Outsourcing e-commerce catalog management: The Complete Guide

Outsourcing e-commerce catalog management: The Complete Guide

Table of Contents

Many online sellers, especially those just getting started, may find that maintaining and managing their ecommerce catalog is time-consuming. In addition to this, the task needs effort and patience. Outsourcing the company’s catalog management service is one of the simplest things to do. It will save both time and money.

Let us refresh your memory on the fundamentals of catalog management, and get right into why it’s time to start considering your e-commerce catalog management strategy.

Why e-commerce merchants need Product Catalog Management?

The notion of ecommerce catalog management appears to be straightforward, and all you have to do is maintain a single catalog for all of your online goods.

And there are reasons why e-commerce merchants need product catalog management:

Product Types

First, your product kinds might make SKU management more challenging. For instance:

  • Matrix/Variance/Product Options: A product family that varies depending on size and/or color factors. For example, a Red t-shirt must have related SKUs to be sold in different sizes and colors, such as a Red, Large, and Red, Small.
  • Kit/Assembly: Each of the five products is a separate entity that can be combined into one offering. A bike, for example, where you may sell individual components as well as the complete item.
  • Serialized: Unique items with a serial number, such as diamonds or collectibles. You could have a few 1-carat diamonds, but each one will have its unique serial number.

A challenging task in product management is managing parent-child relationships. How can you ensure that SKUs relate to their parents, yet are represented as individuals?

Outsourcing e-commerce catalog management: The Complete Guide


Multiple Sales Channels

When you’re selling on a number of platforms, collecting and managing product information becomes difficult. Another issue with product information is that it must be handled across several sales channels, such as different branded websites or marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.

Each of these channels has its format for product data listing requirements. How can you track which channel requires what information so you can list your products correctly? You might not fulfil the listing criteria if you don’t maintain track of what channel needs what data.

Customer-specific Pricing

The same items vary in price depending on who is purchasing them. This is a frequent occurrence in B2B selling. Customers may have their own personalized pricing sheets, and they can be individual or groups of people. It’s important to keep track of this information since you’ll want to make sure the appropriate prices are displayed online for the right consumers.

Time-consuming third-party product data normalizing process

Do you obtain information about the goods you buy from third parties, such as suppliers? This data may be in a variety of forms. For instance, one company might use the color black, which is represented by the BLK keyword. Is the data properly structured? Merchants may find it difficult and time-consuming to normalize product data from various sources to fulfill their internal criteria.

Information is messy, and it grows rapidly. Merchants have large teams that devote weeks to the gathering, updating, and publishing product information. It’s not only difficult on your staff; it may also result in faulty and inconsistent data on your website for consumers.

Why it is essential to optimize your product catalog management?

For businesses, these difficulties may be tough to overcome. This is why some companies choose to provide lesser product information. However, it’s worthwhile to do it correctly because buying and selling online is so competitive. Let’s see why updating your product catalog is essential.

Creating Effective Online User Experience

Product information is a crucial component of a successful online user experience. It has an impact on SEO, site navigation, and consumer confidence in purchasing. The way you manage your product data forms the basis of these experiences.

Customers may not know exactly what they’re searching for. This means they require assistance in locating it, but don’t want to waste time hunting too hard. Your product information is a guide for clients looking to purchase the item they desire. On the other hand, most businesses do an insufficient job of assisting consumers in performing this task efficiently.

A Baymard study on-site search queries found that 61% of sites demand their users to utilize the same product type jargon as the site.

It does not lead to the product results they desire. Instead, merchants must develop new techniques for consumers to get to a product they want as quickly as possible. You have a large product catalog, and clients wish to assistance narrowing down their options.

This can imply more intelligent search queries, intuitive drop-down navigation, or interactive wizards. If your attributes are a jumbled mess, you won’t be able to arrange and categorize your items in this manner for consumers.

Customers must have a specific product page after finding a product. Before purchasing, customers should be prepared for and answer any queries about the item.

LuLu’s website provides comprehensive information about their goods, including size, color choices, photos, fit descriptions, reviews, model information, and more. This approach guarantees that the consumer knows exactly what they’ll get when it arrives at their home.

Your product data powers your user experience, no matter what it may be.

Improving Operations

Product information management also aids your back office activities. Making needed changes may take weeks if product characteristics are messy, delaying the introduction of new goods to the site. You’ll be cleaning and normalizing data all the time. What if you could return that time to the staff so they can do more critical work?

The responsibility of product management extends beyond finances and operations. How many of these items did you sell? What is the cost to produce that SKU? When will you need to reorder more of this SKU for kit/assembly components? You won’t get adequate or actionable information if your product management isn’t logical. You won’t have any meaningful or usable data.

Finally, poor product management may also impact your ability to share data with other systems. In larger organizations, you won’t be in charge of or “mastering” your ecommerce platform in the ERP, PIM, or POS system.

If you share that data with your online store, you’ll connect your systems and automate the process of syncing product listings. If SKUs aren’t properly grouped, it’s challenging to show items appropriately online if the correct SKUs are associated with inventory totals or consumer orders.

New Sales Opportunities in the Omnichannel

An overlooked consequence of product data mishandling is that it can stifle your growth. Do you want to expand new channels?

Do you wish to work with new suppliers? Simple techniques like these might appear overwhelming when viewed from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have a firm grasp of their product data. It seems too much to add another sales channel or data source to the procedure when it takes a week to get your information in order.

If these problems sound eerily similar to yours, you’re ready to consider how you might improve your current procedure.

Trust and Customer Loyalty

We’ve all had a bad experience buying items online: not being able to touch, feel, or try anything for ourselves before purchasing it.

Product catalog management can’t resolve this disadvantage. Still, it can assist in minimizing it by providing comprehensive information about each product that gives consumers a clear and complete picture of each item.

This method demonstrates that you care about what happens after your purchase when you first meet them. This attention to product catalog management establishes customer trust and repeat purchases.

Outsourcing e-commerce catalog management: The Complete Guide


Sustainable Growth and Profitable Partnerships

A properly functioning product catalog management system is the most important foundation for online brands and merchants to develop their businesses.

Why? Because a robust product catalog management approach enables companies to expand their services without losing their minds trying to keep up with shifting and developing information.

Sellers may quickly add new SKUs and distribute new items to various sales channels without cluttering their process or team with a kick-ass strategy in place. Simply said, if your product catalog management is tidy and practical, so will your growth efforts.

Another fantastic strategy for growing your business is collaborating with suppliers and wholesalers to discover unique goods that match your brand and increase the breadth of your product line.

However, while these partnerships are beneficial to business, it’s a reality that outside partners’ data is rarely optimized for the many sales and marketing tools you use.

The fear of responsibility for product catalog optimization on their own, a prospect many small businesses are unwilling to take on, scares off merchants who might have otherwise been willing to collaborate with new suppliers.

Sellers with strong product catalog management abilities can utilize them to expand their operations without compromising money or sanity by collaborating and partnering with new suppliers and wholesalers.

Top 8 popular ecommerce catalog management services

There are 8 ecommerce catalog management services you can refer to:

Adding & Updating Products

Ecommerce catalog management services ensure that the formatting of goods is consistent on the front end by adding or updating items to make an attractive layout. They have a different technique for each online store, allowing them to modify products for your company on a regular basis.

Product Categorization

To make sure that customers can locate the product they are searching for in no time, adding a product in the proper category and subcategory is critical. Experienced marketers devote a significant amount of their time studying internet commerce.

Prices, Discounts & Offers

An ecommerce catalog management service allows you to change product prices regularly, so your consumers can get up-to-date pricing information. They’ll also offer special discounts and incentives to entice them to purchase the items.

Outsourcing e-commerce catalog management: The Complete Guide

Size/Color Availability

Ecommerce catalog management software has extensive experience in adding and updating product sizes, colors, availability, and other elements. As a result, your consumers will always be provided with up-to-date information about the product’s features and availability.

Image Processing Service

Users will love to to engage with your page if it is plain and attractive. Users will be more inclined to engage with your page if it is clear and beautiful, since this helps you convert them into customers. An excellent provider will have experience working with product images, including picture correction, improvement, trimming, etc.

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Catalog Conversion Service

Many outsourcing firms may also convert suppliers’ paper catalogs into well-structured online shops.

Bulk Product Upload Service

Ecommerce catalog management services can offer bespoke catalog processing services and ready-to-handle bulk product uploading projects for internet marketplaces such as Amazon, Buy.Com, eBay and others. They are experts in providing Google and other established shopping search engines with product data feed entries.

Digital Marketing Support

The adequate digital marketing staff is always there to assist you in making your product pages search engine friendly, allowing consumers to discover your shop quickly.

Outsourcing e-commerce catalog management: The Complete Guide

Competitor Price Monitoring

Your ecommerce business will not thrive if you are not competitive. On a daily or weekly basis, establish a plan for tracking your competitors’ pricing. Then, depending on whether their prices have gone up or down, you may increase or reduce your prices.

Product Description Writing

When you’re writing product descriptions, it’s critical to have a dedicated team. Product descriptions should be thorough and include information about the manufacturer. The group should understand how to rewrite the manufacturer’s description while preserving essential facts. Your team should know how to gather necessary data after little information is available on items.

Catalog Data Entry

An ecommerce catalog management team must enter all of the time-consuming information about goods, such as pricing, features, brands, producers, and SKU numbers. Your items will require regularly updating because prices are constantly changing.

SEO Data Entry

All product descriptions, including meta tags, should be structured and SEO-friendly. Search engines will crawl your product descriptions and the rest of your online store and assess where it ranks.

E-commerce catalog management: Challenges and Solutions

You should be aware of the most typical issues you may face while updating product information on your website to create and manage your ecommerce catalog management. The following lists several frequent problems that brands have regarding ecommerce product catalog management.

Challenge #1: Having Product Listings Updated

You must keep your product list up to date to provide a smooth shopping experience for your consumers. Adding new items, enhancing product descriptions, branding activities, and so on are all required tasks. Managing the product catalog is crucial to guarantee that clients don’t overlook any essential information about their purchasing items.

Challenge #2: Omnichannel Sales Management

Most e-commerce businesses struggle with a similar issue: they can’t sell their products across all client channels, leading to an inability to manage omnichannel customer strategy. It implies that the firm must maintain more product logs in its sales channels. There are many criteria for each online sales channel, and if there is no standardization, product listings will be increasingly varied.

Solution for #1 and #2 Challenges: Select Proper Catalog Management Tool

Choosing the appropriate e-commerce catalog management solution for your company’s needs is critical for keeping track of your items on the website. Spreadsheet software, downloadable programs, browser-based applications, and PIM (product information management) systems are just a few of the tools available in the market. Using suitable technology will aid in providing excellent service to your clients. The brand may use this product management tool to scale and manage its product catalog.

See more» What is Product Information Management (PIM)? See our Beginners’ Guide to PIM!

Challenge #3: Complex Product Data Management

The variety of product categories in an e-commerce store can be daunting. There are fewer product ranges with a more detailed product description than the rest products on your website.

Depending on the category and your product niche, a variety of data structures need to be integrated without making it more difficult for consumers to understand. It should be done in such a way that customers may conveniently choose their goods whenever they wish to buy from your company.

Ecommerce catalog administration strategies focused on managing complex product descriptions should be prioritized by brands.

Challenge #4: Data Quality Control

Customers will leave a negative review if their feedback indicates that the product information is incorrect, deceptive, or useless. It will happen if the product listing details do not correspond with the firm’s actual products.

If a buyer orders your product and receives something different than what was advertised on the listing, they will undoubtedly leave a bad review about your company. It’s an e-commerce catalog management blunder that most internet businesses face.

Solution for #3 and #4 Challenge: Mapping the Product Catalog Management Process

Managing many products in the product catalog may be stressful since new goods, categories, tagging, product description, shipping, and so on must be added regularly. A process map should be created as part of the e-commerce catalog management plan to keep track of any modifications made to the product catalog.

Challenge #5: Expanding your Catalog

As your e-commerce business grows, you’ll have many more items and categories to sell. Make sure that your product catalog software can handle various types and extensive product lists when you first start utilizing it.

An unorganized and ineffectual product catalog may severely damage your website and cause it to collapse. It might be time-consuming for the firm to update new product categories manually, and there’s a danger of making errors, which isn’t good for business growth.

Solution for #5 Challenge: Practice Cross-selling and Up-selling

Upselling and cross-selling are critical for an e-commerce firm to increase client visits to its website. This will improve sales and aid customers in selecting the right items or related goods they purchase.

Sometimes, you can provide a higher-quality product that is both cost-effective and valuable to customers based on the customer’s need. As a result, whenever the client visits your website, you can personalize his feed to improve e-commerce catalog management.

Why outsourcing ecommerce product catalog management services?

Your product catalog is the basis of your company.

The backbone of your online business’s long-term success is how you handle this catalog on ecommerce platforms. That said, today’s all-important product catalog management approach is becoming more challenging than ever.

Each product may have up to 200 characteristics, but each channel has its own rules for how they should be presented. Amazon’s product listing rules are distinct from eBay’s, which are different from Google Shopping’s, and so on.

This is why you’ll need to access cutting-edge software technology on the market by hiring a reputable ecommerce catalog management firm. It’s designed particularly for online businesses and stores that want to effectively and efficiently manage their product catalogs.

Product information management platforms are created to simplify the uploading, standardizing, publishing, and constantly optimizing product information on every sales channel.

In fact, according to sources at several comparison shopping engines and marketplaces, they will soon start requiring that all product data be submitted to their platforms via a certified data partner.

A regular procedure for creating, updating, and maintaining catalogs is required. A competent provider will have a standard yet specialized approach for each project.

Experienced workers working under the supervision of a project manager who interacts with you to make your store ideal.

Some activities in the procedure

  • Training: They give their catalog processing experts thorough training on how to do the job.
  • Complete Study of Your Online Store: Analysts make a significant effort to get to know your e-commerce firm, its requirements, and the items it sells. They can do complete justice to your business and consumers this way.
  • Web Content Production: Your ecommerce catalog management provider will collect, arrange, and edit product content, such as unique description, features, images, and graphics, to make your items appealing after careful study.
  • Updating & Maintenance: Catalog processing is a continuous process that requires regular updates and maintenance. And this portion of their approach is included just to keep your clients up-to-date over time.

If your ecommerce product catalog management solution is drowning you rather than propelling growth and revenue, it’s time to reconsider.


The effectiveness of your ecommerce catalog management is determined by how well you recognize the problems that may come with product catalog updates and how quickly you address them. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for your product catalog management problems.

However, if you follow the various ecommerce catalog management methods outlined above in your firm, you will undoubtedly observe a pattern in addressing your difficulties.

Always use a product information management solution that keeps track of all records and modifications made in the system so you can follow what went wrong, while making changes to the product catalog system.

Innovature BPO has boutique, customized e-commerce catalog management solutions to leverage your e-commerce business’ competitiveness. Contact us today for more information.