4 Roadblocks to Effective Product Data Management

July 6, 2023

by Emma Ertinger

If you’re an online retailer, you know how time-consuming it can be to onboard new products. And if you have missing information or unclear descriptions, it can take even longer to get a live product page on your website. Here, we’ll discuss the key challenges that can affect the quality of your product data, as well as some steps you can take to improve your ecommerce solutions and, ultimately, your sales numbers.

What Is Product Data?

Online shopping is distinct from visiting a store in person. The buyer can’t see, touch, or try on the merchandise when they’re browsing online. Thus, it’s important to have detailed information and high-resolution, well-composed images of your merchandise.

Product data is the umbrella term for all of the details about an item that assist buyers in making a decision and help the realtor complete sales. Manufacturers provide this data to online retailers, which will typically include:

  • An overview of the product’s features
  • A description of the product’s appearance, such as size, shape, or color
  • Applications, or how the product is used
  • Instructions on how to set up or install the product
  • Warranty information

Product data can also include images of the item, as well as videos showing the product in action.

Potential Pitfalls in Product Data Management

Managing product data might seem straightforward, especially if you’re getting details from the manufacturer instead of creating the information. However, several roadblocks can weaken your product data and ultimately hurt your sales. These include:

1.   Insufficient Supplier Data

Unfortunately, suppliers sometimes provide product data that is incomplete or fails to highlight key attributes of a product. Information may be in an unsuitable format or contain grammatical errors. If you’re working with a supplier in another country, product data may be translated incorrectly, resulting in confusion or awkward-sounding language.

Depending on the number of SKUs you’re working with, finding missing information and cleaning up product data could be a significant undertaking. This increases your time-to-market, putting you at a disadvantage amongst your competitors.

2.   Retailer Errors

Even when retailers have the correct information from suppliers, they can still make mistakes. If you have hundreds or thousands of SKUs, it’s understandable that you might mix up some attributes or images. These errors can negatively affect your sales since customers are likely to return an item if it’s not what they expected. Shopify reports that 22% of returns happen because the item looks different in person than it did on the retailer’s website.

Dealing with returns is an operational hassle for your team and can take staff time away from other priorities. But it could also damage your customer relationships long-term – if buyers are disappointed with a product and decide to return it, they’re less likely to be loyal to your business in the future.

3.   Poor SEO

Ecommerce product pages typically have much less content than a blog post or a page that describes a company’s services, history, or mission. With fewer words, you simply don’t have as many opportunities to distinguish your brand on a product page. Plus, if your product descriptions match the language on competitors’ sites, you’ll have difficulty ranking well on search engine results pages (SERPs). To improve your search engine optimization (SEO), you need unique ecommerce content that sets your product data apart.

4.   Data Feeds

An automated product data feed provides images, titles, descriptions, and other product assets. While using a data feed can help you save time and work more efficiently, you must have a dedicated team review the information. This is vital for quality control — otherwise, you risk including discrepancies or inaccuracies. The truth is that automated data feeds can contain all kinds of misinformation. They may list an outdated color that’s no longer available, or list dimensions in centimeters when they should be in inches. Simple oversights can result in lost sales, costly returns, and negative product reviews.

Restructure Your Product Data Management Strategy

Whether you’re a small, medium-sized, or national online retailer, you’ve probably dealt with at least one of these product data challenges. If you’re looking for ways to hone your product data strategy, consider partnering with Virtucom Group. With over 20 years of experience in ecommerce solutions, we offer a managed onboarding service to reduce time-to-market while ensuring your product data is accurate and complete. We can standardize all your product pages while creating unique and compelling content. Based in Syracuse, New York, we have extensive experience working with ecommerce retailers across the country and internationally. For more information, contact us today.

Subscribe to Email Updates