Product Taxonomy Best Practices—A PIM Perspective
Imagine walking into a supermarket where fresh vegetables are stacked with detergents, deodorants are kept next to potato chips, confectionaries sit pretty alongside facewash, and your favorite soft drink is placed beside a collection of shampoos.
You’d either think the store is too new, where owners are still figuring out the item placement, or it probably lacks maintenance or does not have enough workforce. That’s right, not just for stores but also in life; correct structuring is the natural way of things, or something is amiss.
In commerce, it is essential for physical stores and is equally crucial for online stores. And that’s where the real essence of product taxonomy lies. It helps you structure appropriately, form the right categorizations that are hierarchical and logical in nature, and helps you classify and organize your products.
Here’s delving deeper into what constitutes the best practices in product taxonomy and how to ensure it does not get too taxing for your customers.
Visualizing Hierarchies Well
The first step to building a perfect product taxonomy is visualizing distinct hierarchies. Creating the hierarchal order right also strengthens customer relationships as it assists them in navigating the store mechanically. Once hierarchies are envisaged accurately, intended designs can be introduced, and category listings can be included so that intuitive customer searches can happen. And all this, if implemented well, can impart a high degree of visibility to your products. However, visualization is not set in stone and can sometimes be subject to change, given multinational companies operate across diverse geographies and use multiple languages. Hierarchical structures are best done in a way that captures customers’ attention and guides them gently to their destinations.
‘Naming’ Is the Name of the Game
Product structuring—the bit that looks easy, is actually the hardest. A clear separation of attributes from subcategories and subcategories from categories must be established. But that’s not the tricky bit. Apart from understanding how the products must be listed, you must understand your buyer persona and categorize products accordingly.
Prominent fashion brand Nike’s online store keeps it simple yet classy by having just four categories on the top – ‘Men, Women, Kids, Sale, New & Featured.’ All the subcategories fall under these five main categories. The company identified its buyer’s taste and kept category names uncomplicated and straightforward. Thinking like your customer by using the language they would use and looking for the titles they would look for—is the right approach to come up with category names.
Automation Is the Best Policy
eCommerce is a dynamic medium; subcategories and attributes can expand forever, and managing thousands of SKUs can be daunting. That’s where automation comes into the picture. And to enable automation, there’s nothing more fitting than a product information management (PIM) platform. PIM facilitates retailers, manufacturers, and brands to auto-categorize product taxonomies, stacking them together neatly into groups, creating automated selections (including particular attributes) to ensure every page has the correct metadata and tags. Moreover, it can help businesses discover redundant categories. Besides, PIM is especially useful if products are sold across multiple platforms and geographical locations to ensure branding stays consistent. Therefore, enterprises get a mechanically comprehensible taxonomy that effortlessly pushes content to various sales platforms.
Take Care While Allocating Products to Categories
Using PIM software can ease a lot for your business. But, to close any gaps, ensuring that your PIM solution permits you to allocate a given product to several categories is essential too. It facilitates intuitive and easy navigation into your online store and helps customers familiarize themselves with your products in more ways than one. For instance, a cap is being sold separately in the women’s section, and the same cap is advertised in a group of three caps (in three different colors) as a bundle item in the ‘sale’ section. The customer should be able to identify through the taxonomy and recommendations that it’s the same item. Hence, the categorization must be exact and also lucid enough. Any discrepancies in categorization may confuse the customer and lead them to abandon the purchase.
Stick to the Testing Loop
What you’re selling is dynamic, and so are your customers’ choices. Hence, your eCommerce business and its product taxonomy are uniquely positioned. Product hierarchies, therefore, must be improved constantly by looking at customers’ responses. Any duplications or discrepancies in product categorizations can lead to poor customer experience and a lower desire to return to the store—which is why testing to keep an eye out for user behavior on product pages is vital. Conducting A/B tests are recommended in arriving at the best product taxonomy and analyzing product performance in relation to its listed features and attributes. Testing should focus on improving conversions while binding customers’ intentions, product classifications, and brand tone with a single thread. Loyalty and trust are deeply entwined with a taxonomy strategy.
Your PIM Choice Matters
Your PIM indeed paves the way for collecting, streamlining, and normalizing your product taxonomy for better methodology and high-quality output. However, it must allow you complete flexibility to design and rearrange product structures whenever needed.
Even though most brands describe their broad taxonomy only once when PIM is implemented—PIM changes can happen at any time and should ideally be easily implementable. It should also ensure that the keywords and metadata are managed to almost any level, from product and categories to attributes (including product characteristics and digital assets). Also, importing entire catalogs from vendors (which includes taxonomies and classification) should be highly convenient.
If you’re struggling to find the right PIM that would serve your product taxonomy well, look no further—Pimcore PIM can be just what you’re looking for.