Skip to Main Content

Jul 12, 2022 | 4 minute read

Enterprise PIM vs. Commerce PIM

written by Emily Kathi

In todays’ fast-paced eCommerce world it’s important to know and take full advantage of every tool possible to offer the ideal customer experience. From end-to-end the experience must be seamless, using best-in-class partners and the latest commerce platform technologies and approaches. 

One of the focus areas in the experience is how product data is gathered and exchanged by Product Information Management, or PIM. 

In this blog I’ll define and discuss the types of PIM and how each are used within commerce. Let’s get started…

Product Information Management or PIM, is the business practice of how product information is managed for sales and marketing purposes. PIM was first introduced into the business vernacular in the 1990s when print catalogs were popular and then into the 2000s, when online shopping and ordering became more of the norm. 

Types of information you’ll see in PIM are product specifications, metadata, digital assets, or any information gathered from internal and external resources, which is then pushed out to the customer at a variety of touchpoints along the buying journey. 

A second variation of PIM is Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP. Its history dates to the 1960s to the manufacturing industry for inventory and product management; including bill of materials and managing purchasing functions. Modern ERP systems evolved starting in the 1990s with inclusion of more capabilities to manage and maintain transparency and efficiency of different parts of the business such as Accounting, Finance, and Human Resources. 

So what do these functions do for the organization? 

PIM Functions:

Data integration from internal to external sources remains intact 
Enables automation to streamline more repetitive tasks so there is room for iteration and creative problem solving 

ERP Functions: 

  • Enables enterprise-wide transparency of supply-chain activities, among others
  • Enables collaboration across departments ensuring smooth, friction-less experiences for the end user such as order management and fulfillment 

All well and good, right? Streamlining, adapting, iterating, cross department collaboration, and having the highest, most consistent, level of data quality are all essential moves toward your success, but let’s take PIM to the next level; specifically as it relates to catalog management. 

Commerce PIM

A commerce or eCommerce PIM targets product information and catalog management through more of  a marketing lens. Commerce PIM is especially topical for modern merchandisers as they navigate catalog complexities. 

Let’s say you have thousands of product variations (color, size, material, etc.), a Commerce PIM allows for the creation and management of child products in less time, without reliance on the IT side of the house. Once more, merchandisers have the power to create special pricing for promotions, flash sales, loyalty programs, and instances of product bundling. What a Commerce PIM boils down to is more flexibility, more freedom, and faster speed to market. 


EP Product Experience Manager (PXM)

Merchandise Every Unique Product Experience, Without Custom Dev Work

Go to EP PXM

Commerce PIM Functions: 

  • Automate more manual tasks so teams (like merchandisers) can focus more on creating solutions (pricing, promotions, bundling, etc. as mentioned above) 
  • Allows for customization so your business is ready for future requirements such as expanding into new markets and geos 
  • Single source of truth on product information to ensure the highest data quality 

Why choose a Commerce PIM? 

There are distinct advantages to selecting a Commerce PIM: 

  • Get products to market faster by reducing manual tasks 
  • Lower total cost through automation and eliminating silos 
  • Set the stage for personalization to improve the customer experience and increase conversion 
  • Consistent product data across customer touchpoints strengthens the omnichannel experience 

Commerce PIM in the Market 

What does Commerce PIM look like? Elastic Path Product Experience Manager (PXM), answers the call for merchandisers enabling the flexibility, freedom from IT dependence, and quicker go to market capabilities required to stay competitive in today’s commerce. 

EP PXM brings together the Commerce PIM and Catalog Composer functionalities, and Product Merchandising into one. Instead of merchandisers’ spinning your wheels waiting on custom developer workaround time, the ability to create and launch events is well within reach. 

For a quick look at EP PXM, watch this video: