Product Taxonomy Challenges & Mapping Solutions
The new challenge in the world of Product Information Management (PIM) is certainly what I call “the taxonomy challenge”. The long tail of retailers and marketplaces are using a single source and adopting the taxonomy of their content provider. However, the leading marketplaces, retailers, and brand owners, all but comply with a taxonomy standard.
It implies that for connecting to Amazon, Walmart, and many other marketplaces, a lot of mappings are needed of specs, spec values, categories, brands, etc. Not just once, but continuously as the taxonomies of marketplaces are fluid, and constantly evolving.
Read how to develop product taxonomy in an understandable way:
Find out why product taxonomy is important for eCommerce, how to cope with challenges along the way and how to develop a product hierarchy that brings more sales.
To make the picture even grimmer: the lack of transparent exchange mechanisms between PIM systems leads to recreating the same mappings over and over again. As the number of well-trained taxonomy specialists is scarce, they are continuously overloaded with bigger and bigger taxonomy management challenges.
Partly, the mapping challenge can be overcome by smart mapping approaches: avoiding mapping repeats per category, providing mapping suggestions by using natural language processing techniques, support of language-independent taxonomies, and better usability to support complex mapping logic. However, this doesn’t resolve the whole challenge.
Taxonomy Mapping Exchange
To avoid defining the same taxonomy mappings over and over again, per PIM system, a mapping exchange language and mapping rules are required. This allows for the re-use of the same mapping intelligence throughout an ecosystem, whether in open source environments like Pimcore, or corporate environments like Gepard or Icecat.
Within Icecat re-use of mappings would allow its Vendor Central to show all the key retailer’s templates, projected on Icecat’s taxonomy. A great tool to make the lives of a brand’s product managers easy.
All these developments – although necessary because of experience bottlenecks – will make the taxonomy challenge manageable. Still, the silver bullet would still be agreeing on a global taxonomy standard per category, between brand owners and marketplaces. Like the toys data model that we agreed upon with leading players, which limits the taxonomy mapping challenge to a bearable minimum.
Read more about the retailer’s taxonomy of the toys market:
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