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Excel spreadsheets have been widely used for managing product data, but they are not the most efficient tool for this purpose. While spreadsheets are easy to use, they have several limitations that make them less than ideal for managing large sets of product information. Here are several reasons why a PIM system is far superior to Excel for managing product information:

Difficulty in tracking changes and updates

Excel spreadsheets are often shared among multiple users, and it can be difficult to keep track of who is making changes and edits at any given time. This can lead to version control issues, and it can be hard to know which spreadsheet is the most up-to-date. With a PIM system, the data is stored and edited in one single place, so there is no need to worry about version control issues.

Manual distribution to different sales channels

Distributing Excel files to different retailers, wholesalers or customers can be time-consuming, as the needs of each one are different. This means that spreadsheets might have to be duplicated to fit each marketplace. At the very least, it's going to need a member of staff to manually upload product data to each location. With a PIM system, this can be automated, ensuring that the latest correct information is sent out whenever it is needed.

Lack of validation rules leading to errors

Excel spreadsheets don't have validation rules, so errors can and will occur frequently. For example, one product page might have the length of a product listed in mm while another might be in cm. This creates inconsistencies with the data and can lead to human errors. This is a significant weakness because wrong data could be displayed on an eCommerce page or website for months. A PIM system can help prevent these errors by enforcing data validation rules.

Inability to store media assets alongside product information

Excel spreadsheets are not designed to store media assets alongside product information. This can make it difficult to view images of an item alongside its information, which can lead to errors and inefficiencies. A PIM system can store and view images of an item alongside its information, making it much easier to manage large sets of product data.

Limited filtering capabilities

Excel's filtering capabilities are limited, which can make it difficult to find specific products or ranges of products if there are thousands or tens of thousands. A PIM system has a robust search and filtering system, which can help users find specific products much more efficiently.

Not a single source of truth

More than likely, a company that uses spreadsheets in place of a PIM system uses multiple spreadsheets for their product information. This can lead to increased complexity when multiple departments and teams are editing data, and it can make it hard to know how much of the content required is actually completed. A PIM system serves as a single source of truth for all product information, making it easier to manage and update data.

In conclusion, while Excel spreadsheets are a useful tool for managing small sets of data, they are not designed to manage large sets of product information. A PIM system offers a superior solution to product data management, providing a single source of truth for all product information, automated distribution to sales channels, validation rules to prevent errors, and robust filtering capabilities.