This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best PIM system and other master data management (MDM) solutions.
What Is PIM Software?
PIM software is a tool or set of tools that helps retailers, including ecommerce retailers, produce and manage the product content needed across various digital channels (not to be confused with personal information managers, another “PIM” acronym). For example, you may need a single source for product meta descriptions or you may need a catalog maker.
Thanks to COVID-19 and the allure of shopping by smartphone, ecommerce has witnessed a spike in demand. Brands now need to contend with organizing large amounts of product data and feeding accurate information out to a variety of online shopping portals.
The types of product information typically compiled in PIM software may include:
Technical data: size/measurements, color choices, ingredients, etc.
Usage data: How, when, where to use it, etc.
Emotional data: product stories, metadata descriptions, etc.
Media files: images, text files, vidoes, etc.
Digital catalog platform data: Number of products, variations of products, seasonal listings, etc.
Compare The 10 Best Tools for Enterprise PIM
You might be wondering: Which PIM software is best? It will depend on your specific use case and what exactly you need out of the tool in question. That’s why I’ve written this article to help you suss out which PIM tool may serve your needs the best.
In this post, I’ll highlight a few of the best PIM solutions and explain how they can help manage all of your product information in the context of the ecommerce sales and marketing pipelines. I will also provide a quick evaluation of some of the highest performing PIM software on the market today.
The product information management market is a $11.4 billion industry and it continues to grow. If you don’t currently use any PIM tools, you most likely will have to reassess that thinking as it becomes the ecommerce industry standard.
The Best PIM Software List
Here’s a shortlist of the best PIM software. Find more details below:
What are we looking for when we select a product information management platform for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI): Does the PIM tool centralize and optimize access to everything you need for product experience management (PXM)? Does the software prioritize user experience when it comes to accessing product descriptions and other business critical data?
Usability: Is the PIM tool an all-in-one solution across departments: marketers, sales channels, data governance? Does the tool offer easy and actionable feedback on data quality for product content management? Does the PIM tool succeed in decreasing product time-to-market?
Integrations: There are two touchpoints of integration that need to be considered for PIM software: Does the software connect with a large variety of storefront platforms, like Google, Amazon, eBay, and Shopify? Secondly, does the PIM tool offer connection with workspace and social app ecosystems like Asana, Slack, and email integration?
Value for $: Is the price affordable, flexible, and transparent? Is there a free trial for new users? Is the pricing scheme accommodating to both large and small companies alike? Is it SaaS or a single license pay scheme?
PIM Software Key Features
When evaluating PIM software, I look for these key features:
Catalog management integration: Does the tool offer some sort of catalog management tool or does it integrate with popular catalog management systems?
Data Import: Does the data management solution make it easy to import data from external sources with minimal manual intervention? Does it speak to common platforms and file types for easy data importing?
Editing Ease: Does the software accommodate bulk editing capabilities, version restoration, and other tools to make product data management a breeze?
Category Management: Is creating and assigning product categories easy to do? Are there pre-built categories for quick uploads? Can categories be changed, searched, and sorted?
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Overviews Of The 10 Best PIM Software
Here’s a brief description of each PIM tool that is featured on this top 10 list.
The Widen Collective is a cloud-based PIM solution and digital asset management (DAM) tool that helps you deliver unified content across different sources. The tool includes catalog management, automatic file conversions, and image recognition-powered auto-tagging. The Widen Collective has robust search features, including predictive search and faceted search to help users find what they need.
One great feature of the tool is the unlimited Portals, which allow users to distribute content to any person or team. This feature lets you create a subset of assets and share it with full control and flexibility. The Widen Collective’s robust DAM capabilities make it the choice for companies that rely on visual content, like photography, videos, and illustrations.
One thing to note is that the Portal security settings are quite basic and won’t cover complex cases, like HIPAA compliance in healthcare, and so on. This is a small con compared to the robust offerings Widen Collective has for DAM and PIM. Additional asset search features (like search by region, etc.) would be welcomed.
Widen integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Experience Manager, Amazon Web Services, Asana, Basecamp, Box, Brightcove, Clarifai, Digimarc, Dropbox, Drupal, Enwoven, Google Drive, Hannon Hill, Highspot, Hootsuite, Jahia, JIRA, Khoros, Modus, OneDrive, ProductsUp, Salesforce, Salsify, SAP Hybris, Sharepoint, Shotflow, Showpad, Shutterstock, Sitecore, Slack, Smartsheet, Tint, Trello, Venzee, WordPress, and Workfront. Plus, you can access hundreds more through a paid plan with Zapier.
Contact Widen for pricing. They offer a free trial in a sample site as well as a personalized demo.
Formerly IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management Collaborative Edition, IBM Product Master combines enterprise-grade product information management and collaborative master data management (MDM) capabilities. Their flexible and adaptive data modeling means that you can add new products or insert new attributes to existing product types means that you can make changes quickly across the company network.
IBM Product Master is a great enterprise-grade PIM tool right out of the box. IBM offers other first-party connectors that can integrate with Product Master and increase the functionality of your system. Additionally, scalability is not a problem as IBM offers plenty of support for upgrading—be it onboarding additional users or expanding your feature set.
IBM Product Master is robust but tends to be a bit inflexible. There isn’t a sandbox environment for new developers to play around in, so some extra on-site training will be required to get them up and running with the tool. Integrations and feature expansion is not a DIY task; you’ll want to employ an IBM expert to help you scale and change.
IBM Product Master integrates easily with other IBM software, such as Watson Assistant, IBM Cognos Analytics on Cloud, Sterling Supply Chain Insights with Watson, Qradar SIEM, Inventory Visibility, and more. The IBM Cloud Pak for Integration can be used to connect to other apps. They offer flexible REST/web services to do so fast.
IBM Product Master costs from $31,000/month and offers a free demo.
Informatica is a cross-channel PIM solution designed to deliver trusted, relevant product information where you need it most. B2B and B2C PIM environments are both supported in this end-to-end master data management (MDM) solution. Embedded, automated quality checks keep product data uniform and up to preset standards while cloud-based tools for data mapping give you a big picture idea of your data pipelines and digital endpoints.
Informatica offers configurable task- and role-based user interfaces, meaning that the data you see on your dashboard will always fit your particular use case and needs. Whether you are collaborating with internal or external data contributors, you can control what data they see and how they see it. You can streamline product, vendor, and supplier information through a single trusted data source. Informatica is a great choice for handling large numbers of product records but might be too much for most SMBs.
A small thing to note is that Informatica doesn’t always handle binary large objects (BLOB) or character large objects (CLOB) data very well. If you are handling plenty of large or complex images, audio, video data, or large amounts of string data, then Informatica may slow you down some. Really, this can be worked around by just leaving yourself more time to learn the ins-and-outs of picky data types.
Informatica integrates with over 145 apps like Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Netsuite, Tableau, Workday, Snowflake, Zendesk, Zoho, Twitter, QuickBooks, and more. Users can import, export, synchronize, or replicate data between any connected apps.
Informatica costs from $1000/month and offers a free 30-day trial.
Feedonomics bills itself as a full-service product feed management system with PIM capabilities intertwined. The software collects, organizes, and optimizes your product data, providing data insights unique to different ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon and Google shopping. Feedonomics can also help you automate order fulfillment across channels.
Unlike some of the more enterprise-oriented PIM solutions (see: IBM Product Master and Informatica), Feedonomics is incredibly intuitive to use with clearly flagged red and green text markets to direct what data needs to be entered or transformed. Feedonomics partners directly with Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Walmart and can leverage these relationships for any ecomm remarketing efforts.
Feedonomics offers a ton of data fields and columns—which is great, unless you aren’t using them, then it just adds clutter. The ability to remove templated fields would go a long way to helping users feel more organized and in control of their data. Additionally, the admin interface can be a bit overwhelming to start; leave some extra training/exploration time as you onboard.
Feedonomics integrates with Shopify, Magneto, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Volusion, Netsuite, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Google Shopping, Facebook Shops, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. Feedonomics Marketplace Matrix can help you connect eCommerce destinations to one another; like Magneto to Amazon, for example.
Feedonomics costs from $199/month and offers a free demo.
5. Productsup – Best drag-and-drop publisher templates
Productsup is a PIM and product content syndication software solution used by the likes of Yves Rocher, Esprit, and Garmin. Users can import and export data to a long list of data sources, shopping platforms, and shop systems regardless of data format or size. Productsup provides a means for data aggregation, optimization, standardization, and enrichment across all channels.
Productsup’s customer support service is top-notch, replying to queries with tireless enthusiasm and constantly adding to their roadmap based on user feedback. Additionally, Productsup has sped up the process of building new feeds by providing drag-and-drop templates for popular publishers like Google, Facebook, Shopify, Amazon, and Yahoo.
Productsup’s current knowledge base is a work-in-progress so finding documentation for their extensive list of features may not be an entirely satisfying experience. Their customer service team is very receptive and attentive but users may not feel empowered to self-teach or problem-solve with the current level of native onboarding material.
Productsup comes with 2000+ built-in export integrations. Users can also request a custom integration. You can connect with Google Shopping, Amazon Marketplace, Facebook Dynamic Ads, and more.
Productsup costs from $1800/month and offers a free demo.
Agility is dedicated to revising print as a part of an omnichannel marketing strategy, particularly in the wake of GDPR and other regulations for digital marketing that require double opt-ins from customers before you can start reaching out. Agility turns your raw product data into PIM-generated custom publications that come in multiple languages and pricing schemes.
Agility attends to the multichannel platform support that you are accustomed to with PIM software but puts a special emphasis on print capabilities for product managers interested in catalogs, PDFs, and flipbooks. Products, images, and information are linked in the system so that you can project that data onto print projects or websites easily.
Agility is better suited for mid-sized and enterprise-level companies and would most likely be overbearing for startups and smaller teams. The tool could also use a way to more easily search and organize past payments, as this function currently relies on the user digging through A/R payment inquiries rather than just displaying information by date in the Sold-To window.
Agility integrates with Adobe, Magneto, Lingo24, Redhat, Insite, Intership, Melissa Data, IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, Pentaho, EPI, Microsoft Excel, and SAP.
Agility offers customized pricing upon request and has a free demo.
Pimcore is an open source product information management solution with data modeling, data management, quality management, workflow management, DAM, omnichannel publishing, and easy integrations with both third-party applications and marketplaces.
The community edition of Pimcore is open source and entirely free to use forever. A free plan will net you an open source GPLv3 software license with publicly accessible source code. For IP protection (private source code), you can upgrade to either the enterprise or unlimited plan. The free Pimcore plan comes with PIM/MDM/CDP/DAM; DXP/CMS/commerce; and unlimited entities, data, and users.
Pimcore’s current DAM asset portal extension is not compatible with mobile devices so you won’t find reliable compatibility with iOS or Android smartphones. Highly collaborative teams will also find that there is no way to track who is making edits to product data in real-time, which may result in accidentally overriding simultaneous changes.
Pimcore integrates with popular business enterprise systems (like ERP, CRM, BI, ESB) as well as external third-party applications. They provide a standard API, a full-featured REST Webservice API, and a Data Hub GraphQL API for additional two-way connection opportunities. Users can access 1600 pre-integrated marketing, shopping, retail, and business channels as well as simple Microsoft Excel connectivity through the import and export of CSV and XLSX spreadsheets. Most enterprise integrations are limited to their paid plans.
Pimcore offers a free community plan. Additionally, free demos of the paid plans are also available.
Syndigo is a content experience hub (CXH) that unites manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailer recipients to optimize PIM solutions. Syndigo boasts over 250K available product attributes for hyper-detailed product differentiation. Additionally, the tool is designed to parse said data and offer optimization feedback and product status alerts.
Syndigo is designed to monitor all product content to provide improvement alerts, actionable customer insights, business-critical product KPIs, and vendor health scores for incorrect or missing product information. Syndigo’s strong take on uniting PIM solutions with storefront analytics is something ecommerce managers will find particularly enlightening.
Syndigo has a pay per SKU service subscription model, meaning that companies with larger product databases may be eventually priced out. Bulk editing product information can also be tricky, as larger volumes of data may prevent the page from auto-generating records. A workaround for this is to download an Excel file, make batch changes, and then reupload.
Syndigo integrates with storefronts for 1,500+ retailers globally including Walmart, Costco, FreshDirect, Amazon, and Instacart.
Syndigo offers customized pricing upon request and has a free demo.
InRiver PIM is an intuitive, collaborative PIM solution that collects everything from marketing text, images, videos, specifications, 3-D drawings, instruction manuals, and more with support in all 258 ISO languages. Product managers can leverage smart image recognition technology to help auto-populate attributes like colors, descriptions, and tagging.
InRiver offers a robust self-service portal for resellers where product managers can actually control what data these unique users have access to for searching and downloading. InRiver actually supports multiple means of collaboration between teams of an internal-external or cross-departmental nature, including built-in Gantt chart functionality for campaign timelines.
A downside of InRiver is that it lacks digital asset management (DAM) organizational functions. In fact, the platform itself admits that it’s best suited for organizations looking to consolidate data sets out of the limited DAM for the ease of use of suppliers, distributors, retailers, and online marketplaces.
InRiver integrates with 1WorldSync, Adobe, Amla Commerce, Apptus, Aprimo, Blosm, Boarding, Channable, Cloudcraze, DataFeedWatch, Floxbox, Infor, Kentico, LiveWords, Magento, Microsoft, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, SDL, Semantix, ShopLigiQ, Shoppa, Snap36, Videoly, Wipcore, and more. InRiver can also connect to any source data system using their inRiver REST API.
InRiver offers customized pricing upon request and has a free demo.
10. Akeneo – Best PIM with built-in task management
Akeneo is a free open-source PIM software that caters to collaborative product teams who want to divide and conquer data entry with consistency and quality. Users can divide product data tasks among themselves and easily track how many items have yet to be started, are in progress, and are currently complete. Each product page also provides enrichment and consistency scores for data.
Akeneo is PIM software-meets-project management, incorporating both data quantity and quality measurements as well as collaboration and teamwork assistance. The GUI is sleek and intuitive, making it easy for users to bounce between product information, DAM, and task management. The progress tracking dashboard will quickly show you which products are a WIP.
Akeneo does a lot well but their services are limited when it comes to solutions for product substitutions, product cross-referencing, upselling, and cross-selling opportunities. Additionally, the product variant modeling is the only part of the UI that stands out as not being very user-friendly, requiring complicated importing and exporting of base product templates.
Akeneo integrates with your tool stack using rich REST and Events APIs. Native app integrations include popular ecommerce Platforms like Adobe Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Google Shopping, Spryker, PrestaShop, OroCommerce, ShopifyPlus, and more.
Akeneo has an open source and free community edition with some feature limitations. Paid plans offer customized pricing upon request and have a free demo.
Is PIM the same as product catalog management software?
Not quite. PIM is often internal-only data whereby a controlled set of information points are available for customer perusal. On the other hand, catalog data management usually involves the consolidation of ALL data into a single point of reference for both the merchant and the customer. These two types of systems may share some of the same features, like the storage of product images and metadata descriptions.
How much does PIM software usually cost?
While certain entry-level PIM software is free to use, most of the time a good product management system comes with a cost. Companies can expect to pay anywhere from $199/month all the way up to 1000+/month. Your price will often depend on the number of SKUs, number of users, number of distribution channels, etc., that your company needs.
What Do You Think About These PIM Retail Systems?
Have you tried out any PIM software listed above? Do you have any product information solutions that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments.
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