Share this post
Getting found: PIMs and product searches on marketplaces
The typical buyer’s journey on a marketplace for consumer products begins with a search. Sometimes it’s on a search engine like Google or Bing, and sometimes they’re using a marketplace’s search bar. What surfaces from either of those searches is entirely dependent on the completeness and accuracy of the data a seller has included in their product listing.
That’s because in most cases the consumer is not just looking for any fungible product. They want to find a product that meets a whole slew of criteria:
- Colors and sizes
- Materials – Wool? Cotton? Steel? Titanium?
- Details like number of pockets or USB ports or included accessories
The list goes on. And on. In our ProductGraph database, we’ve already collected more than 12 million attributes that could potentially be applied to thousands of different types of products sold online.
Hunting down products with the exact features and details they want is a quest that often can’t easily be fulfilled unless the seller has added those exact attributes to their product listing data. When you are selling on a marketplace (as opposed to your own storefront), that search result places you in competition with every other vendor selling that type of product, or products similar to yours. This is why complete and high-quality data is your ticket to success. And you’ll get that most reliably with a PIM.
The 5 categories of product data stored in a PIM
High-quality product imagery is critical in most consumer categories to include with product listings in marketplaces. Spreadsheets limit the number and size of images you can use. Especially because each channel requires imagery to be displayed in a certain orientation or size, getting the imagery right for each channel can be a time-consuming pain when doing it yourself. A PIM that includes Data Asset Management (DAM) features solves that by storing all images of a product and automatically assigning the correct ones for each marketplace or channel you are using.
2. Product identifiers
Basic product identifiers would include data like an item’s full name, brand (if any), model number, and SKU number. It’s the basic data typically used by internal teams as well as suppliers and distributors so they can track products through the sales chain. If they know them, shoppers using these product identifiers can quickly find what they want. A PIM, by acting as a consistent master source of truth for your store’s software, will preserve these product identifiers against errors if they’re ever reentered or manually updated on an internal spreadsheet.
It’s definitely good to have a PIM if you’re selling cross-border, where you need to include global trade item numbers (GTINs). GTIN forms vary between countries, so you may have to include multiple versions in your product ID information. PIM software acts as a single source of truth for these varying codes, eliminating another annoying little friction.
3. Rich content
Enriched product content such as videos, 3D views, PDFs, user manuals, and audio clips helps close the sale for higher-priced products like furniture. For these, shoppers often want to gather the same kind of information they could find if they were seeing and touching the real thing in a retail store. A PIM helps you enhance the online shopping experience by giving out the experiential kind of data they’re looking for.
4. Marketing copy
Marketing copy includes great product descriptions, which you can write yourself or hire someone. But the real work in terms of optimizing for marketplace search engines is assigning the right keywords within that copy, and elsewhere. Keywords must work at all hierarchical levels of navigation (taxonomy). Product listing taxonomy can be better optimized using a PIM because it’s got preset filters that outline a framework for the categories and subcategories used to construct it. This keeps you from having to think too hard about what keywords to assign along the navigation path, starting from a broad category search and ending at individual product details. On marketplaces, using broad product categories as keywords is an often-overlooked strategy in e-commerce. But properly organized taxonomy and smart SEO technique can give you a strong competitive edge, especially on marketplaces where appearing high in the list of results is paramount.
A PIM also lets you store product descriptions and titles in a variety of languages.
Complete data for technical product specifications such as size, weight, dimensions, color, material, etc., is assigned to each product in a PIM. For certain marketplaces or channels, all of these technical specifications may be a requirement even if other channels only need some or none of them. A PIM keeps everything in one place, so a product feed can be syndicated to each channel or marketplace automatically with as little or as much data as they require. It saves you having to check and verify the spec requirements each time you list.
A lot of it is about building trust.
Finding inaccurate product information or inconsistent descriptions between different channels erodes a shopper’s trust, and will usually kill the sale. Does it have that desired feature or not? If they can’t be sure they will look elsewhere. If another marketplace vendor has all their listing data correct, even if the price is a bit higher, the shopper will make their purchase there.
Consistency builds trust. Shoppers don’t always use just one channel; they may shop for the same products on different marketplaces to find the best deal or the best bundle. Listings need to have the same info in both places. It helps you earn customers’ trust and removes unnecessary obstacles to conversion. When using a PIM for marketplace selling, you can ensure accuracy and consistency across every channel.
Note: Shoppingfeed is not a PIM vendor, but we do work with all the major ones on behalf of our clients. Shoppingfeed’s product syncing tool is source-agnostic and can import marketplace orders from wherever the product list is stored – in the main store’s platform (Shopify/Magento, etc.), the warehouse management system, or in a PIM system.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
these articles might interest you
Looking to connect your Magento 2 store to Walmart.com? It’s a rich opportunity: Walmart is a booming…
Some of your customers will always prefer their desktop for shopping, but a fast-growing number – especially…
The number of sellers who use Shopify with Ali Express for dropshipping merchandise is growing, for good…