Are You Spending Too Much Time, Money & Resources To Manage Your Products?
An electronic catalog, or e-catalog, is a web resource that provides information on products and services, including product names, descriptions, prices, suppliers, prices, hierarchy and internal codes. They're primarily used to procure products and services that must be frequently replenished, so they typically support on-line ordering and payment. E-catalogs also provide purchasing guidelines for complex procurements, especially for valuable or rare products. Suppliers need effective
catalog management to quickly inform their customers of changes in product availability and prices. Catalog management also helps ensure that product data is accurate and configurable to the format required by the buyer.
Centralized Data Repository
Those who ask, "What is catalog management?" should know that multi-channel sales techniques need specific techniques for each channel. Ecommerce catalog software must therefore use multi-channel tools such as a Product Information Management (PIM) system, which is a product repository.
A PIM system must contain essential product data, including a name, category and product description. Each product record must also include unique identifiers such as European Article Number (EAN) barcodes or stock keeping units (SKUs) for inventory management. A PIM system also manages a reference product database and typically includes data aggregation capabilities. Today's catalog management software often uses a cloud-based PIM.
The PIM systems used in modern product data management receive data from many sources. This process requires simple data structures that can easily integrate product data into a single database. Product data feed management typically must support the following capabilities:
- Consolidated sales data from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to provide automated cross-selling techniques
- Editorial data from CMS systems
- Multimedia assets from Digital Asset Management (DAM) repositories
- Structured data from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems
- Manual data entry by copying data in various structured formats
- Listing of new products based on marketing data
- Product databases from suppliers
Consumers generally want highly detailed information on products that isn't overly technical. This preference means that merchants have a continuing need to add data to their product databases. Enriching a product data sheet on a website can improve that site's ranking with search engines, which is essential in ecommerce. Catalog managers can also use supplier integration to enrich their databases with product information directly from the suppliers.
Businesses often report significant productivity gains after implementing PIM systems. PIM system reduces the time taken to bring a product to market by 7-13 % for wholesalers(AT Kearney), while Aberdeen report shows reduction by a factor of 10 for a software company. A good PIM system in place provides better product information which can increase online conversion ratios from 17% to 56% according to AT Kearney. Similarly, Aberdeen reports 16% increase in sales through increased conversion rates in e-commerce.
Even for companies with smaller number of products a PIM system is beneficial. It helps to manage the complexity of providing accurate information to multiple-channels with various format, language and compliance requirements.
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