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Popular PIM systems: functionality, key features, cost

    30/07/2021
    The year 2020 spurred the PIM market, or rather directed the trading and manufacturing businesses towards greater process automation. In this article, we reviewed the 8 most popular PIM systems and prepared a brief overview of their main features.

    Why PIM is important for business

    Each product can have more than 200 attributes: descriptions, articles, prices, photos, seasonality, discounts, the connections between products, etc. These attributes have to be assigned, edited, accepted, transferred to sales channels and internal systems, updated, and transferred again.

    With proper transmission to marketplaces, each attribute can improve the position of catalogue item or change something in its relationships. Therefore, adding attributes or new values to them is a separate business process with actions required for its implementation. In addition, each attribute can be a separate complex directory that the procurement department, production service and suppliers can use for work.
    Back in 2012, the Goodmasters research company estimated that it takes an average of 25 minutes a year to collect and update data about one SKU. It is still relevant for non-core systems and applications. The speed of data entry, for example, in Excel is slightly affected by the product version used by the manager.

    If a company has 100 SKUs in their catalogue (which happens, though not very often), the time wasted on operations with attributes can be neglected. And what about companies that have more than 1000 SKU?

    Even if there are 5000 SKU, the figures will be quite impressive. A few calculations will give us a total of 12 staff months per year spent on the manual data processing. In other words: there is an employee, who spends ALL their working time on product data processing!

    Large catalogues result in greater maintenance costs and higher risks of human failure in maintenance. Most business processes are implemented in people's heads, instead of data systems. The data quality decreases whereas the time to market increases.

    The PIM system (product information management system) automates your product information management: control of filling in, updating, versioning, sending and receiving data, data searching, etc. According to the research previously mentioned, the PIM system implementation reduces the time for collecting and updating data about each SKU to 4 minutes per year which is six times quicker! Also, the time to market for particular products is reduced by 3-4 times. Another important thing – the data quality improves significantly.
    en: PIM system operation principle
    PIM system operation principle
    Apart from time savings, the PIM system allows you to:
    • monitor the completeness of filling in product data;

    • unify information records about goods, in particular according to standards for simplifying electronic documentation management (ETIM, GS1, etc.);

    • supplement product data (for example, using external sources);

    • collect data from external systems (CRM, WMS, etc.) and send information to them;

    • send only selected information in the required form to different sales channels (including language, completeness, availability of photo and video, etc.), – PxM (stands for product experience management);

    • record changes and store previous versions of product data;

    • assign different data edit rights to employees depending on their fields of responsibility.
    In this article, we will review 8 systems most popular in Europe:
    1
    Akeneo PIM
    2
    Catsy
    3
    Inriver
    4
    Pimcore
    5
    Plytix
    6
    Riversand
    7
    Sales Layer
    8
    Salsify

    Akeneo PIM

    en: Akeneo PIM Interface
    Akeneo PIM Interface
    A master system for the centralized management of marketing and technical information. Akeneo PIM system is used at more than 500 enterprise-scale companies.

    Akeneo PIM Functionality

    Akeneo PIM is a full-fledged PIM system with PxM elements. It provides:
    • Product data management.

    • Management of categories and directories.

    • Editing tools.

    • Automatic and manual addition of product data.

    • Making product changes in bulk.

    • Tracking the completeness, the quality, and the consistency of product data.

    • Management of multimedia files, with regard to channel specifics.

    • Management of roles and access (only in the Enterprise Edition).

    Versioning

    The history of product data changes is saved in the system: you can see what has been changed, when and by whom. The administrator can roll back the changes to the necessary version at any time.

    Flexibility and scalability

    The open source code allows you to scale Akeneo PIM, taking into account the expansion of the catalogue nomenclature and the increasing number of distribution channels.

    In addition to that, you can install modules for PxM: Akeneo Onboarder and Franklin. You can make improvements at the code level (for the Community Edition).

    Akeneo PIM is the best coice for

    Businesses of any scale. The basic Community Edition (code-first, installed on your servers) with limited functionality is suitable for small businesses, whereas Enterprise Edition (SaaS) with advanced features will meet the requirements of major companies. We think that, in general, Akeneo PIM is not a good option for manufacturing companies and companies with strongly related product attributes due to the lack of the functionality of independent directories.

    License costs

    Akeneo PIM comes in three editions with a different number of features.
    1
    Community Edition. A free open source version with a limited functionality. Deployed on company's own servers.
    2
    Growth Edition. Paid version with a limited functionality. Cloud deployment, SaaS. Annual payment.
    3
    Enterprise Edition. Full-featured paid version. Cloud deployment, SaaS/PaaS. Annual payment.
      Yearly license cost is to be negotiated with Akeneo PIM personally.

      Catsy

      en: Catsy PIM interface
      Catsy PIM interface
      Catsy is a PIM/DAM/PxM system providing the opportunity of centralized management of product information, digital data (photos, videos, etc.) and consumer experience.

      Catsy functionality

      • Product data management.

      • Advanced catalogue search system that provides quick access to the particular SKUs.

      • Data validation.

      • Digital Asset Management.

      • Connections between products: the system helps the end customer to choose an alternative if the selected product is out of stock.

      • Combining products into sets, linking accessories to the main product.

      • Analytics and reports.

      • Managing roles with assigning rights to view, edit, and publish information.

      • Saving versions of the product card content: you can track when the changes were made, and if necessary, roll back to previous versions.

      Additional features

      Quick launch. The vendor's successful cases include the deployment and launch of the system, uploading the data about 66,000 items to the system in nine days.

      Flexibility and scalability

      The Catsy solution is designed for businesses of any scale. A small company can choose only the necessary modules, and then add new PIM system modules along with its growth.

      Catsy is the best coice for

      Small and medium-sized businesses specializing in product manufacture and selling.

      License costs

      It is deployed in the cloud (SaaS). There is no free version, but you can order a demo from the vendor to make an informed purchasing decision.

      User licenses are purchased for each unique user.

      Information about the annual subscription cost is provided upon request.

      Inriver

      en: inriver PIM interface
      inriver PIM interface
      Inriver is a PIM system with well-developed marketing tools. Apart from storing, unifying and transmitting information about products, it allows you to get effective recommendations about things affecting the consumer decisions.

      Inriver functionality

      • Recording, updating, and enriching product information.

      • Formation of relationships between products, categories.

      • Marketing tools to analyze the demand and improve consumer experience.

      • Content segmentation by categories.

      • Assigning access fof adding and editing information to individual users or user groups.

      • Built-in connectors for connecting to different data sources and sales channels.

      • Use inriver Integration Framework to build new integrations.

      • A fully cloud-based technology deployed in Microsoft Azure.

      Additional features

      A "pure" PIM system. Additional MDM and DAM functions are not available.

      Flexibility and scalability

      It is positioned as the only product in the industry with a flexible scalable model.
      • Easily adaptable to changes in business and consumer behavior due to the flexible structure of entities.

      • Scales attributes, making it easier to enter new markets and enable new sales channels.

      • Increases the volume of add-on sales due to a model that takes into account the product hierarchy and the relationship between individual products.

      Inriver is the best coice for

      Сompanies operating in the B2B and B2C segments, primarily those focusing on online channels.

      License costs

      A SaaS product. Storage pricing is based on the amount of product data stored and the expected server loads. The starting price is € 55,000 per year; the inriver Evaluate system for working with the digital shelf is paid separately.

      Pimcore

      en: Pimcore interface
      Pimcore interface
      Pimcore is a PIM/DAM/MDM system and e-Commerce platform that is suitable for managing catalogues with complex structure, a multi-level hierarchy and multiple relationships between products.

      Pimcore functionality

      • Data modeling.

      • Data management.

      • Data quality control.

      • Integration with external systems for fast data exchange.

      • Managing the data flow, enrichment, and data uploads through standard processes.

      • DAM-functionality.

      • Multi-channel publications.

      • Creating entities.

      • Complex inheritance of attributes.
      Enterprise Subscription Functionality
      • Content management with regard to the specifics of channels and target audience.

      • An internal portal for tracking marketing information about products.

      • Systematic uploading of information about products to more than 2000 channels in the appropriate formats.

      • Automatic translation of product information.

      • Integration with marketplaces, a single dashboard for tracking orders from all marketplaces.

      • Integration with Microsoft and Adobe products. Automated information uploading to files for printing (catalogues, advertising and promotion materials).

      Additional features

      Some Pimcore functionality is a low-code. This means that individual integrations, business processes for collecting and transmitting product data can be implemented by company managers or analysts themselves without developer's involvement.

      Flexibility and scalability

      Pimcore is open source, so its scaling capacities are unlimited.

      Pimcore is the best coice for

      Companies of any scale and with any number of sales channels. It is considered a good option for integrators and manufacturing companies. What is especially nice is that the Community Edition has open source code and provides sufficient functionality even for major implementations that can be deployed on enterprise servers.

      License costs

      Three tariff plans, the cost depends on the functionality.
      1
      The free Community Edition does not support PxM / AXM functionality, integration with marketplaces, additional functions for uploading product information. Customer support is not provided. The number of installations is limited.
      2
      The extended Enterprise Edition subscription starts from € 1600 per month, the payment is made annually. A complete Pimcore functionality and user support is provided, but the number of installations is still limited.
      3
      Unlimited Subscription – the most complete Pimcore version without restrictions on functionality and the number of installations within one organization. The cost starts at € 6400 per month.

      Plytix

      en: Plytix PIM interface
      Plytix PIM interface
      Plytix is a SaaS PIM system with DAM out-of-the-box functionality. It's aimed at the joint work with product information. The vendor mentions a well-thought and intuitive system design as one of Plytix key advantages.

      Plytix functionality

      • Management of all types of digital data.

      • APIs for custom integrations.

      • Unlimited number of users within one company for all tariff plans.

      • Differentiation of user roles with individual access assignment.

      • Self-updating smart product lists.

      • Advanced filtering with built-in AND and OR functions.

      • Tracking the progress in filling in data in the product cards.

      • 13 types of product information attributes, an unlimited number of custom attributes.

      • Ability of setting up relationships between products for add-on sales, offers of related products or product sets.

      • Management of product variations.

      • Mass work with data.

      • Quick export to .CSV, .XLSX, .PDF formats. Calculated attributes for automatic product information edits.

      Additional features

      Plytix opens up great opportunities in terms of analytics: you can get reports on the selected filters that are really important to you (sales channels, products, categories, dates (Black Fridays), time periods, price ranges). Dashboards are formed right in the system. Some data is taken directly from Google Analytics.

      Flexibility and scalability

      In addition to the basic functionality, you can connect:
      • the Channels module for automated product information uploads to marketplaces, services for product comparison, e-Commerce platforms and for data tables generation in .CSV and .XLSX;

      • the Brand Portals module for exchanging information about products with distributors and retailers with the opportunity to filter data;

      • the Product Sheets module for creating tables by products has a clear interface, wide opportunities in terms of custom design and structure of tables to meet the requirements of the brand. Module provides uploading to .PDF.

      Plytix is the best coice for

      Depending on the selected tariff plan, Plytix can suit the needs of small businesses and large commercial and industrial organizations with up to 100,000 SKUs in their catalogue.

      License costs

      Three tariff plans have been developed for Plytix users.
      1
      Free. Includes 10 GB of cloud storage, up to 1000 SKUs. There are limitations on the volume of analytics. The number of users is not limited.
      2
      Standard. € 300 per month, € 3600 per year, annual payment. Unlimited space in the cloud storage, up to 100,000 SKUs. Advanced capabilities in terms of analytics. Technical support. Add-ons for work with content.
      3
      PRO. € 1100 per month, € 13,200 per year, annual payment. In addition to the Standard tariff toolkit, there is support for automated feeds for different sales channels, automated generation of tables in .CSV and .XLSX, and .PDF template updating.
      All tariff plans provide for DAM functionality.

      Riversand

      en: Riversand PIM interface
      Riversand PIM interface
      PIM/MDM platform (SaaS), part of the Syndigo ecosystem. An industry leader according to Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions and The Forrester Wave: Product Information Management.

      Riversand functionality

      • Automatic data uploads from different sources.

      • Product data enrichment in a single system.

      • Data quality management.

      • Product data planning based on information about sales drivers in different categories and segments.

      • Data management based on KPIs and analytical data.

      • Media data management.

      • Automatic generation of recommendations to improve product information.

      • Analytics by channels.

      • KPIs by promotion activities, pricing changes, targeting, segmentation.

      Additional features

      Separate applications for data management, tracking, and improving the consumer experience. Riversand products have built-in applications to analyze commercial information, making it easier to see the bottlenecks in your processes and data and improve the quality of your presence in sales channels.

      Flexibility and scalability

      It is possible to supplement the basic Riversand platform functionality taking into account the business needs by downloading connectors, applications for consumer experience tracking, and services for content improvement from the Riversand App Marketplace. Also, you can create your own applications for Riversand.

      Riversand is the best coice for

      The enterprise-level companies.

      License costs

      The approximate price for medium-sized businesses starts at € 50,000 per year, for large businesses – at € 150,000 per year. The price depends on the number of users working with the system, and on the required capacity of the cloud product data storage.

      Sales Layer

      en: Sales layer PIM interface
      Sales layer PIM interface
      Sales Layer is a PIM system with DAM functionality. It is positioned as "the first PIM system developed with the special focus on marketing departments". Cloud-based.

      Sales Layer functionality

      • Product information management: loading, enriching, and uploading.

      • Direct uploads of product information from standard tables.

      • Support of multi-language versions of product information (starting with five languages in the Premium tariff to an unlimited number in the Enterprise Plus tariff).

      • Data analysis in the context of language, brand, and product categories.

      • Instant creation of individual catalogues for handing over to suppliers, buyers, etc.

      • Assigning roles and distributing access between users.

      • Tracking the history of product information changes: what was changed, when, and by whom.

      • Notifying users about the changes made.

      • Saving product information in backups even in case of technical problems.

      • Business processes for working with product information.

      • Connectors for integration with marketplaces and IT systems.

      Additional features

      Automatic translation of product descriptions into the world's 36 most widely-spoken languages: English, French, Chinese, Spanish, etc.

      The system automatically retouches uploaded images.

      Flexibility and scalability

      The basic functions of the Sales Layer are available to all users. As the catalogue expands and the number of sales channels increases (as well as the need for additional functionality, such as connectors, languages, etc.), the company will have to switch to more expensive tariffs.

      Sales Layer is the best coice for

      Businesses of any scale. It is in demand among multinational global companies that have more than 100,000 SKUs in their base.

      License costs

      Three tariffs for companies with different functionality needs.
      1
      The Premium tariff allows having up to 10 users working in the PIM system You can connect not more than 20 connectors. The maximum directory size is 150,000 SKU. The limit of five language versions.
      2
      The Enterprise tariff is designed for companies with up to 300,000 SKUs in the base. Not more than 35 employees can work with the information. The system stores a maximum of 10 language versions of product descriptions. Up to 35 connectors are supported.
      3
      Enterprise Plus is a tariff with the most complete Sales Layer functionality: the number of users, connectors, SKUs, and language versions is unlimited.
      Information about the tariff plans and the prices is provided upon request.

      Salsify

      en: Salsify PIM interface
      Salsify PIM interface
      Salsify is not only a PIM system, but also a commerce experience platform – a platform that handles all the product data, prices, consumer experience, product promotion experience, digital data, etc.

      Cloud-based. Individual microservices support multi-tenancy.

      Salsify functionality

      1
      PIM functions: managing information about products and product groups.
      Editing, tracking, and enriching information, uploading to sales channels, complex taxonomy and relationships between products.
      Multichannel support: information changes according to the requirements of the sales channel.
      2
      DAM functions: centralized loading and orderly storage of digital assets, digital asset management, DAM synchronization with existing business processes, checking the relevance of digital assets, etc.
      3
      PxM functions: content management in accordance with customer interests and expectations.
      4
      Data accumulation and analysis to get market insights.
      5
      Integration with marketplaces and sales platforms via social networks.

      Additional features

      A separate product within Salsify platform is a live chat with digital shoppers embedded directly in a website or online store.

      Flexibility and scalability

      Salsify was built with the microservice architecture, parts of the system support multi-tenancy. This allows companies to optimize the cost of platform ownership. Salsify provides the opportunity to use only the services that you need, and scale the platform if it's required due to the company's growth.

      Salsify is the best coice for

      Retailers, who work across multiple channels or sell products of several brands. The system is designed for work of large teams and for the processing of large amounts of constantly changing data.

      License costs

      The cost of license starts at $ 25,000 per year. The price depends on the number of users and their roles, the selected functionality and the cloud data storage capacity.

      Summary: what PIM system to choose

      At first glance, if we consider the PIM functionality, there is no great difference between the review participants. Of course, each system has its own features and extra functions that might be necessary for a business (although they can also coincide). In that case, how can you choose an exact product to integrate into the IT infrastructure of your business, if a theoretical review of the functionality is not quite helpful?

      At the stage of choosing an exact product, it is important to understand whether it fits the current IT architecture of the company, how it can affect the existing processes, what problems are possible during integration or further system scaling.

      IT consulting can help you clarify all these points. After analyzing your business, the existing processes and goals for the next few years, the consultant will reduce the number of options to two or three.

      The next step is requesting a demo from the vendor or its partner. You will be able to see how the systems look and operate, if they have a convenient interface and which of the claimed functions you really need.

      In our experience, these two stages are sufficient to make a decision and start the integration of a PIM system – or any other system in the company's IT infrastructure.

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      Read More


      This article will be useful for those who have to manage large amounts of information about products and categories — e-Commerce platforms, delivery services, and omnichannel networks.

      Differences between MDM, PIM, and PXM systems. Akeneo and Pimcore – what is the key differences between the two?

      PIM system is a master system for managing products. It allows managing the rules of content addition and the display of product information, as well as the display of information in different channels, with regard to their specifics.

      It is part of the company's IT contour that is tightly integrated with other systems.

      PIM systems

      You can discuss any questions you have about your IT project with our expert.
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