PIM market and find out how the Salsify PIM solution compares to other evaluated offerings. DOWNLOAD REPORT