Why Your Product Catalogue is the Key to E-Commerce Success

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E-Commerce seems to be becoming the mainstay of shopping in today’s world, with everything available at the click of a button. In fact, many big retail outlets are shutting shop and venturing into the online business model. These brick and mortar stores are seeing the convenience of setting up a virtual store and also the burgeoning benefits from it.

It might seem simple to set up an e-commerce portal, but it isn’t easy to make it a raging hit. A lot of work goes on in the back-end to make the online space look good and also do well. Advertising products and marketing them well is one of the key elements for e-commerce growth. However, another crucial thing is to gain traffic and improve conversion rates through crisp, clear, and attractive product information. So if you want to ace the e-commerce success game, begin with the basics of having a good product catalogue. Here is why and how it is so significant for success.

Why is product cataloguing important?

When a customer looks for products online, he usually finds them on many websites, but what makes a customer purchase the product is the way it has been described. Product content is your only chance to show the authenticity and novelty of the product over your competitors.

Having product content optimized for Google Search ensures that the product will come on the first page of Google. It will instill the customer’s trust in your e-commerce portal and in turn, increase sales. Proper product content will make you stand out and give you a competitive edge. Here are some other compelling reasons to have proper product cataloguing.

  1. Avoid cart abandonment

One of the main reasons for cart abandonment is inaccurate or poor product content. You might have the best prices and also offer the shortest delivery times, but if the product information is not conveyed in the best manner, visitors might not connect with you and leave the page soon.

It is essential to give rich product information with enough data covering every aspect of the product. Also, include complimentary material with it like videos, tutorials, reviews and more. This will further convince the shopper to purchase the product and have a good shopping experience.

  1. Improve brand image

Good branding is key to the success of your e-commerce portal. Having happy customers who can spread the word around about your portal is the best way to do well. Branding not only means good advertising strategies, social media presence and partner collaboration. The first thing to do is to secure the content of the products being sold. You don’t want people coming to your website and then frowning at the state of the catalogue, images and product information. Treat product cataloguing as a key tool to attracting more customers and enhancing brand image.

  1. Increase conversion rates and sales

Appropriate product information impacts conversion rates in the most robust way and thereby increases sales and revenues. Know that product information is not only about the product but also reviews, visuals, technical information and any other multimedia assets.

  1. Reduces product returns

About 40% of customers return products because they don’t get what is shown on the product page. The main reason for it is the lack of proper content. If a product page has all the key information supported with visuals, the probability of finding the correct product increases. Every product should have the basic information, ingredients or product details, a rich gallery of pictures taken from all angles in proper light, the measurement chart system (if it is apparel), assembly information for home or industrial products, and more.

Once the customer gets the desired product, mentioned on the website, he will always come back for more and also spread the word around.

  1. Key customer data collection point

Having a good product catalogue will show the customers who visited your website and bought from it and it will also showcase those who abandoned it. It is a good way to know the customer’s product preferences and also help them make a purchase decision based on their browsing history.

Online data analytics tools like Google Analytics can help you do all this and much more without any additional costs. It can show you how long each visitor stayed on your product page, which part of it caught their attention, how many people visited your catalogue, how they interacted with the content and a lot more.

Challenges for product catalogue management

You might face many issues while cataloging your products on the website. It could range from giving accurate and to-the-point information to having people abandon the shopping cart. Here are some of the most commonly found issues that online vendors face while managing the product catalogue:

  1. Multiple stakeholders

Often in an e-commerce portal, there are many stakeholders from inside and outside the brand. This can make maintaining the product catalogue complex and time-consuming. For instance, if there is a discrepancy between the units of measurement between suppliers and systems. This would entail frequent manual updates.

  1. Ease of use

It is essential to translate all the information about the products into clear and accurate information with proper product display and categorization fit, which often is the main issue for customer dissatisfaction.

  1. Mismatch between business and catalogue growth

Business growth is often tied up with catalogue growth. However, if your current catalogue structure is not ready to be expanded, it could cause issues. You need to tidy up the product catalogue beforehand and then think of business expansion.

Best practices for proper product catalogue management

To help overcome these issues, there are some best practices. These will help manage your e-commerce product catalogue efficiently and in turn, attract more customers and increase sales.

  1. Building brand image and trust through best quality product information

The main aim of your e-commerce portal should be to ensure that your potential customers are comfortable navigating through the website and can find proper product information. This will help build trust amongst them, which in turn will make them order your products.

For this, you will have to ensure that there is comprehensive and accurate product information. You can ensure to provide quality product content using the following techniques:

  • Comprehensive product information

You should provide complete information about a product so that the customer does not have any queries unanswered. From technical details, images to videos, units of measurement and product usage combinations. All the information for the particular product should be clear and easily accessible.

  • Updated information is mandatory

Having outdated and old information for a product shows poorly on the company. It also leaves the customer confused and will often lead to making wrong decisions. You need to regularly update both the static information like product details along with the ever-changing information on inventory. Have a person responsible for making these changes. You could also connect your web store inventory with the ERP inventory, which will automate the former regularly.

  • Illustrate through good videos

The visual memory of a person is much better than reading about a product. So ensure that you have short and informative clips about the product and its usage as part of the product content. It will keep visitors attentive and engaged. It will also help them understand the product more easily.

  1. Tag and segment products

With a plethora of products available on your e-commerce store it can get very tough for visitors to find the right product. With a short attention span and patience, most visitors will abandon your website if they cannot find the product soon. Thus, it is essential for you to tag and categorize all the products well with the option to refine, filter and sort the products. While doing so, you should think of it from the customer’s perspective. For instance, if your customers look for the product information on the basis of material, be sure not to limit your product information only on size and color. You can use these tips while segmenting the products:

  • Keep tags consistent

Having similar tags for all products on the website will help the visitors navigate the product catalogue easily. For instance, if you use “medium” to denote product size, do not use “M” in some places. Keep it consistent at “medium” only.

  • Keep measurements consistent

While giving measurements for apparel it is best to have product specifications in either inches or centimeters. Do not use both at different places and confuse the audience.

  • Customize attributes as per the product

Include additional attributes for a product wherever necessary and not stick to a standard pattern. These extra attributes will help the customers know the product better and make the correct selection. For instance, if you are selling gluten-free products, add more attributes than just package size, flavour and calorific value.

  1. Cross-sell products to increase sales

Always have the option of suggesting related products to increase the average order value. For instance, if a customer is looking for a camera online, suggest related products like batteries, memory cards and more. You could also suggest alternative products to lure the customer into buying more expensive variants of the same product. For instance, suggest a better quality camera. However, to do this, you need to have a proper grouping of products in the catalogue and accurate information about each product.

  1. Manage product catalogue database

e-Commerce catalogue management is all about information management and hence you will need to maintain a database. However, the database needs to be managed in a systematic manner else it can get chaotic. Follow these simple methods to optimize the product catalogue management:

  • Keep a single database for all the products without replicating it in any other system. It will help avoid errors and would be an efficient way of managing the products.
  • Have specific roles and authorization flows while changing the product catalogue database. These authorization flows help maintain data quality and not have a repetition of data.
  • Assess the feasibility of database expansion before you plan to expand the business. Check if any new product catalogue data can be collected and segmented quickly with the present database structure. If you can’t, then you need to first re-organize the internal data structure and check its scalability.
  1. Catalogue management tool

Invest in an e-commerce product catalogue to automate processes and give you insights on better management of products. There are different types of tools including, a stand-alone e-commerce platform, product information system (PIF), spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel and an e-commerce portal that integrates with ERP.

Choose a catalogue management tool based on your business size, existing tech support, availability of human resources, vastness and complexity of the product list and if you have any plans to have more web stores in the near future. Whatever tool you choose, always keep a single source of truth so that there is no duplication of data and there are less chances of making a mistake. For instance, if you have a PIM or ERP system for product catalogue management, you might not want to replicate the current data into another e-commerce portal. You can easily just choose an ERP integrated e-commerce system.

Takeaway

Efficient product catalogue management with accurate, standardized and consistent product information is crucial for the success of any e-commerce portal. It goes beyond just building and managing product data. It includes offering correct information in easy to understand language supported by appropriate visuals and reviews. Robust product catalogue management is crucial for ROI and higher business growth.

So ensure that you lay equal emphasis on this aspect of your e-commerce portal. Install a product catalogue management tool for ease of enhancing product information. Have regular checks and procedures in place to see if the products are updated. With these simple practices, you can have an efficient product catalogue system which will be key to the success of your e-commerce portal.

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