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Imagine the number of times you saw an incorrect product description on Amazon.com and wasted time searching for the right product from a long list of unrelated products. It's common in online marketplaces. Businesses inaccurately label their products, which creates ambiguity and results in a bad customer experience as well as revenue loss.
The problem lies in the fact that catalog managers have to regularly create, label and update product catalogs with stock keeping units (SKUs) or cross-reference information and customer IDs but don't have ample time to do it.
To avoid this, small business retailers should use catalog management software to automate the process of creating and organizing catalog content. The tool allows you to create, update and distribute electronic catalogs across various sales channels and e-commerce platforms, without errors.
We created this guide on catalog management software to help businesses understand the market and find solutions that can meet their needs. The guide talks in detail about the features of this software, which solutions match your buyer type, the benefit of using this software and important considerations before purchasing a solution.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Catalog Management Software?
Catalog management software is a tool for organizing product data in an electronic catalog, which is uploaded on e-commerce channels for the benefit of merchants and buyers. By automating the creation of product catalogs, the tool prevents inaccuracies and errors that usually occur when catalogs are created manually.
Catalog management tool offers the following functionalities:
- Create, edit, store and update catalog data, including product descriptions, images and metadata.
- Automatically update the prices based on the user's location/local currency.
- Integrate with web content management and payment gateways (such as PayPal and Amazon Pay).
Common Features of Catalog Management Software
In this section, we cover the key software features that a buyer should be aware of before they purchase a solution. Most businesses will need some (or all) of these features in their tool:
|Catalog creation||Creates catalogs based on different categories such as product types, product price and type of service offered.|
|Content management||Lets users create, edit and publish digital content across multiple sales channels.|
|Cross-selling functionality||Suggests additional, related or complementary items to an existing buyer so that it can generate more sales for your business.|
|Content library||Provides a centralized repository to manage content for the product description, images and metadata.|
|Pricing management||Create price lists, price rules and manage your customers' specific pricing for the products available on the organization's own e-commerce page and other online marketplaces.|
|Product comparison||Helps users compare the features or capabilities of multiple products.|
|Search functionality||Lets users search products in the catalog by date, time, size, tags, etc.|
What Type of Buyer Are You?
As you begin shortlisting various solutions for your catalog management processes, it's important to understand the type of buyer you are. This will help you make a list of your requirements and prioritize software features as "must-have" or "optional".
Based on our research, these are the three most common buyer types:
Small businesses: These buyers have a limited staff and it is very difficult for them to maintain the everchanging status of products and services. A catalog management tool can help them manage an extensive product database so that all the details are always accurate.
These buyers should start with basic catalog management features such as catalog creation and content management to update product information and avoid any redundancies.
Midsize businesses: These buyers deal with a comparatively higher volume of SKUs and customers, which requires some advanced catalog management features. They need to maintain data consistency and offer a better shopping experience to customers.
These buyers should look for key features such as search functionality and product comparison. These features will offer customers better recommendations and accurate search results.
Large businesses: These buyers are from large industries, such as manufacturing and distribution, and need to manage product catalogs using a customer's part numbers, or SKUs. These buyers should look for content management and cross-selling functionality, which will encourage their customers to make an additional purchase, thus increasing the overall revenue.
Benefits of Catalog Management Software
Before you start searching for catalog software, you need to realize how the tool will benefit your business in terms of productivity, efficiency, and scalability. In this section, we'll list the key benefits of catalog management software. Read on to assess the need for this software in your business.
Central repository for all product data: Catalog management software collates and indexes catalog data, such as product description, pricing and model, in a central repository. This repository helps you index parts, product size and other properties to categorize the information. Users can search through it based on key file attributes, rather than having to scan through multiple product folders.
Consistency across channels: Operating on multiple online marketplaces requires e-commerce sellers to update product data on all sites. However, manually retrieving product information from suppliers and then publishing it can be cumbersome. A catalog tool allows you to manage and edit all your online catalogs from a single dashboard. This ensures that product information is consistent on all channels and customers can easily find your product. It will also provide a good shopping experience to your customers.
Key Considerations Before Purchasing Software
It is essential to consider various factors before purchasing a solution. For instance, your shortlisted catalog solution may have all the relevant features but lacks in securing your data. Such instances aren't uncommon, which is why you need to do a thorough check before purchasing a solution.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a catalog management tool:
What is the implementation time? This will depend on the type of software you choose—whether it's an integrated or standalone software. Integrated tools require a more significant investment of time and resources than standalone ones. Check with the vendor about the time it will take to implement the tool and train users.
What is the level of support offered by the vendor? Before assessing catalog management tools, think about your employees and the type of support (email, phone or chat) they would prefer. If a support option isn't available, check if the vendor provides support forums and discussion boards to help your employees resolve their queries.
Is the solution scalable? Choose a tool that is scalable in terms of the number of licenses or users. This will help you prepare for future growth as you will be able to add new users when needed. Businesses could opt for cloud-based solution as it provides greater flexibility—you pay for what you use and can easily scale-up as well. On the other hand, on-premise solutions require deploying additional hardware, which is expensive.
Does the vendor provide data transfer and synchronization services? Migrating from a legacy system requires transferring all your data to the new system. Most vendors include data transfer in the software license cost but others charge extra for it. In some cases, you may have to hire a third-party vendor to transfer data, which will increase the total cost of the software.