PIM vs DAM: What’s the Difference?


PIM and DAM are software tools that have a fair bit of crossover in their functionality and features – so it can sometimes be tricky to work out how they differ from one another. Both systems are designed to help businesses manage and organise their digital assets and product data more efficiently. In this article, we will explore PIM vs DAM, the key differences between them, their individual features, and how businesses can benefit from integrating both systems.

Understanding PIM and DAM

Before diving into the differences between PIM and DAM, it is essential to understand the definitions and purpose of each system. Both PIM and DAM play crucial roles in managing and organising digital information, but they are designed to address different aspects of a business’s data needs.

Defining PIM: Product Information Management

Product Information Management (PIM), is a centralised system used to consolidate, manage, and enrich a company’s product data. PIM software ensures that businesses have accurate, consistent, and up-to-date product information across multiple channels and touchpoints, such as websites, catalogues, and marketplaces. This thorough management helps improve product data quality, streamline processes and reduce errors, ultimately enhancing customer experiences and increasing sales.


But PIM is more than just a system for managing product descriptions and pricing. PIM also helps businesses manage product attributes, such as size, colour and weight, as well as product relationships, such as cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. By managing all of this information in one centralised location, businesses can ensure that their product information is consistent across all channels and touchpoints, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Another benefit of PIM is that it can help businesses manage their product data more efficiently. With a PIM system in place, businesses can automate many of the processes involved in managing product data, such as data entry and validation, which can save time and reduce the risk of errors.

Defining DAM: Digital Asset Management

Digital Asset Management, or DAM, is a centralised system that helps businesses store, organise, and distribute digital assets like images, videos, documents and other multimedia files. A DAM system enables organisations to collaborate more effectively, quickly search and retrieve digital assets, and ensure brand consistency across various channels. In essence, DAM systems aim to optimise the use of digital assets and help businesses meet their marketing and communication objectives.

It’s important to understand that DAM is more than just a system for storing and organising files. DAM systems can also help businesses manage their digital assets more effectively by providing tools for editing, versioning and approval workflows. By managing all of these processes centrally, businesses can ensure that their digital assets are always up-to-date and consistent across all channels and touchpoints.

Another benefit of DAM is that it can help businesses save time and money. With a DAM system in place, businesses can easily find and reuse digital assets, which can reduce the need for new content creation and save on production costs. Additionally, DAM systems can help businesses avoid legal issues by ensuring that they have the necessary rights and permissions to use their digital assets.

The Differences: PIM vs DAM

While PIM and DAM systems share some similarities, they are designed to address different aspects of a business’s information needs. PIM systems focus on managing product data, while DAM systems focus on managing digital assets.

Dr Pat Violaris, Managing Director at OneTimePIM agrees: “Although there is some overlap between PIM and DAM, they serve different purposes and are both important for retailers. PIM focuses on managing product information, while DAM focuses on managing digital assets such as images and videos.”

Another key difference between DAM and PIM is the type of information that they manage. PIM systems focus on managing structured data, such as product descriptions and pricing, while DAM systems focus on managing unstructured data, such as images, videos, and documents. PIM platforms are typically used by businesses that need to manage a large volume of product data, while DAM tools are used by businesses that need to manage a large volume of digital assets.

Ultimately, the choice between PIM and DAM depends on a business’s specific needs and goals. Some businesses may benefit from using both systems in tandem, while others may only need one or the other. Regardless of which system a business chooses, implementing a centralised system for managing product data and digital assets can help improve efficiency, reduce errors and enhance customer experiences.

Key Features of PIM and DAM Systems

PIM and DAM systems share common characteristics, yet they come with unique features tailored to meet their specific purposes. To better understand their differences, let’s examine the key functionalities of each system.

PIM Features

1. Centralised product data repository: PIM systems store and manage all product data centrally, ensuring consistency and accuracy across all channels.

2. Data enrichment: PIMs enable users to enrich product data with additional attributes and details, such as descriptions, images and specifications, to create compelling product offerings and experiences (our guide on PIM vs PXM explains more on this)

3. Workflow management: PIM solutions facilitate streamlined workflows and collaboration among various teams involved in the product lifecycle, including sales, marketing, and IT.

4. Multi-channel publishing: PIM systems allow businesses to seamlessly update and publish product information across multiple platforms, including websites, catalogues and marketplaces.

DAM Features

1. Centralised digital asset repository: DAM systems store all digital assets, such as images, videos and documents in a centralised location, ensuring easy access and organisation.

2. Metadata management: DAMs allow users to add metadata to assets, making them easily searchable and retrievable within the system.

3. Access control: DAM systems enable businesses to manage user access and permissions, maintaining control over who can access specific assets and how they can be used.

4. Asset distribution: With DAM solutions, businesses can streamline the distribution of digital assets across multiple channels and ensure brand consistency.

The Main Differences: PIM vs DAM

Although PIM and DAM systems serve distinct purposes, there is some overlap between the two. To understand the critical differences between these solutions, we must consider the data types and formats, system functionality & purpose and integration & compatibility aspects of each.

Data Types and Formats

PIM systems primarily focus on product-related data, such as product specifications, descriptions and pricing. This data is typically structured and available in various formats, including text, numbers and specific attributes. DAM systems, on the other hand, deal with digital assets like images, videos, PDFs and other multimedia files. These assets are usually unstructured and might be available in multiple file formats.

System Functionality and Purpose

While both PIM and DAM systems help businesses manage and organise their data, they serve different purposes. PIM systems aim to centralise product information and enhance data quality, ensuring a consistent and accurate product presentation across multiple channels. DAM systems focus on optimising the use, storage and distribution of digital assets, enabling businesses to collaborate more effectively and maintain brand consistency.

Integration and Compatibility

Integration plays a crucial role in both PIM and DAM systems, as businesses often require them to work seamlessly with other applications and software. PIM systems typically integrate with ecommerce platforms, marketplaces and other sales channels, while DAM systems connect with content management systems (CMS), marketing automation platforms and social media tools.

Choosing the Right System for Your Business

Selecting the appropriate solution between PIM and DAM depends on your business needs and objectives. To make an informed decision, consider assessing your business requirements, evaluating various PIM and DAM solutions and weighing implementation and adoption considerations.

Assessing Your Business Needs

Start by evaluating your organisation’s data management and workflow challenges. As a retailer, you may find your primary concern revolves around product information, consolidating data across multiple channels and enriching product data – and so a PIM system may be more of a priority. But if your business really struggles with managing, storing and distributing digital assets, a DAM system could be a good choice.

Evaluating PIM vs DAM Solutions

Once you identify your business needs, research and compare various PIM and DAM solutions offered in the market. Consider system features, ease of use, scalability and pricing when comparing different options. Look for solutions that align with your business goals and provide the essential functionalities your organisation requires.

Implementation and Adoption Considerations

Before selecting a system, consider the implementation process, including data migration, system configuration, and employee training. Ensure that the chosen solution can be easily integrated with your current software environment and that your team can adapt to it with minimal interruptions to operations. Our article on PIM best practices can help guide your implementation process.

Combining PIM and DAM for a Comprehensive Solution

Integrating PIM and DAM systems can provide businesses with a comprehensive solution for managing both product information and digital assets. By combining these systems, retailers can experience the benefits of both and enjoy a comprehensive system for managing product data and digital assets.

I asked Claudia Martins, Business Development Advisor at Bluestone PIM if there’s a need for PIM and DAM?

“If a company handles a large volume of product information and digital assets, and wishes to manage and enrich them in an efficient manner, then yes.

“Digital Asset Management (DAM) handles digital assets whereas Product Information Management (PIM) handles product information, so there are no overlapping functions. Accurate and consistent product information alone is not sufficient to grab customers’ attention in a competitive retail landscape, so if a brand wants to stand out, it is essential to utilise creative media assets across various touchpoints.

“Using DAM and PIM together can complement your marketing and sales activities.”

Benefits of Integrating PIM and DAM

1. Improved data quality and consistency: Integrating PIM and DAM systems ensures consistent and accurate data across all platforms and channels, reducing errors and improving customer experiences.

2. Streamlined workflows: Combining PIM and DAM reduces redundancy and streamlines collaboration among teams, leading to more efficient workflows and processes.

3. Centralised data management: An integrated PIM and DAM solution allows businesses to manage all their data in one centralised system, enhancing data visibility and control.

Examples of PIM and DAM Integration

Many businesses have successfully integrated PIM and DAM systems to streamline their processes and optimise data management. For instance, ecommerce companies have leveraged these integrated systems to manage product data and digital assets in a unified platform, providing a seamless shopping experience for customers. Retailers have also used PIM and DAM integrations to maintain consistent branding and messaging across ecommerce websites, print catalogues and instore displays.

Dr Pat Violaris, Managing Director at OneTimePIM suggests that “PIM and DAM can work together effectively by integrating their capabilities. For example, a PIM system can use DAM assets to enrich product information, while a DAM system can link assets to specific products in the PIM system.”

Conclusion: PIM vs DAM – Making the Right Choice

In conclusion, choosing between PIM and DAM systems depends on your business needs and objectives. PIM systems offer a more product data-centric approach, while DAM systems focus on managing and distributing digital assets. By understanding the key differences and features of each, businesses can make informed decisions to optimise their data management strategies. Integrating PIM and DAM systems can provide a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to manage both product information and digital assets, resulting in improved data quality, streamlined workflows and better customer experiences.

Further Reading


What is PIM and what does it stand for?

PIM stands for Product Information Management. It refers to the process of centralising, organising, enriching, and distributing product data across channels and systems to ensure consistency, accuracy, and relevance. PIM software can help businesses manage attributes, categories, translations, variants, pricing, and more for their products.

What is DAM and what does it stand for?

DAM stands for Digital Asset Management. It refers to the process of storing, organising, retrieving, and distributing digital assets such as images, videos, documents, and audio files. DAM software can help businesses manage metadata, versioning, access rights, workflows, and more for their assets.

What is the difference between PIM and DAM?

PIM and DAM are both types of information management systems, but they serve different purposes. PIM focuses on managing product data, while DAM focuses on managing digital assets. PIM is more concerned with product attributes, relationships, and rules, while DAM is more concerned with asset metadata, format, and usage rights. PIM is typically used by ecommerce, retail, and manufacturing industries, while DAM is often used by marketing, creative, and media industries.

Can PIM and DAM be used together?

Yes, PIM and DAM can complement each other in some cases. For example, business that sells products requiring high-quality images and videos may use DAM to store and manage those assets and PIM to link them to the relevant products and channels. Similarly, a business that creates marketing materials that include product data may use PIM to provide the data and DAM to provide the assets. However, PIM and DAM are not totally interchangeable or equivalent, and their integration requires careful planning and configuration.

What are some examples of PIM and DAM software?

Some popular PIM software includes Akeneo, inRiver, Salsify and Plytix. Some popular DAM software includes Widen, Bynder, Adobe Experience Manager and Brandfolder. However, there are many other PIM and DAM software vendors and solutions available, each with their own features, pricing, and suitability for different industries and use cases. It’s important to evaluate your specific needs and requirements before choosing a PIM or DAM solution.