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Alina Virstiuk
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Alina Virstiuk
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product taxonomy taxonomy

What Is Product Taxonomy

6 min read
Published: August 17, 2021
Updated: April 26, 2023

What is product taxonomy in the eCommerce world? The first thing you do when you step into a shop is usually going to a specific department to find the right product. You’re walking there naturally and intuitively to choose something from well-organized market stalls and to get faster to a check-out counter. The same goes for online shops: easy navigation and simple products organization helps you find the right product faster and facilitates your purchase process. 

eCommerce Taxonomy: Best Practices 

A well-crafted product taxonomy in retail brings the organization into massive amounts of inventory and helps to manage it more efficiently. The better the structure, the fewer chances that a person will leave your e-shop in search of more organized and easier-to-navigate stores of your competitors.

Check The Leading Retail Platforms Guidelines 

The biggest retail platforms, such as eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping, usually have the guidelines, such as eCommerce taxonomy best practices, do’s and don’ts, hierarchy design recommendations, category listings, and product taxonomy examples that you can use when creating your own one.

Create a Clear Product Hierarchy

Retail taxonomy with a clear hierarchy facilitates customer search and product purchase makes your business more visible, boosts your reputation, and helps you retain customers. You get better analytics and insights which can help you come up with more effective strategies for your business.

For example, the Volkswagen cars’ understandable hierarchy includes such elements as product need, product family, class, line, type, and unit. All the above-mentioned classifications help the company to offer easy navigation for customers who have different travel needs and goals, budget, and features requirements.

Keep Your Audience In Mind

Leading eCommerce companies, while creating products hierarchy, always think of their target audience. It means using the relevant language, basing taxonomy on locales, and always thinking about the way customers interact with the website. Optimize the taxonomy to suit your target audience.

For example, Amazon offers a Product Category Tree for listings optimization. It is a special set of guidelines used to attribute products to particular categories. The tree-shaped product category structure makes it easy for shoppers to know exactly where to browse for products. Different levels of categories and subcategories in the form of a tree simplify the search.

Apply Iterative Implementation Approach

Major online retail players recommend implementing your taxonomy in stages, especially if your product categorization is quite extensive. Keep testing your updates and analyzing the results. It’ll help to spot all the possible issues and fix them in the beginning.

One of the important steps of taxonomy implementation is creating and testing product tags. Shopify tagging practice proved to be successful for the shopping experience: using tags is a great way to organize your products, manage them, put them into groups, create automated selections and reuse them for recurring promotions to save your time for other tasks. In this extensive article, you can read more about main product taxonomy challenges and how to solve them.

Effective Product Taxonomy Tips

In our practical guide, you can read how to easily develop your product taxonomy, what challenges you can face and how to solve them with the help of a product information management system.

Shopify Product Taxonomy: Machine Learning-Based Approach

The sellers on Shopify offer millions of products, and while many of them are very similar to each other, the way the manufacturers manage the product content is different and influences the purchase process and rates.

The Shopify product taxonomy is based on intelligent machine learning that helps to fix such taxonomy challenges as large scale of products and structure complexity. The platform transforms the available information into a machine-comprehensible format to offer automated featurization.

Once the data features are defined, the data model is created. Shopify offers simple to interpret solutions to easily classify the products, leverage product taxonomy structure, make predictions for all products and, eventually, evaluate the performance of product taxonomies.

Google Product Taxonomy: Why Is It So Important? 

The retail taxonomy of Google has more than 6000 product categories. Even though it’s not mandatory to choose the product category (except Media & Software, Clothing & Accessories products), it is advised to do it.

Google product taxonomy is a vital part of Google Shopping Campaigns and the nailed retail taxonomy helps you pay less for Google ads and target the right audience. With the right taxonomy strategy, Google can easily identify if your products fit the query of the searchers. You get better control of your Google campaigns, which lets you outpace your competitors.

Product Catalog Taxonomy (B2B eCommerce)

For B2B customers the well-crafted product catalog taxonomy helps to find the right solutions to their business problems. These customers are in search of a sophisticated product, and the consistent product taxonomy will result in a successful purchase from your store. Here are some of the relevant factors for organizing taxonomy in retail for B2B:

1.The core of your product taxonomy strategy should be a smooth customer experience. The buyers should be able to comfortably navigate your website using search bars, your website, applications, chatbots, voice search – the more technological innovations you incorporate, the better you can suit different kinds of customers to facilitate their navigation.

2. It’s crucial to think out-of-the-box.  It will help you to create such a product taxonomy that will make your customers find the right product in your store, without switching to the websites of competitors. Use the best existing standards, compare them and experiment with new retail taxonomy ideas to see if it brings the desired results.

3. Avoiding over-customizing of your product catalog taxonomy helps you create an intuitive and comfortable navigation experience for your customers. Complex customizations involve higher risks and more complicated maintenance and upgrades. Chances are, your potential customers might switch to your competitor’s website with less customized taxonomy where they can easily find the needed product.

Learn more about best practices of designing an effective product taxonomy for B2B and B2C in our in-depth blog post.

Key Points About Product Taxonomy

Product Catalog Taxonomy (B2C eCommerce) 

For B2C eCommerce, product taxonomy is a key to creating a unique customer experience. Here are some main factors to consider:

1. Optimize your taxonomy to create a personalized shopping experience. It will strengthen your relationships with your customers and grow the brand’s loyalty. Taxonomy should walk hand in hand with your personalization strategies.

2. Avoid categorizing your products manually. There are high chances of data errors and it takes more time and resources. Automated product information management systems can solve this problem for you and free you up for more creative tasks.

3. Do not neglect SEO. Keep in mind that duplications, categorizing products in the wrong way, and neglecting SEO leads to a lower ranking in Google and other search engines, as well as poor internal search results. The well-organized and simple product taxonomy will result in an excellent customer experience and a desire to buy the product again.

Product Catalog Taxonomy Effect On Search Results 

Clear retail taxonomy helps the potential buyer find the right or related product easier and faster. Firstly, it enhances the internal search: the proper taxonomy helps your customers get accurate and relevant results when they use navigation and search tools on your website. Buyers, who are browsing your website can intuitively navigate it, and easily find what they want.

Besides, an effective product catalog taxonomy enhances external search and brings more customers to your e-shop. Search engines scan through your website, index it better and make it ranked higher, which results in more traffic and leads.

Product Taxonomy Impact On SEO

Discover Gepard PIM to Automate Your Product Taxonomy Development For Various Retailers 

Building efficient taxonomy in retail takes time and creates a lot of challenges: handling massive amounts of product information, gathering product information from different content providers and integrating with them, adapting numerous data exchange standards, and aligning with the requirements of various retailers.

Gepard helps you to automate your eCommerce taxonomy and adapt it for different specific retailers. Your already modified product information will be automatically pushed and delivered to various sales platforms, check out some of our taxonomy management capabilities here.

Master Your Product Taxonomy With Gepard

Ready to create an excellent customer experience, where the comfortable buyer’s search turns into a purchase?

Cyril Dorogan Gepard PIM E-Commerce Consultant
Alina Virstiuk
Written by Alina Virstiuk
Guest Author
Passionate about travelling, books & photography. Enjoy working with new things and meeting people from all over the world.

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