TOP 10 Product Catalogue Management Best Practices
Product catalog management is a significant process for any business, be it a small online shop or a large retailer. According to Google, 85% of shoppers surveyed say product information and pictures are important to them when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from. Meanwhile Gladly found out that 71% of buyers await accordant product information across all platforms, but only 29% of them get it. So how to optimize your product information management without profitless manual work? We will introduce you to the most common catalog challenges and present the best catalog management practices to drive your sales, build on customer loyalty and refine your company productivity.
What Is Product Catalogue Management?
Importance Of Product Catalogue Management
Effective eCommerce product catalog management is crucial for retail businesses. Here are some of its main benefits:
- Enhanced business efficiency. Centralizing data in one catalog cuts down the risk of errors and discrepancies, which helps to manage the commodities more efficiently and improve business flows.
- Improved buyer experience. When customers can access accurate and quality data across different sales platforms, it improves customer satisfaction and builds up brand loyalty and awareness.
- The rise of sales. Thanks to well-managed product data, buyer experience is improved and ultimately leads to a boost in sales. Also, it helps to retain customers.
- Upgraded product content quality. With a centralized digital catalog, businesses always have high-quality data with minimum costly errors, which reduces commodities returns.
- More agile business. Having your content located in one eCommerce catalog makes your business more adaptable to different changes in the market, and ensures faster product launches and updates to help you keep pace with your competitors.
Issues With Product Catalogue Management
The process of managing product catalog data can be challenging, especially for businesses that want to sell on multiple channels or offer large amounts of goods. We collected some of the most common problems that can arise.
- Data Accuracy and Completeness
It takes a lot of time to manually manage such data as item descriptions, images, prices, and specifications. The biggest problem is the high risk of multiple human errors and incompleteness. Data entry errors, such as data typing, coding, or formatting mistakes can significantly take down the content quality. Another problem with information veracity and integrity is collecting data from different sources, that can provide incomplete or false information. On top of that, content accuracy can suffer from inadequate data verification, especially for businesses dealing with large data assets.
- Product Content Creation
Other challenges that you can face in managing product data are creating consistent and compelling content, keeping it updated, localizing, or making it more personal. These challenges become even more threatening if a business is handling large volumes of data, managed by different teams or individuals, where many misunderstandings can happen. Writing descriptions that convey all the benefits and features of an item can be as challenging as creating engaging visual content, and working on specifications, particularly when dealing with complex or technical goods.
- Categorization and Navigation
Creating an intuitive and clear taxonomy is not an easy task, especially when managing extensive shopping catalogs. Many businesses fail by including too many or just a few categories that either overwhelm the potential customers or, on the contrary, do not let them find the right item. Another challenge is composing easy catalog navigation that is optimized for search engines and acceptable for users.
- Integration with Other Systems
One of the tricky challenges is integrating the product catalogue management system with other applications and systems used inside the eCommerce company and making them compatible. Especially when those systems were not designed to work together. You’ll need constant system maintenance and support to troubleshoot potential issues. In the end, its integration with other systems can be costly, particularly if it calls for a special software or hardware tool for supporting this incorporation.
As the product catalog management system grows, businesses might face performance problems such as slow data load time or even system fall downs. With the growing volume of information, there’s a need to allocate more resources: personnel, hardware, and software for managing this data. The extending amount of data requires its proper organization and structure, and optimizing all the workflow to make sure the content creation and distribution carries on, regardless of its volumes.
If the business does not have complete and relevant customer data, it can fail at delivering personal product information to buyers. Building accurate personalization algorithms is also a difficult task and mistakes can lead to offering less personal content and decreased engagement. One of the main personalization challenges is collecting and storing customer personal information: there are many privacy concerns so the business should follow the data privacy regulations and provide buyers with data security.
- Compliance and Legal Requirements
All eCommerce businesses must provide potential buyers with information that is compliant with the applicable eCommerce regulations and laws. It’s quite a burdensome task, as there are many product safety regulations, labeling, and privacy legislation. If you sell worldwide, you must ensure compliance with numerous international data regulations.
- Multilingual Support
Having a product catalog management service with multilingual support is great for broadening your business, yet can pose certain issues such as translation accuracy and consistency. Companies that do not invest in the right multilingual product catalogue management tool lack the robust technical infrastructure for proper localization. Some businesses neglect localized marketing (for example, localized marketing campaigns, item descriptions, or visual information), and fail to resonate with potential buyers from different world regions or language groups.
TOP 10 Product Catalogue Management Best Practices
All the above-mentioned challenges can be easily overcome if you follow the next best practices for managing shopping catalogs.
1. Centralize Your Product Information
Creating a centralized database is a decisive practice if you want all your teams to easily access product data and deliver it to different sales channels. Begin with the inventory of your current information, and gather all the data you want to centralize. Choose a suitable data management system or provider to integrate and organize all your data. After that, accredit roles for accessing and managing content inside the repository.
2. Use A Product Information Management (PIM) System
PIM can be used as an ideal product catalogue management software that can automatically import information from any sources in the required format, consolidate all your data, validate, and standardize it. In some cases, it even offers data enrichment and syndication which brings your content to a whole new level. Make sure your solution is flexible enough and has such important features as bulk import & export, multimedia support, commodity preview, mapping, support of APIs, multitenancy, and data governance settings.
3. Define Your Product Information Structure
Start with identifying your product attributes (name, description, price, SKU, etc). Then unify similar attributes for creating categories and subcategories. The next step is to define data types, set up data formats, and choose a data model. It’s also important to define a relationship between your attributes (like the product and its variations). When you set up your data structure, test it with a small representative of products and improve it if needed.
4. Create High-Quality Content
To create compelling content, conduct decent research on the item and its features, and make sure your sources are trusted (official brand website, etc.) You can also get enriched and well-structured data from content providers such as Icecat or Tradeplace. Concise and clear item descriptions should highlight the main features of the commodity, just as detailed specifications (weight, dimensions, material) should help to make an informed purchase decision. Also, remember to tailor your content to the needs and preferences of your target audience.
5. Ensure Data Accuracy
Installing a centralized repository for your information will help to avoid discrepancies and errors. Invest your time to check your shopping information and ensure you receive it from verified sources such as brands’ official pages or content providers that acquire content from trusted suppliers. Regard investing in a data validation tool to let your teams work on more creative tasks. Some PIM solutions, such as Gepard have built-in content validation features.
Struggling with the questions before going on the PIM tool demo? We prepared a full guide for brands, retailers, and big marketplaces to better explore a PIM solution.
6. Use Automation Where Possible
There are different product catalog management services that simplify your eCommerce activities. Those can be tools related to data import, collection, enrichment, validation, and audit. Usually, most of these automation features can be found either inside a PIM, ERP, or DAM tool.
7. Implement A Product Taxonomy
Improving your shopping hierarchical structure is critical for easy data management, commodities visibility on your website, and easier search that improves buyer experience. Determine your product categories and then – the associated attributes. Then create a structure (taxonomy) to indicate the connection between them. After that, appoint each selling item to the right category or subcategory. Apply your product taxonomy, test it, gather the feedback, and advance it if needed.
8. Monitor Product Performance
Determine the key performance metrics and track them to see how your shopping items are performing. It’s difficult to do this manually, so you can use such tools as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. Make sure you do not neglect customer reviews – according to Inc., it needs 40 positive buyer reviews to overturn 1 negative experience. These statistics demonstrate why feedback should not be underestimated and should be used for business improvements.
9. Collaborate With Suppliers
It’s nearly impossible to create quality eCommerce content on your own. You’ll need to visit the brands’ and suppliers’ websites to get the most trustworthy information. That’s why it’s better to collaborate with suppliers to collect content that is already adjusted to your requirements and standards. Some of the options are using content providers’ services or investing in a PIM solution that offers automated content collection from suppliers.
10. Integrate With Other Systems
It’s quite a complex task to integrate your product catalogue management application with other systems inside your organization (for example, DAM or ERP software). Start with defining the information that has to be shared or exchanged between the systems, setting up the connections and mappings between the systems, defining information transformation rules, and maintaining the integration. This process ensures that the information is updated and accordant across all your systems, however, for a hassle-free set up you might need to hire a specialist.
Best Product Catalogue Management Tools
There are many types of services that can serve eCommerce catalog management: starting from simple product data sheets to advanced technologies. We prepared a table with different options, fields of use, and main features.
|Type of PCM Tool
|Businesses with a very small range of products.
|data organization; centralized storage; customizable fields; collaboration; bulk updates
limited amount of supported formats;
only works for a small number of goods;
high risk of errors;
|PIM (Product Information Management) software
|Small, medium, and big brands, manufacturers, and retailers.
automated content collection;
analytics and reporting;
digital shelf analytics*;
data syndication*.* not all PIMs have this feature. E.g., you can find it inside Gepard PIM
|automate most data processes;
centralized storage for information;
ensures high information quality and consistency;
high level of personalization;
low risk of errors;
enhances omnichannel sales;
high business efficiency;
can be integrated with other systems.
|can be costly;
some do not offer data syndication.
|DAM (Data Assets Management) Tool
|Is mostly suitable for marketing and creative teams, publishers, and media, however, can be used by eCommerce businesses (mostly brands) that work with a lot of in-house digital content
|extended functions for visual content editing;
increased collaboration between teams;
can manage large amounts of digital assets.
|quite often are expensive;
can be complex and require training;
high technical requirements.
|Adobe Experience Manager;
|CMS(Content Management System)
|Used in a variety of fields: marketing, IT, content creators, and eCommerce.
|extensive tools for content creation and publishing;
version control and backups.
|easy to create and publish content;
can optimize website performance;
can be easily integrated with other tools;
|customization and additional functions can come at an additional price;
not all CMS support eCommerce functions or eCommerce plans come at higher prices.
|Used by businesses who want to manage their online sales, including creating an online shop and managing an eCommerce catalog
order and payment management;
integration with payment applications and other tools;
marketing and SEO services
|easy to set up;
improve customer experience;
designed to be scalable;
offer a convenient shopping experience.
|limited customization or comes at an extra price;
platform fees (e.g. for transactions);
sellers are dependent on platform performance and get impacted by its issues.
Magento (now Adobe Commerce);
PIM Solution Advantages As A Catalog Management Software
PIM solution has several significant benefits that make it a perfect fit for product catalog management applications. Let’s review these advantages using Gepard PIM as an example.
- Flawless data organization. Most PIMs let you create, save and edit product templates, which helps to allocate certain standard attributes to specific commodities, look up or edit goods by groups or types or manage attributes in bulk.
- Centralized system for your digital catalogs. With PIM, you can save and manage your catalogs all in one place, integrate it with other systems, and assign roles and responsibilities thanks to the user management module which guarantees safe authentication and authorization.
- Uncomplicated product creation and update. With the catalogue management module, you can automatically collect content from brands and suppliers, edit and publish information about selling goods, add rich media and eCommerce content, optimize it, and easily enrich it.
- More multichannel possibilities with data syndication. The way individuals and businesses purchase goods always evolves. Nowadays it’s possible to buy everywhere: from physical stores to social commerce such as Instagram or Facebook. Data syndication allows you to automatically push your goods to any sales platforms you want to sell on, without worries about information compliance with the never-ending requirements of sales channels.
- Standardized information. PIM allows you to standardize any data coming from suppliers and other sources to ensure the data in your eCommerce catalog corresponds to the universal standards, your teams can easily process well-structured data and your buyers get the most clear-cut information.
- Verified content catalogs. Thanks to information validation, you receive an automated check of field type & input, attributes range, list of values, required fields, and attributes, as well as a validation of product information import. You’ll receive an auto-generated report on errors and can be sure that no invalid data from your catalog go to the partners.
- Digital shelf analytics. This feature allows you to monitor your content across different sources: retailers, content providers, and eCommerce platforms and fully control if the product information posted by your partners is as accurate and high-quality as in your own eCommerce digital catalog.
Learn about product catalog management tool and find out how your business can benefit from automated product data processes.
Product Catalog Management FAQs
How can I ensure that my product catalog is accurate and up-to-date across all channels?
To make sure that your shopping data is correct and up to the minute it’s important to centralize your content with the help of a product catalog management system that helps you automate your data processes, govern your product information, and enrich and validate it. Regularly audit your eCommerce content catalog and check the channel-specific requirements to make sure your shopping information is adjusted to the conditions of each platform you use for sales.
How can I leverage customer data and analytics to make better-informed product catalog management decisions?
Analyze buyer behavior, shopping queries, browsing history, and preferences to personalize your content, especially recommendations. Monitor product performance (sales, returns, and reviews) to fix data issues with your goods, forecast product demand, and plan inventory and pricing.
What tools and technologies are available to automate product catalog management tasks and improve efficiency?
PIM (Product Information Management) software, DAM (Digital Asset Management) solutions, eCommerce platforms (e.g. Magento, Shopify), AI tools, and Product Feed Tools are some of the most popular technologies for this purpose.
Embrace eCommerce With Automation
Product catalog management made a long way from simple data sheets management to fully-automated software and even AI tools. Automation fully changed the way eCommerce work and the way businesses manage product data, and there is no reason to deny its benefits.
Do you want to learn how to use the PIM system as a full-fledged product catalog management software? Contact us for a personalized demo now.
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