5 Common Challenges of eCommerce Catalog Management

eCommerce Catalog Management

It’s no secret that eCommerce is growing in profitability now that more and more buyers are shopping online. Stores must adopt eCommerce if they want to increase visibility and accessibility for their products. Today, an online presence isn’t optional—it’s essential.

But eCommerce doesn’t come without its own challenges. Companies must deal with large catalogs of hundreds or even thousands of products (SKUs). Every product must be identified and shipped quickly, and sometimes requires a bit of customization before it reaches the hands of the buyer. Businesses in this sector usually sell in multiple sales channels and marketplaces as well, further complicating the process.

This complexity ensures the importance of a consistent and efficient cataloging system. Without one, you risk incorrect or incomplete information leaking into your listings, frustrating customers and wasting company time that’s used to reorganize it. It’s time to look for a product identification solution, but what are some potential challenges you might face in doing so?

What Is Catalog Management in eCommerce and Why Does It Matter?

Catalog management occurs when suppliers must generate quality product data to describe accurately what a company is selling. This information must not only be accurate but also in the correct format for the target marketplace.

Having excellent catalog management results in:

  • More positive customer experiences since they can more easily find the items they want or search for what they need easily. The company can also make more accurate product recommendations this way.
  • Search engine optimization, as it helps streamline site navigation and product searching. More potential buyers will find your website this way.
  • Better product suggestions for cross-selling and upselling
  • Faster time-to-market since your business can update and expand the catalog more quickly. Reaching the customer in a timely fashion means more attention to your brand.
  • More accurate financial reporting, which also includes better inventory management and better timing for ordering new stock

Catalog management might be a feature of your business’s current enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. But let’s talk about some challenges of catalog management first.

The Most Common eCommerce Product Catalog Management Challenges

What causes some managers to become frustrated with eCommerce product catalog management?

Updating Product Listings

Poor product catalog management makes updating your catalog a pain. The time you waste working with a badly organized catalog means a less efficient workflow. How do you tweak your management protocol to accept product or price changes in a timely manner?

Handling Multiple Sales Channels

Catalog management must efficiently support multiple online stores, such as Amazon and eBay. Each channel likely has a different system for accepting product specifications and categories. Tailoring your catalog data to each can take a long time, especially if the information is incomplete or messy.

Incorporating Third-Party Data

Your business often doesn’t write its own product data. It’s occasionally provided by a third-party supplier and thus may be in a different format or be missing certain attributes. Catalog management must involve cleaning up this data for your own use.

Expanding Your Offerings

When it comes to adding new products to your store, it’s more difficult to do so with a badly organized catalog. Developing businesses will find this issue especially worrying, as it caps how quickly the company can grow.

Complicated Structures of Products

Not all items “function” the same way. For instance, serialized items require an individual identifier for each unit. Company vehicles are an example.

You also may deal with different variations of the same product, such as offering multiple colors and sizes. Ensure your management can deal with special catalog items.

Addressing the Problem

How well a business handles eCommerce content management hinges on how it manages its data centrally. Smaller stores may use Excel, but this solution fails when dealing with larger catalogs. It also relies on human input, opening up the possibility for error.

There are eCommerce platforms available that offer either basic or advanced SKU management. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms are popular amongst larger companies, as they work closely with your financial reporting sector. Such a solution handles updating prices, publishing to new markets, and working with inventory.

Another solution for eCommerce product catalogs is the PIM, or product information management platform. These services are specifically for handling product data, including uploading and publishing it to multiple sales channels. However, PIM can be expensive for enterprises, so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the investment.

Regardless of what solution you choose, make sure it serves your needs. For instance, can you import and publish the data to all the marketplaces you use? Can the tool be used for inventory fulfillment? And does it automate the process effectively. Using artificial intelligence to streamline catalog management is one of the leading trends in eCommerce.

Are you trying to identify and enhance your product catalog, but only have basic information from your supplier? Algopix helps online brands validate and enhance their catalog data to fill in the gaps. 


Learn more about how eCommerce catalog management can improve your catalog data and improve your conversion rates. Click here.

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