Ecommerce product catalog management is a two-dimensional process, with its first dimension focusing on data management and the second one revolving around ensuring data quality. Since it aligns product details across multiple sales channels, the concept becomes central to any business looking to explore multiple eCommerce marketplaces.
Why eCommerce product catalog management is important for online retailers
Product catalogs are sales enablers since they drive traffic to your products, and as such, the role of catalog management becomes important. An efficient product catalog management system helps you maintain an accurate product database, boosts ROI, facilitates easy product categorization, makes customization possible, and enhances customer experience. Efficient catalog management, therefore, enables you to market your products efficiently on multiple eCommerce marketplaces.
5 Strategic challenges of eCommerce product catalog management
Catalog management is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that involves several activities, each of which is equally significant. While operational challenges can be quickly experienced, it is often difficult to realize long term strategic challenges.
Here are the top 5 strategic challenges online stores and eCommerce retailers experience managing their product catalogs:
- Managing go-to-market time and streamline product on-boarding – A fashion and lifestyle retailer keeps adding new products into their offerings. But to actually onboard these new product lines on a targeted eCommerce channel means to go through a long process of data processing. While from a strategy perspective, short go-to-market times are always desired, the operational intricacies do not allow this to happen easily.
- Ensuring efficient Product discovery – Inaccurate tagging causes 80% of online catalogs to remain undiscovered. Product onboarding is incomplete if product catalogs aren’t filled with proper tags. When people search for products they are looking for, they should be diverted to at least those closest to what they intend to find. However, inaccurate tagging can drive visitors far away from your products.
- Creating Metadata for products on sale – When inexperienced resources are employed to perform manual tagging, it can result in inappropriate or inaccurate tagging of products. Professionals employed to perform tagging must be rightly trained and educated about the product, as incomplete knowledge of products on their part can result in product isolation, thereby adversely impacting sales.
- Managing dynamic demand by real-time tracking of inventory – An eCommerce company selling right from books, fashion & clothing accessories, and home & kitchen appliances to furniture has to track inventory status of thousands to millions of products. When there are no mechanisms to track and monitor inventory, it can create a huge demand-supply gap, causing tremendous supply chain inefficiencies.
- Analyzing competitor pricing – Product prices have to be checked multiple times, as wrong pricing can have serious repercussions on business growth. Exploring various e-marketplaces to channelize your sales doesn’t only involve adhering to listing requirements. However, analyzing what pricing structures your competitors are following is equally important. The task becomes a more difficult task to accomplish as you widen the range of products to be sold on e-commerce platforms.
How to overcome the strategic challenges of eCommerce product catalog management?
To improve the e-commerce catalog management process, retailers must focus on data validation and data quality. It includes fixing the processes to identify duplicates, correct errors, standardize naming, titles, and categorization to make catalogs consistent. Here are some of the strategies they must adopt to improve product catalog management successfully.
1. Engage with an outsourcing partner
The complexities and mundane nature of activities that comprise catalog management cost your business time and money. By engaging with a catalog service provider, you can easily streamline your entire product catalog management journey.
With extensive domain expertise and experience in product data management and online catalog services, e-commerce product catalog management services are accompanied by precise documentation, appealing design, befitting product images, and descriptions. Catalog management companies ensure strong product, data privacy, and security.
2. Have a product information management (PIM) system in place
PIM acts as a one-stop solution, as it effectively manages all essential data related to SKU, price, product descriptions, multimedia like videos and images, and product specifications. A robust PIM helps in real-time integration, helps in data-mapping, and thereby aligns appropriate information across multiple channels.
Apart from operational benefits such as eliminating data silos, streamlining data entry, accuracy improvement, and content optimization, PIM brings several strategic benefits, including faster go-to-market strategies, channel optimization, and increased customer satisfaction.
3. Employ analytics and automation
Analytics plays a key role in enhancing brand image, boosting sales, and seamlessly improving customer experience. But most importantly, it efficiently helps keep track of all KPIs. Right from automated product classification, content moderation to scaling product catalogs, machine learning, and AI-based analytics can successfully enable you in product catalog optimization.
Equally important is to incorporate automation into the processes. Using computer vision and image recognition technology (OCR), automated tagging can help tag thousands of products accurately in just a few minutes.
4. Build a robust and flexible SEO strategy
Your SEO strategies must be tailored to suit each e-commerce marketplace’s search engine requirements to help you grow equally well on all targeted e-commerce marketplaces. For this, having a dynamic and adaptable SEO strategy becomes imperative.
Catalog management becomes a success only when product catalog content helps you achieve your products’ desired levels of visibility. You can achieve this by leveraging professional writers and SEO experts who can be your long-term partners in streamlining your entire content management journey.
In the wake of growing competition, online retailers need efficient product catalog management services, which can help them optimize time and cost by empowering them with mechanisms to manage continuously increasing data volumes with ease.
Product catalog management is not just about managing product data across multiple sales channels. Rather, an efficient and robust catalog management service is the one that ensures that sales growth across each channel meets set targets and ROI goals. Given the circumstances, outsourcing product catalog management stands out as the best option.