Creating and maintaining an e-commerce product catalog is an overwhelming task but strategically it is important for scaling an e-commerce platform. When implemented efficiently, the catalog can drive traffic from search engines, offer better product understanding and drive conversions.
A study found, 30% of all products ordered online are returned as compared to 8.89% in brick and mortar stores. Poor catalog, incorrect product description, blur images, and improper categorization are some reasons that lead to cart abandonment and product returns.
What are the impacts of poor catalog quality?
The dipping quality of the catalog impacts conversion rates immensely because the catalog plays a crucial role in decision making. The poor catalog not only affects user experience but also adds up to return rates, also a study found that 65% of all returns are due to retailers themselves. When catalog quality is compromised, both marketplace and sellers suffer. Increasing return rates cost both sellers as well as marketplaces, to get rid of the increasing cost, marketplaces must establish a monitoring system to check and improve catalog whenever necessary.
Poor catalog impacts e-commerce platforms in the following ways:
- Customers jump ship and buy products from rival stores.
- Customers end up ordering multiple versions only to return ones that didn’t work.
- Customers lose interest and leave the platform only to never return.
- Customers sharing their troublesome experience on social media bringing a bad reputation to the store.
- The customer lifetime value dips and even the cost of customer acquisition go null.
1. Consistent Catalog throughout the Platform
The key to driving more conversions lies in offering a quality experience every time. Customers are looking forward to an easy online shopping experience, by displaying catalog in varied styles, you are only confusing them. Following a specified catalog format consistently throughout the store will help you offer a better customer experience.
When e-commerce platforms invest in product discovery, they are aiming to help customers find relevant products faster, similarly by ensuring catalog consistency, stores help customers find relevant information faster.
2. Define Categories and Navigation Smartly
E-commerce platforms need to be extra careful when defining categories and designing navigation. An e-commerce store must offer a qualitative experience for its visitors when traversing products. When categories are defined accurately, it gets easier for people to find desired products and purchase them.
Through clearly established navigation between two pages, e-commerce stores can help customers decide between two products easily and buy the one that suits them best. Well-defined on-site navigation makes it easier for customers to visit pages like:
- Shopping Cart
- Recently Viewed
- Similar Products
- Purchase History
3. Work on your Images
Images are perhaps your best chance of converting a visitor into a customer. When only high-quality images that offer a better understanding of the product is used, the chances of a customer buying it increases significantly. Since a study suggests that “22% of all return occurs because the product was not accurately portrayed online”, working on image quality will not only drive conversions but will control return rates too.
Some substantial changes that can drive more conversions are:
- Let users zoom, rotate and scale images as per their preference. Allow users to get real close to images before buying it.
- Never compromise with the quality of the image. Always use high-resolution images to help customers develop a clear understanding of the product.
TIP: Adding white spaces around the product enhances the impact and highlights the products sharply.
- By taking a photo of the product from varied angles, online stores can make it easier for customers to understand the product they are ordering.
4. Add Cross-selling and Up-selling features
A study suggests that the conversion rate for new shoppers is 1.5-2% whereas, for loyal customers, the conversion rate is close to 8-9%. Since it is easier to sell to existing customers, adding cross-selling and up-selling features in your catalog can drive revenues significantly.
When it comes to cross-sell, tabs like “Similar Products” can prove to be a game-changer. By offering multiple versions of the product on the same page, you are helping customers make better decisions. Such cross-selling tabs make it easier for the customer to find products that suit their requirement, budget and delivery needs.
Cross-selling stores can offer customers more options while up-selling e-commerce platforms can persuade customers to buy additional items. By using tabs like “often bought together” and “other customers also bought”, e-commerce stores can encourage customers to spend more. By leveraging e-commerce analytics, Amazon offers product recommendations that drive up to 29% of its sales.
5. Get rid of the Duplicate Content
Want to make it easier for customers to find the right product and order it instantly? Start by getting rid of the duplicate content. Some sellers rely on duplicate content for boosting sales, which is a wrong practice and it impacts the entire store. The dark side of duplicate content can be illustrated as:
- It takes away your Search Engine Rankings. Since, Google, Yahoo, and Bing do not rank plagiarized content, you get penalized and your traffic from search engine decreases.
- Duplicate content also impacts the on-site search, where wrong products start ranking higher and impacts customer’s decision-making capacity. Brand interference is perhaps the biggest negative impact of duplicate content.
- Customer experience takes a dip because users see two products with similar names and prices but fail to understand, which one is the original.
6. Start Using Product Videos
Every e-commerce player is now leveraging videos for showcasing products in a better way. Such smart use of video description is helping e-commerce stores with the following:
- Improved understanding of the product among the customers. Highlights styles, color, design, and specifications of a product.
- People can watch the products from all angles and decide whether it matches their requirements or not.
- Offers new ideas related to the product. For example, what color pants will go best with the shirt or what kind of curtains will go with the couch?
Since a Forbes study found, video content increases engagement, revenue, and CTR, it makes sense to invest in it.
7. Optimize Product Descriptions
Product descriptions matter because they are your best chance to explain the product. By adding relevant and important information in the product description, you make it easier for customers to understand the product. A better understanding of the product leads to faster decision making.
Go ahead with long product descriptions confidently and highlight important points. Use a format that highlights the USPs of the product in a scannable and digestible format.
8. Add CTAs on Varied Pages
Call to Action buttons like “add to cart” and “wish list” when added on varied pages make it easier for customers to take action. Customers often spend time, researching online about the product but when they find the right product they don’t waste time, by offering easier access to “add to cart” and “buy now” buttons, stores can garner benefits of “fear of missing out”.
Making the call to action buttons visible is a critical part of creating a smooth customer experience. By making CTA buttons big, visible and easily accessible, stores can benefit heavily.
The fact that 76% of carts are abandoned and never converted is scary; e-commerce platforms today need to offer qualitative information and an incomparable exposure to a product that coaxes users into buying it instantly.
E-commerce catalog improvements we have suggested here are going to be instrumental in creating an impact on customers. The fixes will bridge the gap between customers and quality information, making it easier for them to decide and make a purchase, thus driving the conversion rate positive.
Looking for catalog creation or catalog enrichment services? Contact us and experience a sharp rise in catalog pass percentage and conversions.