Common Challenges of eCommerce Catalog Management

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By the year 2040, almost 95% of all purchases will be conducted through some form of online platform. The importance of going digital and staying customer friendly has never been more prevalent. The migration from a brick and mortar store to an online selling space may seem intimidating. The increase in both local and international competition may seem overwhelming.

However, this is truly the time to set yourself apart. Research is key here. Preemptively understanding prospective issues could help streamline the planning process. Which makes execution seamless when the time arises. While a multitude of concerns arise with introducing an eCommerce platform, we explore how to deal with catalog management in this Invensis article. 

What is an eCommerce Catalog?

A product catalog, in brief, works as a database or repository of all information regarding items to be sold on your platform. They commonly include;

  • A unique product identification code or SKU
  • Product images
  • In stock availability and quantity
  • Categorization
  • Pricing 
  • Features
  • Customer Relevant Information

These details are well organized into a user friendly format that makes the process from identifying to fulfilling purchasing requirements simple and easy. 

While this process may seem easy to manage, recognizing the dynamic nature of the catalog is important. Products will be added and taken down, structures edited for ease of use and reviews to ensure information is consistent and accurate all add to the task of maintenance. As a result, there are six key yet common challenges catalog management faces. 

The Six

1. Multiple Channel Vending 

If you’ve introduced a digital platform, chances are you may still be retailing through other marketplaces or methods. Managing multiple channels creates different needs that must be addressed. As a result, multiple databases with varying formats must be managed. Take this moment to ensure a strong system of information sharing that is uniform, verified and quality.

Confusing information could easily push a customer away from purchasing. Ensure all content is customized for the platform it is being used on. The information must be consistent for products posted on multiple platforms. 

2. Ensuring Relevant Items are Displayed

One of the biggest challenges with online shopping (shopping in general) is availability. Think of the reason your customer is logging on to your website; they are looking for an efficient and effective way to easily procure a product that meets their specifications. 

Perhaps your business stocks the products regularly or has used data collection methods from customers to decide how to stock inventory to ensure your prospective customer becomes your customer. If this isn’t the case, it would be in your best interest to introduce a recommendation system. If a client is unable to find exactly what they are hunting for, refer them to other products in your catalog that match a good selection of their requirements. Pushing suggestions encourage customers to not leave the website empty handed. 

3. Managing Inventory Growth and Reduction

Inventory is a constantly changing element. Items are newly introduced, put on promotion and often, entirely scrapped. Introducing a firm SKU system helps keep your online catalogs organized. The unique identification attached to each item helps understand key information regarding availability and quantity. 

Introduce a management system that ensures the movement of any product can be tracked and maintained. Keeping the system consistent, detailed but user friendly can only help internal organization of the company. 

4. Data Must be Consistent and Accurate

Consumers are dissuaded from purchasing when the information listed on a website or under a product does not look like it is all there. From categorization errors to grammar and spelling mistakes, these are the nuances that could ruin your credibility. 

Ensure all data listed on websites and platforms are actuals. Create clear data input methods across all retail spaces to ensure nothing is listed twice and all information is verified. Understand the tones of the descriptions across various retailers. Consistency is key. 

5. Optimization 

Product pages contain all the important information needed to drive footfall towards any virtual retail portal. Look at how your portal measures up when customers are searching for items listed on your page. Introducing basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques could improve the movement from search engines to your website or application. 

6. Image Quality

We live in a time that glorifies the visual space. When we log into any virtual big box retailer, they are very thorough with the way items are displayed on any product page. Online shopping takes away the comfort of being able to touch and try items on to understand, in entirety, what your purchase is. Introducing high resolution pictures of products, taken from multiple perspectives, attempts to bridge this gap. 

Ensure your product is as desirably displayed as possible. While image quality checks can be time consuming, they could be the make or break moment for a customers decision making process. The goal of an eCommerce catalog is to be as comprehensive as possible, ensure your pictures offer in depth detail and wide perspectives to offer a 360 degree view.

Conclusion

eCommerce catalog management is all about systems and organization. Instituting clear and concise templates for a comprehensive transfer of information must be a priority. eCommerce means competing local and global providers of similar (if not the same) products. Distinguish yourself as a front runner with easy to use product descriptions and categorizations. Create clean but high visual impact frameworks with accurate details and information about the product. Do not skimp on investing in a photographer for the best quality pictures. 

Put thought into creating frameworks that also work sustainably. Customizing your templates to your chosen platform work to different demographics and could increase income generating visibility. Map out your eCommerce Catalog management framework, ensure it works for your organization and watch sales figures rise.

Final Thoughts 

The challenges for eCommerce catalog management frame around organization, templates and customization. Introducing uniform systems to input accurate information and high resolution pictures could take some of the management stress of an organization. Ensure consistency and user friendliness in all product descriptions, and do not be afraid to edit the tone of your pages depending on your platform and audience. 

Overcoming Common Challenges of eCommerce Catalog Management 

The world of virtual retail management may seem intimidating. This Invensis article explains key challenges to consider while building your eCommerce catalog. 

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