What is Pimcore? Why would you need it?

If you google the question: "What is Pimcore" or "What Pimcore is used for" you are going to find multiple and different answers from "Centralized data management", "Digital Experience Platform", "Information management and master data management application" and few more including "Digital commerce platform". All of the answers are correct. The truth is that a particular business case is going to shape Pimcore usage and hence how - the narrative you see the platform.

eCommerce and the Digital industry have become extremely heterogeneous. There are overlapping boundaries and blurry responsibilities in each system, sometimes you need a bit of one or another or a mix of two but not an entirely complete set of it all. The beauty of the Pimcore is that you can use and leverage each component as much as you need to or skip it altogether if you don't need it. Pimcore is an enterprise-grade open-source platform that provides a seamlessly consolidated solution of the following components that often are seen as separate systems:

PIM - Product Information Management

MDM - Master Data Management

DAM - Digital Asset Management

CDP - Customer Data Platform

DXP/CMS - Digital Experience Platform

Digital commerce

These capabilities are integrated out of the box and do not need to be connected via interfaces. This saves a lot of time and money. Pimcore is an extremely flexible and powerful tool with which to build one platform for any data, any channel and any process. It is also part of Pimcore’s mission statement!

Unlike Akeneo, Magento or other competition Pimcore is not an out-of-the-box product - you need a developer to get started. Having said that, its training Academy, extensive documentation, community size, partners count, marketplace, extreme flexibility and API-driven approach makes it easy to start and develop with Pimcore integrating it into every infrastructure including headless execution.

To give you multiple examples of how Pimcore can be used we have faced ourselves:

Use case - enrichment and "hot" data

B2C merchant requires a PIM system that would integrate with Magento/Adobe Commerce to enrich product data and take care of digital assets. The challenge is that due to the limitations of ERP the new system also needs to take care of:

live product stock updates;

product price (discounts, offers) management;

already mentioned digital assets (DAM);

Akeneo or other PIMs mostly only works with "cold data" and does not handle live Stock or are not meant to manage Prices. For digital assets, a separate DAM system would need to be integrated. However, Pimcore can handle all the above easily.

Use case - PIM, MDM, DAM in one

B2C merchant is selling auto spare parts. The client requires a PIM system to enrich products that come from multiple 3rd party vendors, however, the challenges are multiple:

Vendors provide overlapping product catalogues often selling the same products but with different naming or IDs. Hence the same products have to be identified and mapped as equal (as one);

To speed up and automate product publishing, vendor feeds have to be integrated directly via API importing data automatically;

10M+ SKUs amount. You can imagine how many auto spare parts there are;

Each vendor's products have a different price, stock and lead time. It is impossible to manually go through each product manage its price and which one vendors product should be published on the eCommerce site

The merchant would like to build a set of conditions to automatically on the fly:

  • choose and select a vendor from which spare part is going to be sold;
  • conditions included ranking based on price, availability and lead time
  • once the product from the first vendor A is not available anymore or there are changes (eg product is out of stock or part's price has increased) second priority vendor B would be automatically pushed to eCommerce with new pricing, availability and stock

The above has a mix of PIM, MDM, DAM, and some ERP. The Pimcore can handle all the above.

Use case - dynamic offer bundling

Travel agency offers a wide range of trips e.g. leisure trips, exotic destinations, ski trips, as well as last-minute offers. They have available Hotel API and Offers API both of which provide live data towards prices, and availability, however, provided data have to be enriched manually to sell and display offers online. Each offer consists of several sub-products that are dynamically combined creating the "Offer". They need the capability to enrich each of the sub-product as data is changing

Country

Region

Hotel

Rooms

Shuttle transfer

Extra options such as flowers, champagne

Priority boarding

Bus tours

Pimcore is can any structured data based on a predefined data model, either manually or automatically via the APIs. And also define the structure and attributes of each data object. Most importantly, all elements (assets, documents or objects) can be linked and set into relation with each other, therefore, we can create well enriched dynamic offer"

Pimcore technology or what’s under the hood?

In terms of used technologies, Pimcore follows the MVC pattern and is based on the Symfony Framework. eCommerce module is going to leverage additional technologies of Elastic Serch and Varnish.

Pimcore Core -  the base and main application, ensures essential functionality. Also responsible for accessing DB, Filesystem and Cache-System;

MVC component - created upon the Pimcore Core, provides all the necessary functionalities for interacting with Pimcore via the Browser or any other HTTP API client (REST, SOAP, ...).

Pimcore is not an out-of-the-box product like e.g. Akeneo, therefore, it does not come out of the box with certain eCommerce product structures eg Categories or Products. Pimcore allows the creation of any data structures and relations to other content. There are three main data types in Pimcore:

Data Objects - based on a class definition that defines the structure and attributes objects can be used for pretty much any structured data e.g. products, categories, collections, outfits, recipes, custom bundle products, customers, news, orders, blog entries, etc. and for the attributes various data types are available. In other words, any structured data where you can define the required structure and attributes of your objects yourself.

Digital Assets - assets are essentially all files users can download and see from the website. Mostly images, PDFs or similar documents. Assets can be organized in folders and managed within the Pimcore system. Also, Pimcore can render preview images for most file types and even edit/adjust directly in Pimcore.

Documents - Pimcore has different types of documents where each offers specific functionality and how the type is expected to be used, part of DXP/CMS, meant for managing unstructured content such as the pages of a website and its navigation. Based on Twig templates. Each of the Document types has also Properties that can be custom or Predefined.

The top 6 things Pimcore does better than the competition

Flexibility

You have probably already noticed the extreme flexibility Pimcore provides. Since it does not come out of the box with certain structures set up, e.g., for selling standard eCommerce products, you can configure it and build a highly tailored bespoke system handling all digital data exactly in the way you need it.

Scalability

With Pimcore you are not going to hit the wall due to the number of SKUs or attributes which have often been a question or challenge for our clients. Pimcore can handle millions of SKUs and tens of millions of their relationships with related products, taxonomies, etc. and continue to be fast with little load time.

OpenSource

Pimcore Community Edition is Open Source (GPLv3) while Enterprise Edition is licensed under Pimcore Commercial License (PCL). Both are available for further customizations via code as one would need, and both are available as self-managed public/private cloud on-premise in your own infrastructure.

The best thing is that Pimcore Community Edition does not have limited features restricting proper PIM usage, therefore, the free edition can be used and built on top not worrying about the limitations or workarounds you would need to come around like it is with Akeneo or other systems. This is the most complete free edition we have seen in the industry.

Enterprise Edition adds multiple additional modules that are very business case specific e.g. syndication to 2 000+ channels (Akeneo offers as a separate product), Experience Portals (similar to Akeneo's Onboarder and Shared Catalogues products), Statistics Explorer, SSO with OpenID and couple of more modules. The most useful and frequently used could be Workflow Designer which allows to visually design workflows instead of coding them.

Community, Popularity, Awards, Case Studies and Resources

Community - ecosystem consists of more than 170 official partners all around the globe and thousands of Pimcore developers. Before becoming a partner vendor has to deliver a completed project that is vetted by the Pimcore team. Additionally, the Pimcore marketplace consists of more than 200 extensions.

Awards - the first public beta version was released in 2010 and in 2013 Pimcore GmbH was founded in Austria. Since then the platform has received continued awards from leading analyst firms such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and Ventana Research. Furthermore, also positive feedback on platforms such as G2, Capterra, and Gartner Peer Insights.

Training - Pimcore offers a very affordable and clear way to get started via Pimcore Academy. Pimcore Academy is web-based training and certification for software developers and consultants.

Unified platform for any digital data

Pimcore solves data challenges allowing to aggregate, manage, organise and distribute any type and amount of data and digital assets for multi-channel publishing and digital commerce initiatives. In one of the projects, scandiweb used Pimcore to aggregate data from multiple sources, apply a data normalization layer and built an API to enable required data to merchant's partners. Use cases are truly unlimited!

Price

The free OpenSource edition already provides a vast majority of features and modules merchants would need to build simple or complex PIM for the eCommerce, however, if you find that you need some of the Enterprise modules Pimcore offers very competitive and reasonable pricing.

4 reasons to build Pimcore with scandiweb

Streamlined Discovery and Implementation Process

To mitigate the risks and make sure all requirements are well covered we have created Pimcore PIM discovery workshops exploring the project goals, technical & business challenges, ecosystem, data structure model, data management challenges, relations, data migration, enrichment workflows, output channels arriving at the well-defined Pimcore concept before we jumping on the implementation itself. Upon finalizing Discovery, we have a precise implementation roadmap and milestones to measure progress against.

We go the extra mile

When implementing Pimcore scandiweb will go the extra mile suggesting further improvements, automation recommending the most efficient implementation option leveraging Pimcore flexibility.

Experience with most complex projects

Scandiweb has solved challenges and has experience with the most challenging and highest complexity projects. From working and implementing multi-tenant, multi-platform API first eCommerce projects selling cars to redesigning and re-platforming the whole travel agency's online presence. Also, Pimcore’s technology stack is right up our alley!

Official Pimcore Enterprise Developer

scandiweb is an official Pimcore Enterprise Developer, we have access to extensive support and training directly from Pimcore. This helps solve your complex challenges and get the most out of Pimcore’s potential.

Case studies

Brands building Pimcore PIM with us

What happens when we start the Pimcore implementation project?

Discovery & Consultation

The first step is to identify the needs - what product data management challenges do we want to solve by integrating PIM and what are the expectations. We look into the data enrichment process, what is the interactions between multiple departments, and where the product information comes from (data catalogues, ERP, excel sheets) etc. before it gets to the eCommerce. We identify product data updating/editing workflow.

Furthermore, we determine technical details around the catalogue like languages, number of products, categories, attributes, images per product, etc. Also, what Product types are used (e.g. simple, configurable...) and whether hybrid/customised product types are used as they can be challenging to exchange data with eCommerce because PIM  and the bridge between PIM and eCommerce would be missing the customised product type, is there any Magento/Adobe Commerce custom types of attributes in use!

Usually, we would schedule a video conference call(s) to discuss the above where our experts would assist to gather the necessary details.

Estimate, and agreement

Based on the details gathered within the Discovery & Consultation process we are able to provide the estimate that is part of the agreement. Also, if the Pimcore Enterprise edition is suggested, we will introduce you to the Pimcore representatives to receive the latest offering and learn more about the benefits of the Enterprise edition.

Delivery roadmap & development

Once we have agreed on the scope and versions we can start the work and plan the implementation roadmap and kick-off development itself. Pimcore development milestones can vary a lot depending on the project scope and goals. However, if we look at Pimcore from PIM perspective provisional milestones are going to be the following:

Pimcore implementation

Pimcore and Adobe Commerce / Magento Development & Staging environment setup;

Local setups;

Initial base Pimcore configuration;

Product, attributes & attribute sets/options configuration;

Any other project-specific setups or configurations e.g. size tables, pricing implementation, integration with 3rd party data source and other customizations;Initial data import;

Initial data import;

Workflows, rights and roles setup

Client training sessions

Pimcore & Adobe Commerce/Magento sync

Pimcore - M2 connector/bridge installation, setup and required customisations

Data mapping

Data sync setup, cron jobs configuration

PimCore production environment and deployments setup

E2E workflow validations

Go live planning and testing scenarios validation

Weekly progress reporting & demo

Within the Pimcore implementation process, it is essential to work with real data from the start and replicate the envisioned process (try import with real data, data sync and exchange).

Every week or every two weeks we will invite you to the demo and receive a sprint report summarising results achieved and updating the point where we are on the overall project roadmap.

Go-live process

We plan go-live steps closely with the client and select a go-live date and time that is suitable for everyone to ensure post-go-live monitoring and adjustments if necessary. Furthermore, since go-live might require an eCommerce site to be unavailable we suggest doing it when there are least users online.

Often, go-live does not mean that the work is over, there is Phase 2 development, and more features and ideas to be implemented. We offer our continued support to quickly fix any potential post-live issues and ensure long-term maintenance constantly improving Pimcore.

FAQ

Can I use Pimcore for multiple websites?

Yes, it is possible to create multi-domain or multisite e.g. multiple eCommerce applications within Pimcore.

How much does the Pimcore cost?

The Community Edition is completely free and it should satisfy the most demanding PIM requirements! None of the functionality or features has been limited in the free, open-source edition!

The paid version of Pimcore Enterprise Edition is going to start at EUR 20k+ per year. The licence fee is determined directly with Pimcore and each merchant based on multiple variables eg whether it is Cloud edition or not.

How do you exchange data between M2 and Pimcore?

You would need to install and set up the connector/bridge that takes care and helps with data mapping, and data sync.

There are available connectors created by Partners within the Pimcore marketplace.

Can I use Pimcore for Shopify, BigCommerce or other eCommerce systems?

Yes, Pimcore PIM can be used with any other eCommerce system! It will be easier and faster to integrate it with the eCommerce systems that have available connector/bridge.

PimCore versions. Which one do you suggest?

Pimcore PIM free Community Edition has everything to satisfy the most demanding PIM requirements. Our recommendation is to explore the list of Enterprise features to validate if your organisation would take advantage of using them. Also, it is possible to upgrade to the Enterprise edition if you change your mind. Nevertheless, Scandiweb is going to advise on the most suitable Pimcore version for the project explaining the rationale behind the suggestion.

Is there any limit on products or SKU count in Pimcore?

Pimcore is able to scale very well assuming proper and well-configured server-side infrastructure. Some of the customers are managing 100+ million product data records in a single Pimcore instance.

What well-known companies are using Pimcore?

Pimcore has been a choice and go-to solution for some of the most known brands around the world, to name a few: Audi, Burger King, Bloomberg, Bosch, Carlsberg, Carrefour, Gant, Nissan, Siemens, Lego, Sony, TUI, T Mobile and many more.