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Product Catalog Automation Tool: Everything You Need to Know

8 min read
Published: February 13, 2024
Updated: April 18, 2024

Leading eCommerce players more and more often choose to run their data processes with a catalog management tool that offers an automated approach. Is it all necessary?

Judge for yourself, however, according to GE Capital Retail Bank, 81% of shoppers look for information about a product online before a deal is made.

In this article, we will share how this catalog automation tool works, what businesses need it, and explore some tips on how to benefit from catalog automation solutions.

What Is a Product Catalog Automation Tool?

A Product Catalog Automation Tool is software that automates the creation, management, and updating of product catalogs. It streamlines the process by pulling product information from various sources, ensuring consistency and accuracy across all sales channels.

You and your team can maintain and update the catalog smoothly. At the same time, your customers can get the product information they need easily, which will accelerate the purchase and bring many other benefits to your business.

The state-of-the-art catalog management solutions do not let you drown in a vast ocean of information. This software enables you to quickly react to the ever-growing demands of modern buyers, create unique up-to-date product information, and always stay competitive.

What Is A Product Catalog? 

A product catalog is a set of information about a product, like SKU, product description (name, price, color, dimensions, benefits, category, sub-category), and all the possible items’ attributes as well as keywords for better SEO. Moreover, it is about having quality pictures and videos, from all possible angles, with the ability to rotate, zoom, and see how it would look/feel for a customer to already have an item.

What Is Catalog Automation?

Catalog automation is a system that automates the assembly and distribution of product catalogs. It dynamically pulls and updates product data from different sources, ensuring consistent and timely information across all sales and marketing channels.

Let’s say you are a multichannel online retailer. You have various digital points of sales: from branded sites to such huge monster marketplaces as Amazon, and eBay, and some small newcomers like Shopify, etc. The thing is, each of them would demand different formats of product descriptions.

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TOP Signs You Have Problems With Product Data

Omnichannel sales are where both niche businesses and large B2B enterprises face considerable product data challenges: tedious adjustment of data to different product information requirements, manual product data sheet management, constant data errors, poor communication between their teams, and much more. So what are the main signs that you have a problem with product data?

1. Frequently delays with product launches

Retailers are always targeting differently to meet different customer needs and reach more segments. More differences = more requirements for unique content. More product content = more time to design it following all sales partners’ templates. Longer time-to-market = fewer sales.

The solution to this problem lies in the omnichannel eCommerce strategy and automated product content transformation according to received data models from retailers.

2. You spend more than three hours adjusting the new product to the requirements

On average, a brand spends about 3 hours syndicating and delivering 1 product content information to just 1 retailer. The retailer spends 1 to 4 hours on product content writing or transformation for a single product. In a dynamic environment, where only the pricing policy can change 2-3 times a week, updating information will take about 30% of the specialist’s time, and time is money.

The solution to this problem lies in automating product data distribution by connecting the brands’ databases with retailers’ portals through APIs that are already built into most product information management systems.

3. You got tired of manual product sheet management

Collecting, clustering, processing, and organizing product information is an essential stage in an eCommerce strategy. In the conditions of data importing from several sources, entering it into numerous spreadsheets, editing, and exporting the final version to sales platforms, the product data exchange usually results in errors, which can happen in 90% of cases.

Product content optimization using the catalog automation tool will reduce the risk of errors to almost 0 and speed up work by almost 6 times.

4. You need up to one week of work until new products go live

The construction, development, and implementation of a product content strategy are fundamental works in creating a new product entering the market.

Developing customized content for different categories of buyers and retailers to test hypotheses will increase the ROI percentage, but it will take too long, and this time is extra valuable in a highly competitive market.

5. You face the problem of poor communication between teams responsible for product data

According to analytics, three or more specialists in a branded company usually work on creating content for one product. The efficiency of information exchange and coordination of work is critical in adherence to deadlines.

Having a single database with product content templates allows you to eliminate the dissonance between incoming and outgoing information and increases the team’s productivity almost three times.

6. You encounter an increase in the number of errors during product content syndication

Omnichannel development is a great sign of brand scaling and increased sales. However, the more platforms appear where the brand is presented, the more difficult it is to manage the product data. In particular, it happens due to differences in product information requirements.

Product data delivery automation, considering information processing algorithms, and the unique characteristics of each sales channel will increase the turnover without increasing the number of routine tasks.

7. You should deal with employee burnout and increased turnover

A large number of typical tasks increases the emotional burnout of company employees, leading to layoffs in two out of three cases, which results in direct losses because of downtime.

The transfer of technical work to product data management software will reduce the moral burden on staff, which will ensure an optimal working climate in the company.

8. You noticed the decreased creativity of the marketing staff

Working with one-template problems also affects the format of decision-making in non-standard situations. According to statistics, only 35% of employees will seek solutions from a non-standard angle in monotonous circumstances a few times per year. It, in turn, affects the development prospects of the company.

Reducing the chore by using the PIM solution will give staff more time to find creative, innovative ideas.

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9. You encountered the lack of a single source of truth

Differences in specifications, digital descriptions, labels, and other information lead to the need for a product content audit, which takes additional time during the product specification sheets preparation.

The presence of a single source of truth with well-developed scripts for updating the data in case of their change will eliminate errors in product descriptions and increase customer loyalty.

How to deal with these product data challenges to provide an entrancing shopping experience to your customers? The next paragraph helps shed light on this problem.

Cracking The Chaos: Automated Catalog Management

According to Oberlo, sales in the global eCommerce market will reach $ 6.3 trillion in 2023. And global organic search brings, on average, 65% of customers to your platform.

So how to respond to the needs of online shoppers and offer them high-quality rich product data and a unique personalized shopping experience? Using a flexible product catalog management system can be the answer.

Which Basic Features Are Covered by the Average Product Catalog Management Tool? 

Here are a few things that the product catalog management tool deals with:

  • Creation and editing of product images, information, and multimedia;
  • Product data storage (descriptions, prices, delivery time, units of measure, supplier, product filter, etc.);
  • Adjusting languages and locations; 
  • Automatically prices updates, and other necessary corrections;
  • Integration with social channels;
  • Competitors’ pricing/stock comparison.

You get an automated catalog management solution, which will save your expenses & time and eliminate the chances of your potential buyer being misinformed.

Gepard Case Study About Data Management

 

What Product Catalog Software To Choose?

Now let’s figure out what would be the most beneficial product content management software choice.

1. SAP Ariba Catalog Management

It is one of the SAPs products worth sticking to, at least knowing the company cares about its reputation and you’d surely be guided through the process of installation, organization, and management. Key benefits? …Receiving more accurate orders, less time fixing customers’ issues, and automated processes, which eliminates possible mechanical mistakes in data.

2. Plytix PIM Software

It is a good choice for small and medium online retailers. A cloud-based catalog management tool, which helps you create product catalogs, and upload all necessary product info. The import mapping feature enables retailers to check the accuracy of the data before it has been uploaded. Also, it is quite cheap.

3. Prisync

This tool promises to outsmart your competition with an analysis of its pricing, stock data, and brand category indices. In addition to this, it has an inbuilt pricing module to automatically adjust to your competitors’ and improve margins.

4. Gepard

Flexible PIM solution for businesses of all sizes that offers the must-have features of product information management tools, such as data verification, standardization, content collection automation, and data enrichment. Most importantly allows for the distribution of data to any retailers and marketplaces and adjusting to their requirements. Its broad assortment of connections provides you with the opportunity to scale your business by building partnerships and setting up new integrations.

Outlining Common Challenges of Product Catalog Automation

If catalog management process flow still seems like a piece of cake for you, let’s have a look at a few challenges you might face working with it.

Being consistent across various sales channels

On the one hand, it became easier for consumers to get the product information they need. On the other hand, it gets harder for retailers to keep the data updated and correct across multiple marketplaces and e-shops. Mapping product info becomes a huge challenge.

Launching products on time

Transferring a product from offline to online mode could be a big-time consumer. For most retailers, it could be 1 to 2 months. But such giants as Alibaba or Amazon would not forgive even an extra day delay.

Adjusting product catalogs to different marketplaces

As we have mentioned before, various marketplaces have their own specifications, which makes it a decent challenge to adjust each listing point to them.

Miscategorization and product discovery issues

If the product is categorized differently across various channels, it’s hard to keep track of the possible mistakes in descriptions. And it makes it hard to find products over various digital marketplaces if you don’t have an automated catalog. Moreover, you risk losing customer loyalty. Let’s say a shopper is looking for a silver gaming Intel-Core i5 4Gb laptop, and in a search, it appears as a grey laptop. The closer description is to the one a consumer is searching for – the more chances he’d find exactly your product. Miscategorization and inaccuracy in the description can cost you up to 14% of the site’s earnings.

An Automated Syndication System Helps Running Smooth eCommerce Sales

Poor quality data can cost you a reputation. To make catalogs consistent, standardize tags, and stay on track you thought of implementing a catalog automation tool. Here you might come across the Gepard PIM & Syndication Platform, which connects you to one or more catalog providers, extracts the data you need (photos, specifications, parameters, and more), restructures and adapts it to your website and different online stores, and marketplaces.

What Challenges Can You Solve With Gepard? 

  • Transformation of product information;
  • Data aggregation from multiple sources;
  • Data distribution to multiple sources.

This could be your automated catalog management solution and a business buoy: automated import of product descriptions across all channels. No special developer skills are needed from your side: the syndicator does it all for you.

Scale Up With Gepard Product Information Management Tool

Is it worth automating the process of managing product catalogs? The answer would be yes if you want to stay ahead of competitors and associate with quality.

Gepard’s team of 150 developers and marketers has been working daily for 15 years to improve PIM and syndication tools to meet the changing market requirements of EMEA. We have already proven the effectiveness of our Gepard PIM & Syndication solutions by nearly doubling operational efficiency for clients. HP, Lazada, GS1, Amazon, and many other market leaders have already assessed the benefits of automatic product information management and syndication.

Ready to enjoy the benefits of fully automated product information management and top-quality product data? Contact us and Gepard specialists will consult you about your specific needs.

How To Automate Product Catalog Solution

Sofia Kondrat - Talented Content Manager At Gepard PIM
Written by Sofia Kondrat
Content Manager at Gepard
Sofiia Kondrat is an experienced content writer and content manager, passionate about creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of industry trends, Sofiia is dedicated to producing informative, well-researched content that helps businesses stay ahead of the curve. When she's not writing, you can find her doing music & singing, exploring the great outdoors, or planning her next travel adventure.

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