eCommerce is at an all-time rise, and as per a study, 54% of online consumers search for a product on search engines first, while the other 46% go directly to the website they want. 2 Another report states that 85% of shoppers say product information and pictures are important to them when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.1
With a fast-growing list of products and tough customer expectations, eCommerce businesses must ensure their online presence has detailed, accurate, up-to-date product information with high-resolution photographs. Most of them use Product Information Management (PIM) systems to quickly update and manage their product information. PIM consists of product-related literature in the form of text and imagery.
However, PIM cannot manage media content the same way as a Digital Asset Management (DAM) does. DAM organizes digital assets in a central repository and controls access to support campaign execution and ensure brand consistency.
Both appear to be essential for a successful online business. So how do you decide if you need both or one and which one do you need?
Let’s begin with understanding how they are different from each other.
Understanding the difference between PIM and DAM
At a glance, it would seem that DAM and PIM systems perform the same tasks, i.e., store and manage digital assets in bulk for an organization. While that is true, they meet the different needs of an organization and come with distinct features that fulfill the objective for which they were designed. Let us explore them in detail.
What is DAM?
A Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a software system or a central repository that allows organizations to store, categorize, and manage digital files in a secure manner that makes it easy to find them. A DAM is valuable to maximize and track the usage of digital assets. A DAM also workflows that can help automate several tasks that otherwise require significant manual intervention.
A DAM consists of:
- An integrated, centralized media library which acts as the single source of truth for assets
- Metadata and tagging capabilities for improved searchability
- Streamlined creative workflows and automated processes for controlled access and collaboration
DAM can help when:
- There are substantial digital assets that need to be stored and managed
- Digital assets require distribution across multiple channels, external agencies, third-party platforms
- Access must be controlled based on the user profile to prevent misuse or inconsistency
- The integrity of brand assets needs protection
Benefits that DAM delivers:
- Accelerates time-to-market through automation and modernized workflows
- Integration with other MarTech solutions contributes to building a robust ecosystem for digital assets
- Reduces search time and the effort required to repurpose assets
- Enables tracking of asset usage and optimization of ROI on creatives
What is PIM?
PIM is a software tool that manages ready-to-go-to-market product information for eCommerce companies. It offers a centralized platform for gathering, consolidating, managing, and distributing information about products to support efficient data flow through the product lifecycle from procurement to sales.
A PIM consists of:
- A secured centralized repository of product information
- Integration capabilities with different internal software such as CRM, ERP, or data management platforms, and external third-party systems such as supplier or vendor portals to synchronize the resources linked to the products.
- Data enrichment through quality assessment, error detection and elimination, cleansing, standardization of attributes, and optimization for search engines to increase accuracy and consistency
- Data analytics for real-time view of data movement and performance
- Bulk editing to ensure information is up-to-date, relevant, and consistent across dissemination points.
PIM can help when:
- A company has a fast-growing range of products with multiple SKUs
- A multifaceted product portfolio that needs to be updated often
- Product data gets generated from multiple sources
- Product is sold and marketed on a multitude of channels
- Product and product information needs to reach different departments and the targeted market quickly
- Consumers demand detailed specifications before buying a product
Benefits that PIM delivers:
- Prevents delay when responding to the market, enables cross-selling or upselling
- A single source of truth ensures consistency
- Information reaches faster to the stakeholders at every stage of the supply chain
- Improves data quality, accuracy, and compliance with industry standards
- Greater customer satisfaction as they have access to product details on near-real-time
- Enables omnichannel business
- Real-time updates
To better visualize the differences between the two systems, let’s put the information in a tabular format.
|Purpose||To store, maintain, manage and disseminate accurate product information across the supply chain so that production, marketing, sales, and customer service teams have access to the product data they need to market or sell their products to customers and prospects.||To store, maintain, manage, and provide access to approved versions of digital assets that a company would need in its various functions such as branding, marketing, legal, and sales, including external partners.|
|Data type||Product information including basic attributes, product images, usage, technical, marketing, design, emotional specifications, localized content, and product structure or taxonomy||Digital assets including photographs, images, creative files, video, audio, presentation decks, document, and other rich media files|
|Target industries/companies||eCommerce companies, distributors, retailers, wholesalers, brands||Any company that uses a significant number of digital assets for its online business|
|Capabilities||- Data aggregation and integration
- Data quality check and cleansing
- Data Enrichment
- Catalog Management
- Bulk data editing
- User and right-based access management
- Integrated and collaborative workflows
- Product data modeling
- Data syndication and distribution
- Data Analytics
|- Powerful Search Functionality
- Metadata and tagging
- Simplified or automated file management
- Automated and streamlined workflows and processes
- Borderless content sharing
- User and right-based access management
- Version control
- Data Analytics
- Built-in integration and custom configuration
- User-friendly editing tools
|Users||eCommerce managers, product managers, marketers, merchandisers, sales teams||Marketers, legal department, sales teams, developers, content designers, graphic designers, external partners and agencies|
PIM and DAM: How integrating the two systems can unlock accurate syndication of data
Most PIM manage images though these might just be flat image formats and not videos or audio files. On the other hand, DAM supports rich media formats that are often used for an immersive or visual rendition of products and how they are used. Product information and marketing collateral must be coordinated to maximize successful customer communication.
Considering the similarities between the two and their unique capabilities, it is only natural to contemplate the usefulness of integrating the two systems. Let’s examine the implications of combining the two.
When updating a product image from PIM into a sales pitch, a sales guy might want to transfer a corresponding marketing video that adds context to its usage or explains the concept behind the product. This video is likely to exist on DAM. An integrated PIM and DAM would make it unnecessary for users to make such manual transfers. In fact, it promises better control over data and enhanced efficiency.
It may be challenging for a user to find the right version of an image when each of the systems has different versions of the same product visuals. Integration would resolve this issue.
A unified repository of data that provides both product information and related marketing assets maximizes the ROI (return on investments) by making it unnecessary to repeat features in both systems. It also boosts innovation by providing opportunities to streamline workflows, track data more tightly, reduce security vulnerabilities or build more content customization.
A consolidated PIM and DAM will make content syndication easier as product data and marketing content can be made available as a package. This would greatly simplify the way users can access content whenever and wherever they need it to address the demands of each customer touch point that they interact with.
ImageKit - Akeneo PIM Integration
ImageKit currently offers integration with Akeneo PIM, one of the popular PIM solutions in the industry. Once integrated, a user can access images and other non-media files such as PDFs or word documents that are stored in PIM. These images can be optimized and transformed and delivered in real-time via ImageKit.
We are working on adding further integration capabilities in ImageKit to make it work with a wider range of PIM solutions that are available in the market. Feel free to write to us at email@example.com for any specific PIM integration requests or suggestions.
If you want to get the taste of a cloud-based DAM without sharing your credit card information, feel free to sign up for our forever-free plan.
1 Product information preference statistics - Think with Google
2 50 Consumers Online Shopping Behavior Trends [Survey] 2022 (brizfeel.com)