But once you start thinking about expanding the store (say, adding a new line of products) or maybe even creating a second one, then manually managing the products stops being “fun.” It takes too much time. You or your team members find mistakes in the data virtually every day. You have no idea where the digital assets like images or videos are stored. You have several product returns or complaints to manage. And as the result, your brand reputation and revenue takes a hit.
Here’s where many companies start to consider getting a product information management platform, or PIM in short, to put their whole product data into one place and let automation carry most of the manual work for them.
What is a PIM solution, and how can you use it together with your Shopify store? Read on to learn more about just how valuable the Shopify PIM integration can be.
What is product information management (PIM)?
A Product Information Management (PIM) solution is an ecommerce application that provides a single place to collect, manage, and update or enrich your product information. Thanks to that, PIM tools make the business processes in your company related to ecommerce far faster, more efficient, and productive as everyone has access to the same database.
MarketsandMarkets estimates the global PIM market size is expected to grow from $9.0 billion in 2020 to $16.0 billion by 2025. That’s mainly thanks to the booming ecommerce market and companies increasingly looking for a ecommerce PIM integration with their stores to manage their high volume of orders (and growing).
The main job of PIM platforms is to gather and store all critical data about your products – from technical details (size, color, dimension, ingredients, and anything else relevant) to descriptions, images, videos, or documents related to a given product.
According to Wakefield research, 54% of U.S. office professionals said they waste plenty of time searching for much-needed files in cluttered online filing systems. Having a central database with all the crucial files in PIM can be a solution to that.
As the data is gathered from all internal and external data sources, put together into one place and then neatly categorized, your team doesn’t have to juggle several spreadsheets to find the data they need – they have everything in one place.
And there are a lot of product information types that the PIM systems can manage and keep updated:
- Technical data.
- Digital Assets: Photos, Videos, also Animation
- Product Attributes: Product title, SKU, description.
- Marketing Data: SEO, Keywords, Meta description
- Translation, User Reviews, Product Variants
All this product information can be edited or updated from the PIM system’s interface as well. Moreover, since all changes in the system will be immediately visible and you can share data in a click too, you can be sure that your employees or partners will be kept informed.
When should you think about getting Shopify PIM integrations for your store?
Shopify and Shopify Plus are ecommerce websites that have plenty of tools that can help you run a thriving store. But unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work well as a content management or product management platform. You do have a basic CMS editor and a few features to manage the products in the store, but that’s mostly it. If you’re a small online retailer, that might be enough for you – but once you start growing the store, then the out-of-the-box features of the Shopify might be far too limited.
So maybe a Shopify ecommerce app could be useful here? The marketplace has a lot of applications available for you to help you manage the inventory. The app selection ranges from those made by Shopify itself to a variety of third-party apps. But again, you’d be hard-pressed to find one app with all the features you need – and having several ones would make your job harder rather than easier.
Getting a dedicated solution for managing the inventory and information about your products meanwhile would be a good next step.
Especially if you, as Shopify merchants:
- Need to import data & assets from multiple systems and in varied formats
- Spend far too much time on manual processes like updating the product’s data
- Often identify mistakes, missing information or contradictions in product data & documents
- Frequently need to make changes to product data
- Sell to marketplaces that require data in specific format or type
- Need to regularly provide customers, partners, and internal teams with product data detail
- Add product information to multiple stores or sales channels
- Need to maintain data consistency for regulatory purposes
How can Shopify PIM integration help your business?
With what could a PIM integration help your brand? For example, with improving the consistency of the product catalog but without so much manual work. Or easily attaching multiple other apps and integrations to the PIM system. But there are far, far more things that PIM can make easier for your business, here are just some of the significant advantages a PIM solution can offer:
No more need for several documents and spreadsheets
As easy and convenient as you might have thought using spreadsheets, they have two major faults. The first problem is that since you have to rely heavily on your team to consolidate this data and update the Shopify website, errors are a given. For example, they might add data in a hurry. Or misunderstand each other. Or simply make a typo. And the result might be disastrous.
IBM estimates that bad data costs the U.S. economy about $3.1 trillion each year. Experian also found that poor data directly affects the bottom line of 88% of American companies, with the average company losing around 12% of its revenue.
PIM solutions integrated with Shopify can meanwhile handle adding and updating the data automatically and then giving your whole team easy access to them. The dashboard will also show you all essential details like the number of categories, products, their attributes, and the actions you need to take.
Import existing data to shopify via PIM, no matter what format
How many different applications and data formats do you use a day? Possibly too many. And getting the data to work with Shopify product requirements is no easy task.
With a PIM tool, you can process data in different formats and fit it, so it matches Shopify’s requirements. So even if you have data in several places, such as a spreadsheet, an ERP, or supplier documents, a PIM can take all of that and make it Shopify-compatible in moments.
Bulk edit product information
Editing a couple of product descriptions or attributes is manageable, but hundreds or thousands? That’s a nightmare for any store owner.
A PIM solution has in-built options to filter data, though, allowing you to edit all of them at once – and share the changes between all connected apps. As a result, you can change almost anything related to the products – pricing, product specifications, descriptions, availability, stocks, color, etc. What’s more, you can even sort the data by channel — meaning you can choose to edit only the data shown on your Shopify, website, or physical store and nowhere else.
Market products on multiple channels
Times of using only one place to sell products are long gone – now the more options you give to the customers, the better the chance they will find your products and buy them. But managing numerous channels by hand is…hard.
Product Information Management tools can help you here as well. With a Shopify PIM integration, you can push any number of products to multiple channels all in a click and also keep an eye on how each channel is performing through the dashboards.
Besides aiding you with moving to multichannel selling, PIM ecommerce platform powers can even help you expand your brand to other countries. Shopify does make it easier for merchants to sell across the globe, but how’d you do it without being compliant with demographics, currency, and people’s culture?
PIM system has a handy feature for that too. Inside it, you can set up several languages, currencies, and descriptions for the products, and the app will handle matching them with the correct shop. It’s not necessary anymore to create the SKUs for every region individually – that would be far too much work. Instead, you make them once in the PIM, and then you can use them in all channels or stores you have.
Saving a lot of time
Managing the product data takes a lot of time. The SKUs are spread over multiple tabs in a spreadsheet. Your inventory is constantly changing with new products arriving and going out. Plus, if you’re selling on multiple ecommerce marketplaces, you’ll have to manage version after version of product descriptions, images, and other data. You barely have time for any other tasks or checking out the latest trends in the industry.
Here’s when you especially need help from the PIM solution as it can save time in multiple ways:
- You have a single source of data, not several
- You can share updates or new data at once with as many people as you need
- PIM makes sure that the correct data is send to the right place automatically
- Making the Shopify products ready for sale takes far less time as PIM will convert the product data into compatible with Shopify requirements in no time
- And as a bonus, you can market your product faster and launch them on multiple channels at once.
Saved time on mundane tasks = more time for growing your business and revenue. Not to mention, you won’t be getting as many data headaches either 🙂
Key features of using Shopify PIM integrations
Shopify and Shopify Plus have many amazing features that can help you build your online store and then stay relevant and competitive. But as we mentioned earlier, it lacks product and content management features. Thus, getting the right PIM system for Shopify or Shopify Plus is the key to unlocking the shop’s full potential and boosting your customer engagement, satisfaction, sales outreach, and, ultimately, revenue.
However, what features should the PIM software have to be the right choice for your team? Any PIM system worth investing in should have at least some (if not all) of these features:
- Manual and automatic product information collection
- Ability to handle multiple products
- Customizable fields for item information: product descriptions, product attributes, sizes, etc.
- Workflow automation
- Content and marketing material management for each product
- Integration with the CMS, IMS, ERP, and other essential parts of the ecommerce ecosystem, together with smooth data export capabilities
- Multistore data management functionality
- Customizable workflows for different departments and parts of the supply chain
- Ecommerce product analytics
All of those can be a great help to you and your Shopify team, especially if you have a large and/or complicated range of products. You’ll save a lot of time you previously spent on entering and updating data manually, keep everyone in the loop about what’s going on in the store, and also eliminate (most) of the confusion and misunderstandings that might happen if everyone has “their own” version of a product inventory spreadsheet.
If you are a Shopify Plus merchant, then you should especially look in the way of getting a Shopify PIM integration.
Why Shopify Plus and PIM are a powerful duo?
There are currently 25,861 stores and around 17,240 different merchants using the Shopify Plus platform. While the Plus subscription is pretty pricey, the number of features it can offer makes it a pretty worthwhile investment for businesses. For example, while a regular Shopify subscription allows brands to have only one store for each account, Shopify Plus users can have even 10 separate stores, all working under one account. For enterprise brands or companies thinking about expanding to other countries, this is undoubtedly a massive plus of Shopify Plus (pun intended).
While it is possible to manage the product data only through the Shopify Plus dashboard, it means a lot of work for your team as you have to take care of each store separately. More product data to keep track of means more manual work, which increases the risk of any errors and misunderstandings happening, which in turn means more problems.
That’s why many large Shopify Plus store owners are instead using an integrated PIM solution to take care of their multiple Shopify stores.
Using a PIM allows them to manage data at different levels and choose what data or content is pushed to each store – as well as share them across different stores. Additionally, the app helps them manage product pricing, product descriptions, other product data points, product images, and various other things more efficiently. Shopify Plus merchants can benefit from all this, as it can significantly reduce the amount of manual and repetitive work their teams need to do to handle merchandising and production tasks.
The Product Completeness feature is even more attractive for the large store owners. This feature looks at which product attribute values you set as required and, based on that, checks which products are missing a value or have an incorrect one. Then it displays the product completeness as a percentage. When all its required attributes have a correct value, the product will be marked as “complete” and ready to be published in the store.
You can also set rules in the PIM system not to publish changes in the products or add new products to the store until all fields have been filled, ensuring the product data is as accurate as it can be.
Which PIM is right for Shopify?
Now, which Product Information Management system should you even look at? Capterra, for example, has 142 PIM applications in their database, most of which support the Shopify and Shopify Plus ecommerce platforms. But as you look through the various comparison lists, you’ll see that a couple of names appear especially often – let’s look at those apps now.
The user-friendly interface, low price point, and exceptional onboarding and customer support make Plytix one of the most popular PIMs among small and medium businesses worldwide.
Brands and retailers or distributors with over 100 products or selling through numerous channels may find the app particularly helpful. Plytix is also unique in that it is designed and priced specifically for small and medium-sized companies.
Plytix offers three plans: one is a “free-forever” (great for starting with a Product management solution), and two are paid (300 and 1100 euros a month). You can also try both paid plans in a free trial or use the standard plan with add-ons.
Akeneo offers an open-source PIM solution to help brands simplify their product catalog management processes. The app makes it easy and simple for retailers and brands both in B2C and B2B markets to collect data from any source, enrich and control the quality of product information, and distribute it to numerous channels such as e-commerce, mobile, print, and points of sale.
Like Plybix, Akeneo has a free edition available on their website. Meanwhile, their enterprise edition is custom-priced, so to know more about how much the app would cost, you need to reach out to the support.
Pimcore is an open-source PIM that works best for Enterprise brands with more than 50 employees. The app can gather, consolidate, cleanse and update any amount of digital data, making it far faster for large companies to manage their stores. As their best point, the app can publish data to 2 500+ sales and marketing channels.
Pimcore Cloud Edition is available in three different packages: a free community edition and two custom-priced ones. For the custom ones price, you need to ask the sales team directly.
Jasper PIM creates a central repository for all of your product data, enabling two-way data synchronization across the entire tech stack. The app also supports multiple languages and currencies across all sales channels, eCommerce storefronts, and online marketplaces and helps you schedule content updates for sales and promotions, so if you are thinking about expanding your store, those are the features you should look at.
As for their pricing, they have a separate one for small and enterprise businesses, starting from $49 a month for the lowest plan to $3750 for the most expensive one.
Salsify is a bit different form of PIM, called a product experience management tool. PIM helps businesses centralize product content and streamline workflows.
PXM meanwhile combines PIM with many other tools – such as enhanced content, digital asset management (DAM), analytics and insights, and more – to maximize customer engagement and loyalty. Brands can then provide a spectacular customer experience their customers want and across every channel they shop on.
Unfortunately, that means that their pricing is on the higher end – while their website only mentions that Salsify has custom pricing depending on the business needs, platform reviewers often say that this is a costly solution and primarily for larger companies.
How to integrate PIM with Shopify?
As soon as you have chosen the Product Information Management system you wish to use, the next question should be: “How do I integrate it with my tool stack”?
At first glance, it doesn’t seem like connecting the PIM solution to Shopify and your other tools might be a lot of work, especially since some solutions even have a ready Shopify app for you to add.
But before joining the platform with the Shopify store, you must prepare a migration plan first. Migration takes all your product information and other data from its original place and moves it to a new location in the PIM database. Based on how much work you will put in here, you might be either setting your company for success in the long run or chaos from the get-go.
If you don’t plan carefully, you might miss some key steps, which will slow down the implementation process or make the platform not work as expected, causing frustration for everyone.
So before getting to exporting the data, you need to do a few things first:
- Gather your entire data together and put it into one place
- Decide what data is especially important for the migration
- Categorize the files into folders
- Delete or archive any duplicate, outdated, or incorrect data and assets
Cleaning and updating the data is just the start of the migration process though. You’ll also need to learn more about the organizational hierarchies in the PIM app, data entry methods, and types, naming structure and also match the product information with the right data type in PIM.
Does it sound overwhelming? If yes, then you may want to reach out to a company specializing in setting up Shopify shop or your chosen PIM provider for help with data migration. This is especially important if you run several shops under one name or if you have thousands of products and worry that something might go wrong during the migration process.
Why you should choose WeCanFly Agency for Shopify PIM integration?
Generally, it’s always safer to ask a Shopify development partner or PIM provider to handle the integration process if you need to transfer large amounts of products and customer data to the PIM or make sure that all applications integrate smoothly with it. As they know exactly what is the best way to import the data from Shopify or ERP to the PIM solution, you can be sure that your entire database will be moved there without issues.
Having a developer who knows their way around Product Information Management apps and Shopify PIM integrations also means that you can count on them to teach you how to use the platform later with your team.
We work with brands that want to move to Shopify, integrate the store with other apps, or optimize an existing one. We’ve seen a variety of issues that new merchants face when they migrate their shop or integrate it with new software – and know how to solve them. Here are some ways our Shopify experts can help you with Shopify PIM:
- Assistance in choosing the right PIM solution
- Business consulting in designing the new ecommerce ecosystem
- PIM installation and configuration
- Data migration
- Mapping the PIM data structure to Shopify
- Integrating the PIM tool with CRM, ERP, or other tools the client is using for their Shopify store
- Creating custom API integrations for specific tools
Are you currently growing your Shopify store but find managing the number of data overwhelming? Or maybe you are running multiple stores on Shopify Plus, and you’ve been considering using some sort of product information management system to make your enterprise brand run smoother?
Either way, a PIM system can be an incredibly useful tool to keep you in control when the waves get rough.
But to tap into the PIM ecommerce integration superpowers, you need three things – research on your needs, work on cleaning the current data, and also a helping hand from a Shopify developer expert if you are struggling. Add those together, and you’ll be amazed to see just how much smoother running the store (or stores) have become.