Modern Mantra of ecommerce: Product catalog management

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5 min read

Everyone needs accurate product data and information. Pretty much any retailer who sells across two or more channels will agree that one of the main challenges in modern ecommerce is keeping product listings accurate, simultaneously up to date, and most of all engaging.

Today’s online brands and retailers aren’t just racing to keep up with competitors’ pricing. They also want to provide product information that matches the high expectations of their users on an ever-growing number of channels like websites, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, social media, comparison shopping engines, and more. 

When consumers shop online, to find the right product they are looking for, they need ample product information. If they are not satisfied or don’t find what they are looking for, they may never come back again, making it a forever lost opportunity for you. 

In situations like this, online retailers should not panic. They should take a deep breath, channelize their inner strength and use the modern mantra of ecommerce, Product catalog management. 

What is product catalog management?

In very simple terms, product catalog management refers to the maintenance and management of high-quality product data and information in an organized manner to be consistent across all channels and marketplaces. It is a detailed inventory list that engages across all your sales channels. 

One of the significant advantages of a good product catalog is that it reduces the time it takes for a user to navigate a product they want. The more extensive and richer the product catalog, the easier it is for the end-user. Businesses must keep this in mind while preparing their product catalogs. 

A deeper dive into the world of product catalogs

Product catalogs have been in practice since the early industrial revolution days. Product catalogs were the symbol of innovation among businesses those days. Businesses that had attractive product posters and informative flyers were successful.  But over time, although the flyers and posters might have changed, the true essence remains. Better product catalog data leads to better sales returns. 

Retailers must improve their product catalogs and catalog management techniques to sustain and stand out in the market. Traditionally product catalogs were prepared and maintained manually. Although manual product catalogs are still in use, managing and maintaining them has become a tedious and time-consuming task. These days, especially for ecommerce, product catalogs are a lot more functional than fashionable. 

Today’s catalogs need to tell a story rather than just display data and connect well with the end-user. Many modern techniques are being used for creating and managing product catalogs. Here are the top 3  best practices for ecommerce businesses when it comes to product catalog management. 

Detailed product description

These days, product descriptions are vital. Along with displaying all the relevant product information, they need to convey a story to the user. The user must connect with the product. Although information such as the product size, color, category, feature, etc., should be displayed, businesses can provide more insightful data like why this particular feature is useful, what color suits which size, how many customers prefer a specific color, etc. 

Attractive product images

Visual appeal is everything. Although well-written product descriptions account for 50% of the product catalogs, having good photos to back them up is essential. These product images bring a sense of trust in the user’s mind and help them visualize how their product looks on various channels and shelves. After all, seeing is believing. 

Functional and updated catalog

The ultimate goal of a product catalog is to sell the product. However fashionable we make it, if it is not functional, it isn’t worth it. At the very basic level, product catalogs must include all the information that can help a retailer make an informed decision. Suggesting related products, showing users statistical data, and presenting an updated catalog are some of the things that make the catalog more functional.  

Product catalog’s role in marketplace SEO

Most customers often don’t know the exact product that they want. They search using a broad term and expect the website to show them the product they want or something similar. 

E.g., customers might be looking for jogging shoes but would want the marketplace to show them other types of shoes, such as casual wear shoes, hybrid type shoes, etc. Most websites and marketplaces don’t provide such search results.

A study by Baymard revealed that 61% of websites require their users to search by the same product type keyword the site uses.

Although doing good website/marketplace SEO is the solution for this, rich product catalogs can also help in their regard. Product catalogs affect the SEO of the ecommerce website/marketplace, helping in better site navigation. Rich product catalogs with information such as 360-degree images, in-depth product descriptions, videos, similar product comparisons, and reviews help in the overall SEO and make it easy for the user to get the product they want. It is up to the online retailers to adapt and improve their product catalogs to match such scenarios. They should enrich their product catalogs with the best-in-market content and be ready to serve any customer on any platform at any time. 

Looks may be deceptive.

Product catalog management may look simple enough from the outside, but that is so far away from the truth. Maintaining product catalogs is very hard for multiple reasons. The number of sources for getting product information increases, and businesses must validate the information they syndicate to different channels. 

Coordinating and collaborating with multiple internal teams for catalog management, handling product data in multiple languages and different currencies, managing various product types with their own set of attributes like color, size, etc., are some of the major challenges that ecommerce businesses face when it comes to product catalog management. 

In addition, with the emergence of multiple sales channels, retailers who want to ply their trade across platforms must prepare product catalogs specific to each channel as each channel has its requirement. 

If not done correctly, these things may lead to product catalogs becoming messy, unorganized, and, worst of all, inconsistent across channels which directly affects your sales opportunities and tarnishes the value of your products and your brand. 

So, what’s the solution?

A product information management solution like PIMworks is what one might require. Along with catalog management, you can manage all your product data under a single roof and create immersive product catalogs that are consistent across channels, thereby maintaining your overall brand value.

With the amount of competition these days for ecommerce retailers, staying relevant and unique is quite important. But also, being consistent across all channels is very vital. A PIM software with Product catalog management capabilities would be of great help in achieving this. 

So what are you waiting for? Grab your products, upload them on multiple channels and earn more with the modern mantra of ecommerce. 

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