Jos Schreurs, co-founder and partner of Squadra and, together with Onno Cleijpool, expert of the e-learning Product Information Management(PIM), prefers not to speak of a PIM system, but instead about managing your entire data process. As a retailer, how do you achieve consistent product information across all channels? “If your product data is not in order, you will not sell anything. It’s that simple.”   

“In my opinion, PIM is about much more than just a system. Look at retail, here we have seen a shift from store and catalog to omnichannel for some time now. It is important that you provide consistent (product) information across all channels, from the store to the website. You do not only achieve this with a system, but by scrutinizing the entire process of collecting, managing and unlocking data. But which data is required and are there data standards that I can use? Which people do I need? Who can access which data? How do I manage the quality of my data? But also, how do I get the correct product information from my suppliers?

Holistic approach

More (retail) organizations are moving towards long tail and offering larger product ranges. If there is volume, you will have to manage product data and associated processes more intelligently. Each supplier has its own data language. This can pose a major dilemma. A holistic approach is then necessary. Which solution you choose depends on the size of your organization and the amount of product information. Look, almost every organization has ERP or web / e-Commerce systems. And of course you can also manage product information in these systems to a certain extent. However, if you have tens or even hundreds of thousands of products and extensive and complex product data and images, then at some point this will start to be inefficient and you have to ask yourself:

  • What data do I need from the products?
  • How are the processes structured?
  • What agreements do I make with my suppliers?
  • What kind of people do I need who are good with data?
  • How do I organise my management and decision-making processes (data governance)?
  • Am I smarter with a PIM system and if so which one do I need?
  • Which product data do I manage in which system?

PIM system: this is how you make a well-considered choice

Choosing a good system is not that simple. In the world of PIM, there are as many as 300-500 systems worldwide, ranging from “dressed up spreadsheets” to highly advanced systems. A big pitfall is by only looking at the price tag and user-friendliness. You have to realize that you will spend five to seven years with a PIM system.

Also take into account in your consideration that PIM not only contributes to consistent information provision, but that this also influences your segmentation, findability, traffic to the website and conversion. I notice that many organizations, when choosing a PIM system, are sensitive to user interface and a nice demo from a sales consultant. But it’s not all about looks. If your product data is not in order, you will not sell anything. It’s that simple. Also look under the hood, I always say, then you will only see the functionality, flexibility of the data model and the applied technology in more detail.

E -learning Product Information Management: all basic knowledge at a glance

In the e-learning Product Information Management, together with Onno Cleijpool, I go deeper into getting your PIM data in order. It is also important for e-commerce professionals to follow this e-learning as they are often concerned with UX issues. Even if you are active in other related areas or if you are a beginner in PIM, it is a must to acquire all the PIM basic knowledge. ”

Do you want to be refined in the field of Product Information Management in 60 minutes? Follow the e-learning and get started at your own pace!