How To Create and Manage Complex Catalogs?
Imagine a closet in which the longest shelf (where shirts are to be hung) is clogged with a giant heap of outfits ranging from pants to pullovers, t-shirts to ties. None of the drawers house a specific variety of cloth. Handkerchiefs and socks are shoved in random corners; ironed shirts are distressingly folded in a single shelf with crumpled clothing gear rammed beside them. Quite unsurprisingly, finding your best jacket, jumper, or jeans (especially when you’re pressed for time), becomes a matter of luck and hard work.
Complicated closets can be difficult to manage— but only if you let them become complicated in the first place. Volume accompanies complexity; the more the number of items, the higher is the need to manage them appropriately. As, when the downward spiral of complexity begins, it can be out of your hands before you know it.
Complex product catalogs fall into the same category. They need specialized management and maintenance. Enterprises having an extremely high number of product items risk falling into the same trap. If they don’t manage their catalogs in an orderly fashion, they end up jeopardizing their business.
Here’s a Brief 5-Point Guide to Navigate Complexity in Catalogs:
1. Laying the Foundation Right:
Creating product catalogs is much more than product naming and descriptions; it involves turning visitors into buyers – finally it’s about the customer experience. It’s about making the rules of engagement that your business wants. From classification of product families, creation of rule engines, categorizations, formatting (presentation, style, structure) to planting persuasive copies coupled with rich media content (images, videos, animation, and gifs) to lure customers—it is a combination of elements arranged in a manner best suitable to your business to bring a cohesive brand vision to life.
Modern-day Product Catalog Management (PCM/PXM) software comes with a WYSIWYG interface, flexibility (to write, edit, remove, merge) related to content and visuals, control settings, and capabilities to streamline workflows and automate data syndication via APIs.
2. Product Categorization: The Differentiator:
Products are built of features, and it is features that help eCommerce businesses to stand out and get found. It is about having information that is not just informative and enticing but matching what users search for. Catalogs must offer correct and consistent descriptions about every aspect of a particular product. For example, a product like “men’s round neck t-shirt” or “Women’s bell bottom pants” must have specifications like brand, size, color, style, dimension, cloth type, warranty, and a lot more. Every product has a unique SKU, a unique identifier. And every piece of that information should be a part of that product’s features list. Many times, catalogs containing products from suppliers come with inconsistencies and are represented differently, but by utilizing content mapping algorithms and ontological categorizations, semantic connections can be made, and attributes can be assimilated efficiently.
3. Managing Processes: Streamlining the Complicated:
Complex catalogs also require the involvement of many people, such as reviewers, contributors, and employees from many different departments. In addition, it requires version control and auditing so that several different variants of the same product aren’t created. At the same time, the workflow process is designed to ensure smooth information flow and involvement of the right stakeholders. Another concern that may spiral out of control if not attended to is the management of catalogs across different regions across the globe. From coordinating currency conversions and language translations to region-specific customized products and deals—only well-laid-out, non-overlapping processes can keep products in order. Besides, global operations often need key stakeholders to fly from one region to another, and constantly work on the go. Again, only a robust PCM system can handle it right.
4. Making Experiences Fluid:
It is hard to lure customers on a catalog on one channel; imagine doing it all over again on every other channel. With businesses working overtime towards making themselves more and more accessible from every device or medium, it only makes sense for catalogs to be accurate and consistent.
PCM software makes delivering seamless experiences among various devices an effortless exercise. It not only simplifies the complexity of managing but makes businesses put their best foot forward in front of the customers. At the same time, it eases the life of sales reps, store managers, customers-service personnel, and field marketers. In addition, a sound PCM system does an excellent job of selling without even directly speaking to customers; this further eases up the complicated.
5. Simplifying Syndication
Once created, a catalog needs to be displayed on channels where products can be showcased and sold. Modern-day PCM software do their best to synchronize digital products across a variety of customer-facing sales and marketing channels effortlessly on a global scale. It helps them appear in search engine results (Google, Bing, Yahoo), social networking sites (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok, etc.), find a place in affiliate and retargeting sites (AdRoll, Criteo Awin, etc.), price comparison websites (idealo, pricegrabber, kelkoo, shopping.com, etc.) as well as marketing automation and technology websites (kenshoo, smartly.io, salesforce, etc.). Besides, product data can be distributed on several global shopping platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Google, Alibaba, Rakuten, etc. The process is further simplified when the catalog data is tailored, customized, and optimized according to the format and specifications of numerous shopping channels.
Uncomplicating the process of producing catalogs starts with organizing them efficiently. Instead of recognizing product catalogs as just another marketing collateral that helps businesses cut through the competition, they must be seen as enterprises’ informational, aesthetic, and emotional connection with customers. And for that purpose, catalogs must paint a trustworthy, appealing, valuable, and friendly picture in front of the customers.
Product catalog management (PCM) software are one of the surest ways to map products and product families dynamically, manage databases, facilitate scalability, specify roles and authorization flows, customize as per geographies, decrease business cycles, ease the job of sales reps’, improve information flow, enhance brand presences, and generate sales.
Therefore, a simplified product catalog not only forges a deeper bond with customers but unlocks enterprises’ untapped potential, thereby setting a winning strategy in motion.
Want to know how to choose the right product catalogs management system for your eCommerce business? Schedule a FREE demo with Pimcore consultants.