What is a PIM solution and how do I choose one?

What is a PIM solution and how do I choose one?

Adopting a PIM solution can be a smart choice for all types of businesses. Indeed, this type of solution is intended to help brands better manage their product data. In concrete terms, with a PIM solution or software, sales departments no longer need to manually enter data concerning their products. But beyond any practical aspect, integrating a PIM solution into its operation is also an opportunity to implement a new data management and analysis strategy.

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What is a PIM?

The acronym PIM stands for “Product Information Management”, to be translated into French as “Gestion de l’information produit”. A PIM is not limited to a simple database. It is a software or a digital solution whose purpose is to collect, organize, compile and exploit the product data of a brand or a company in the service of an overall strategy. .

Among the features offered by a PIM, users can enjoy, among others:

  • A product information structuring interface.
  • Tools to help write editorial content.
  • Workflow formatting modules.
  • The ability to import product data from their website or an external document.

Why set up a PIM?

If setting up a PIM in a company allows first of all to constitute a single and centralized space in which to store and put in order all the data produced, a software or a PIM solution can also be used for the following reasons:

  • Add information to the descriptions of each product and, thus, cross-reference the product information with all the brand’s strategic sectors (marketing, for example).
  • Translate product descriptions more easily, especially in the case of a multilingual website.
  • Export and share product data in various formats (XLSX, XML, ETIM) and towards several communication channels (other software or business solution, printed document, online product catalog, etc.)

In summary, companies generally turn to a PIM when they need to recentralize their product data, scattered between different documents, sometimes on different machines, or to facilitate the simultaneous distribution of their product information on several channels.

Another very common case that can encourage companies to switch to PIM: product information that is not or only slightly updated due to complex modification processes. It may also be that the product data needs to be structured in order to be more readable both for the users and for the collaborators of the company which markets it. Integrating PIM software is, in this case, the most suitable solution.

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How to choose a PIM solution?

The mode of deployment of the PIM solution

The possibilities of deploying the PIM software constitute the first criterion on which to base oneself to choose the solution best suited to the company’s challenges. The most common deployment modes for a PIM solution are SaaS and On-Premise.

On the one hand, SaaS (Software As A Service) is an off-site, cloud-based deployment mode. To access data stored on a SaaS, it is therefore necessary to connect remotely using the Internet. SaaS hosting is, in the vast majority of cases, supported by the publisher of the PIM solution.

On the other hand, the On-Premise deployment mode consists of physically and locally installing the PIM solution at the heart of the company’s IT environment. In this case, it buys a license. Hosting is also taken care of by the company’s servers. To connect to it, it is therefore not necessary to establish an Internet connection, but simply to define authorizations for each employee of the company.

To choose between a SaaS and On-Premise deployment mode, it is strongly advised to take the time to audit the company’s data storage needs. Thus, large companies that retain sensitive data will instead turn to the autonomy of On-Premise deployment. Smaller structures, for their part, will find it easier to send their data to a delocalized space, although this implies a certain dependence on the editor of the PIM solution.

The integrator-publisher behind the PIM solution

Several PIM solutions are available on the market. However, some are developed by a software publisher while others are also implemented by an integrator.

So, publisher, integrator, what’s the difference? A software publisher is simply a company that develops a solution to meet the needs of its customers, particularly that of collecting and storing their product data. The software publisher only sells the solution to the company, which must, for its part, ensure its integration into its own work environment.

As for the publisher, it includes in its mission the process of deploying the PIM solution at all levels of the company. It can also support data hosting, if the client company has chosen a SaaS deployment mode.

The needs relating to the sector of activity of the company which wishes to switch to PIM

The sector of activity of the company at the origin of a project to implement a PIM solution is important since it sometimes involves very different issues. Thus, it is more advantageous for a company processing sensitive product data (in the medical field, for example) to turn to a solution that can be deployed locally on its own servers.

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The sector of activity also has a direct link with publishers and integrators of PIM solutions. Over time, some of them have forged a solid reputation in certain fields in particular, by developing a business vision of the software they market. If the business needs for storing and prioritizing product data are very specific, turning to a specialized, business-oriented solution can make great sense.

The ergonomics of the PIM solution

In addition to the functionalities offered by the various PIM solutions on the market, the ergonomics and architecture of the software interface constitute a criterion for choosing the software best suited to the needs of the company. Of course, this decision directly depends on the level of training of employees in digital tools.

In any case, it is advisable to opt for an easy-to-learn solution in order to engage all the people concerned in the process of integrating a PIM solution. Opting for a PIM publisher that has produced and made available documentation for users is also a relevant choice to optimize the transition to a PIM approach.

The possibilities of integrating the PIM solution into the company’s ecosystem

The possibilities of integrating the PIM solution or software into its digital ecosystem should also guide the company in choosing the best PIM solution to adopt.

For example, if this IT environment is composed, among other things, of CRM software such as HubSpot (or an ERP solution), it may be interesting to compare the possibilities of integrating certain functionalities of the PIM solution with these tools. . Thanks to APIs in particular, sales or marketing processes can be optimized.

The overall cost of the PIM solution

In the form of a monthly subscription to an online solution or the annual payment of a computer license, the cost of the PIM solution for the company is a major element to be taken into consideration during the selection phase.

To determine the budget to commit to moving towards a PIM approach, company managers must take into account the price of the license initially, but also that of the regular maintenance of the tool. To plan for any additional costs, it is also necessary to ensure that the formula proposed by the publisher makes it possible to create an account on the tool for all the employees of the company. In summary, it is necessary to anticipate an increase in the expenses in PIM in the event that this solution would engage new collaborators in the future.

Examples of PIM solutions

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Afineo is a French business-oriented PIM solution. Flexible and easy to use, this tool offers numerous deployment possibilities in a short time. It is therefore ideal for companies wishing to switch to PIM without setting up overly complex processes and involving their employees directly in the handling of a PIM solution.

Afineo allows its users:

  • To create and share product sheets of several brands and/or several suppliers from a single interface.
  • To create “assets”, that is to say categories corresponding, for example, to several brands of the company to better prioritize product data.
  • Disseminate data in so-called “native” formats (XLSX, CSV, TXT, XML) so that they can be processed on all types of interfaces.
  • Automate export flows when distributing product data to tools like Magento, Amazon or any other ERP.


OneBase is also part of the French PIM solutions. Its specificity compared to the rest of the selection is to be totally tailor-made. In fact, its tariff offer adapts to the functionalities desired by the company.

Among the advantages of OneBase, the fact of offering an unlimited number of users, data storage projects or even languages ​​is a strong argument when choosing a PIM solution. Its multi-sector orientation (e-commerce, training, construction or logistics) is an additional criterion that makes OneBase a reliable option.


Originally, Pimalion was a massive data import solution. The tool includes a module called “ETL” (Extract Transform Load), but also the key features of a PIM tool:

  • Management of product sheets.
  • Manual or automated processing of product information.
  • Linguistic management according to the preferred distribution channels.
  • Ability to customize product sheets.
  • Integrated search engine.
  • History of data file versions.

Finally, Pimalion is ideal for supporting the implementation of a multi-channel or cross-channel commercial strategy since it includes a publication tool, allowing you to create media campaigns or to format print or web product catalogs.


For companies whose goal is to gain efficiency in the distribution of product data to a website, Quable is the ideal PIM solution. The tool responds to an increasingly common challenge, as the density of product catalogs increases: improving the processes for updating brands’ online product offerings.

Among its features, Quable offers:

  • Monitoring the life cycle of product data in real time thanks to an integrated dashboard.
  • Assistance in updating product sheets and editing images.
  • An automated product classification and modification engine.
  • The ability to bulk import and export product data.
  • Assistance in translating the content produced.

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