What exactly is Catalog Management: Its Optimization and Challenges


Rashika Shrivastava

Published in

5min Read

Product Catalog Management

Product Catalog management in eCommerce refers to ensuring that your product database is organized, organized, and up to date across all online sales channels.

Catalog management is an important part of developing an online brand since it allows customers to find what they’re looking for and feel confident making a purchase based on the information supplied.
It assists retailers in managing product catalogs for different consumers and track inventory across many eCommerce logistics channels.
Colour options, pricing, sizes, place of origin, materials, and other information are included in product catalogs for online retailers, while different types of products require different details and information.

The Need for eCommerce Product Catalogs

Product catalogs are an essential component of digital commerce platforms. They must be accessible to all consumers via a single, trusted version of the truth. Gartner and Forrester’s analysts anticipate an increasing interest in optimizing product catalogs from the emerging “product experience management” perspective.

A neglected and mishandled product catalog management approach might stymie your business’s ability to expand into new channels or work with new suppliers. Simple operational operations that should take days or hours can take weeks or months to complete. This can make it difficult to add new SKUs, integrate new data sources, or connect with new client touchpoints.

Product catalogs feature the taxonomy as well as product data, as well as a base pricing and product configuration. Their accuracy and reliability are important, but they also need to simplify digital commerce enablement and meet channel-specific criteria. Traditional solutions only allow for direct data entry and simple imports like spreadsheets. Enterprises today require improved catalog management features, including enhanced functions, extensive syndication/channel management, and a “single view” of product capabilities.

A robust eCommerce product catalog management approach may help reduce time-to-market, improve customer experience, and increase digital sales. It also offers the convenience of integrated product information, which allows for quick comparison of numerous products and pricing in one location.

  • Marketing and Merchandising

Online channels enable the use of a wider range of promotional strategies that would not be available in physical locations. New deals and referrals can be swiftly pushed on eCommerce channels. Customers who are on the verge of leaving can be persuaded with the appropriate product at the right time.

To attract digitally aware people, ensure that your products are well-stocked and beautifully displayed at several customer touchpoints. A well-managed eCommerce product catalog assists you in reducing human labour, eliminating quality or error issues, meeting tight deadlines, and lowering operational costs. You can quickly develop and execute promotional campaigns and attract buyers with the right merchandising. Big promotional days can help you generate traffic and attention. It also allows you to do multilingual catalog processing and give ready-to-use catalogs for online product listings.

  • Pricing and Packages

To provide a unified customer experience, retailers or the CPG industry should have consistent pricing for the same products across numerous channels. However, when selling on marketplaces, where competition and price pressure are severe, this can put them in a disadvantaged position. They can adjust their product prices regularly and quickly design new product bundles based on current demand and sales with eCommerce product catalogs. You can make large-scale adjustments to the most important product groups.

This helps to raise average order value, margins, decision exhaustion, and client loyalty. The more significant and detailed product data you have, loaded with various features, the more they can be sales influencers.

  • Effortless Integration Operations

A well-managed product catalog enhances your capacity to exchange accurate and up-to-date product data with other systems.

Large retailers typically do not maintain their ‘master’ data in their eCommerce platform, instead storing it in back-end programs such as product information management (PIM), order management system (OMS), fulfillment, and enterprise resource planning (ERP). To automate the process of syncing product listings, the data (which includes marketing data, product feed, pricing, order, inventory, and fulfillment data) is combined with systems.

Integrations become easier to show the item properly across different touchpoints with the relevant SKUs with inventory counts or customer orders if SKUs are properly categorized. You can easily link with your physical POS, inventory control applications, analytics and reporting programs, and marketplace listing apps. Furthermore, you may publish across several sales channels in real-time and manage all of your products from one spot.

  • ‘Digital-first’ Customer Service

Offering shoppers materials and goods that are relevant to their particular interests and customer journey increases conversion and order value. The more data digital and channel marketing experts know about their customers, the more tailored the experience they can provide.

Personalization options abound throughout the customer journey, including when visitors arrive at the homepage or product pages, search for products, add items to their carts, and even exit the site. Retailers may improve consumer experience by using interactive digital catalogs that leverage all digital assets, including high-resolution photos, videos, and 3D models.

A well-designed product catalog also allows for conversational commerce through virtual assistants (VAs), which promotes client intimacy. Product information that has been enhanced can also be converted from feature-based to intention-based, allowing for unique customer experiences.

The Need For E-Commerce Product Catalogs

Why product catalog optimization is important?

Product Catalog Optimization is Beneficial for Growth. Product catalog management that runs like clockwork is the best foundation for online firms and retailers to build their operations on.

This is because a solid product catalog management strategy enables merchants to expand their offers without losing their minds trying to keep up with changing and expanding data.

Sellers with a solid strategy can easily add new SKUs and push new products to numerous sales channels without overwhelming their process or team. Simply, when your product catalog management is neat and efficient, so will your expansion efforts.

Product Catalog Optimization Best Practices

  • Maintain Data Integrity

Customers will not trust a store that attempts to offer a standing desk with false or partial specs and product information, much alone promoting oneself as an authority on home office furniture.

To build a trustworthy brand, ensure your product catalog data is complete, accurate, and uniform across all your sales channels. After all, many customers anticipate being able to make educated purchasing decisions based on the information you supply.

  • Provide an Excellent User Experience

Whether you’re selling plumbing fixtures or custom dog beds, providing the best UX is critical — and it takes much more than a great landing page. If they can’t locate what they’re looking for quickly, within 10 seconds, 79% of visitors will go to your competitor’s website.

To create an excellent user experience, evaluate your target user’s objective – consumer thinking — and design the shopping experience around it. Here’s what that could entail.

Individual product pages with intelligent search and filter features are used to present the product catalog.

Using interactive wizards to help narrow down a search within product data

Providing extensive product information so that clients do not need to look elsewhere for information before making a purchase

  • Improve Customer and SEO Product Descriptions

Publishing entertaining, informative, and persuasive information is part of offering a strong UX – something few manufacturers are known for doing themselves. However, shops frequently replicate their product descriptions to save time and resources.

Not only is this deemed duplicate content, which can harm your search rankings and traffic, but it also represents a missed opportunity to create customer relationships.

Translate their language into your own SEO-friendly, compelling content that resonates with your target audience. It will increase traffic, enhance conversions, and keep clients from your competition.

  • Promote opportunities for cross-selling and upselling

Return to your search for a standing desk for your home office. You may have started off looking for a stationary model. Instead, you chose the retailer’s suggested “similar product” – an adjustable height standing desk.

Cross-selling and upselling can increase revenue for retailers who prioritize establishing an organized, extensive eCommerce product portfolio. Here are a few instances of how they do it.

Search-friendly product tagging: Displays related products or product alternatives to encourage more browsing.

Customized catalogs: Displays different products to customers based on their demands, geography, currency, etc.

  • Manage inventory in real-time.

Nothing irritates a customer more than realizing a particular product is out of stock after you’ve already “sold” or, worse, after you’ve completed the purchase.

Using real-time inventory management features with your eCommerce product catalog can help you avoid this. Inventory management systems can gently urge a shopper to pull the trigger with the phrase “3 more available” or inform them when an item is back in stock.

  • Link Catalog Management to Other Systems

Integrating your product catalog with other systems in your IT stack can improve operations, customer connections, and revenue generation. Here are a couple of such instances. Improve efficiencies by preserving product catalogs within your ERP system for automatic updates to product information, inventory levels, etc.

Increase revenue using triggered messaging based on product catalog data as an email service provider (ESP). Order confirmation emails, targeted emails based on previous purchase history, and abandoned shopping cart emails (71% of US shoppers do this, by the way) are examples of applications.

  • Investigate Digital Marketing Strategies

After optimising your eCommerce product catalog can capitalize on those gains with dynamic social media marketing. They target consumers based on their previous interactions with your site, reminding them of the products they have expressed interest in.

Effective advertisements, fuelled by precise, detailed product information, can bring traffic back to your website and product catalog.

Product Catalog Optimization Best Practices

Challenges Faced in Product Catalogue Management

Problems with third-party/supplier data management

Third-party merchants and suppliers frequently provide incomplete, incorrect, or confusing product data to marketplaces. The material could potentially be in the incorrect format, with spelling and style flaws, among other things.

This can be a problem in many industries, but notably in those that deal with delicate things, such as fashion. If suppliers do not give sufficient data, catalog management and product discovery might get complicated.

All of these are annoyances that must be addressed immediately.

Product discovery and visibility

A lack of relevant product data reduces the brand’s authority, inhibits consumers from purchasing, and harms product awareness.

‍In any event, it leads to fewer conversions, which no eCommerce shop wants to deal with.

Product data consistency and relevancy of results

 Another common catalog management issue is inconsistent product data.

Consistent entails keeping prices and availability up to date, enhancing product information and descriptions, adding/removing products, and so on.

 To get the most out of your online business, ensure the product data is consistent.

It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile any event; it leads to fewer conversions, which no eCommerce shop wants to deal with.

Product data consistency and relevancy of results

Another common catalog management issue is inconsistent product data.

Consistent entails keeping prices and availability up to date, enhancing product information and descriptions, adding/removing products, and so on.

To get the most out of your online business, ensure the product data is consistent. It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile.

‍Furthermore, no data or product manager wants to be told that their listings are insufficient or misleading. This common problem occurs when your product information does not match the things you are selling. If someone purchases these things and receives something else, you will not only lose that consumer, but you will also most likely receive a negative review.

Easy-to-use catalog

A well-designed catalog gives customers the confidence and incentive to buy from you. Any client expects an enticing user experience via product information, yet most firms fail to deliver.

Data management for suppliers

When working with third-party suppliers, they frequently supply minimal product data and may skip a few standards. Cataloging becomes complicated and problematic because vendors are not forced to submit data in the required format