Marie Kondo’s popular Konmari Method took the world by storm and showed us the importance of organizing every little thing around us. How does that translate to your VAR business? Organizing your product catalog is one of the most important things you can do for your VAR business, especially if you have an eCommerce store too.
As we complete more than a year battling the pandemic, the prevalence of online shopping continues to grow. With the growing popularity of eCommerce and more and more businesses shifting online, the competition among online businesses also grows.
Many consumers are also quite new to online shopping, with many being forced to go online. To stand out from many similar businesses online, online resellers should seek to recreate an in-store experience to improve the customer experience on their online stores.
While high-quality images, videos and a 360-degree view of products is important to boosting customer confidence, what is often overlooked, is the absence of a sales executive guiding customers, and giving them detailed information about products and their features.
How do you resolve this on your online store? With detailed, accurate and fully standardized product data. Normalized product data greatly improves eCommerce functions, leading to an enhanced customer experience and an improved buyer’s journey that can rival the in-store shopping experience.
What is Product Database Normalization?
Database normalization is a system for organizing your product and company information in a standardized and universal format with items in precise fields, consistent attribute values, and also ensuring duplicate data is removed.
Product database normalization significantly improves the integrity and accuracy of data by maintaining consistency across all product pages on an eCommerce site, giving visitors a seamless experience. A customer sees the description of all the products in the same manner irrespective of their location. Data duplication, which can adversely affect the reputation of an online store and consequently the brand, can be avoided.
Without the implementation of precise attribute values, inconsistent data diminishes the accuracy of search engines, negatively impacting the functions of your eCommerce store, like advanced filter and search results, parametric search, cross-selling and up-selling suggestions, product comparisons, etc. Denormalized data also misinforms the scope and size of the product catalog with internal duplication.
The Advantages of Product Data Normalization
Product Naming Consistency Affects Your Bounce Rate
Product names are the first piece of information customers may encounter when browsing or searching for an item on your eCommerce store. If there is a lot of variation between product names, especially for items in the same product category, it becomes difficult and confusing for customers to easily compare.
The first impression a consumer has on your online store will influence the rest of their shopping experience. They may find your store difficult to navigate and leave.
Customers spend an average of 3 minutes and 49 seconds on an eCommerce site. Increased time on an eCommerce website and the number of page views positively affect conversions. You do not want customers leaving your site and heading over to a competitor’s.
Normalized Product Data Provides Easy Filtering and Product Comparisons
Consumers compare products online by filtering attributes. They choose to filter their search results so only products that match the features are shown to them. This enables consumers to quickly sift through vast product catalogs to find products they are interested in buying and not waste a lot of time.
If the product information on your online store does not include robust and normalized product attributes for all the products, the filter results will not be accurate, and the customers will be frustrated.
For example, if the filter options for color show checkboxes for both ‘black’ and ‘blk’, customers will be left confused or with incomplete filter results.
Normalized Product Data Eliminate Errors and Discrepancies
Normalized product data is thoroughly cleansed to identify and resolve misinformation and confusing discrepancies. Incorrect product data or information that varies throughout the product display page decreases customers trust in your brand and makes them feel less confident about buying from you.
Ensuring that the data for all products in your catalog is accurate and specific to the unique items displayed on each individual product page is crucial to your brand image, customer confidence and conversions.
Let’s say you and a competitor both feature the same laptop as a weekly deal. Your site lists the RAM size as both 2GB and 8 GB, and the screen size as both 8” and 15 inches, this is contradicting information.
Your competitor, who prioritizes data management, lists these values consistently throughout their product page, allowing shoppers to make more informed choices, compare items efficiently and complete the checkout process with a sense of trust.
Who do you think the shopper will buy from? The customer looking for a laptop with 8GB RAM and a 15-inch screen will go to your competitor’s website, not just for this one purchase but for all future purchases too.
Normalized Product Data Provides Clear, Informative Product Attributes
Blank or incomplete customer-facing attributes on an eCommerce store are another example of poor product data management that creates doubt and confusion in the minds of online shoppers. Once a consumer forms a negative opinion about your store, you have lost them forever.
When all attributes available for a certain product type are populated with a correct value, it offers customers valuable insight into specific product features and technology. If an attribute value cannot be confirmed, the attribute will not appear on the page at all since blank attribute fields can confuse customers.
For example, a blank attribute field for “ergonomically designed” could indicate that the chair does not feature that particular technology or that the information is simply not known.
While it is not possible to provide assistance in the online shopping experience, online resellers can enhance the shopping experience for potential customers through consistent product data that leads to increased conversions, brand loyalty and customer retention.
Let’s summarize the consequences of poor product information on an eCommerce store
- Inconsistency of data in the product attributes values confuses customers about product information.
- Negatively impacts the brand value with visitors forming an impression that the eCommerce website is not consistent in the representation of the brand’s values.
- Data inconsistency in terms of units of measurement, volume, color, brand, etc., leads to mistrust in potential customers.
- Improper product data normalization negatively affects your website’s SEO and impacts the reach of your product pages.
The Impact of Product Data Management Services
The popularity of eCommerce today makes product data management services like VARStreet a fundamental part of your eCommerce operations. VARStreet Inc is a complete business management solution that streamlines your entire VAR business
Their eCommerce platform is easy to design with a huge library of pre-designed yet highly customizable eCommerce templates. The platform has many features and functionalities that make online selling a breeze.
They have direct integrations with over 45 IT and office supply distributors with a collective product catalog of 7 million SKUs and real-time price and inventory updates straight from the distributor, updated automatically in the catalog.
The biggest benefit that VARStreet provides in terms of product data management is that you get FREE rich content from popular rich content providers like Etilize, IceCat and rich content from many distributors. All the product data is normalized and structured in universal taxonomy, with precise attributes and mapped into correct categories and sub-categories.
VARStreet also offers data feed as a separate service with normalized product data. Check it out here.
Here’s how a product data management system like VARStreet can help your business:
Improve Customer Experience
When your products are correctly described and categorized, online customers can quickly find what they’re looking for, detailed information about the products enables shoppers to be positive about their buying decision and also consider up-sell and cross-sell suggestions they come across improving the overall online shopping experience.
Search for Product Information Easily
With VARStreet’s data management service, you get normalized product data across all your business processes. This saves your employees a lot of time and effort in finding the right products when creating quotations for customers, or even at the point of sale.
Productivity Gains for Your VAR Business
Almost everyone in your business will require easy access to product data, particularly your sales teams. VARStreet’s data management service guarantees a single source of accurate, consistent, normalized and accessible data. This ensures that every employee is informed and equipped to sell a product. You do not have to worry about maintaining an eCommerce product catalog too.
VARStreet brings in product information from numerous sources, including suppliers, rapidly, precisely, and effectively. With no time spent on data entry, your employees have enough time to focus on marketing, sales and customer service.
Accelerated Speed to Market
If you wish to increase your product portfolio, all you need to do is to select the product from your product catalog, and add it to your eCommerce store. Multiple products can be selected based on various criteria like categories, brands, suppliers, etc., making it very time efficient to launch new products with VARStreet.
Final Thoughts on Product Data Management in eCommerce
You could summarize the fundamental benefits of product database normalization by saying that it exponentially improves how your business deals with product information.
If your online VAR store is feeling the pressure of increased online competition, it’s time to consider the multiple and far-reaching benefits of structured and normalized product data that can give your eCommerce store an edge over your competitors.