In some senses, e-commerce stores like Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce are similar to PIM. You can house your products and some of their associated data along with the images associated with the products. Magento even has attributes and attribute sets (what we call families). However, e-commerce stores are not purpose-built for handling product data and thus, they lack a lot of the features and benefits of a PIM system.
What does an e-commerce store do well?
- Customisation of your website. Themes, localisation, additional widgets and integrations, customer support chats, etc. can all contribute to giving your brand its own look and adding to the customer experience. PIM complements this by enriching the product information and media you present to your customers.
- Order and payment handling. E-commerce sites are built to facilitate these exact functions and allow you to retail efficiently online. Furthermore, their servers can handle larger amounts of traffic than a custom-built website would.
- Multiple storefronts. Many e-commerce sites like Magento allow you to host multiple storefronts for different areas like the U.S and Europe. PIM again can be beneficial here as it removes the need for duplication of effort in populating each store with products and data.
- Relatively easy to set up and use. E-commerce sites are generally built so that it is easy for someone with little technical expertise to get a store up and running. Although a large amount of products will slow down your backend and make data work tedious, initially setting up as a small business is quite pain-free.
What does a PIM do that e-commerce stores can’t?
- Simply holding your product data in a purpose-built single source of truth is beneficial. You can distribute this data to other platforms or even other business partners. The data is not trapped inside an e-commerce system.
- Allows for multi-channel sales. With a PIM system being the central source for your data, you can easily distribute this data to a variety of channels and marketplaces. This increases the potential pool of customers you can access, thus increasing revenue and customer loyalty.
- A built in Digital Asset Management system. Within an e-commerce store, it is usually only possible to house media assets that are linked directly to a product. Within a PIM system, you can hold all media assets, regardless if they are associated with a product or not. You can also store media assets you don’t need your customers to see on the e-commerce website, like product datasheets or safety data sheets.
What are the benefits of a PIM for e-commerce?
- The primary benefit is the efficiency of managing your products on a PIM system as opposed to managing them within your e-commerce store. It can take between 20-46 minutes to populate an SKU on an e-commerce website, while on PIM it can be done far more effeciently.
- A huge decrease in time-to-market. When you can populate entire collections of hundreds of SKUs at a much faster pace, it significantly lessens the amount of time you need to allow your products to go live on your website. This can lead to significant financial benefits.
- Automation of importing and exporting data. Some of our users have automated products created from their ERP system, and others automatically distribute their product data to retailers on a scheduled basis. This massively reduces the time needed for manual, tedious tasks and allows for time to be spent more efficiently on other activities that can increase ROI.
- More accurate, consistent and rich procuct information. By using a PIM system, you can ensure that your product information is consistent across any platform you use. With validation and permissions settings in place, you can ensure that there are less errors in the product data too.
- Allows your website to become more easily navigatable. With better quality data, your customers will be able to browse your site easier with filtering, searching and categories.
- OneTimePIM has built-in Connectors to Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento which allow you to fully handle your product data within the PIM. The in-depth reporting ensures your stores are handled as effectively and efficiently as possible.
PIM and e-commerce sites work great together. On the backend a powerful PIM can empower your staff to maximise efficiency across multiple sales channels and provide your customers with an excellent shopping experience. On the front end, your e-commerce store can present the products and their data with a user-friendly UI and facilitate ordering, returns, etc. effectively. If you would like to find out how PIM can help your e-commerce store, feel free to get in touch!