In today’s retail landscape, the significance of product data management is gaining momentum with the growing complexity of the sales channel and eCommerce platforms. The rapidly increasing volume and variety of product information are demanding smarter product data management services to enhance data quality and reliability for a hyper-connected and frictionless experience across channels.
The Drift towards a Connected Product Experience
The way the modern-day shoppers search, select, and buy a product is a whole new game.` And, everything from providing deals and offers to faster service and easy-to-use apps has to be just inflow. This is where the golden record of product data is essential to provide a seamless experience that is integrated across the system.
Top eCommerce players are conducting n-number of experiments to enrich product experience with an effective product data management solution to improve conversion.
Product Data Management is no more a Chance but a Necessity.
The current pandemic situation has forced businesses big and small to drive digital efficiency by integrating offline and online trading systems. While that’s never a possibility for small businesses and startups, an eCommerce product data management system can make it happen.
According to Ventana Benchmark research, three in five organizations (61%) cited improving the customer experience as a benefit they realized from their investment into product information management
With a well-developed product data management system, your business can source, optimize, and enrich product data to deliver a unified shopping experience. And, it creates a single source of product information including suppliers, dropshippers, and manufacturer’s data.
Now that you’re convinced that PDM is no more a chance, but a necessity. So, let’s take a step further to identify the best practices while developing and implementing a product data management solution.
Product Data Management Best Practices
Understand your eCommerce Product Data Management Goals and Define the Scope
The first best thing to do is to thoroughly analyze your current product data and define the scope of the solution. This is important for a seamless and proactive product data management experience. In addition, it also helps set your expectations right and measure the effectiveness of managing your product data.
In a nutshell, defining your business goal will pave the way for your product data management success.
Here are some examples of goals to define before stepping into finding the solution –
- Enhance the customer experience
- Increase the productivity of marketing strategies
- Expansion into new channels
- Improvement of team collaboration
- Speed up time-to-market
- Scaling business into new geographies
- Onboard vendor data
- Delivery of better quality product data
The next step that follows is to determine the scope of the project and define the process. Should you model your entire catalog and start managing your products from the beginning? Or should you take a “land and expand” approach?
By starting small, you can test and implement the process for crucial products, and expand it on subsequent phases. While this approach could work well for larger enterprises, a comprehensive approach could be the right choice for smaller businesses, owing to the cost issues.
Invest in Categorizing your Products:
Product categorization helps customers intuitively find the product of their choice on your eCommerce site.
A Forrester research report found that a poorly architectured retailing site sells 50% less than better-organized sites, where searches failed 47% of users gave up after just one search.
If not with a clear product organization, you may lose customers who can’t be bothered to search for the product beyond the first few attempts. But if you get it right, your conversion rate can soar high. That said –
Be sure to categorize from the customer’s perspective.
Analyze how your customers look for the information and how they want to browse through your website. For example, if they want to search for product information based on “material” don’t limit your attributes to the size and color only.
Use appropriate names and consider search synonyms.
Consider the audience when you name your categories. For instance, If you run a B2B site with a very specific audience, it is essential to use the terms that members of the industry would understand.
Ensure all the product tags and measurements are consistent
Use the word “Large” to represent the product size across all the products and do not switch between using “Large” and “L” and use either inches or centimeters in your product specification and not both.
And, understand that B2B is different from B2C.
Though clear navigation and strong organization are the universal benefits, the audience between B2B and B2C eCommerce differ, and so does their requirement. The seemingly smaller and more focused catalog that works for B2C may not work for a B2B audience. The B2B customer will be more interested in in-depth technical details and are not necessarily overwhelmed by deep categories, and industry-specific terms.
Focus on Data Quality and Accuracy
High-quality and accurate product data sets the tone right for growth within every structure of your eCommerce business. Certainly, it makes sure that your product ranks high on Google, and your customers will consider your offering and make purchase decisions based on it.
But how to tell your product is of high quality?
Here are five significant parameters to consider when measuring the quality of your product data.
And how to implement it?
Collect Data from Verified Sources
Invest time in verifying the facts, images, videos, and texts attached to each product SKU. Analyze it for inconsistencies, errors, duplicates, and missing information, and add, modify or delete the information accordingly.
Regularly update your product data.
Run regular updates on your data. With every change in any product details, there is always a call for an update across channels.
Centralize Data and Digital Assets
Avoid duplication of data. Ensure that your product data gets centralized into a single document that will serve as a reference document for users to refer to.
Include comprehensive information in your product catalog.
Provide all the details your customers need to assess your products quickly. That is to say, include technical attributes, images, videos, inventory information, units of measurement, and product usage combinations, and this information needs to be straightforward and easy to navigate.
Choose the right eCommerce Product Data Management Solution.
As a business owner or a product data manager, a part of your responsibility is to choose the best product data management solution for your business.
There are several similar software and service providers available in the market. But, identifying the right choice that best suits your business needs can be a challenge.
There is no “One-size fits all” solution. Some software can be suitable for eCommerce giants that need many people to have access to the same data sets; others will better suit smaller startups with only a handful of people to work with the data.
So, choose based on your business needs.
While several factors go into choosing the right product data management solution, here are some basic requirements that can be highlighted –
- Facilitate collaboration easily between teams
- Reduce development errors
- Fit your budget/usage
- Improve productivity
- Help you find the data you need as quickly as possible
- Maintain your company’s security standards
Here are some examples of commonly used PDM software:
A PIM tool that offers PDM functionality. Centralizes all product data, including technical sheets and SKUs, with automated information updates.
Salsify Product Experience Management Platform:
Delivers a unified product experience platform that brings together content management, publishing, syndication, and analytics.
The most commonly used PDM software to get familiar with if you are applying for Data Product Manager roles.
No matter the solution you choose, try to keep a single source of truth to avoid duplicating product data and risk making mistakes. For example, suppose you are already using an ERP or PIM system to manage your product catalog. In that case, you want to avoid replicating the existing data into a separate e-commerce platform. This can be done with ERP-integrated e-commerce.
Planning to Outsource Product Data Management Services?
All’s said and done; eCommerce product data management is not a “ride in the park” kind of task. It is time-intensive and requires a high level of diligence and accuracy. And, even a tiny mistake can cost you your business reputation. Moreover, it also needs expert skills to manage both offline and online product data management processes.
While the entire task is best left to the experts, you can focus on business activities that boost sales and revenue.
As one of the top, full-service, eCommerce support agencies, Vserve offers a comprehensive range of product data management services for both B2C and B2B eCommerce businesses. So, no matter the product or service you provide, we can help manage and streamline your company’s core asset – your product data to reduce operational costs, increase sales, and improve partnerships.
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