With the increase in competition in the e-commerce industry, ensuring a rich and great user experience to every customer is the least that an online store can offer. And a product catalogue is one of the many things that you need to deliver that experience.
Product catalogue management is something that you as an e-commerce player cannot afford to ignore. In today’s multichannel e-commerce market, it has become difficult to build, implement, and maintain an online product catalogue. It gets even more difficult when you have a diversified range of products to sell, a variety of selling platforms, and customers from the different parts of the world.
Before we tell you why it is important to invest in product catalogue management, let us take a look at what it is exactly:
E-Commerce Product Catalogue Management
The idea of a product catalogue management is simple. It involves maintaining a single catalogue for all the products in your e-commerce store. Product catalogue management can be defined as the process of creating, managing, and updating the database for products across all channels and platforms to ensure consistent, comprehensive, and accurate product information.
By information, we mean all relevant information about the product like product classification and categorisation, attributes, policy and warranty details, and also image processing. If your e-commerce store has a well-organised product catalogue, the shoppers will easily be able to find the products they are looking for. They will get all the information required to make a purchasing decision.
Investing in product catalogue management is especially useful for a multichannel seller. If you are one, you are probably selling on different marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon and also running your own e-commerce store. Each of these channels follow a specific format as far as product data is concerned. If you are updating product information manually, then you will have to do it across multiple channels and in their specified formats.
In most cases, a large amount of data is involved, and it can become messy. It is also time-consuming and can lead to delay in your product going live on the different sites. This is where the importance of product catalogue management comes into the scene.
Let us take a look at some of the reasons that make catalogue management a necessity in today’s world:
1. Helps to Create Consistent and Rich Product Information
An online catalogue which is properly managed will deliver quality product data. It will also ensure that your customers have all the information they need about the products you are selling.
There is a standardisation of the data. The colour of the product if spelt ‘Black' will be ‘Black' everywhere else and not ‘BLK' for one product and ‘BK' for another. This product will have the colour attribute attached to it, across all channels, even when you are buying this product from a supplier.
2. Builds Omni-channel Experience
Planning to design an omnichannel strategy for selling your products?
Catalogue management is among the first things that you will need to sort out.
A single customer might look for your product in different places. Customers after finding your product on Amazon can visit your store to make the final purchase. Or, customers are looking for a specific feature in your product. This feature is not being shown on the Amazon website. Customers can search for this feature on your website or app.
Consistent data across all the channels will help in building an omnichannel experience. This will make it easier for the customers to search for your product, regardless of the touch point.
3. Improved Customer Experience
What is the use of rich and detailed product information? It ensures a great customer experience. Needless to say, buyers have loads of options to buy a single product online. And while buying online, they look for detailed product information. Unless your site is providing it, shoppers will not buy from your store.
Offering detailed product information comes with a lot of benefits. It makes your product searchable and makes it easy for others to find it. It also gives your customers the confidence of buying what they exactly they are looking for. Complete product information is a prerequisite for great customer experience. And when you provide great user experience, your customers will keep coming back to your store.
4. Business Growth
Proper catalogue management will give a strong foundation and base to expand your business. With a good catalogue management strategy, you will be in a position support a larger number of products and even market them faster.
As your product data is all sorted and updated, it will be easier to add more products.
When you already have a structure in place, you will easily be able to add more stock keeping unit (SKUs) and also push these to the various sales channels.
Working with wholesalers and suppliers is a great way to expand your business. You will be to add more products to your catalogue and sell more. However, working with suppliers isn’t easy and more so, when you are selling online.
Supplier data is usually very poor. As they do not sell to customers directly, they do not bother much about the various product attributes they you need on your store. Enriching and standardising supplier data can take weeks and even months, depending on the magnitude of the product you are dealing with. With a good catalogue management strategy in place, you will not need to worry about. You can easily format supplier data and start selling.
5. Beyond Product Catalogue Management
You either can opt for an in-house e-commerce catalogue management software program or outsource your requirements to a third-party vendor. Outsourcing your requirements is the best thing to do as you will have access to the latest tools and systems along with human expertise. It will help to optimise cost and time while helping you to manage a large amount of data. It will also ensure accuracy, standardised and uniform data product across all your sales channels.
When you outsource your catalogue management requirements, you get much more than just these. On-page SEO, keyword-rich descriptions, proper titles, metadata and image tags, seamless user experience, and improved product visibility are some of the things that you will get over and above product management.
Shoppers will easily be able to find products with proper attributes and a relevant catalogue copy. Properly managed and well-organised catalogue ensures business growth.
Product Catalogue Management – Know Your Options
E-Commerce Catalogue Management
This depends on the tools you can use and invest in. If you own an e-commerce platform, it probably has a couple of tools for the purpose of catalogue management. You will be able to upload bulk products and also edit as and when required. However, if you have a lot of products in your store, these tools won’t suffice.
Your e-commerce platform wasn’t designed for product management and does not come with the required functionalities.
Excel for Catalogue Management
Excel is a great tool for keeping your product data organised. This is also the most cost-effective solution you have as far as catalogue management is concerned.
You will have to spend some time in formatting the sheet and also collating the date and maintaining its quality. You have the benefit of creating a different format for selling your products across different sales platform.
However, Excel is suitable only for small retailers. If you're someone dealing with a huge number of SKUs, excel wouldn't be of much help.
Catalogue Management Software
E-commerce retailers who are dealing with a large amount of data and a huge number of SKU should consider using a catalogue management software program. Such a tool is designed to centralise data regardless of where it is coming from. It makes data management easy and comes with a wide range of features and functions.
A product management software program streamlines the entire process that involves collecting, uploading, standardising, and publishing data across various sales channels. It ensures your customers have consistent and relevant product information.
The catalogue market is flourishing, and everybody is joining the e-commerce bandwagon. And in order to stay ahead, you will need optimised product pages with all the relevant information and that will only be possible when your store's catalogue requirements are sorted.
Catalogue management is something that you cannot ignore if you are planning to expand your business. Moreover, it's something that your e-commerce store needs in order to keep product data updated, organised, and stored in one place. The benefits of catalogue management are many and investing in it is worth it.
You can consider outsourcing your catalogue marketing requirements to a third-party vendor as then you will not have to invest in a software program. Also, you will not need to have a dedicated team for using this tool.
What do you think is better - outsourcing catalogue management or investing in a tool?