The role of product taxonomy


January 11, 2019

inriver is proud to share a guest blog post written by our partner, Aperture Labs, about what a product taxonomy is and why it is important.

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 organization by helping consumers find relevant information easily.

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.