October 2008

Ecommerce Catalog Development 101

The success of your eCommerce website depends heavily on the quality of your product catalog. While this is one of the most important considerations when building an eCommerce website, it is unfortunately, often the area that remains most neglected.

Plan Your Catalog

Develop an outline for your catalog that includes categories and sub categories. It is important to have your category and product names align with phrases that people actually search for. You want to carefully consider your navigation/category structure in this early planning stage to ensure that you are using words that can generate traffic to your site.

Don't bite off more than you can chew. A big catalog is great. A complete catalog is better. You want your site to go live as soon as possible so you can start laying claim to your important keyword phrases in the search engines. So, it's better to have your website go live with 25 products rather than waiting 9-months to develop the content for 200 products.

Avoid Duplicate Content

Your content needs to be unique. Category and product descriptions should not be borrowed from another website, even if the manufacturer says it's ok to use their content. The search engines will know and punish you for it. Google only displays the first page it indexes with that same content so your page will end up in the supplemental results.

Typically you will have to write your own quality, keyword rich descriptions. If you are competing with several other sites and you are all getting your products (and content) from the same manufacturer, your site will stand out from the pack in the search engines if you craft unique content.

Cross-selling and Up-selling

Popular products, related products, and “also purchased”, are popular up-selling and cross-selling features. The idea is to try and show products to your site visitors that they might be interested in purchasing. If they are looking at a sweater, show them the matching hat, scarf, and gloves. It is worth the effort to understand these feature sets and to take the time to implement them.

Refine Your Catalog Look

Develop a refined catalog look, it will help convert sales. Large, bold fonts with loud colors don't help. Nor do big ugly clunky buttons. Take a look at what the big boys (target.com, macys.com, homedepot.com) are doing. You don't see big ugly buttons or loud colored fonts there do you? You don't need them on your site either.

You can't always be there to answer your customer's questions in order to help sell your products, so you must create the best catalog possible. Painful? Yes. Critical to improving your conversion rates? Absolutely!


Did You Know?

Free Ecommerce Merchants Membership

Mountain Media is pleased to be a corporate sponsor of the Ecommerce Merchants Trade Association.

As an ECMTA corporate sponsor, Mountain Media is pleased to extend membership in ECMTA to all of its' current users FREE for one year! (a $199 value!)

The ECMTA is a trade organization founded in 2005 by online retailers, for online retailers. The association provides discounts, discussion forums, best practices information and special events to its' membership. The association strives to increase members' revenues and operational efficiencies and decrease members' expenses.

By partnering with the best solution providers, the association can provide the assistance small to mid-sized etailers require for success.

Please sign up now to receive your free one year membership compliments of Mountain Media and enjoy the benefits of the Ecommerce Merchants Trade Association. Please enter code MMVIP in the membership sign up. Click Here for Your Free Membership!

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