The product information you show in digital channels is wrong far too often. The problem is usually rooted in where you keep your product data. When it’s wrong in your internal system, it is then listed incorrectly on your website or marketplaces.
Inaccurate product data has a serious, and usually underestimated, negative impact on your business. This issue directly affects the customer experience. It impedes the customer’s ability and/or willingness to buy from you.
In this post, we’ll talk about the importance of having products listed with correct attributes and how to do it through bulk editing. The system you use to manage your items must have certain capabilities. You’ll understand why a product information management (PIM) system is the ideal place to do this.
Customers Depend on Listings of Accurate Product Attributes
Product information is broken down as product attributes. These are the bits of information that describe a product. Attributes include text, like product descriptions and names. They include meta tags to categorize products. They can include other attributes like prices and sizes.
Attributes typically vary by product type, and different sales channels require different sets of attributes. Managing these attributes efficiently is critical if you want your customers to happily find what you sell. Here’s why…
Customers search for items based on certain keywords. Whether it’s through a search engine (think Google and Amazon) or filters on your website, your customer must be able to find the product they want. If they can’t find it, they can’t buy it. It’s important that product names and descriptions include the language that your customers are using to search.
Customers use product attributes to compare choices. Whether it’s between brands or product versions, they’re looking for certain distinguishing features. They’ll literally line products up against one another to see what features each has. If your product’s information is incomplete or missing, it can make customers doubt it’s the product they’re looking for. They’ll lose the confidence to buy.
Customers may use product attributes to drill down to exactly what they want. This is especially true on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. They’ll start with a broad search (e.g. “skateboards”). Then, they’ll drill down into specifics: maple body, black trucks, 65mm wheels, etc. If you don’t provide that extra data about your products, customers certainly won’t find them.
Customers “window shop” online, just like in a retail store. Product images are an attribute, too. And, if your products don’t list with high quality images that show all the details of the product, customers will pass you by.
Customers want a seamless buying experience. When they begin a search, either broad or specific, they expect to find the item they want. Sellers who make this process easy and reliable for them are going to make that sale.
How to Easily Make Your Product Attributes Market Ready for Customers
It’s not easy for sellers to have accurate, complete and consistent product information. If you have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of SKU’s of different product types, the odds are against you for keeping that information straight.
Your internal system’s data can get messy, quickly. Your information can be inconsistent–having items listed as BLACK and BLK, for instance. It can be incomplete–some products don’t even have the color included. Maybe it’s just wrong–you have t-shirts listed as $100 instead of $10. All of it causes problems for your customer and you.
But when you go to edit or modify it, many systems only let you manage attributes one item at a time. You’re spending way too much time manually editing and uploading product information. It’s time taken away from getting products to market faster.
It’s a weakness in your software and processes that is costing you money.
You need the ability to do bulk edits, or make mass changes to your product information. You need to be able to modify and update pricing, descriptions, attributes, and categories–all simultaneously for groups of products. You need the ability to intelligently group products, based on the attributes they have.
These are the key features for bulk editing, and they will significantly improve how you manage product data.
Key Capabilities Needed for Bulk Editing Your Product Attributes
Having the ability to make mass changes to your product information saves you time and ensures greater consistency in your product information. You’ll get your items to market faster. And, the information will be the quality that your customers are looking for.
To make these types of mass changes, you need the following capabilities:
Filter Products for Editing and Selection
Many systems don’t have an easy way to select a large group of items for updates or modifications. When you should be able to intelligently filter items, and select items by one or multiple criteria. For example, you’ll be able to do things like select all items that start with “Men’s” or all in-stock items, to make bulk changes to them.
This ability is critical for easily making changes to specific groups of items. You’ll be able to make updates to collections or product categories all at once–not one item at a time.
Pricing Updates for Multiple Items
Your pricing structure is critical to making sales. But, it’s a tedious (and prone to error) process to have to manually make pricing changes to individual items. You can’t keep up to speed with your competitor’s prices that way.
You need to be able to update prices for multiple items at once. You should also be able to use a multiple (like a percentage or fixed dollar amount) of a current price, last cost or MSRP. You’ll be able to actively monitor and be competitive in the market.
For example, you should be able to group all “Men’s” products and apply an automatic 10% price reduction.
Text Manipulation of Product Information
There are many instances when you need to make mass changes to the unstructured text in your products’ data. When you have large volumes of data in different formats, like from supplier catalog, it’s necessary to change text.
For example, you may need to add “NEW!” to the beginning of your eBay listings. Or, you may need to convert ALLCAPS product description to mixed cases. This capability helps make your information consistent and complete.
Timed Updates for Groups of Products
Being able to make timed updates to your product information is key when you’re managing a large number of items across multiple channels. For instance, you’ll want to make all pricing changes happen simultaneously when you’re running sales concurrently on your website and a marketplace like Amazon. And, you don’t want to manually flip the switch at midnight, the day of the sale.
With timed updates, you can create and execute a predefined schedule. You’ll be able to efficiently make updates. You’ll get the right information to your customers when they need it.
Editing Workflows for Product Marketing Team
For retailers with a large volume of products, you might be distributing the work among specialists. So, you would have different specialists for product attributing, image manipulation, tagging and product marketing. You would need specific workflow capabilities for this process to be efficient and effective.
With the ability to edit workflows, your team can then work from a set of queues. They’ll be able to pass work between specialists to create, finalize and publish product content. You’ll ensure that you’re only listing information of the highest quality for your customers.
Why You Need a Product Information Management (PIM) System
Product information manipulation is still a weak point for most software programs. Some do have the robust capability for price management. But many still rely on spreadsheet import/export to handle vital tasks like text manipulation or category editing. There are even some systems that have neither.
Relying on spreadsheet imports/exports can cause problems. You may end up listing items to your website or marketplaces like Amazon and eBay that are wrong or incomplete, all because you can’t easily update and modify your messy and incorrect internal system’s data.
A PIM is designed to take your data from many of your various systems and bring it into a single interface. From this centralized location, you should be able to adapt and edit the information with the same capabilities as described above, then publish items to your different sales channels exactly as they need to be.
It should be the ideal place to manage your product information (read Why You Should Use a PIM as Your Item Master).
Learn More about PIM Systems
If you want to learn more about PIM, check out nChannel’s SaaS PIM app that is optimized for managing product information for multichannel sellers. You’ll be able to gather, organize, enrich, and publish your data to your sales channels. Do everything described in this post, and more!