For large-scale distributors, manufacturers and retailers with significant product offerings, just getting their catalog fully uploaded and configured can seem like a major obstacle to growing an online sales channel.
But the process is a lot easier (and quicker) than it looks! Here are four tips that will help you build a rich, detailed product catalog for your online shoppers in minimal time.
Have ERP Integration do the heavy lifting
Dietzgen, a wholesale distributor of materials for the printing industry, has a national footprint of 8 dedicated facilities in strategic locations across the United States. The company’s product offering includes thousands of different SKUs representing numerous item categories.
When Dietzgen came to k-eCommerce, all that product information was scattered in different locations throughout their eight facilities. To be sure, some of the data was on their Microsoft Dynamics GP system, but they kept other information in static PDFs and file folders, Excel spreadsheets, even emails.
By integrating k-eCommerce to Dynamics GP, Dietzgen streamlined their product data into a central location for quick, easy access. ERP integration automated the data entry involved in getting the company’s massive product catalog online, and maintains full data integrity between the two systems moving forward.
Leverage Excel Import/Export for the details
While ERP integration keeps your product catalog up-to-date in real time, you can quickly add or modify additional catalog data when you have the ability to import and export spreadsheets with your changes.
As Mark Friedman, Dietzgen’s Marketing Director, explained:
The easy and fast upload or modification of information allows me to add items, products, brands, etc. This allows be to put all relevant information in a place that everyone can access. A good website means my phone doesn’t ring and my email doesn’t ping! They have all the answers they need.
Automate catalog management
When you are managing thousands of SKUs, categories and price lines like Dietzgen, you may face additional challenges in managing highly complex category trees which may be personalized for hundreds of different business clients.
New with the latest version of k-eCommerce, advanced Product Information Management (PIM) tools allow you to define rulesets for your categories through your administrative back end. These rulesets can automate association of products to categories based on the criteria you set.
For example, you could define a rule that automatically associates products whose title contains the word shoes to your online store’s Footwear category. You can also associate products at the catalog level, for easy assignment to personalized B2B catalogs.
Automate product attribute management
Defining product attributes (including the brand) is critical for ensuring that customers have all the data they need to distinguish between similar products and choose the right one. They also play a central role in attribute-based search filters.
However, to perhaps an even greater extent than category structure, creating and assigning attributes becomes an incredibly time-consuming process when you are dealing with a large volume of product records.
Working with some of our biggest retail and distribution clients, we have provided tools to automate attribute association using rulesets. It works exactly like the category and catalog management automation. For instance, you can make a rule so that boots with titles containing the term “8-eye” or “10-eye” are automatically assigned a corresponding attribute.
All of these features and more are available with the latest version of k-eCommerce. Read about our latest version!