If you are an eCommerce business today, you probably understand the importance of product catalog management. However, not all companies take their catalog management as seriously they should. Let’s look at a typical scenario that we have seen all too many times here at Sigmento.
A customer returned the Otterbox iPhone 5 case you sent them through eBay because they thought they’d ordered one for the iPhone 6. Amazon removed 5 of your listings and threatened to close down your store because those listings were incorrectly categorized. You received a slew of complaints from unhappy customers on your own site, claiming that, “the product received wasn’t as advertised.”
The reason for this? The eCommerce retailer has failed to properly oversee their product catalog management throughout their omnichannel presence. Data Warehousing Institute estimates that lack of product catalog management costs U.S. businesses more than $600 billion a year. That’s a lot of lost profit, considering that the health of your product catalog should be, and easily could be, completely within your control.
What do you need to do to ensure
up-to-date product catalog management?
The answer, in one word, is time.
You absolutely must take the time to clean up and optimize your entire product catalog management. This may sound tedious and time-consuming, and it is. The honest truth is that the success of your business depends on clear, accurate and concise information being presented to your customers.
Here are 3 tried and true methods to ensure successful product catalog management for your eCommerce business.
1. Clarify ALL product identifiers with distributors and manufacturers.
There are so many product identifiers associated with each product, and each version of a product, that trying to work out the exact ASIN, UPC, or Part Number can be confusing and stressful. Speak directly with your distributors and manufacturers and request that they provide you with the right details to match your inventory.
In the example below from eBay, you can see the Brand, Part Number and EAN for this cordless drill. Having the correct product identifiers will reduce duplicate listings and unnecessary returns as well as keep you in the good graces of the large marketplaces.
The Sigmento solution is a great tool to ensure your UPC and ASIN codes are accurate and up-to-date. Our on-demand product database contains tens of millions of products and actively finds UPCs and ASINs for every item in your catalog. This is product catalog management at it’s finest, with higher quality and lower cost than manual processes.
2. Check that all product catalog information is accurate by comparing listings to the actual product.
It’s not just the product identifiers that need to be accurate. All the information on the product page needs to be complete, concise, and relevant. By providing all the information needed to confidently complete the purchase, without overwhelming the shopper with unnecessary or poorly formatted information, you improve the customer experience as well as your brand value.
It is also important to create unique product titles and descriptions so that your page isn’t exactly the same as your competitors. Although sometimes it’s just quicker and easier to copy what someone else has written, duplicate content ends up getting ignored by search engines, which is certainly not what you want to see happening.
Take these Nike sneakers on Amazon, for example. The title concisely describes the shoe’s function and target market. The product features clearly describe the item, meaning the customer knows exactly what they’re getting. The description connects the customer to the design philosophy of the shoe in an emotional way, enhancing the connection to the Nike brand.
This type of product information can be the difference between conversion rates for your eCommerce store skyrocketing or shoppers falling into the hands of competitors. Although, as you can see, even global brands like Nike have places where they can improve their product listings. Having duplicate information about the rubber sole marginally worsens the customer experience. Don’t despair at the state of your product catalog, focus on continual improvements and see your store and pages through the eyes of your shoppers.
3. Create uniformity on your own site so customers know what to expect.
No customer, or potential customer, will stick around if they find themselves frustrated while navigating your site.
If the user experience is complicated and unfriendly, people will get annoyed and your sales will lag. Don’t use the word “teal” for a dress, if you’re then going to describe a sweater in the same color as “jade”. Uniform, standardized product information will result in efficient data management and a more pleasing user experience.
On the ASOS site, for example, every product is categorized according to product type, brand, size and color, simplifying the data management process and providing the customer with an easy way to search and filter for what they’re looking for.
Apply these 3 product catalog management tips to your eCommerce presence and see a remarkable improvement in your user experience, and more importantly, sales, in no time.