Organising your electronic product catalogue

Posted in Electronic product catalogue management and tips.

A well-organised electronic product catalogue helps sales reps to save time as it allows them to find products virtually immediately. At the same time, it also shows the client that the sales reps know what they’re doing. Here are some general tips for effectively organising your electronic product catalogue.

First, some definitions to start the process:

–  Category: a division or class of things regarded as having a set of similar characteristics.

–  Parent category: the main, overarching category. This category is usually the most general.

–  Sub-category: this appears underneath a parent category and is more specific. They are also sometimes called “children”.

Three basic points about categories to remember:

–  Categories should only contain either sub-categories or products, never both.

–  A single product can appear in more than one parent or sub-category.

–  A category can be both a parent category and a sub-category.

Using the single path or tree model

The single path or tree model is the most-used structure when it comes to organising a product line. This means that you can only access a particular product by following a single path. This linear structure is also the most recognisable one and used by most people. Let us use a generic décor store as an example here. The trunk of your organizational tree is your entire product line. So, according to the example, the trunk will be “décor store”.

The largest branches on the tree are parent categories. Parent categories will then look something like this:

–  Kitchen
–  Dining room
–  Living room
–  Bedroom
–  Bathroom
–  Home office
–  Kids’ rooms
–  Furniture
–  Storage

Once you have your parent categories, you can add sub-categories. The sub-categories for the “bedroom” parent category might be organised like this:

–  Cushions
–  Curtains
–  Duvet inners
–  Duvet covers
–  Pillows
–  Headboards
–  Base sets
–  Blankets
–  Bedside tables

You will see that some of these sub-categories can belong to more than one parent category besides “bedroom” (as mentioned in the basic points). Headboards, base sets and bedside tables can be placed in both the “furniture” and “bedroom” parent categories.

You can decide to further divide your sub-categories (which means getting very specific) or simply place products into a sub-category without additional paths to them. If you plan to be more specific you can, for example, divide the “curtains” sub-category into type of material and color. These sub-categories are a good idea, especially when you want to find a specific item quickly. Even though, it may seem simpler to upload products all at once into one category, finding a particular item will then be more difficult and time consuming.

A few additional helpful tips:

– Always add an accurate and clear description to all of your categories. Adding an image is also advisable as this makes searching for items even easier.

– If you have a website that features your products, you can organise your products according to that structure or your website’s sitemap.

– Plan your tree carefully before uploading anything to your electronic product catalogue. This way you can be sure that the categories make sense, and prevent having to re-organise it in the future.