In our efforts to highlight thought leaders and industry experts that are part of the vibrant inRiver community, we are proud to share a guest blog post written by our partner, Aperture Labs.
So what is a product taxonomy and why is it important? A product taxonomy is a logical structure that is used to organize your products and any related unstructured data. Much like a department store organizes its products into certain areas of the store in order to help customers find what they’re looking for, product taxonomy improves the user experience in an e-commerce organizations by helping consumers find relevant information easily.
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If you are remotely interested in a product information management (PIM) system, you are well aware of the importance of providing relevant and consistent content for products. According to Forbes; Eighty-eight percent of shoppers characterize detailed product content as being extremely important. But what good is detailed product content if shoppers can’t find your product to view it? For this reason, a great taxonomy is critical to helping users find the products they are interested in buying. If they can’t find the product, they can’t buy the product.
inRiver has provided e-commerce organizations with the tools to effectively develop and maintain a flexible taxonomy structure. This helps customers find the products they want, whether they are viewing your products on your own site, on a distributor site, or on a marketplace.
How? It all starts in the inRiver Plan & Release application. In this application we can create ‘channels.’ Each channel represents a publishing location for your product data. So if you sell products on your own website, on Amazon, and on a distributor’s website, you would likely create a channel for each of these.
Inside each channel are channel nodes. Channel nodes can contain their own child channel nodes. This creates a tree structure that will represent the category and subcategory structure of the site the products are being sold on. Users then add products directly to nodes through the simple and intuitive drag and drop interface that exists in the Plan and Release application. Critically, channel nodes can be linked to multiple parents, giving merchandisers the ability to duplicate parts of the taxonomy structure where it makes sense. This ensures that shoppers are not frustrated by being unable to find a product they are looking for because they are looking a logical, but ultimately, incorrect category.
E-commerce teams need to make sure to keep some of the categories up to date with the correct products, or the products that belong in a category change rapidly. To address this concern, consider a ‘new products’ category in to display all products that were added to the catalog. In this case, inRiver has a powerful querying tool to automatically add and remove products to a channel node as they meet the requirements of the query.
The importance of taxonomy goes beyond just product structure. The inRiver Plan and Release application delivers the tools for e-commerce teams to develop a well-structured and dynamic taxonomy that will not only satisfy, but thrill, your customers. By allowing them to discover and consume that rich product content marketers and merchandiser have produced, consumers have a better customer experience.
Learn more about Aperture Labs and how they help their clients.
Written by: Adam Ketterhagen
Co-authors: Alex Moss & Brent Jansen
About Aperture Labs:
Aperture Labs, Inc. is a premier Milwaukee-based E-Commerce & Web Solutions firm. Our mission is to increase your revenue through design, development and optimization of E-commerce, CMS, and PIM Solutions. Our team combines a unique understanding of business, technology, E-commerce, design and marketing to deliver world class solutions that maximize your return on investment.
In this episode we talk to Bradley Watson, Sales Manager UK at inRiver about the new research paper "Turning Browsers into Buyers." Discover how to better manage customer expectations, minimise returns and increase revenue for your e-commerce business in 2019.
Do you have a topic for PIMtalk or would like to be a guest? We're always looking for great speakers and content. Email us at PIMtalk@inriver.com.
It never fails. Executives, sales teams, and marketers reach a critical point where they need more revenue. Even if you have a great quarter, perfect product launch, or stellar year-over-year growth, there is always an imperative to drive revenue faster. For e-commerce teams, manufacturers, and distributions this is a tall order, especially while managing tens of thousands of products across multiple channels. What does it actually take to drive revenue faster?
One idea is to think about growing revenue and margin momentum by looking at the other side of the equation – reducing costs, speeding time to market, and improving core business processes. There are many ways to drive internal revenue and margin momentum. Take a look at driving down product development time. Can the R&D team reduce the time to develop new products or new versions of existing products? The supply chain is often a fertile ground for reducing costs. Can the supply chain be optimized to both reduce excess inventory and eliminate raw materials shortages that could slow down production. It’s a start.
What are three main areas to focus on to help drive revenue faster? They are benefits from using a product information management system (PIM). A PIM solution offers not only a way to improve efficiencies across different areas, but it ultimately improves customer experience, which increases sales.
Eliminating duplicate work across the entire corporate ecosystem is essential to improve revenue. It seems rather simple to say that you don’t want individuals (or worse, even whole teams) overlapping or repeating the same tasks. You’d like to think that this is a rare occurrence, but it is actually quite common.
Often times, the larger, the more distributed the organization, the more likely that this will be happening. But it can even happen in the smallest start-up company. In some organizations, you have R&D, marketing and sales all creating the same product information, with each one slightly different from another. Obviously, this duplication is a very expensive problem and can be a momentum killer.
Focus on increasing efficiencies by having a central repository for product data. Automate manual tasks and enable transparency across the organization. It saves time and resources, driving collaboration for efficiencies that ultimately, save money.
Think about all the places product information can be stored in a department or organization. It includes laptops, databases, the cloud, servers, with vendors or other teams. How to ensure vital product information is available and correct when it is needed? A corporate scavenger hunt to find the latest product images is no fun when a faster time-to-market (Black Friday or Spring Market) might mean you achieve sales goals or miss them.
Situations like these are very real for many companies and can be momentum and revenue killers. Marketing’s job is to get the word out about your products and solutions to enable buyers to buy. PIM facilitates the syndication of product data to a broader ecosystem and makes it easier to distribute data about your products into other complimentary channels. Without that, managing these essential yet unprecedented amounts of product data becomes impossible if done manually.
The role of marketing today is to get the word out about products and solutions, but in 2018 we do this by telling product stories, not just showing bits and bytes. One of a company’s most valuable skills is the ability to tell compelling stories about how products are used and the value that they deliver to customers. By consolidating all product information into a centralized location, you’re better equipping the marketing and merchandizing departments (the chief story tellers) with the information they need to craft product stories that sell.
Customers demand consistency across all channels today. They don’t want to get one set of information online, take the time to travel into a store to make a purchase only to find conflicting information or pricing. Consistency matters. Without it consumer trust erodes, sales are lost, and loyalty becomes impossible.
PIM solutions enable merchandisers to ensure that whatever the channel, language or marketplace, consistency of product information is delivered.
The need to drive more revenue across organizations is fairly universal. E-commerce organizations, manufacturers, retailers, and distributions all are in business to make money. Without consistent, relevant product stories, buyers have a disjointed experiences, losing trust in the organization and most often, abandoning their path to purchase. They move to the next best option where content is consistent and accurate and they don’t look back.
Thankfully, there are many ways organizations can work to drive revenue faster. A PIM solution not only offers a way to drive revenue faster, but it helps improve internal efficiencies and customer experience at the same time. It is a revenue and transformation catalyst.
Download the Drive Revenue Faster – Why Product Information Matters eBook here. Don’t miss out on revenue because you aren’t as efficient as you can or should be.