PIM - What is it? Your ultimate Shopware and PIM Guide

17.10.2023
by Meike Müller
E-Commerce
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That's why you need a PIM for Shopware: functions, options and integration

You have a Shopware online store and many products? Or do you even sell on multiple platforms? Then you surely know what a hassle it is to maintain all product data correctly. But correct product information is essential for successful sales and happy customers. However, there is a solution how you can simplify the process of data maintenance and even improve your data quality. The solution is PIM! What you need to know about a PIM, how you can use it for your Shopware store and what options are available to you, you will learn everything in this article.

 

Reading time 10 min

Table of Contents:

 

What is a PIM?

You might be asking yourself "PIM, what is it?". But no problem, we'll briefly explain what it's all about. PIM stands for "Product Information Management". This means a system or software that helps to manage and organize products. Especially if you offer many products on different markets, a PIM can be a very useful tool.

 

Some possible functions of a PIM:

  • Management and storage of product info in one central location - this includes descriptions, technical data, prices as well as images and other media.
  • The ability to be integrated with other systems such as Shopware
  • Other tools that help with data quality and accuracy of product information
  • Multi-language support for global sales
  • Ability to create product catalogs for different markets and channels

 

This is why a PIM is important for online stores

A Product Information Management can be very important for online stores for several reasons. Because with a PIM, for example, you have centralized data management that collects all the information and organizes it in one place. In an online store, product information can come from a wide variety of sources. But especially when selling on different platforms from your own website to Amazon and Ebay, it can be very helpful to maintain the product data in one place. This way, the PIM can ensure that all product information is up-to-date. In addition, with the PIM your products can be transferred efficiently and quickly to all stores and the data quality can be improved, since you keep everything centrally and only have to revise it once. Search engine optimization is also easy with a PIM. With well-maintained and organized product information that follows well-known SEO rules, you can increase the visibility of your online store in search engines.

 

Another advantage of using a PIM is when you run an online store in multiple languages. With the PIM you can easily adapt all the information to the different languages, regional adaptations or cultural norms. In addition, a PIM system can grow and adapt to the needs of an expanding online store without the need for a complete overhaul of the data structure.

 

Who is Product Information Management suitable for?

The Product Information Management system is used in many companies in a wide range of industries. It is a good solution for e-commerce and multi-channel retailers, wholesalers and distributors as well as manufacturers, B2B companies and companies with international markets. But a PIM can also be useful in retail or retail chains, as it can be used to keep information consistent across stores and ensure that marketing and sales teams are always up to date. In addition, the PIM can also be used to catalog and organize content and media products, especially if they are distributed in different formats or through different channels. A PIM can also be used to catalog and organize content and media products, especially when they are distributed in different formats or through different channels. In industries with strict regulatory requirements, such as pharmaceuticals, managing product information can be complicated. A PIM can help keep this information in compliance.

 

Shopware and PIM: How to use a Product Information Management in Shopware

If you've determined that Product Information Management can be helpful to you, you still face the challenge of finding a PIM and integrating it into your business processes. For your Shopware store, for example, there are already plugins that interface with existing PIMs, which in turn can perform all your desired functions of a PIM for you. Before you do this, however, you should think about the requirements that need to be met so that you can use the PIM efficiently in your company.

 

Requirements analysis and planning

First of all, you start with planning and a requirements analysis. This is the best way to find out which PIM makes the most sense for you to use. With the following questions you can find out what your current state and your target state look like.

 

This is what your current state looks like - Questions:

  • Where is product data currently initially captured?
  • Which departments or teams are responsible for product data collection?
  • Which sales channels are currently served, and what are their specific product data requirements?
  • Where and how is product data currently prepared and adapted for the various sales channels?
  • Are specific tools or systems currently used to manage product data (e.g. ERP systems, databases)?
  • What challenges and difficulties arise from current product data management?
  • How is product data currently synchronized with the online store?
  • What other systems are involved in product data management (e.g. CRM, warehouse management systems)?

 

This is how it should look with a PIM - questions for the target state:

  • Which future sales channels do you want to serve, and what are their product data requirements?
  • How many products or SKUs (stock keeping units) do you expect to manage in the near future?
  • What are your specific requirements for product data quality and integrity?
  • Which workflows and processes should be supported or automated by the PIM?
  • Are there specific functions or features that the PIM system should absolutely support (e.g. multilingualism, versioning, release processes)?
  • What integration requirements do you have? With which other systems must the PIM be able to communicate seamlessly?
  • What are your usability and user-friendliness requirements for the PIM system?
  • Are there specific security or data protection requirements that need to be considered?
  • What is the planned budget for the implementation and ongoing support of the PIM system?
  • What are the time constraints for the implementation?

 

Your goal should be to gain an understanding of what challenges currently exist in your organization and how a PIM should solve them in the future.

 

Market research: ready-made PIM or have it developed yourself?

Now that you know what your PIM needs to be able to do, you need to do some research to find the right PIM for you. Perhaps ready-made PIM systems already meet your requirements. However, if they are more specialized, you will need to have a product information management system developed.

First, you should take a closer look at existing PIMs. Examine aspects such as functions, user-friendliness and prices. Customer reviews can also give you a good idea of whether the PIM is a good choice. So that you don't have to spend so much time researching, we've picked out three Shopware plugins that you can use to integrate a PIM directly. In the next paragraph you will find all the details that might be important for your decision. Even if you want to know more about the development of an individual Product Information Management, you should stay tuned!

 

These ready-made solutions for PIMs are available in the Shopware Store

In the Shopware Store, you'll find a variety of extensions and integrations for your online store: from different payment methods to shipping tools. You can also install PIM integrations and interfaces directly here. We would now like to introduce you to three integrations with which you can manage your product data in a centralized manner. Maybe you will find a ready-made solution that meets your requirements.

 

The Shopware integration of Pimcore

Pimcore is not only a product information management, but now also offers other functions such as content management and digital asset management. However, the integrations of Pimcore that you can find for your Shopware store in the Shopware Store are always specialized in one of these functionalities. For example, you can download the integration "Pimcore Interface PIM (Product Data) for Shopware 6" to connect to the open source PIM from Pimcore. To do this, you must already be using version Pimcore 11 and Shopware 6.4 or higher.

 

More info about the PIM from Pimcore:

 

Features:

  • Product data from Pimcore is transferred to Shopware.
  • Processes for multilingualism and more can be integrated and workflows can also be integrated
  • User and role management
  • Data Quality Management to increase the quality of the data
  • Data such as product data, categories, properties and media from Shopware can be initially imported via the interface
  • Only changed data in Pimcore is re-transmitted to Shopware

Ease of use: Pimcore has a modern user interface and administrators have the ability to customize it to meet the needs and roles of user groups. There are also drag-and-drop functionalities that simplify handling

Price: The interface can be purchased on a monthly subscription starting at €399 per month or for €4,990

 

brickfox

Another option is brickfox. You can also download the interface to the PIM from brick fox in the Shopware Store. It is even free of charge! Brickfox aims to simplify the sales process for online retailers across multiple channels while increasing the efficiency and accuracy of their operations. Besides centralized product data management, brickfox has even more qualities, which makes it a multichannel management system.

 

Features:

  • Intelligent management of orders and inventory is a key feature of the platform
  • Direct and automated connections to leading marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Otto Market
  • Existing accounts and listings from Amazon and eBay can be seamlessly transferred into the system
  • For Amazon products, there is an option for manual allocation based on ASIN or MultiASIN and integration with eBay supports buy-it-now and allows implementation of dynamically customizable templates
  • There is an option to set individual text descriptions and pricing for each marketplace
  • Special mapping allows customization of categories and attributes for each sales channel

Ease of use: The user interface is well structured and integrations are easy to perform. With many multichannel solutions, the initial setup effort can be high.

Price: The interface plugin in Shopware costs nothing, the use of the PIM must be requested individually

 

Afterbuy

The next option that is already available to you from the Shopware Store is Afterbuy. Afterbuy offers extensive PIM features, but also much more. It's also CRM, has inventory management, and is often referred to as an ERP solution. What this means for you is that you get a lot of features at your fingertips with Afterbuy. In the Shopware Store you can find an interface to Afterbuy, which you can use for free. We have listed more information about the Afterbuy extension for Shopware here:

 

Functions:

  • Data maintenance in Shopware by transferring products from Afterbuy.
  • Filter options for the preparation enable choices such as drafting, deleting products and skipping products.
  • Consistent data management by integrating the category tree from Afterbuy into Shopware.
  • Automated media structure by submitting images and setting them up in Shopware.
  • Constant data source through a dedicated inventory update mechanism for ongoing synchronization of stock data.
  • Keywords from data sources by transferring keywords from Afterbuy to Shopware.
  • Complete preparation of orders by transferring Shopware orders back into Afterbuy.
  • Update shipping data by integrating updates from Afterbuy into Shopware.
  • Manage cancellations by transferring Afterbuy cancellations to Shopware.
  • Web-based status monitor to control active processes and detect errors in data transfer.

Ease of use: Afterbuy is intuitive to use. However, because the platform has so many features, it can also seem overwhelming at first. However, if questions arise, there is customer support available to help. If you're familiar with e-commerce, you shouldn't really have any problems finding your way around.

Price: The plugin is, as already mentioned, free. Of course, using Afterbuy itself costs something. There are three different versions, depending on how extensive you want it to be. You can also add different functions.

 

Have PIM developed

If you have now determined that no existing PIM completely fulfills your requirements or you have decided against such for another reason, then you can also have a Product Information Management developed yourself. Based on the questions you answered before, you can easily create a requirements document that can help your contracted agency to create a concept.

If we create your PIM, we would like to do a small workshop with you before starting the development. Because here we can work specifically to ensure that your new PIM meets all requirements and can be seamlessly linked to your online store and any marketplaces you may be using. After this workshop, the real work begins. First, our developers deal with the collected requirements and design a first prototype. This not only gives an insight into the final design, but also serves as a basis for the upcoming development. After you have reviewed this prototype and suggested any changes, the implementation of your PIM begins.

 

Implementation of the PIM in your Shopware store

Implementing a PIM can be challenging depending on your starting point. Even if we have developed a new PIM for you, integrating it into your existing IT landscape is always an exciting step. However, the PIM is designed to communicate smoothly with your Shopware store and other platforms you use. In an extensive test phase, we naturally ensure that all processes work smoothly.

But even ready-made PIMs have to be set up and implemented properly first. This is often not so easy for beginners and of course also a step that involves a certain amount of risk. It is important that the e-commerce system is up to date. A backup of the website and database will safeguard you against possible complications. After downloading the PIM plugin from the official website or the corresponding marketplace, it can be uploaded and installed in the e-commerce system. Following this, there are usually some basic settings to be made. These can be API keys or connection details to the PIM system, for example.

With the configuration complete, synchronization can be started. Depending on the amount of data, this process can take different amounts of time. After synchronization, it is advisable to check the data in the store and make sure that everything was transferred correctly. Depending on the results of the check, adjustments may be necessary. These can be done either through the plugin settings or directly in the PIM system.

A final, but not unimportant step is to regularly update the PIM plugin. Updates not only provide new features, but also close any security gaps.

 

Train your staff

Now your PIM is integrated with Shopware and all other sales channels. Now it's time to make sure it's used correctly and effectively in your business. For this, you should train your employees accordingly. If you have solved the integration of a PIM with EXWE, then we can also take care of the training of your employees. We will give you a workshop and familiarize them with the use of Product Information Management. Some PIM vendors also provide training material or offer services. In any case, it is important that the people who work in the PIM become familiar with the functionalities. Because that way you can avoid mistakes in the future and ensure smooth use of the PIM.

 

Help with the integration of a PIM

You need support with the implementation of a Product Information Management system? Whether it's an existing PIM system or you need a partner at your side to develop your own PIM: we are the right contact! As a specialized Shopware agency, we not only have extensive experience in setting up and customizing Shopware stores, but we can also help you integrate and develop PIM systems. With a team of dedicated developers, we are well prepared to develop individual solutions for your business.

Seamlessly connecting Shopware with a PIM system can make all the difference when it comes to managing your product data efficiently and error-free. And this is where we come in: from requirements analysis and development to implementation and training - we'll guide you through every step of the process. By the way, as a Shopware agency, we are also your experts for other Shopware-related needs.

 

Our conclusion on PIM

We hope that we were able to explain to you with our PIM definition what Product Information Management actually is and that you now have a good insight into whether and when a PIM can be useful for you. Developing and integrating a PIM into your Shopware store is undoubtedly an investment in the future of your business. Not only does it allow for more efficient management and distribution of product information, but it also ensures that your customers always receive the most up-to-date and accurate information. Training your staff plays a crucial role in realizing the full potential of your PIM system. At every stage, be it development, integration or training, it is important to rely on an experienced partner. And this is where we offer our expertise to ensure that your PIM project runs smoothly. Feel free to contact us - whether by phone or via our contact form.

 

Questions and answers about Shopware and PIMs

To conclude our detailed article on Shopware and Product Information Management, we would like to answer a few more questions that have been asked frequently in this context. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us at any time. We will be happy to help you!

  • What are the advantages of a self-developed PIM and what are the disadvantages?

    One of the advantages of a self-developed PIM is the high adaptability to the individual needs and requirements of your company. You can have it functionally tailored to exactly what your business needs. Integration can also be seamless, as development is based on the requirements of the sales channels you use. In addition, you don't pay for superfluous features, as only what you need is developed. Your PIM is unique and can also give you competitive advantages if it has specific features that are not available in standard PIMs. Another plus is that you have full control over data security and can decide how you store the data.

    But of course, there are downsides to developing your own PIM. The initial costs are usually higher than for a standardized solution. Also, it may take some time before you can put your Product Information Management into use. It is also your responsibility to update or maintain the PIM.

     

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of ready-made product management systems?

    Just like a self-developed PIM, there are also arguments in favor of choosing an existing system. For example, it can be implemented quickly and has already proven itself on the market. Depending on the PIM, there is also a good support team, updates on innovations and a community that actively contributes to improvements or can provide tips, help and explanations.

    The disadvantages include low flexibility, integration for special requirements and functions that complicate the application. After all, too many features can make a PIM too complex for your needs. Also, initial costs may be lower, but ongoing license fees and support costs over time can also add up.

Was ist dein Projekt? Wenn du uns darüber erzählen möchtest, rufen wir dich zurück!

 
Meike
Meike
from 17.10.2023

Hello, my name is Meike. I take care of the EXWE back office and am responsible for our social media channels. All of our articles are meant to make your life easier and help you make decisions. Nevertheless, it can happen that something remains unclear, so: If you have questions about this article you can easily reach me at +49 231 93149827.

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