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How to Manage Hundreds of SKUs on the Digital Shelf

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Too Many Boxes!

There are hundreds of SKUs on the digital shelf with product detail to manage in minute detail. Can the process be any easier?

The retail world is decidedly digital, and our clients have shared what a challenge it is to manage product data content at e-commerce retailers and ensure that it is compliant, effective, and helps to drive sales. We hear you! And we have chronicled your challenges in our e-book that addresses Ten Pain Points in E-commerce to Overcome.

Challenge #3 is that there are just too many boxes to fill!

In our previous posts we talked about the harsh reality that in digital commerce, shopper marketers have had to get up to speed very rapidly with a whole new set of rules, multiple sets actually, and they are all set by the retailers, who change them with dizzying frequency!

And there are literally hundreds if not thousands of data boxes to tick and fill!

A large group of martech software platform providers have emerged to deliver support for manufacturers for the many discrete functions within e-commerce (managing inventory and stock outs, managing logistics and of course, managing product data management, etc.).

A brief perusal of THEIR marketing material reveals a litany of cautionary tales about the need to manage e-commerce data carefully and follow the rules:

ProductsUp, a popular SaaS platform that enables manufacturers to syndicate their product content to most digital marketing, shopping and business channels, warns of the following in their best practices white paper:

Keep within character limits. It’s vital that your product titles and descriptions are within the defined character limit for each channel. For Google in particular, exceeding the character limit can result in your products being rejected. To avoid this, do a quick rewrite to reduce your character count.

OK so there is a price to be paid for non-compliance – YOUR PRODUCT … REJECTED!

And there is more:

Complete all required fields. While it may sound obvious, each channel has its own unique specifications, so required data fields can easily be missed. Make sure that your feed has no blank fields for product-relevant attributes like color, size, and brand. Then, check for channel-specific requirements (e.g. Google Shopping requires GTINs).”

(For those not familiar, GTIN stands for “Global Trade Item Number”:  a unique numeric string used to identify the individual product under the barcode, not the actual barcode.

OK … that’s Google Shopping, but what about the other e-tailers?

E-commerce educational training resource Vasilkoff Foundation describes it this way:

UPC is the most common type of GTIN used for selling on Amazon.com, so does every seller need one?

The shortest answer is no. UPC is very common, but not every product sold requires UPC. The long answer is that it depends on the brand you want to sell or the category you want to sell.

So, you know that you must fill all the boxes that you need to fill (and remember each SKU for each product option has its own PDP – Product Detail Page with unique text and images). You have to make sure your PDP displays the correct information, based on the rules of the retailer and the category, and you have to monitor it all the time for compliance. You’ve got that, right?

E-commerce teams will get notices of deficient content that must be fixed but depending on the number of channels in your digital retailer universe, that can be a lot. (Anecdotally we know that the average number of deficient pieces of content that an e-commerce team needs to address and correct is 636 PER DAY!) Confusing, complicated and challenging for sure.

Beyond filling all the boxes correctly to avoid delisting, and fixing elements that are non-compliant, no matter the reason, the unanswered question seems to be if the compliant data is actually EFFECTIVE. Am I filling the boxes with the optimal data to convert an e-commerce browser to a buyer?

Data is a very broad category – in Forrester’s “Must Have e-Commerce Features” report in the Retail e-Commerce Playbook, they describe data to include the following: “The best product detail pages provide richer information than a shopper would find on her own by physically inspecting goods or talking to a sales associate. Product detail pages provide all the visual imagery, text, ratings and reviews, and specifications that shoppers need to make decisions about specific products.”

But here’s the catch: Product data management systems are designed almost exclusively around text. They may provide details to help determine that your product images comply with the technical requirements like resolution on mobile. But how do you know that consumers will see the compelling elements in your product and click “add-to-cart”?  In all the guides, and all the platforms, and all the product data management system features’ lists, the one thing lacking is a tool and a process for optimizing the effectiveness of IMAGES on the digital shelf! Is there a way you can make the process easier, with assurance that your images will drive conversion, sales and e-commerce growth?

The Solution? Flash.PDP™!

Behaviorally is the leading digital partner to help brands drive shopper growth. Knowing these challenges exist for our clients on e-commerce teams who want to win in digital retail, we developed a solution that leverages visual recognition AI, our extensive database of shopper marketing content, our unique behavioral framework, and decades of category expertise. Introducing Flash.PDP – an always-on alert system to identify and optimize product images on the PDP that will convert to sales and drive shopper growth.  It addresses category and retailer specific metrics that provide easy, efficient ways to monitor and optimize images that will lead to increased sales.

To learn more, contact a Behaviorally digital retail expert today at info@behaviorally.com

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