The product catalog, how to manage it in retail 2.0

The strategy to optimize your efforts.

The Editorial Staff
Content Intelligence Network

With the advent of the web, retail companies need to export their product catalog to multiple sales channels as well as to share it with distributors, all of them characterized by different digital logics. Here is the strategy to optimize your efforts. 

Oftentimes, a customer's product experience begins with an online feed.

Retail companies take advantage of these information flows organized in text format (txt/csv or metalanguages such as xml) to send their catalog to purchase engines (e.g. Google Shopping), marketplaces (Amazon, Zalando etc.), price comparators (Price Finder), retargeting networks etc.

E-commerce is the core of this digital presence: through a CMS you can build the online shop where to land users and convert them. Data and images flow together in product sheets that allow the users to choose product and services in a conscious way.

But how can you transfer data from your business tools (management software, excel files, product management software) into your e-commerce’s CMS? It can be done through a csv file, which will export data in tabular form and which allows communication between databases.

So far so good. The problems begin when you need to export the catalog to external systems: you might want to filter it by specific information (SKU, product category, technical features…) to create product feeds that comply with the requirements of the recipient.

Product listings have to be formatted differently for each channel. This means that groups of attributes, which uniquely identify a product feature, must comply with the criteria required by the platform for which they are intended. Manual data entry is certainly very challenging.

 

Customized product feeds

 

Se below a list of the steps to improve efficiency when exporting the product catalog.

1) Organize all the material related to a product

A number of different materials can be connected to a product.

sku-prodotto-materiali-eng

The solution is using a Content Platform that will centralize both the information and the product digital assets in a single hub.

They are normally scattered across multiple platforms, but with this you’ll be able to retrieve them through the product code, in a single "call". A great advantage in terms of time and completeness of the information retrieved.

2) Select the desired attributes

At this point you will have an overview of your entire product catalog, with all the relevant information and assets. Think about Google Merchant, that requires an url for the product’s main image: how convenient to find it in just a click!

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Then, by making a multi-selection of the desired attributes you can create custom product feeds. Or else, you can use the pre-configured attributes that satisfy the requests of the marketplace.

Amazon, for example, requires not only the ID (a unique product code), but also the price, the EAN (the barcode), the MPN (the supplier code of the product).

3) Share the catalog with suppliers and dealers

This makes it easier to share product information with distributors and retailers. You can export data in the form of product feeds, text, or PDF.

If your collaborators need to download or print them, don’t worry: with the selection you can set filters, such as the availability of a product on a specific market. The same goes for the company, you can create and print catalogs on the fly, with the information you require.

Keeping up with the multi-canality of the web makes all the difference!