How Effective Product Catalog Management Helps Successful Product Promotion and Campaigns
Imagine you go to a local departmental store and find it disorganized and cluttered with items out of place, no systematic aisles, and instead of products neatly stacked on designated shelves you see them randomly placed next to each other. Moreover, many price or product description tags are missing and inaccurate. Would such a confusing and uninformative shopping experience make you return to that store again? The answer is an obvious ’No’.
That is a physical reflection of discrepancies in product catalog management which deeply impacts customer experience, campaign management, sales numbers, and eventually, revenue. Whether you are catering to other businesses or mass customers, offering an effective product catalog management can strengthen your bottom line as more and more customers take control of their buying processes and determine who they engage with and when. It doesn’t matter if it is an individual ordering a new pair of shoes or an ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer’ (OEM) searching for bulk automobile parts – today’s buyers want to know what they’re in for. And during these engagements, customers want a positive experience, both on and offline.
50% of customers claim to switch to a new brand after just one negative experience.
Companies providing a wide variety of products or services often find their best offerings lost in the crowd failing to cite a proper value proposition to the customers. This is why building a well-documented product portfolio is a panacea to cure many customer engagement woes in oversaturated markets. Any effective marketing program needs exceptional product catalogs to execute marketing campaigns, whether to retain existing customers or onboard new ones. The end goal is to present product data across all sales channels continuously. Hence, product cataloging has now turned into a core component for customer loyalty and retention.
In this article, we have listed six ways in which a well-managed product portfolio helps businesses establish a strong brand presence.
- Simplify Brand Messaging
One of the foremost benefits a product catalog offers is the ability to create simple yet strong impact through its messaging. Businesses can use the opportunity to use distinct colors, images, brand logos, font families, call to action, etc., and stand apart from their competitors. They can further experiment by featuring supplemental content to connect customers with their products or services and the brand itself. This can include overviews of how the product was created or is used or related information that provides deeper knowledge and customer or employee profiles. Multiple market studies have shown that product catalogs involving content to express a strong brand image have the potential to drive sales and create brand loyalty.
- Deliver a Rich and Consistent Customer Experience
From a psychological standpoint, product catalogs can influence purchase decisions more than simple websites or TV ads. Direct mailings to date are proactive and tactile—lingering longer in the buyer’s home, enticing the recipient to act on it. To cite an example, a famous luxury watches and jewelry eCommerce retailer recently launched a bi-monthly marketing campaign with high-quality and artistic product photography. When the company combined catalogs with emails, they saw a 15% increase in sales and a 27% increase in product inquiries compared to previous email-only campaigns. Powerful use cases like this is the testimony why many retailers still use product catalogs to engage potential customers and encourage them to start their buying journey.
- Align Content with Buyer’s Journey
When buyers make a purchase decision—whether individually or as part of an organization—they follow a rational pattern of behavior. These are: planning, determining needs, evaluating alternatives and risks. These concerns around the desired product or services vary in importance as they progress through each phase. A comprehensive product catalog can, in this regard, furnish every required information to the buyer, making their progress through each stage of buying journey a breeze. For example, accurate details of a product or service in a catalog along with a side-by-side comparison of other market-available offerings, price points, and other necessary information, can nudge a buyer to speed up the journey and make a purchase.
- Easily Upload Product Data Sheets in Different Marketplaces
Maintaining an up-to-date product catalog is critical for multichannel retailers who rely on various platforms to market and sell their products. It can ensure accuracy and consistency across multiple digital and face-to-face sales channels. On that note, the catalog should sync with the retailers’ eCommerce platform and easily integrate with different social media platforms and online marketplaces. Creating such a centralized product catalog will make it easier for employees, customers, and third-party retailers to access the latest product information. Besides, standardized and detailed product information helps businesses reduce cart abandonment and increase sales. Thus, accurate information should be on every business’s website and other marketplaces.
- Optimize Marketing Processes
In the consideration stages of the sales process, buyers usually look to compare market offerings before finalizing a product. A product catalog can provide contextual information about a business offering and help buyers decide faster. For example, if a prospective buyer is looking to purchase a specific PC brand and they contact a seller of office equipment like computers, printers, and phones, the seller will then pull a product datasheet for that brand and email it to the prospective client. If the buyer keeps asking about different models, the business will be stuck in this stage of the sales funnel for a long time. Alternatively, by sending a complete product catalog, the internal team can focus more on marketing and selling while the buyer browses through and picks specific solutions. Having a comprehensive product catalog and pricing list can also help in facilitating targeted campaigns, contextual conversation, and creating an overall better customer experience. These individual attributes can then impact and optimize a brand’s marketing processes and increase digital sales.
- Pave the Path for Omnichannel Marketing
Many recent market studies show that about 40% of shoppers still prefer shopping in physical stores, even in the digital age. But even then, one should be able to cater to both. A product catalog can double up and offer shoppers the best buying experience. And businesses can deploy product catalogs as printed or digital copies at the same time. The in-store reps can use printed (or even digital) to walk customers through any questions or give product demos if necessary. On the other hand, marketing teams can use printed and digital catalogs to engage audiences and spread awareness. It helps to replicate the exact same experience across a wide variety of advertising media like mobile and web applications, online marketplaces, social media, conversational AI, and even kiosks, thereby delivering omnichannel support.
The Path Ahead in Product Catalog Management
The current focus on customer-centric practices and the need to launch successful promotional campaigns in a competitive landscape call for improved product cataloging. What’s more? It will eventually help increase sales because customers with a good buying experience will return for repeat purchases from that business.
Now is the time to invest in a reliable catalog management system to help brands streamline and effectively manage their product catalogs across all customer touchpoints and marketing channels. This way, businesses can get the most out of their product catalogs and prosper in their respective fields.
 USPS, Catalogs: Trends and Updates, May 3, 2017
(About the author: Dietmar Rietsch, the CEO of Pimcore, is a serial entrepreneur with a strong sense for innovation, technology and digital transformation. He has been passionate about designing and realizing exciting digital projects for more than 20 years.)