Why your business needs PIM (Product Information Management System)

Why is PIM one of the most important retail tools?

Because this system has developed alongside commerce itself. In the age of continuously growing amounts of data, new sales channels, and increasing service speed, retailers need a centralized solution now more than ever before.

A Product Information Management System is like the central warehouse of a retailer‘s inventory — it’s one of the most crucial parts in the sales process.

In short, PIM takes all aspects of inventory management under one roof.

PIM assembles all product-related activities into one function: creating a product or service, product grouping, batches, brands, matrix products, bundles, combined products, and more.

If you’re looking for a way to help products smoothly reach all sales channels, you need a reliable Product Inventory Management system.

Who should use PIM?

Let’s say your store started with 50 items. In addition to those items, you need to enter approximately 100 data points, descriptions, explanations, and perhaps 10 pictures for each. As your business grows, and inventory expands, adding and managing new products becomes a full-time job. And if your business opens new sales channels, all of these items also need a separate – and again, manual – data entry.

With PIM, all your data is easily manageable from one place and, if necessary, can be transferred with a single click. With PIM, the size of the company is irrelevant – implementation is mainly impacted by your business’ industry. All retailers should use a Product Information Management System. Clothing or electronic stores with a wide range of products greatly benefit from PIM’s strong management tools, such as transportation or maintenance.

Why does your business need PIM?

When different employees enter products/services into your product catalogue it’s likely that everyone has their own method of data entry. People enter information at their own pace, per their stylistic preferences, and according to their own abilities and knowledge. This might lead to poorly organized information that’s incomplete or even useless at times when it is needed most.

With PIM, your products always have a logical hierarchy, and you can promptly find the product information – name, description, measurements, packaging, warranty/control, user info; all this follows the same standard and is flawless in every channel. Besides, with Erply PIM, you can determine – as the owner or manager – the data quality variables, and decide which fields are mandatory to fill out by the employees inserting data.

PIM also helps your business tackle omnichannel retail. Easily create multi-language content, insert pictures and videos, and add new categories and catalogues. The more specific you are in your product description, the easier it is for you to create targeted discounts, promotional sales, purchase orders, and more moving forward.

Creating detailed product cards is the easier way to run a successful webshop. Don’t just write “t-shirt”, but specify the design printed on it, sleeve length, theme, season, etc. PIM allows you to do all that. And if you’re not ready for a webshop just yet, PIM makes the transition easy by enabling you to store this valuable data beforehand.

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3 measurable things that PIM provides your business

  • Fewer errors – meaning a smoother work process and happier employees.
  • Timesaving – meaning a more profitable business and streamlined processes.
  • Increased sales – meaning a boost in inventory turnover and fewer product returns.

All of these result in grateful customers, a stronger company reputation, and increase in customer loyalty.

Erply PIM for insane growth

The world’s biggest electronic cigarette and vaping supplies retailer, Madvapes – who uses Erply business and inventory management platform – announced 15 new store openings (2018) in the US. The multimillion-company that started out as a web shop is in a highly competitive industry – e-cigarette business is predicted to double in size within the next three years. This means that businesses that use better software have an edge over competitors.

Mark Hoogendoorn, Head of Madvapes, started his business in 2009, at his own home in Mooresville, North Carolina. Soon after, he shifted his growing company from the garage to a rented warehouse; and from there to an almost 10,000 square foot warehouse.

Madvapes, who started as an e-business, opened their first brick-and-mortar shop in 2013; currently (2018) operates 107 physical stores. According to Hoogendoorn, the market is profitable – there are millions of people in the world in the process of quitting smoking. In most cases, that process begins with an e-cigarette.

In order to operate in a company with such scope in a fast-moving industry, PIM is the only way to go. Superior product and product group management, a real-time overview of inventory movement, and the ability to discount slow-moving inventory are all crucial features provided by Erply PIM.

The challenge for another Erply customer, a Canadian vape shop, 180° Smoke, was completely opposite of Madvapes’. Gopal Bhatnagar, a cardiologist who is one of the founders of the company, started selling innovative vaping supplies (that he himself invented) in a regular store. But, as their popularity rapidly grew, they had to open up an e-business to keep up with demand.

Thanks to Erply, integrating 180° Smoke’s existing inventory with an ecommerce platform was simple. Whether a business has one warehouse or a hundred warehouses, our software grows with your business. Adding additional warehouses takes mere seconds, making growth easy for companies like 180° Smoke.

Legalized weed turned this company into dream business

180° Smoke has also expanded their network of brick-and-mortar stores; they have grown from a single shop to 26 outlets (2018) all over Canada. 180° Smoke’s announced an impressive annual growth of 51%. And, as of 2018 August, the company’s past eight months’ unaudited turnover was 6.78 million Canadian dollars (5.2 million USD); whereas the entire annual turnover for 2017 was 7.8 million Canadian dollars (6 million USD).

However, the success story of 180° Smoke is far from over – the (then) five-year strong company has hit the mark bigtime, because in 2018 October, Canada became the second country in the world (after Uruguay) where cannabis is formally legalized. This means a new and intriguing product range to the local e-cigarette business, and of course, countless new vapers who would gladly exchange nicotine for cannabis.

In the end of 2018 September, the North American cannabis products distributor, CannaRoyalty Corp., announced that they are purchasing 180° Smoke, and paying 40 million Canadian dollars (almost 31 million USD) for the company.

“The management of 180° Smoke has built a rapidly growing, lucrative vaping retail and e-business, alongside several strong brand products; and they have done it on a fragmented, extremely competitive and regulated market,” CannaRoyalty president Afzal Hasan said to the Canadian news channel BNN Bloomberg.

According to him, 180° Smoke’s retail business experience was also a determining factor, one that CannaRoyalty doesn’t have, operating in California and Oregon. They see a rapid and steady growth for the business specifically in retail business – and it’s the retail business that 180° Smoke has built with Erply’s help.

However, we should turn back to PIM.

What do you need to get Erply PIM?

  • If you are an Erply software user, you already have our PIM in the standard solution.
  • You can export data from Excel or CSV files.
  • Implementation only takes a moment, and the data transfer is super convenient. PIM also recognizes manually entered data.
  • PIM helps you sell everywhere, in a brick-and-mortar shop, web shop, mobile and POS. The product groups, batches, brands and priority groups used in PIM allow you to also get sales reports.
  • And the software is so affordable!

What can you do with Erply PIM?

Product catalogue

You can enter the product measurements, descriptions; select categories, preferences, units, price list, extra charges, and link to coupons here. You can also add related products, descriptions for the web shop, notes; add brochures, instruction manuals and photos.

You can choose from four statuses: active, no longer ordered, not for sale, or archived (archived products can be found and made active again, if necessary). You will also see the shipping time and location in the warehouse here.

This is also where the products receive a code. The program might suggest the serial number as the manufacturer’s code, but the product code can also be a combination of letters and numbers. If you have chosen so in the settings, the program itself will create EAN numbers or barcodes. And if your products have EANs, then stocktaking will be quick and carefree, because all it takes is beeping through the barcodes.

Price lists

This is where you can determine active prices or change them for certain periods (for example, for the weekend, Black Friday, etc); you can tie prices to certain customer groups or outlets, as well as product groups. You can create products with special prices; determine discounts based on amount or percentage, and make a separate price list for select customers.


This is where the suppliers list is displayed, where you can navigate between names and groups; create your own subdivisions based on groups or inventory. This is where all the supplier cards are, along with the data, your contracts and conditions, and contact information.

Product groups

This division draws all your products into one submenu. This is where you organize all the products the way you want them; create new groups and subgroups with ease, all of which can be combined, changed, filtered, renamed and deleted, if necessary.

Production batches

This is an alternative to the previous product group tree. You can also add, combine, name and delete batches, and select product cards.


This is where the list of brands is displayed: it can be changed, updated, added, and deleted. You can fill out a brand card.

Product priority groups

This is an alternative to the production batches division; you can also change and add categories, etc. If you have created a product card, you will get a range of options.

Matrix dimensions

You only need to enter data here once, and it will be saved for later, in case you take in the same product again. This subdivision describes the product, and it can be done based on color, size, material, measurements, etc.

New service (non-stored goods)

You will get a blank card here, which you can assign with the variable “non-stored product or service”. In case of a sale or a purchase, there will be no change in inventory.


This is where you can download products in CSV file format, which you can save on your computer’s hard drive.

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