As a Shopify seller, the presentation of your products on your site is key to your success. Customers have to be able to find, browse, and buy the products that you offer. You must be able to provide rich product information to make this possible.
The first step in doing that is simply being able import your products and their details to Shopify. Shopify has loads of step-by-step documents on how to do just that. But, what they don’t have is the full functionality needed to create rich product information that your customers demand.
In this post, we’ll cover how Shopify’s import products functionality isn’t always enough, and what more functionality you need to create product information that meets your customers’ expectations.
Rich Product Information and Customer Experience
When it comes to selling online, there’s a lot of buzz around the words customer experience, and rightly so. Customer experience sets you a part in the market. It’s how customers compare you to your competitors. Ultimately, it’s how customers decide who they’re going to purchase from.
Merchants who provide a favorable customer experience are geared to win repeat business, or loyal customers.
But, there’s a lot that goes into creating an unforgettable customer experience online: website design, product information, correct inventory levels, personalization, delivery options, shipping speed, check out process, payment options, customer service, return services, etc.
This post will focus on creating rich product information for your Shopify store. While it’s only one part of the customer experience, it’s something that you shouldn’t overlook.
Rich product information dictates how customers find your products, browse your site, and decide that your item is the one they want to buy.
Shopify Import Products: How it Falls Short
Everyone (should) know how important rich product information is to an eCommerce site’s success. You’d imagine then that Shopify provides all the tools you’d need to achieve it, right?
Well…yes and no. We’ll explain.
Shopify gives you the functionality, and some that is necessary for you to create and list items on your webstore. You can add products either manually or via an import of a CSV file.
When adding products manually, you can add important information like the product’s title, description, image, attributes, product types, vendor, tags, pricing, inventory quantity, and shipping. You can create variant products, which gives you the ability to list variants such as size and color for one product. You even have the ability to create collections so that you can make shopping easier for your customers (think better customer experience).
These features, among others, are more than enough for a merchant with a small product catalog that they just sell on their Shopify webstore. You’ll be able to create and manage your products within Shopify’s platform.
If you have a large product catalog, you’re going want to import your products into Shopify via CSV, which Shopify provides step by step instructions on how to do. When using this method, your product information has to be perfect in the CSV file you import. Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck editing large groups of product data within Shopify.
This is where Shopify’s import products functionality falls short.
Having the ability to import CSV files is great, but this means it’s up to you to do all the legwork to prep your CSV files, before importing.
You don’t want to plan on making changes and edits after importing. You’ll find that Shopify doesn’t have the necessary functionality to deal with large, messy product catalogs. It’s up to you to create a CSV file that has all the product information, already formatted.
For those selling just on Shopify, this probably isn’t a problem for you. But, what if this isn’t the case? Think about it, do you…
- sell on multiple marketplaces like Amazon and eBay
- receive product catalogs from multiple suppliers that you have to modify before selling on your webstore
- change your product information from your POS/ERP system to make it ready for the web
In these cases, creating CSV files to import into Shopify just became remarkably harder to do.
The best way to represent your products on Amazon is not the same from your Shopify webstore. But, how do you take product information from one sales channel and tailor it for another, quickly and easily?
Most merchants don’t do a good job at doing it. Shopify sure isn’t the best place to manage your product information for all of your sales channels, but merchants still try to.
Therefore, a lot of merchants end up settling for sub-par product information. This causes the customer experience to suffer. You already know the consequences of a poor customer experience.
Don’t let Shopify’s import products functionally shortcomings prohibit you from selling the way you want.
Product Information Management
Some merchants do recognize that Shopify isn’t the right platform to prep and edit all of their product data. This often leads to them having multiple employees spending hours, even weeks, consolidating and prepping product information, outside of Shopify. They usually do all this work in Excel.
This is a pain, and costly. It’s prone to human error. It’s a lot of work to just make an import to Shopify. Think about the time you’d spend then trying to turn the same product information into Amazon listings.
Inefficient processes like these lead to poor product information as you end up cutting corners. It’s wasted time that could be better spent on things like customer service.
What you really need is a centralized location that’s built to manage all of your product information. That’s just what a Product Information Management (PIM) application does.
A functional multichannel PIM should enable you to:
- Upload all of your existing product information from different source, whether it be from online marketplaces and webstores, POS/ERP systems, or suppliers’ catalogs, into PIM
- Use advanced capabilities like bulk editing, expressions, and intelligent rules to edit and clean product data
- Build collections and categories to organize products
- Export subsets of product information via CSV, tailored to the requirements of the sales channel you’re selling on
- Publish product data to sales channels via CSV and/or web services
A PIM application gives you the ability build a single product catalog that only contains the best representation of your product information.
You can create products that have all the details and information (in the right format) that you’d need. Then, when you go to export it, you can use this information to easily build out products specific to your Shopify webstore, or Amazon listing, for example.
A PIM makes it possible to create and provide rich product information on your Shopify webstore, and across your other sales channels. When you’re able to offer rich product information, your customers notice.
Shopify’s import products does not have the functionally to be the centralized location where you manage your product information. If you’re a merchant with an extensive catalog selling on Shopify, or you sell across multiple sales channel, a PIM application is the best place for you to manage your product information.
If you want to learn more about all the functionality of a PIM application, check out nChannel’s Product Information Management app. That’s how we know so much about all this stuff.
What to Do Next
If you’re a small merchant with small amount of products that you just sell on Shopify, their import products provides more than enough functionality for you.
But, if you have an extensive catalog, work with supplier catalogs, or sell across multiple sales channel, you’ll find that Shopify falls short when it comes to managing product information.
Where Shopify lacks, a Product Information Management application makes up for it. With more advanced capabilities, a PIM can be the centralized location where you manage all of your product information.
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