How to Improve Your Ecommerce Product Catalog Management

Nowadays, customers are looking for a rich and consistent experience while purchasing products online. The modern-day user has become accustomed to buying products online by researching product information from various platforms.

63% of consumers say they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting, or relevant.

Hence, if the product information provided by your eCommerce site is limited or lacks authenticity, then there is a high probability that your customer would lose interest, leading to lower conversion and sales. This is where product catalog management comes in.

What is product catalog management?

Product catalog management consists of managing and maintaining product information such as product attributes, product classification, and categorization, high-quality product images along with manufacturing, warranty, and policy details in a standardized format across sales channels.

An eCommerce product catalog provides the consumer with in-depth knowledge about the product your eCommerce portal sells. E.g., a vendor selling watches will obviously have a product name, price, supplier, delivery time, etc. but they should also add information such as belt type, metal plating, leather quality, manufacturing information, etc.

Importance of product catalog management

B2C and B2B customers are now fairly accustomed to buying products online. This has created the need to have a well-managed online product catalog that ensures your products stay competitive, appear in online search results, and meet customer expectations. Hence, creating a thorough customer-centric product catalog determines the performance of your e-commerce website as it is directly proportional to CTR and conversion ratios.

78% of consumers are more likely to buy a product with relevant product page content.

Creating and managing product catalogs may seem very simple but factors such a product SKU management, managing content across multiple sales channels, customer-oriented pricing, and normalizing product information received from third parties end up being a daunting task. Despite these challenges, fixing your product catalog can help your online retail business achieve these goals:

·  Provide an ideal user experience

Online shoppers do a huge amount of research before buying a product. Hence, when they come to your eCommerce portal, it is imperative to ensure they reach the product they are looking for. A Baymard study on site search queries revealed that "61% of sites require their users to search by the exact same product type jargon the site uses."

This means, if a user is searching for ‘jogging shoes’, the product options under the tag ‘running shoes’ will not appear. This is a result of poor product catalog management. Product information management is integral to providing a rich user experience as it gives the customer the confidence to buy, and affects SEO and site navigation in a positive manner.

Hence, eCommerce merchants should focus on creating a customer experience that takes their shopper to the product they need with fewer clicks.

·   Operational improvement

Chaotic product information management can put an additional burden on your operational team. Every time a new product is added, your operational team has to waste time in standardizing and normalizing product data. If product attributes are tagged in a systematic manner, then your operational team just need to select those tags to describe a product. I.e., if a product gives a yearly warranty, your operational staff just needs to select the ‘one-year warranty’ tag instead of putting all the information manually.

· Adding new products & suppliers

If your product data is mismanaged, adding new suppliers with a range of products will end up being a daunting task, taking months to integrate them into your product management system. If your product information itself requires constant standardization & normalization, adding new products and suppliers seem like a far off dream.

If you agree on the above-mentioned aspects, then here are a few strategies to help you improve your product catalog management.

How to improve product catalog management

·  Checking product information

Quality product information helps you build trust amongst your customers. Customers rely on the product information of your website to form an opinion about the product they are buying. Hence, it is imperative you provide comprehensive and accurate product information in your catalog. When the product they bought actually matches the description, the consumer trust factor for your website increases leading to improved conversion rates. You need to do three things to ensure this:

  1. Include detailed information about the product.
  2. Map product information versus actual product to ensure the information displayed on your website or management software is up to date.
  3. Display high-quality product images

·  Integrating product catalog

Implement extensive integration of product data with the help of eCommerce management tools like payment gateway, web content management, etc. Integrating your product catalog across software helps you improve the operational process involved in managing product information. You will be surprised to see how much of your employees time is saved in doing so.

· Impeccable project management

Changes in product information occur constantly. A particular product may have launched three new SKUs with different add-on features; such information should be readily available on your website. Mapping your catalog management points you at the stakeholders involved in managing such processes, thus leading to faster implementation.

For e.g. If a vendor wants to add some new products to your website, a clearly mapped catalog management process will help you:

  1. Categorize the products
  2. Manage logistics
  3. Collect product information
  4. Commission product photoshoot
  5. Create a product description for the website
  6. Manage documentation.

· Tagging based on search patterns

A refined filtering and sorting option can help your customer easily browse through your product catalog. A customer is on your website to search for the product that fulfills his needs, hence, it is important to tag your products from the customer’s perspective. A few helpful tips would be:

  1. Keep consistency in product tags. E.g. if a t-shirt size is tagged as “LARGE” then keep it the same everywhere, don’t switch between “LARGE” and “L”.
  2. Keep consistency in measurement units E.g. Either Kgs or Pounds. Not both.
  3. Add product attributes as and when needed.

·  Customized catalog

As mentioned earlier, personalization enhances the probability of customers buying a product. Customized product management catalogs can be developed based on your customer’s profiles and preferences. It also depends on the type of eCommerce website you run. Cross-selling products become very easy with such customized platforms.

Outsourcing your product catalog management helps customize and make changes in your catalog management at a lightning speed. This approach widens the possibility of personalization of product information & reduces operational pressure on your team.

· Enhance user experience

How easily a customer navigates through your website definitely contributes to your profits. Even if, user experience is highly dependent on site navigation & category structure; images play a crucial role in them.

High-quality product images elevate the store’s brand image, attract customer attention, increases customer’s trust; eventually leading to an increase in revenue. Editing your product images to perfection can lead the way to enhance your customer user experience.