Overview of terms from the world of eCommerce and in particular from the OctoPIM



An account is personalized access to OctoPIM. One account can be used to access multiple clients if the corresponding authorizations are assigned.


API stands for application programming interface. This refers to a programming interface at source code level that is provided by a software system to connect to other systems.

Our colleagues provide more information on this topic here.  


An article differs from a product on which it is based in two respects:

1) Attributes and variants are created in the product and then specifically assigned in the article. For example, there can be two variants for the product shirt: size and color. The article is then a shirt in size M and the color red.

2) The article has an article number (SKU code).

In contrast to a product, an article can therefore be found in a store ready for purchase.

Article number or SKU-Code

The SKU (stock-keeping unit) code is the article number that identifies the specific product.

The SKU code is a combination of characters used to identify a particular article in the logistics chain. It facilitates stock management in a warehouse and/or point of sale.

Through the article number, a product characteristic or variant becomes a physical article and represents a real thing.


Assets are binary content and files. In the world of PIM, they are mostly in the form of product photos, graphics, and videos.

It is recommended to manage assets in a digital asset management (DAM) system.


Attributes are used to describe the characteristics of products. These characteristics could include description, color, and size.

Similar attributes are structured into attribute groups. For example, the attribute group Design consists of the attributes Main color, Additional colors, and Pattern.  Structuring into groups serves the purpose of quality, homogeneity, and comparability, especially when there are a large number of attributes.

Read more about attributes and attribute groups here.


B2B stands for business-to-business and describes business and trade relations between companies. This includes the entire buying and selling process of products and services. The term serves as a delineation of a market area in e-commerce.


B2C is the abbreviation for business-to-customer and describes the trading relationships between a company or dealer and the end  customer.

Base family

From base families, additional families which inheritthe attribute configurations can be derived (see inheritance). Products cannot however be created from base families.


Readmore about base families here.


Catalogs serve as a structuring tool for products. They can be used in many ways. A breakdown according to product type or  according to characteristics is possible. Or seasonal articles in a catalog  can be given an expiry date.

Within a catalog, categories can be assigned for better structuring.


Classification means above all the grouping of objectsinto classes.

In theOctoPIM context, the classification of products via (base) families is thestructuring element with which a system for classification is created.


OctoPIM is designed as a multi-client system. A client can be a company or a subdivision of a company. The content of the clients is kept strictly separated and is available as independent units.

Read more about clients here.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing describes the provision of computer resources (e.g., memory ordatabases) via the internet (cloud).


A content management system (CMS) is software for the communal creation, editing, organization, and presentation of digital content. It is mostly used for website content, but also in other media formats. This content can consist of text or multimedia files.


Content is the information found in media.


The data format CSV stands for comma-separated values and describes a simple data structure with which for example tables can be saved and prepared for export. Instead of saving the information found in the table in columns, in CSV files it is separated by commas.

Customer Journey

Marketing term to describe the process before a purchasing decision is made. Customers go through cycles in which they come into contact with a brand, a product, or a service at different points.


DAM stands for data asset management and refers to software used for the management of digital content. In the world of PIM, this is mostly in the form of product photos and videos, but also graphics.

Our blog article on the topic of DAM outsourcing can be found here.


In the context of software systems, this is a demonstration of a product.


ECLASS is a generic data standard used for the classification of products and services in industry. The classification of product data is facilitated by standardized ISO-compliant features. In OctoPIM, this classification takes place via families.


E-commerce refers to internet retailing or online trading. It is defined by sales and purchases completed by means of the internet.


ERP is the abbreviation for enterprise resource planning. An ERP system is company-internal software that encompasses the management of business processes. This includes information from accounting, logistics, or HR, for example. ERP systems are frequently monolithic, working in isolation and not communicating with other systems.


A (product) family is a group of products with similar functions that fulfill a similar market need. You can imagine and use a family as a "template" for products, as they represent a classification in which the features of a product aremanaged.

Read more about families here.


In the field of product information management systems, format refers to plain text formats such as JSON, CSV, or XML.


JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation and is a simple format for the exchange of data. It is both easy to read for programmers and suitable for analysis by other programs as it follows many conventions of common programming languages.


A market usually constitutes an economic market like Germany, France, or the EU on which products are offered for sale. With markets, product ranges can be bundled within a client in order to manage languages, translations, currencies, and unit systems.

Read more about markets here.


The term media-neutral describes data that is not prepared for a specific form of publication, but can serve as a basis for many situations.


With reference to IT systems, monolithic systems are those that are constructed as an inseparable unit.


Omnichannel refers to a cross-channel model that companies use to improve communication with customers. Customers can change  channels at any time without experiencing a break in communication. A product information system helps at this point to ensure the consistency of product  data.


PDP stands for product detail page. In e-commerce this means a page that presents a product along with all its descriptions.


PIM stands for product information management. Such a system has the job of managing product information and preparing it in a media-neutral way for different forms of publication or external sales platforms.

Plain Text

Plain text describes data that can be presented as text without any formatting.


PoS stands for point of sale. From the perspective of the buyer this means the point of purchase, and from the perspective of the seller the point of sale. It is where the purchase of a product is completed after the customer journey and possible touch points. Offline, the cash register comes to mind here; in e-commerce, the checkout area.


A product describes a commodity with  characteristics, called attributes in OctoPIM.

A product is not an article. An article only becomes tangible and salable when it has an article number (SKU code).

Product life cycle

The product life cycle stands for the course of life of a product. This starts with its creation and continues via approval, withdrawal, reapproval, and archiving to unarchiving.


REST stands for representational state transfer. It  describes standardized architectural principles that form the basis for the  communication of distributed systems.

Our colleagues provide more information on this topic here.


REST API refers to a programming interface orientedtoward the REST principles.

Here our colleagues discuss the pitfalls of building an API (in german).


SaaS stands for software as a service and is part of cloud computing. It is a licensing and distribution model that provides software over the internet.


By means of specialization, you have the possibility of maintaining suitable attributes for each product without having to create a separate family for it.

Learn more about specialization here.


The term touch point comes from marketing and describes both online and offline interfaces and points of contact of a company with its customers, suppliers, or employees. These contact points can be places, moments, or experiences. Controllable touch points include adverts, sales talks, and websites.


Variants are differentiations of a product. So for the same shirt for example, you can maintain the variants size, design, collar size, and cuff width within one product. Instead of having to maintain these specifications individually for each variant and thus each article, thanks to the variants feature you can maintain all this information in a product. Where required, it can however also be explicitly overwritten.

More over, you have full freedom with regard to variant depth, as you can make as many differentiations of a product as you wish.


In a base family, general attributes are maintained that have multiple product groups in common. These attributes no longer need to be defined in another family, as they are inherited.  This enables a uniform attribute structure across product groups. You benefit from real time savings as well as from comparable, high-quality product data

Products cannot be created from base families. This is only possible with a  "concrete" family.

Learn more about inheritance here.


A workflow can comprise different sub-tasks. The term generally refers to streamlined operations of business processes.


XML stands for Extensible Markup Language and is a representation form for the markup to represent hierarchically structured data in the format of a text file. This format is used, among other examples, in the exchange of data between systems.