Product cataloging is a process where sellers list their products along with descriptive content and images. Online marketplaces can do what they do only with product catalogs from online sellers. The products on Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Paytm and any other marketplace are a result of seller product catalogs.
After registering (as an online seller) on a marketplace you need to list your merchandise on the platform. This involves adding information about the product you want to sell online. Listing is a vital procedure because it helps your buyers make purchasing decisions about your products.
The listing procedure is a simple one. It involves 3 steps before your products go live on the marketplace. We have demonstrated the process with the help of Flipkart’s listing procedure:
Step # 1 – Catalog Download
Log into to your seller account and select the listing option. For already existing products you can select the “Add Listing” option. To list new products select “Add Listings in Bulk”. Once you click the “Add Listings in Bulk” you will be asked to download an excel (flat) file. On some marketplaces like Flipkart you must select the relevant product category before downloading the necessary flat file. With other marketplaces once the file is downloaded you can pick the category your products fall into to generate the appropriate fields. The fields appearing in the file include:
– Brand name
– Product title
– Product SKU
– Product color
– Product material
– Product images
– Product dimensions
– Product type
Upon completion sellers must upload the file onto the marketplace. This is the only way you can submit your product related information.
Step #2 – Catalog Approval
The catalog will then be checked by the marketplace according to their set criteria.
- This process takes 7 to 10 days for Flipkart.
- On Amazon the approval for gated categories takes 2 to 6 weeks in total. (Gated categories are categories that need special approval from the marketplace. E.g. apparel, jewelry, cosmetics, etc.)
- For Snapdeal catalog approval takes 1 to 3 days.
The moment the upload is complete, you move to the next step in the process. Here you will know whether or not your uploaded file was approved by the marketplace or not. The listing process may fail at this stage if the proper file is not uploaded. If this occurs you have to download and refill the flat file once again. Then re-upload the file without changing its name, format or structure. The moment verification is completed you will receive an email.
Failed listings will be accompanied by rectification comments so you know what went wrong. These comments will also tell you what you need to do to make things right.
Step #3 – Quote Price and Quantity
After the verified listing is approved by the marketplace it needs the seller’s approval. When you approve the listing (and changes made by the marketplace) it moves to the “Quote Price and Quantity” section. Go to the non-live items (in case of Flipkart) and add your pricing and quantity details. When completed the product will become live and is ready to sell on the marketplace.
Tips for Easy Cataloging
– Sellers Assistance
If you find the whole listing procedure a bit daunting, you have the option of interacting with seller support. You could also avail of ecommerce assistance. There are ecommerce specialists who know the ins and outs of online retail including how to register and prepare product catalogs on various marketplaces.
– Product Title
All product tiles must be less than 180 characters. Yet the ideal title is a descriptive one. Product titles could have the brand name, product type, gender specification, color, material. (E.g. Jockey Solid Grey Men’s Cotton Shorts) Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm create the product tiles themselves. Each has their own title generating systems that they consider efficient and SEO friendly.
– Product Image
According to marketplace regulations 80% of your product images need to contain the product. The product needs to be photographed against a white background. To help consumers understand the dynamics of your product multiple image angles are important. For some products 5 angles are the minimum limit. For others it may be 3 or 7 angles. Make sure you take multiple pictures from different angles. Also make sure the product is the highlight and the images uploaded are sharp and clear.
– Think from the consumer’s POV
Think from a consumer’s perspective or point of view when providing details, making titles and clicking product images. As a consumer what would you want to know about a pair of formal shoes? Are they for men or women, what are they made from on the outside and inside, the color, style and size. So make sure all these details are readily available for consumers to see.
Hacks for Efficient Cataloging
All inclusive catalogs
Different marketplaces request different information about products. In some cases the information requested is the same, example product name, SKU, brand, material, color etc. However, these requirements may be known differently on each marketplace:
- When it comes to (cloth) material used in shoes, on Snapdeal and Amazon you need to tick the option canvas. On the other hand for Flipkart sellers, cloth material is referred to as fabric.
- Synthetic leather is referred to as polyurethane, foam leather or faux leather on different selling platforms.
Prepare a table of all your product features and their synonyms, product dimensions, selling prices and MRP, inventory, product image links and other relevant details.
Some online marketplaces have made it a compulsory requirement to maintain 2 days SLA for certain product categories. Like apparel and shoes. If you can reduce the dispatch time as much as possible it will help you stay in tip top competitive shape. If you take more than 2 days to dispatch goods, you will have low seller ratings, negative comments, you could be delisted by the marketplace and your SEO rankings will decrease too!
List warranty period
Providing warranty details is not a mandatory requirement. However, not providing it can affect your sales. Consider a situation where you are looking at microwave ovens, one listed microwave doesn’t show warranty but another microwave shows a warranty of 6 months from the manufacturers. Which one would you be inclined to buy? The one showing a warranty period!
Now that you know what it takes to make your products live on marketplaces, you can get down to it!