Much like the thrilling adventures that befall Harry Potter in the pages of this popular fiction, the world of eCommerce is no stranger to its own array of obstacles. While Harry wielded his magical prowess to overcome challenges with a mere swish and flick of his wand, the journey for eCommerce entrepreneurs to overcome product data challenges is a bit more complex than that.

In the age of online business, product data is incredibly important. Customers make buying decisions based on the information they find on product pages – such as titles, descriptions, pictures, and reviews.

If the product information is poor, you risk losing customers. Dealing with product data can be quite tricky because of its volume and heterogeneity. This makes it difficult to organize and present the data in a crisp and consumable format.

Unlike in the magical world, online businesses can’t rely on wizards or special tools to come to the rescue. However, there are practical ways to overcome product data challenges. 

Let’s take a look at some common issues and how to tackle them.

6 Common Product Data Challenges & Ways To Overcome Them

Product Data Challenge #1 Lack of a single source of truth

The quality of the product data is directly related to the comprehensiveness of it; in the sense that it should be detailed, rich in information, and free from errors. However, the product information that eCommerce businesses handle is often huge in volume and is scattered across various sources.

While technical specifications are trapped in spreadsheets, digital assets could be stuck in folders and product descriptions in ERP systems. Each source with a different version adds to the complexity of management. The result? Poor product data quality and a dry spell on conversions.

The solution to the product data challenge is identifying a PIM solution that acts as a single and the only source of truth for all the product information.

💡How to overcome this product data challenge

A PIM platform is the ideal solution to help you overcome the challenge of data silos. A PIM helps in centralizing all the data from various sources by acting as a digital hub to create accurate and engaging product catalogs. This enables:

  • Consolidating product information in a single location
  • A PIM integrates with various data sources, so your data is always up-to-date and in sync
  • Bringing order and structure by categorizing products, defining attributes, and specifying relationships between products
  • Streamlining the process of data entry
  • Managing version control to help you access historical data

Product Data Challenge #2 Missing information in the product catalogs

When a potential buyer lands on your product page, they make a purchase decision based on at least one component of your product catalog. While some buyers look at the product images, others read reviews, and for some buyers, text-based content is the holy grail.

As a seller, you have no control over what persuades a purchase decision on the product page. So, this means you cannot afford to miss out on the components of a product catalog. You must make it as comprehensive as possible so that you reduce cart abandonment, drop-offs, and ambiguity in decision-making, 

But, the real challenge here is having the information handy so that the product catalogs are not running on fumes. This happens because there is no system in place to store all the information in one place or automation to enrich these catalogs.

💡How to overcome this product data challenge

  • Prioritize comprehensive data collection by sourcing the information from manufacturers, suppliers, and other internal sources
  • Automate catalog enrichment with a PIM platform
  • Conduct routine audits of your product catalog to identify gaps and inconsistencies in information

Product Data Challenge #3 Inaccurate information in the product catalogs

Picture this: A buyer decides to buy a smartphone and lands on the product page to learn more about it. But, a lot of information presented is inaccurate because this eCommerce business relies heavily on manual data entry methods that are prone to human errors and a broken chain of communication between the key stakeholders involved.

Data inaccuracies could be errors in product name, quantity, pricing, images, specifications, etc. 

Data inaccuracy could often be mismatched information, misplaced data, duplicate data, data entered in the wrong field, interchanged descriptions, or wrong images. This arises due to inefficient methods involved in handling product information.

💡How to overcome this product data challenge

  • Automated Data Validation: Use automated checks to identify errors during data entry and ensure clean, valid, and accurate information
  • Centralized Data Management: Manage all your product data from a central location to ensure data consistency across channels
  • Regular Data Audits: Conduct routine checks to identify and rectify product data inaccuracies
  • Collaborative Workflows: Facilitate communication between all the key stakeholders involved in product data creation

Product Data Challenge #4 Assuming product data is all about text-based content

A product catalog has two major components – one is text-based content and the other is visual elements. These are called digital assets and can be in the form of any creatives like photos, videos, PDFs, 3D models, guides, and more. 

Look at this example (below) of an apparel retailer selling on Amazon – the product catalog is rich with digital assets like images and videos. This not only helps the buyer understand the look and feel of the product but also in making a confident and informed decision.

The major challenge in managing digital assets is managing the volumes and the complexities. Each product has multiple digital assets showcasing its features and functionalities. If the product has a learning curve, it also comes with manuals and video tutorials. The management of this information is tedious if there is a proper tool in place.

There are other challenges like – managing version control, maintaining asset quality for each channel, data security, rights management, access control, and distribution to various channels.


💡How to overcome this product data challenge

  • Implement a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system to centralize storage, organization, and syndication
  • Regularly audit and update digital assets to ensure accuracy and consistency
  • Enforce version control mechanisms to track changes and maintain the latest assets
  • Invest in scalable and secure cloud storage solutions 

Product Data Challenge #5 Absence of optimized product content that builds trust and visibility

One of the major challenges that eCommerce businesses face is the lack of optimized product content. This limits the opportunities for search visibility and rankings.

Duplicate product data leads to duplicate content issues that could hinder search engine rankings. The sheer volume of product data makes it difficult for content managers and SEO writers to optimize the content.

💡How to overcome this product data challenge

  • Create unique product descriptions to prevent duplicate content issues and improve search rankings
  • Ensure responsive design and fast load times for mobile devices 
  • Do thorough keyword research and naturally infuse relevant keywords into product content
  • Enrich product pages with high-quality images, videos, and interactive elements 

Product Data Challenge #6 Overlooking product data standardization

Product data standardization refers to making product information consistent with the channels on which they are distributed. This could mean establishing formats, customizing according to the channel templates, and making the messaging and the product story consistent. However, achieving product data standards could be challenging because:

  • Product data comes from multiple departments, suppliers, and other internal sources, leading to inconsistencies in formats 
  • The products are evolving. A new feature gets added, a new variant is launched, and more. So, keeping up with these changes could be difficult
  • Managing and standardizing data is a complex and tedious process. Businesses lack awareness about tools like PIM that can streamline this

💡How to overcome this product data challenge

  • Define clear and comprehensive data standards for the product data components like attributes, formats, and naming conventions
  • Collaborate across departments to ensure data standards meet diverse stakeholder needs
  • Leverage automatic data syndication that enables the publishing of data that is in compliance with the channel guidelines
  • Regularly audit data quality against established standards and set up anomaly alerts
  • Train employees on data standardization importance and adherence

Final thoughts

E-commerce, much like a captivating adventure, is filled with both opportunities and obstacles. Embracing these seven effective strategies is akin to equipping yourself with essential tools. 

These tactics enable you to overcome even the most challenging hurdles in product data management. Just like Harry’s determination led him to win, your dedication to managing product data will guide your e-commerce journey toward impressive success.


Nandhini is a Content Lead who loves writing. Her day is set with a planner and sticky notes. She loves a good dose of Netflix on her time off and enjoys Kindle reading, with the side of hibiscus tea.

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