What is PIM? Top Tips To Enhance Your Product Catalog

October 15, 2023

product catalog

Walking through the aisles of your favorite store is an experience in itself. 

As you browse through products and pick up the most appealing ones, you don’t just purchase them right away; you dive into the story that the product is trying to tell via the product label. 

The product label gives you a purchase narrative. It includes care instructions, ingredients, pricing, directions for use, expiration dates, and so on to ensure you are well-informed before you make the purchase.

The above is an ideal scenario when shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. Online shopping looks quite different. When you shop online, product catalogs are your storytellers. They are the silent salesmen who give you the experience of immersing into a product and unraveling its story.

However, product catalogs come bearing more information and a range of components.

What is a product catalog?

A product catalog is a comprehensive and organized collection of information about a product.

It provides detailed descriptions, images, specifications, pricing, and other relevant data for each item. The objective of a product catalog is to help customers make an informed purchase decision in an online world where tangibility is not possible.

What are the components of a product catalog?

  • Product name or title: The name or title of the product that is descriptive and compelling.
  • Product description: A detailed description of the product's features, benefits, and use cases.
  • Product images: High-quality images showcasing the product from various angles.
  • Product specifications: Technical details and specifications, including dimensions, weight, materials, and more.
  • Pricing: The cost of the product, including any discounts or special offers.
  • Availability: Information on product availability, stock levels, backorders, and pre-order options.
  • Stock keeping unit (SKU) or product code: A unique identifier for the product, often used for inventory management.
  • Categories and subcategories: Organized sections that group similar products for easier navigation.
  • Product variations: Different versions or options of the same product, such as sizes, colors, or models.
  • Product reviews and ratings: Customer reviews and ratings to provide social proof and feedback.
  • Additional information: Supplementary details, such as warranty information, assembly instructions, or care guidelines.
  • Brand information: Details about the manufacturer or brand, including its history and mission.
  • Customer support: Contact information for customer support, including phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Related products: Suggestions for related or complementary products to encourage upselling and cross-selling.
  • Product labels or tags: Labels or tags that highlight specific product attributes, such as "new arrival" or "best seller."
  • QR codes or barcodes: Codes that can be scanned for quick access to product information or inventory tracking.
  • Call to action (CTA) buttons: Buttons that prompt users to add the product to their cart or perform other actions.

The role of product information management (PIM)

PIM plays a crucial role in enhancing the product catalog.

Product information management (PIM) platform brings structure and discipline to product catalog management and creation. It helps reduce errors and increase the efficiency of taking the product catalogs to market faster.

It helps in making the catalogs crisp and compelling and enables contribution from all the necessary stakeholders a piece of cake. It also helps enrich the catalogs, localize them for any region, and make the catalogs compliant with different channel requirements.

5 tips to enhance your product catalog

Let’s now look at the role of PIM in enhancing product catalogs in detail.

1. Centralize all catalog information

Let’s take an example of a furniture product - a wooden work table. When a buyer lands on the product page of this wooden work desk, they look at the product title, description, warranty, assembly instructions, materials used, care instructions, images, videos, reviews, and more before making a purchase decision.

What the buyer sees on the product page is 360-degree information that aids them with all the data that they need. But, for this information to be presented in such a crisp and digestible way, it takes multiple steps.

The data about the dimensions and the materials used comes from the manufacturer of the wooden table in spreadsheets, the suppliers give data in XMLs, and the in-house teams provide marketing information and descriptions in folders and documents. 

Your product catalog is then meticulously crafted to perfection by stitching together all this information. Without a PIM, the product catalog is created manually, leading to errors, inconsistencies, and poorly presented information.

The role of PIM: PIM enhances your product catalog. It centralizes and streamlines this variety of information flowing in. Bringing together all this information in a centralized repository helps create a single source of truth so that there are no errors and data discrepancies.

2. Enrich product catalog with more information

Product data in its raw format has just basic information. However, a customer-facing catalog must be rich with all the information to the smallest attribute details and media assets. 

Look at the following example of how enriched data differs from original data.

Attribute Original data Enriched data
Product name Basic t-shirt Premium organic cotton t-shirt
Description Plain white t-shirt High-quality organic cotton t-shirt
Image Generic image Multiple high-resolution images showcasing design and fit
Fabric composition Not specified 100% organic cotton
Care instructions Not provided Detailed care instructions (machine wash, tumble dry)
Customer reviews No reviews Customer ratings (4.8/5 stars) with reviews
Availability In stock In stock, ships within 1-2 business days
Material origin Not specified Sourced from sustainable farms
Sustainability information Limited details Certified organic, eco-friendly packaging
Size chart Basic sizing information Detailed size chart with measurements
Related products None Suggests matching accessories and pants
Price history Fixed price Seasonal discounts and price history chart

Data enrichment refers to not just improving the existing information but also filling out the missing information.

The role of PIM: PIM helps enrich product information by automatically extracting the right information from the right source. It helps make a weak product catalog more attractive, comprehensive, and conversion-driven. A PIM also helps enrich the catalog with visual components like videos, images, PDFs, and more.

3. Ensure data accuracy and relevance across channels

A catalog cannot be called “done” with just one version. 

Depending on where you sell your products, the catalogs' structure and format change according to that channel's rules and guidelines.

Let’s look at an example of a handbag and how it is presented across two channels:

Platform A

Product title: "Elegant Leather Handbag - Brown"

Price: $149.99

Key attributes:

Material: Genuine Leather, Color: Brown, Size: Medium, Closure: Zipper

Platform B

Product title: "Brown Leather Handbag - Medium Size"

Price: $149.99 USD

Key attributes:

Material: Real Leather, Color: Brown, Durability: Crafted for long-lasting use with high-quality leather.

Warranty: Comes with a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.

Ideal for working professionals and fashion-conscious individuals.

This shows how the format and structure of the product catalog might vary, and the content should be personalized to meet its unique requirements.

The role of PIM: Without a PIM in place, the process of syndicating the right content in the right format would be done manually, resulting in excess time consumption, errors, and poor product experience. PIM, with its syndication and integration capabilities, helps distribute channel-compliant data seamlessly across channels.

4. Localize catalogs and improve experience

A good product catalog is one that is customized to fit the requirements of the geography to which it is catering. For instance, if your product catalog is catering to the Canadian market, you should have a catalog like this:

example of a product catalog

Source: Pimworks

Consider these components while localizing your catalog:

  • Pricing value
  • Local regulations
  • Units of measurement
  • Language
  • Shipping considerations (customs/duties)
  • Delivery time (local time)

The role of PIM: PIM helps in localizing the product catalog and personalizing it to meet the unique requirements of each region and the channels.

5. Iterate and polish customer-facing catalogs

A product catalog is never a one-person job, and there is no one-size-fits-all template. Creating an outstanding product catalog takes the effort of multiple stakeholders, such as content writers, graphic designers, SEO analysts, category experts, QA teams, and more.

The following list outlines the key roles involved in creating a product catalog and highlights the nature of their contributions to the catalog development process.

  • Product manager: Define the product catalog strategy, including product selection, pricing, and positioning.
  • Content writer: Create compelling and informative product descriptions, titles, and marketing content.
  • Photographer: Capture high-quality images of products, showcasing their features and details.
  • Graphic designer: Design visually appealing product images, banners, and layouts for print or online catalogs.
  • Data analyst: Analyze market trends and customer preferences to make data-driven decisions for product selection and catalog optimization.
  • Inventory manager: Ensure accurate stock levels and availability information are reflected in the catalog.
  • Web developer: Develop and maintain the online catalog platform, ensuring user-friendly navigation and search features.
  • Marketing team: Promote the catalog through various channels, including email, social media, and advertising.
  • Customer support: Address customer inquiries and feedback related to the catalog and its products.
  • Sales team: Use the catalog to facilitate sales conversations and provide product information to potential customers.
  • Supplier liaison: Coordinate with suppliers to source product data, images, and updates for the catalog.
  • Quality assurance: Ensure the catalog's functionality and content accuracy through testing and validation.

The role of PIM: PIM helps in breaking the silos both internally and externally by letting the key stakeholders collaborate from a single space. It allows people involved to tag, comment, assign, and speed up the entire process of catalog creation.

Improving the online shopping experience

A product catalog is the face of the online shopping experience. 

Hence, it is important to ensure the catalogs are accurate, compelling and consistent, and cater to every need of the customer.

There are a lot of challenges in creating and maintaining a catalog, and this is where a PIM comes in. A PIM platform helps streamline the complexities of product catalog management by centralizing the data, syndicating the right data in the right format, enabling collaboration and workflow creation, and more.

Learn how you can build brand awareness and trust by creating relevant and beautiful product detail pages

product information management (PIM) systems
Improve your product experience

Centralize and manage product information with PIM software for consistent data and a better buyer experience.

product information management (PIM) systems
Improve your product experience

Centralize and manage product information with PIM software for consistent data and a better buyer experience.

What is PIM? Top Tips To Enhance Your Product Catalog A PIM helps an e-commerce business manage and enhance their product data. From product titles and descriptions to digital assets, a PIM can give your product catalogs a makeover! https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/product%20catalog.jpg
Nandhini TS Nandhini is a Content Lead at PIMworks who loves writing. PIMworks is a product information management platform that helps eCommerce businesses store, manage, and syndicate product data. She loves posting useful content about PIM on LinkedIn. https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/nandhini%20TS.png https://www.linkedin.com/in/nandhini-ts/

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