Top 3 Challenges of Product Catalog Management (and How to Solve Them)

Published on

April 6, 2022

Site Search & Product Discovery
Product Catalog Management

The concept of product catalog management seems fairly simple. All you need to do is maintain a catalog of all the items you sell online. As simple as that.

Yet, in practice, keeping a product catalog clean and updated at all times is hard to do for many reasons. 

In this article, we’ll cover three of these challenges, as well as ways to help you solve them. 

But first, let’s quickly go through some catalog management basics.

What Is Product Catalog Management? 

 What is product catalog management

Product catalog management refers to the 

strategic process of managing your eCommerce product catalog to ensure the quality of your product data across all sales channels. It includes how merchants organize, standardize, and publish their product data to each sales channel. Whether your product data is created in-house or is from third parties like suppliers, you need to manage its accuracy.

A product catalog usually includes the following product content: 

  • the item’s name;
  • the item’s category (or subcategory at times);
  • dimensions (such as length, size, height, volume, to name a few);
  • SKU (Stock keeping unit), unique for each item; 
  • description of the item (details such as features, version, ingredients or constituents, year of release, safety measures, if any, and so on); 
  • price;
  • visuals of the item;
  • and content such as terms and conditions. 

And while this sounds like a walk in the park, in reality, things can get messy. It’s very easy for your product content to become chaotic, inconsistent, and, thus, unreliable. 

That’s why many merchants tend to settle for more mediocre product information, without realizing how much they’re actually losing in the process. 

For instance, poor product data in your catalog can cause many other problems (such as incomplete product listings online). 

However, once you learn what makes product data so important, and why it’s key for a high-quality product catalog, you’ll think twice before leaving it chaotic or posting to update it. 

Suggested read: Product catalog management 101 [definition + 6 tips to improve]

Why Does Product Data Matter? 

 Why does product data matter

Product data matters because it’s what drives your business forward. 

Incorrect or misleading product data can destroy your brand’s reputation, affect your company’s growth, and “send” potential customers over to your competitors. 


What’s more, product data affects the following aspects too: 

  • SEO - how often your items appear in search engine results (or don’t appear, which is a sign you need to make some huge changes);
  • Site navigation - how easy it is for consumers to find their way through categories and narrow down their options;
  • Site search - explains whether it’s easy for buyers to search and find what they’re looking for or not on your website;
  • Product recommendations - Do consumers get relevant item suggestions or not?
  • Customer experience  - Are your customers leaving your website feeling frustrated, dissatisfied, and angry or happy and satisfied? In other words, have they found what they’ve been looking for? 

What Are the Top 3 Challenges of Product Catalog Management? 

Top three challenges of product catalog management

1) Third-party/supplier data management issues

Third-party vendors and suppliers often give marketplaces incomplete, misleading or confusing product data. The data could also be in the wrong format, there could be spelling issues, layout problems, and so on. 

This can be an issue for many industries, but especially for businesses such as fashion, as they deal with delicate items. In case the suppliers don’t provide data that’s rich enough, the catalog management, but also product discovery can become complex.

These are all nuisances that need fixing right away. 

2) Product visibility and discovery

Lack of relevant product data decreases the brand’s authority, discourages consumers from making a purchase, and affects product awareness in a negative manner. 

Just think about this: the less rich your data is, the fewer options you can show on navigation. Also, poor product data means there could be a big gap between what users search for vs the results they get. 

In any case, it all leads to fewer conversions, and this is something no eCommerce store wants to have to put up with. 

3) Product data consistency and result relevance

Inconsistent product data is yet another common catalog management issue. 

Being consistent means updating prices, availability, improving product content and descriptions, adding/removing products, and so on. 

If you want to make the most out of your online store, you need to ensure product data consistency. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. 

Also, no data or product manager wants to hear that their listings are incomplete, or worse - misleading. This is a common issue and it usually happens when your product details don’t match the items you’re actually selling. So if someone chooses to buy these products, and they receive something else, you’ll not only lose that customer, but you’ll probably end up with a bad review too.


How to Solve These 3 Challenges of Product Catalog Management?'s AI powered auto-tagging

There are many solutions to these product catalog management challenges. However, we always recommend options that work both quickly and effectively. 

One such solution is automatic tagging

By automating your product tagging process you will:

  • Save time, as there’s no need for any manual tagging. 
  • Organize and tag images in your product catalog using correct attributes. 
  • Improve product discovery by creating comprehensive taxonomy and intuitive site navigation
  • Be in control of retention, return purchases and customer satisfaction by ensuring customers always get the right info.
  • Improve your SEO in the long run. 
  • Power other tools that need accurate, rich data to create an enjoyable and personalized customer experience including better search and intent-based product recommendations

Suggested read: The Complete Guide for Automatic Product Tagging in E-Commerce

Final Words 

All in all, the eCommerce catalog management depends on the tools at your disposal and the correctness of your data. The better the tools and the more rich and consistent your data, the better your product catalog management. 

And while the challenges that come with product catalog management are common, they don’t need to wreak havoc in your business. Try Pixyle’s catalog enrichment solution to see how auto-tagging can power effective and pain-free catalog management.

See it for yourself

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