Product data issues can sneak up on you quickly. In the early days of your business, keeping everything organized was easy enough. You had maybe 100 products and abundant time to sit down and update each one as necessary. A single spreadsheet was enough to keep everything in check.
But how long has it been since you had less than 100 products? Especially in this age of personalization, your portfolio is exploding with new products and that spreadsheet that served you so well is becoming a bloated, complicated mess of information.
Something has to change. And it starts with getting into a mindset to prepare data for categorization.
How to create a powerful product information spreadsheet in Excel
The Catalysts for More Organized Product Categorization
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the way you’ve been managing product data. However, it’s entirely possible that your approach is outdated and that it’s actually holding your business back.
The challenge is identifying the signs that your product data could use some more formal classification and categorization practices. The following three signs indicate that your product data management in Excel spreadsheets could use some work:
- Errors Creep In: You start to notice that product descriptions are incomplete, updates are happening slower across your properties, and that product displays are no longer aligned with your updated portfolio. Product data is sprawling across your spreadsheets to the point that you can’t keep pace with management needs.
- Campaigns Are Late: Go-to-market strategies become bogged down when product data isn’t organized properly. Instead of quickly making updates, you struggle to finalize projects as each individual go-to-market task experiences delays.
- You Lose Perspective: Without a proper structure for organizing product data, it’s impossible to know what information is correct and what is outdated or wrong. You’re left to manually verify every product entry in a massive spreadsheet, hurting efficiency and hindering scalability.
Having a means of classifying and categorizing your products can overcome many of the deficiencies of traditional Excel data management. You don’t have to do it all at once, but if you can start building out categories and classifications bit by bit, your business will reap the benefits.
Three Reasons to Prepare Data for Categorization
If you’ve ever tried to buy something from an online store only to spend far too much time and energy sifting through pages and pages of irrelevant products, you already know the importance of proper product categorization.
Without organized product categorization, your customers and your operational efficiency suffer. But when you streamline the categorization process in your Excel spreadsheet, you can unlock a few key benefits that will ultimately increase sales and improve your bottom line.
When starting to prepare data for categorization, keep these four benefits in mind.
1. Channel Alignment
You’re no longer organizing product data for just one channel. Now, you need categories to remain consistent across catalogs, eCommerce, Amazon, Google Shopping, eBay, and any other marketplaces you take advantage of.
Organizing categories effectively will ensure your content remains aligned across channels, keeping you from having to waste valuable time dealing with sprawling product information.
2. Decrease Indexing Speed
Indexing speed is one problem that often goes overlooked with spreadsheet product data management. You think waiting for changes to populate across in-store databases and a variety of eCommerce platforms is just the norm.
When you prepare data for categorization, you optimize the organization of structured information. The more organized you make your databases, the easier it will be to index them quickly and populate product updates across your properties.
3. Easier Expansion
The new age of commerce is all about speed. The faster you can capture new market opportunities, the easier it is for your business to expand. But product ideation and development aren’t the only parts of a go-to-market strategy. You need to streamline backend data management, too.
Creating logical product categories will make it easier to keep go-to-market stakeholders aligned. Rather than delaying expansion because teams are misinformed, you can make searching for product data much easier for all involved.
Learning How to Prepare Data for Categorization
The benefits of proper product categorization boil down to one major benefit—faster end-to-end delivery time for new products and updates. At a time when consumer expectations continue to rise and speed is so important, you can’t afford to keep forcing outdated spreadsheets to track your expanding product portfolio.
There’s just one question—how? How do you actually go about setting up your Excel spreadsheet to properly categorize and classify data? That’s where we can help.
Download the guide
If you want to capitalize on the benefits of product data categorization, check out our guide, ‘How to create a powerful product information spreadsheet in Excel’, for some helpful tips.