Today’s eCommerce environment demands more diverse and flexible catalog schemas to serve diverse purposes.
Older ways of managing catalogs such as spreadsheets won’t work anymore because of their limited capability. Brands now need more robust solutions for the management of their complex catalogs.
Why is catalog management important?
Catalogs incorporate various things, and their management can be complicated for various reasons. The #1 reason is the variety and diversity in products— to be more precise ‘schemas for products’. If you are serving hundreds and thousands of products, then your products may also comprise the same number of schemas. The purpose of schemas is different for different people. For example, a brand or manufacturer generally sees their product from the lens of product material, manufacturing process, and product quality. On the other hand, a distributor or retailer is more interested in the product’s price, features, and other selling points. And, from a consumer perspective, it is an overall capability or the experience of the product. Even, diversity in product names, their abbreviations and notations, measurement units, language, and currency further add complexity in the management of the product catalogs.
Thus, at every stage, product schemas and attributes serve a different purpose for different persons.
Nowadays, both B2C and B2B customers are well accustomed to searching for product information and shopping online. Therefore, your business needs to have a well-managed online product catalog to meet these customer behaviors, ensure your products are found and accessible online, and stay competitive. An accurate and up-to-date e-commerce catalog will also help you to be seen as a leader in your industry and build trust between you and your web store visitors.
Without a foolproof solution to handle eCommerce product information, businesses can stagnate in the maze of inconsistent and unreliable product experiences. Furthermore, manual efforts in product catalog management only add up to the wastage of time and resources.
How does catalog management system help brands?
A catalog management system provides the required capabilities to define, store, manage, and retrieve product information throughout the product selling process— both online and offline.
Product catalog management solutions are now engineered to make eCommerce selling more consistent, ensure customers stay on their websites longer, and benefit from offers and discounts available on multiple channels. They also come in handy in aiding vendors and the entire gamut of the partner-based selling ecosystem, while minimizing the complexity of product types, attributes, and diverse vocabulary, different languages, and multiple currencies.
With a robust product catalog management solution in place, e-retailers can update and expand product information easily and quickly. It can also help in cross-selling and upselling through suggestion-oriented features, which ultimately improves time-to-market (TTM) for products on the whole. However, what is more vital is to adopt best practices for product catalog management in the context of improving product data quality, enhancing product experience, and elevating revenue growth.
Product catalogs and their management-based practices play a significant role in improving product vibrancy for consumers to visualize choices better. As a result, it enhances customer experiences and engages them on their preferred route of online retail while simultaneously driving business gains, including:
- Help improve and maintain the overall product information quality
- Standardize product data for updated, holistic, and accurate information across different channels
- Provide a single version of truth for any time, anywhere accessibility and reliability
- Help design physical and digital catalogs according to business requirements
- Precisely categorize diverse catalogs for the improvement in search relevancy of products and overall customer experience
- Facilitate to add supportive and relevant details to the product information repository
- Handle the product segmentation challenges to deliver seamless customer experiences across multiple touchpoints…and many more
Choosing a catalog management system
Selecting and implementing the right catalog management system sometimes can be challenging. Since product catalog management is a complex and time-consuming process, organizations should involve multiple stakeholders from different departments and teams. This would help in gathering the exact requirements and challenges being faced by different teams.
Apart from that, you must have a deep understanding of the functionalities of the tooling options and technical implementation. For MNCs, it can be even more challenging as their volume of product data is diverse and big and they might have a different operational system already implemented such as ERP, commerce systems, file systems, and more across multiple locations.
To find the right catalog management system, you should consider all the factors such as current and future business needs, technical complexity, cost, and expected ROI. So, your catalog management system should help you tackle the immediate challenges and also provide the required functionalities. And, your chosen tool must be flexible and robust enough to handle the volume challenge when you are expanding your product catalogs.
The underlying foundation of smart catalog management is the right tool and adaptable implementation strategy that enables eCommerce businesses to use the challenges arising out of multi-faceted product data and turn them around to revenue-generating opportunities.