Handling an e-commerce business is challenging. To be able to make your business work, you need to have all the necessary tools and processes in place and come up with the most efficient means of handling all the inventory, marketing, packaging, and shipping. Not to mention the maintenance of your product catalog, which is also a huge undertaking on its own.
Why Your E-Commerce Product Catalog is Essential
Shoppers are used to the practice of searching for products online. With the growing number of ecommerce businesses, you have to see to it that online shoppers can find you. And what better way is there to get your e-commerce business closer to your audience than by improving your product catalog. This helps your brand stay competitive and accessible to the right prospective customers.
Common Challenges in Managing your Product Catalog
To efficiently create and manage your product catalog, it helps that to be aware of the common problems that you might encounter when it comes to maintaining your product listings and data:
1. Keeping your product listings updated.
Keeping your product catalog constantly updated is crucial. Whether it’s to update prices and availability, add new products, or improve product descriptions, this task will eat up a lot of time, but to make the most of your e-commerce store, you have to see to it that all of your products are properly listed and updated whenever necessary to include all the important details.
2. Managing products across multiple sales channels
Another challenge that most e-commerce businesses face is being able to sell products across different online platforms. This means you will have more product catalogs to maintain and more product listings to update. Each of these online channels will have different listing requirements, and this lack of uniformity can make your product listing updates more difficult. But to be able to provide your buyers with all of the details that they need, it’s important that you provide them with complete and accurate product listings.
3. Expanding your product catalog
To make it easier for you to expand your product listings in the future, you need to make sure that you start with a clean and well-organized product catalog from the get-go. An inaccurate and unorganized product catalog can be a headache to e-commerce businesses, as it will eat up more time to update and correct all the errors. This can even discourage you from growing your product catalog and your business.
4. Handling complex product details
Some products may have more complex details to incorporate compared with others. Depending on your niche, there may be some complicated data structures that you have to incorporate, without making it too complicated to understand or select whenever they decide to buy from your e-commerce store.
5. Maintaining data quality
Some feedback that you wouldn’t want to get from your buyers is that your listings are inaccurate, incomplete, unhelpful or misleading. This can happen if the details of your product listing does not match the products you are selling. If a buyer orders and receives their products, and what they got did not meet what was indicated on your listings, this can mean a bad review for your store. You will want to make sure that every product listing contains accurate and detailed information that will help your buyers make an informed decision about their purchase.
Effective Strategies in Product Catalog Management
Now that you know what issues you may encounter when maintaining your product catalog, you should now know how to avoid these problems by applying some good product catalog management strategies.
1. Build trust by providing quality information
Trust is a very important part of online sales. It goes both ways, with the buyer trusting that he receives the product he is expecting and as listed on the store, and the seller trusting that the buyer will pay for what he orders. As a seller, it is your responsibility to provide your current and future customers with the right information about your products. This helps build your brand’s reputation and helps make sure that your customers get what they want whenever they decide to buy from you. This also helps eliminate negative reviews about your products and your brand in general.
2. Tag and categorize your product catalog
Another way you can help improve your customers’ experience on your online store is by tagging and categorizing your products accordingly. Take advantage of the categorization options offered by almost all ecommerce platforms. This will help buyers find the products that they are looking for, and one of these products can include yours. See to it that all of your products tags and measurements are consistent. Optimize your categorization opportunities, such as listing multipurpose scissors under arts and crafts, kitchen tools, school supplies and other categories where it belongs to.
3. Choose a suitable catalog management tool
There is a large selection of product management tools available on the internet. It’s a matter of choosing the right tool that meets your business needs. You can choose from a browser-based or a downloadable software, a spreadsheet software, or a product information management (PIM) system. See to it that the product management tool you are using allows you to scale and manage your product catalog and will be easy for your team to use.
4. Practice the arts of upselling and cross-selling
To help you make the most of every sales opportunity that comes your way, see to it that you provide your customers with the opportunity to easily find products that they may want to buy along with their most recent order. For example, a customer is looking for a cell phone. You can offer additional products that they might want to have along with their cell phone such as a cell phone casing or a selfie stick. You can also try to upsell by suggesting a much better, higher quality cell phone.
5. Create a map of your product catalog management process
Managing a large selection of products can affect some of your processes in one way or another. This is why it’s important to know what can come up from any change that you apply anytime you update your product catalog. If you are listing a new product, a process map will help you quickly know who should be made aware about this change and what you can do to prepare for whatever effect it may have. Will you need to choose a new courier that can accommodate your new products? Do you need to train your customer support to make sure that they are familiar with your products? With the process map to guide you, you won’t have to keep wondering if there is anything amiss with your processes.
The success of your product catalog management lies on how you resolve any challenges you encounter along the way. There is no one-size-fits-all procedure to making your product management work, but if you follow some strategies that have been tried and tested by many successful e-commerce businesses, you may be able to crack the code and find more consistent success as an online seller.
If you need help in handling your product catalog management and are considering outsourcing this aspect of your business, contact us here at Assivo to get a more comprehensive guide on how we can help you keep your product catalogs consistently updated and managed.