Whether it’s procurement, logistics, sales, or marketing, product data is the driving force behind effective business operations. Think of product pages in webshops, enticing email campaigns, and informative brochures. Consistent and reliable product information is the key to success. But how do you ensure efficient and effective management, enrichment, and distribution of this information across the various channels where your customers are present? How do you ensure that your product information is always complete, consistent, and up-to-date? And how do you bring your products to market faster, better, and easier? The answer to all these questions is simple: a PIM system.

What is PIM?

PIM stands for Product Information Management, an approach that enables organizations to efficiently collect, manage, and consistently distribute product data across various sales and marketing channels. A PIM system serves as the central hub for all your product information. But what does that exactly mean?

A PIM system is integrated into other systems within your organization and acts as the link between sources of product information on one end (such as ERP, PLM, and supplier data) and external channels for information dissemination on the other end (such as the webshop, CMS, catalog, and product sheets). It prevents errors, duplicate entries, and inconsistencies by synchronizing and validating product data with other systems.

This creates a “Single Source of Truth” for your company, providing access to all product information in one reliable location. The quality and consistency of your product data are monitored through validation and enrichment rules, and specific rights and roles determine who has access to which information.

With a PIM system, you can easily modify product data and publish it to all your sales channels with just a few clicks. This enables you to present products more convincingly with rich and relevant content, such as images, videos, manuals, and reviews. Additionally, it enables advanced search functions and filters, making products easier to find.

What does PIM manage?

With PIM, you can manage both the basic data of products and their enrichment. A PIM system manages various types of product structures and product data:

Product Structures

1. Primary Product Structure

In a PIM system, you can manage multiple structures. The primary structure (also called the basic structure or main hierarchy) should be configured to optimize the principles of inheriting features and feature values. At the ‘bottom’ of the structure, the product-article-variant structure can be set up.

2. Other Product and Classification Structures

In addition to the above structure, one or more classifications are often set up. Think of GS1, ETIM, or eClass classification. Additionally, it is customary to model output structures, such as the web hierarchy, in PIM. The advantage of this is that products can be automatically classified in various hierarchies, creating a ‘single version of the truth.’

Types of Product Data

1. Product Characteristics

This type of product data includes specific properties and details of a product, such as dimensions, material, brand, technical specifications, color, and, of course, the article number, product name, and one or more marketing texts.

Product characteristics on Smulderstextiel.nl website

2. Logistics Data

In PIM, logistics data is also managed. In addition to the mentioned characteristics such as length, width, height, and weight, it is also important to manage the packaging unit (Unit of Measure). Consider, for example, a pen set containing 5 pens. This set can then be packaged in a box with, for example, 40 sets. And of these boxes, 16 can be placed on a pallet. This is the origin of the so-called packaging hierarchy, which is often also managed in a PIM system.

3. Product References

PIM also manages product references, including upsells (additional products the customer might consider), cross-sells (additional products related to what the customer has already selected), accessories, succeeding products, and own brand alternatives. This helps promote additional purchases and provide alternatives to the customer.

Cross- and upsells on H&M website

4. Visual Material

In addition to textual and numerical information, product data also includes visual material (digital assets). This includes photos, product videos, logos, and icons, as well as product information stored in PDFs, such as safety and/or sustainability certificates. All PIM systems have a Digital Asset module. Depending on the organization’s needs, this module may suffice, or an independent DAM system can be used. In this case, the PIM system only contains links to and usually thumbnails of the visual material in the DAM system, providing a comprehensive overview of the product data in the PIM system.

5. eCommerce Data

To achieve optimal customer experience and high SEO, it is desirable to manage keywords and synonyms in PIM. This can be done as an attribute or metadata for the aforementioned visual material.

6. Sustainability Data

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for companies. To meet customer expectations and the growing requirements of the government, additional information needs to be maintained. This includes the composition of batteries used, the composition of packaging materials, and in the future, the composition of the product (materials), as well as origin. Based on this information, the still-developing Digital Product Passport can be created and maintained.

7. Product Reviews and Ratings

PIM systems can also contain information about product reviews and ratings. This information is not managed in the PIM system itself but often in an eCommerce platform or related module. However, the data can be added to the PIM system through an interface, creating a 360ยบ view of a product in PIM.

Product reviews and ratings on Gamma website

Why is a PIM system important?

PIM has three effects on your organization: improved customer engagement, increased efficiency and effectiveness of employees, and revenue growth.

1. Customer Engagement

To optimize the discoverability of products on a website or in a catalog, consistent, rich, and qualitative product data is necessary. It is crucial that this data is the same across all channels; otherwise, it can confuse the customer, potentially leading to abandonment. Moreover, the quality of product information reflects the brand’s image. Good product data, such as the technical specifications of a laptop, ensures that customers order the right product, reducing the number of returns.

2. Efficiency and Effectiveness

PIM reduces costs by increasing employee efficiency. By optimizing your business processes and being supported by a good PIM system, you can reduce manual work and significantly accelerate time-to-market. Additionally, better product data leads to increased effectiveness of both the sales and marketing organizations.

3. Growth

PIM contributes to business growth by improving website discoverability (SEO) and generating more traffic. Good product data increases the likelihood of improving the conversion rate and filling shopping carts through cross-selling and upselling. A qualitative product database can accelerate the possibility of mergers or acquisitions by quickly determining overlap in assortments.

Who is a PIM system important for?

A Product Information Management (PIM) system is invaluable for various stakeholders within an organization, extending beyond just the IT department and product data specialists. PIM helps both internal and external stakeholders by ensuring that information about products is easy to find and use.

1. Business Stakeholders

Within the organization, various stakeholders significantly benefit from the implementation of a PIM system. Marketers experience its value in creating effective campaigns, while e-commerce managers benefit from improved online discoverability and higher conversion rates. Category managers find PIM a powerful tool for digitally presenting assortments, while sales benefits from access to high-quality product information. Buyers experience a streamlined process for obtaining quality product content from suppliers. Additionally, supply chain professionals benefit from accurate logistics data, contributing to optimizing storage and transport efficiency.

2. Supporting Stakeholders

Simultaneously, supporting stakeholders play a key role in ensuring the optimal functioning of the PIM system. As product data administrators, it is essential that the PIM system can easily load, update massively, search easily, and provide dashboards to assess the quality of product data. In the IT department, seamless communication between systems is crucial. Application administrators must be able to add new users, adjust data models, and integrate business rules to improve data quality.

3. External Stakeholders

Externally, on the customer side, PIM plays a crucial role in meeting consumer needs and building trust. Customers benefit from an improved search experience and access to correct and complete product information, positively influencing the perception of the overall service of a company. On the supplier side, PIM facilitates the efficient electronic delivery of rich product data, optimizing collaboration with buyers by using the same data language.


A PIM system is an indispensable tool for any organization selling or intending to sell a significant number of (online) products. With a PIM system, you can:

  • Efficiently and effectively manage, enrich, and distribute product information across various channels where your customers are.
  • Bring products to market faster, better, and easier with complete, consistent, and up-to-date information.
  • Present products more convincingly with rich and relevant content.
  • Make products easier to find with advanced search functions and filters.
  • Synchronize and validate product data with other systems within or outside your organization.

A PIM system helps improve the quality of your product information, increase customer satisfaction, and boost conversion. In short, a PIM system is the key to effective product information management.


If you have any questions about PIM systems or would like more information on how a PIM system can help your business, don’t hesitate to contact us via the website or reach out to Roger Wegh (tel: +31 6 54 75 12 71 or email: roger.wegh@squadra.nl).

We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you in improving your product information management.