How designated PIM software beats the spreadsheets

I’ve been making and working with Product Information Management (PIM) software for eCommerce since 2008 and have some thoughts I want to share.

First things first. My intro to PIM

PIM’s main idea is centralizing product content creation. Which is implemented through the 3 step-flow:
1. Collect ALL product information (Supplier price lists, Digital assets, Marketing materials, Buyers’ testimonials, Internal instructions for content managers).

2. Enrich product profile with valuable for end-user data (add a product to product hierarchies, translate product descriptions into a brand’s tone and language of the content consumer).

3. Distribute product info between all channels (Website, Mobile app, Amazon catalog, Facebook store page, eCommerce platform, etc). Get feedback, and go to 1.

And now to the main point of this article…

One of the most common “not to have PIM” reasons I’ve been getting — “we manage all our product descriptions in Excel spreadsheets, how PIM is better than this?”

My usual answer is that PIM is the one place where content is, it minimizes error possibility and allows simultaneous product catalog content updates by several parties.

And to elaborate on points above:

One ring to rule them all place to keep product content

PIM allows manufacturers and retailers to focus all content creation efforts in one place and maintain a consistent presence in all channels, as there is only one copy of the product profile, and only this copy will be distributed between content consumers. Hence this is not happening:

Example of inconsistent product descriptions on storefronts
PIM could help here to avoid inconsistency in product descriptions

Minimized error possibility

Via role-based access control.
So if a user with the Content Editor role must not change for instance product name from Supplier, they won’t be able to.

And with the help of UI.

PIM’s UI displays the numerous product attributes in a logically arranged groups, some attributes are references to pre-filled lists of possible values.
Also, PIM user interface helps content editors with tips for which mandatory data is missing.
And on top of things, there is a changelog of the product profile. So one can see when for instance the product title from Supplier was changed, compare the previous and current version of it, and edit the title for eCommerce channel if required.

PIM Workflow

PIM software has a certain workflow, during which product profile is gradually getting closer and closer to a “ready for publishing” state.
Workflow is transparent for the company staff so that the digital assets team would know which products are waiting for a photo.
As a result content editors would be able to distinguish and prioritize the new products with yet empty profiles and the products, which content requires immediate attention and corrections. And all of them are able to work in parallel.


And to bring the issue to the close ask yourself: “Can I achieve all of the above with the help of spreadsheets?”. Probably not!

Thanks for reading! Hope it was interesting.

I would love to get any feedback on the topic or discuss anything on PIM matters in general.
Feel free to contact me at or

Maria Seretkina