Real Talk: Getting to Know Your Product Data

January 13, 2017

Do you know your product data? Do you really know what it is? Where it originates from, who creates it, what it consists of? Product data is a key component for online sellers on any channel. If content is King, then data surely is Queen.

But let’s back up. To sell anything online, obviously you need actual products. But for a product to officially “exist” in the digital realm, it must have a critical piece of information: base stock keeping unit (SKU) data.

Base SKU product data is leveraged on all the channels you sell products on. Your business uses this content to build product pages, showcase your selection and describe your products to all prospective customers. I highly suggest you get to know the team that builds this information out for your business because they’re paramount to your success.

Essentially, product data is the master copy of everything your products mean to people. People search by the content your team creates, they see the images you take and they convert based on the descriptive text that explains the details of the products you’re selling them.

The point is: the more familiar you are with your data, the better positioned you’ll be to sell your products to consumers who are looking for them. Follow these four guidelines to make sure you’re leveraging your product data to optimize your e-commerce business:

  • More is more. Give your customers what they’re looking for. (Maybe that means extra keywords, more imagery, more detailed descriptions and titles, exclusive bullet points) There’s no such thing as too much data. Start paying attention to what you do before making purchases online. Ask yourself: “What do I look for in a product description before making a purchase?”

For example, take these two similar product pages on Amazon:

Right off the bat, I notice that the first listing is missing material information in the title which could lose search rank if customers use material terminology in their queries. I recommend breaking out a product title like so:

{Brand} + {Gender} + {Model Name} + {Material} + {Category} + {Color} + {Size}

Breaking out your product data in a more granular way allows these elements to be leveraged through filters and search. Having attributes broken out also streamlines the process to launch on marketplace channels.

The second listing is a great use case for the importance of product imagery. As a buyer, I always tend to gravitate toward listings with multiple photos, so spending some extra time taking them is worth the effort. Follow these tips to optimize your product images:

  1. Take and use your own images
  2. Save the primary image at least 1000 x 1000 pixels to meet Amazon’s requirements in most categories
  3. Use a white background on all images
  4. Take a shot of each colorway and several extra angles on at least one
  5. Include a retail packaging display shot
  6. Include “action shots” of the product
  7. Pro Tip: Take an extra image of a detailed texture shot to use as a color swatch and extra alternate view
  • Use bullet points and differentiate them from your product paragraph description.  Keep in mind, there’s a good chance most customers will only see your product data above the fold of the page which would emphasize bullets. Focus on these key pieces of product information:
  1. What’s included in the packaging/unit count of items in package
  2. Product size/dimensions
  3. Two key highlights about the product
  4. Material
  5. Size guide (if applicable)
  6. Warranty / Batteries info
  • Create universal data that can be used everywhere. For example, avoid product photography that’s too small or has dark gray backgrounds. Good data should be detailed, consistent and evergreen.
  • Own your copyright. Organic search rankings are very important, and it’s imperative that you stand out in the crowd. SEO is a beast in and of itself, but here’s a good starting point:
  1. Do NOT copy information word-for-word out of the OEM booklets, catalogs or websites. Doing this will be a fast pass to the bottom of all search engines. Just because you copied the leading hit source data for a product listing, doesn’t mean it benefits your desired efforts.
  2. Think about original content for your team to create when writing bullets and descriptions. Original content gives you more of an advantage because you can capitalize on keywords that the incumbent links are neglecting. Remember, original content is the best content (see above!).
  3. Try naming your image file names rather than giving them numerical codes. This will allow you to get rank inside any image search site. This may also naturally help your organic product links as well.
  • Maintain a one-way street. Create and edit all of your data in one location. If your data doesn’t live within a centralized database environment, you could run into problems. Your data should only be editable at its source and should feed all your data externally on your desired channels. That way, if you ever make a change to existing products in a catalog, it’ll automatically reflect out of your database feed into your existing channels.

Overall, this entire post boils down to the paramount fact that to sell more, you need better content. And to have better content, you need to know as much as possible about your product data so that you can relay that information to the consumers looking for your product.

Why do tomorrow what you need to do today? Data is key, and it’ll determine the success of your e-commerce business.

Don’t know where to start? I’ve got a quick tip for that, too. Our team of data experts at ChannelAdvisor can help you interpret all of your data if you’re looking to optimize your presence on marketplaces and/or digital marketing channels. Are you ready to take your product data to the next level? Contact us today. You won’t regret it.