The relevance of Taxonomy and Attributes in e-Commerce Sales

Why Taxonomy and Attributes in e-Commerce Sales Important?

In the world of digital shopping, customers want to find products and their related information at lightning speed.

Having proper taxonomy and attributes is key to making this possible.

The big B2B and B2C players who are into e-commerce have paid great attention to these assets to enable the process of successfully converting a search into a sale.

How Taxonomy Works?

Taxonomy is a term used for grouping of products into different classifications or categories.

They are like departments to place your products providing easy navigation.

We have to create a well-structured hierarchy that directs the shoppers to the products easily. A top down approach is followed where the primary level is a generalized name that leads to the more specific products.

Naming conventions for the top level must include words that the customers search for incorporating the best search engine optimization (SEO) practices.

The next few levels in the taxonomy includes product specific names that lead to the end product quickly. This involves expertise and market research.

Providing Maximized Attributes

Most customers nowadays are quite tech-savvy and make comparisons with the competitor products before they make a purchase.

If the technical specifications and features are not available for the product, they might get turned away. Attributes are characteristics and specifications of a product that includes the brand, dimensions, color, material and more. We must ensure that all the relevant details pertaining to the product are provided in the site. Providing optimum attribute values in the site is extremely crucial when it comes to e-commerce.

This will make it easy for your customers to decide if the product is right for them and make a satisfied purchase.

Now, are you ready to convert your eStore visitor into a buyer?

Then, Altius Technologies can provide quality data and content for your product catalog to make this possible!!

To discuss more, kindly email us at info@altiussolution.com or visit our website at www.altiussolution.com


Developing a Future Proof inRiver Custom Connector

Real World

When an inRiver PIM connector is developed for an external system, it is based on a number of assumptions. It starts from the definition of the product in PIM, an organization of data in PIM, inRiver system environment, target systems environment, connectivity and so on.

All these assumptions have a reasonable probability to change in the short term itself. While it may be impossible to make it future proof for the long term, there can be a lot of initiatives that can be taken to minimize the changes and prevent connector redevelopment in the short term.


Following are some of the sample scenarios that can be encountered in any PIM implementation or PIM integration in short term.

  • Change in the number of attributes required to define a product in the target.
  • Mapping of inRiver product attribute to target system’s attribute.
  • Transformations if any for inRiver product attribute to target system’s attribute.
  • Runtime controls of the connector like source data location, target server connectivity, etc.,
  • Alert/notification mechanisms


While there are many possible approaches to overcome these challenges, some of the proven ones are:

  • Making use of inRiver connector’s settings
  • Making use of resource files in the same way configuration files are used in any typical software development
  • Making use of inRiver’s Specification entity to store some of these frequently changing values

Final word…

Each of the options above has its own advantages & limitations. And the right option for the situation can be selected considering the requirements for flexibility, the frequency of expected change, technical expertise of the end users, etc…


Tips to guarantee performance in your inRiver Connector


When starting a new connector development project, a lot of thought goes into –
  • Understanding the PIM data model requirements
  • Understanding the input data formats requirements / output data formats requirements
  • Anticipating the future requirements and incorporating the required flexibility
  • Understanding the requirements of the external system and so on


However, in most scenarios, the performance expectations for the connector are not considered till the final production / go live time. This can result in unexpected delays and schedule slippages if the connector is not able to meet the performance requirements. Given that even a very small PIM implementation may deal with thousands of products it is guaranteed to have performance challenges if the performance requirements are not planned from the beginning and also tested during User Acceptance Testing (UAT).


Following are some of the recommendations that any connector development team should consider:
  • A good understanding of the volume of records to be processed (number of SKUs, etc.,) before starting the project
  • A good test plan to verify that the connector can meet the performance requirements
  • Separate DEV and QA environments to simulate large volume of data and test the performance without affecting the other teams and overall schedule
  • In addition following the tips below is also useful:
    • If the output is required in XML format, using in built XML class libraries to generate and validate the XML can improve performance
    • Replacing for loops with LinQ queries can also improve performance
    • If files are output to FTP server, assessing the performance of the FTP server and making sure it is not a bottleneck is also a necessity
    • Last but not the least, it may also be necessary to deploy the connector from the same geography as where the PIM instance is setup

Final word…

Planning for the performance of the connector from the beginning will make sure there are no surprises during the UAT / Go Live phase and guarantee that there are no cost overruns in the PIM implementation.

4 eCommerce Projects That Benefit from Good Product Content

A focus on product content is especially critical when undertaking transformative e-commerce projects, such as migrating e-commerce platforms, onboarding new product lines or vendors, improving onsite and/or offsite search performance, or simply building an e-commerce site in the first place.

Backed by good content, the following types of projects can promise real bottom-line improvements, rather than just deliverables:

1. New e-commerce website build
2. Platform migration
3. New products onboarding
4. Site search optimization

Below we explore how each of these e-commerce projects benefits from a focus on product content. For more information on how to make great product content, download our e-book, “The Expert’s Guide to B2B Product Content.”

Project #1: New E-Commerce Website Build

Too often, when a company decides to launch or relaunch an e-commerce site, they relegate product content considerations to a future date. This is a mistake.

Product content is more than just the “raw material” that goes onto a product detail page. Successful content management requires important decisions about what information is most valuable and how it will be organized into an appropriate product information structure. Moreover, a site that treats product data as an afterthought will suffer post-launch when it comes to SEO and onsite search (see below).

Project #2: New Products Onboarding

Once an online store has established a taxonomy and has attributes that reflect how its customers search and shop, the next big challenge is to manage incoming product information.

Rich product data may be available from manufacturers and other sources. However, these sources rarely provide all the required data for every designated attribute, image, and information requirement. Transforming the content and filling information gaps to meet the organizing principles that govern a sites’ product content is an important product content projects — as well as an ongoing task.

Project #3: E-Commerce SEO and Onsite Search Optimization

Good product content is the backbone of any site search optimization project. It benefits both rankings with offsite search engines like Google and Bing and the user experience of onsite search tools such as filters and search bars.

As far as SEO is concerned, the first and obvious benefit of taking product content seriously is having product detail pages that are optimized for the product names and the associated keywords customers use to find those products.

Second, organizing products into a taxonomy that meets customer expectations will help users quickly find what they need, producing higher engagement metrics, which will register positively with search engines as “second order influences,” according to SEO authority Moz.

Finally, having robust product information that is specific to a site and organized to avoid redundancy will avoid offsite and onsite duplicate content — two missteps that often diminish B2B e-commerce site rankings with search engines, which have been “getting better and better at kicking websites down the rankings because of duplicate content,” according to Kissmetrics.

Offsite duplicate content is usually the result of using the same content manufacturers provide to all distributors and resellers. Onsite duplicate content, on the other hand, is a byproduct of poor product content governance and “makes it difficult for Google to decide which pages should rank for a particular keyword.”

For onsite search, robust product data is required to support the two tools that customers most frequently use to locate products: filters and search bars. Filters are the direct outgrowth of a rich, hierarchical product taxonomy and attribute system. And with good content, onsite search can be engineered to respond to varying terms customers may use (e.g., “bin” vs. “tote”) to facilitate cross-selling or to cross-reference products on multiple manufacturer model numbers, UPCs, or form-fit-function criteria.

Project #4: E-Commerce Platform Migration

Historically, many B2B e-commerce stores have operated with custom-coded solutions. But with the rise of enterprise-level, out-of-the-box e-commerce platforms and technology add-ons, many are looking to migrate to gain access to state-of-the-art features and efficiencies.
A migration e-commerce project is a great opportunity to reevaluate all the information that will be moved from an old site to a new one. Moreover, organizing, consolidating, and enriching the to-be-migrated product files will inevitably support the success of a new site.

Address Product Content Early on in Your E-Commerce Projects

E-commerce projects that account for product content from the outset will be set up for success. Not doing so is equivalent to opening a brick-and-mortar store without any plan for displaying the merchandise on the shop floor. This lack of planning leads to clutter, customer misunderstandings, and inevitable lost sales.

To find out how a partner specialized in product content enhancement, organization, and refinement can help by getting involved in e-commerce projects early on, contact product content solutions experts Altius today.


Convert your supplier data into selling data

Supplier data comes in from multiple sources. Some may be adequate while some may not be. I would like to share my thoughts on how you can convert them into a data that sells for you.

The base data that comes in from your suppliers are those that your team uploads as part of providing information about your product.

Visualize this!!!

You upload your product data on a constant basis and your team is busy with loads of data to upload on a weekly basis. You have done an one time upload of the product data for a specific SKU and you are doing so many of those after that.

The previous upload of the data is ignored. You don’t know what facets of the data work and what does not. You often think about why those old products do not sell well.

It goes without saying that you are dependant on the product data from our suppliers since you only sell but do not manufacture.

However, there is a variety of data that comes in from multiple manufacturers and suppliers and hence the data will be a big garage.

You need to organize the data, standardize in a format which is easily digestible by the visitors.

The data should be simplified and prioritized based on the technicality of the product. The best use of the data can be felt not only by importing the data as given to you but also in deciphering the content.

Unfortunately, the data that comes in may not be in a direct upload format but would be in the forms of MRO, Electrical and Mechanical data. The data upload team needs to be supported by a functional team to help them decipher the data to upload the right kind of data.

A good knowledge in all of these data will help in the data getting high on technical ranking.

I have seen many instances where the retailers perceive the data that comes from multiple suppliers to be perfect.

However, the word docs or the pdf docs that comes from suppliers will be unique for each category and for the company themselves. It is a lot of work when the team wants to consolidate all these data in the backend.

Remember this, you have to make the product data content easy for the customer and not for the data uploading team.

This is how you can make your data sell for you.

How can you make it happen?

Use a combination of standardization and data enrichment process. Do it in multiple styles.

With a limited budget, you can map out the supplier data, migrate the standard supplier data into one standard acceptable format.

There are cases where you may feel that your data is still not unique in-spite of standardization.

You can add 3 or 4 additional attributes and can do the gap fill. You can add more specifications from the datasheet.

You can also benchmark a few named competitors and provide all the product categories if you want your product page to be the best among all distributors, you name your benchmarking competitors and give the product categories.

How can Altius help?

We can deploy full force to study multiple research on the category and the product. Our experienced team will understand the customer behavior for those product categories, collect the necessary fields or specifications. We will then coin or rank the list of attributes based on the customer buying or filtering behavior.


How can you increase your B2B eCommerce sales by using the right images?

A picture speaks a thousand words!!!

After providing the products with the right amount of data, it is also important that the right product images are uploaded to your product page. Your customers want as much information as possible within a few clicks or within a few seconds.

Your visitors do not have the patience or the time and will leave if they don’t find the right information. It is also proven that some people like images, some people like data sheets, some people like technical specifications.

We have to look at the entire process of giving the right kind of data to our buyers.

Look at it from an example of a department store.

The kind of support that the customers got earlier reduced constantly.

There used to be a helper per bay which reduced to a helper per aisle, per floor and it has now moved to a low touch model of having no people.

The stores have a human-machine interface where people go to the aisle which is guided by retail signage.

They select the products in the cart, pay the money and walk out.

However, in an online store, with the aisle by the mile model, your data is your sales representative.

Giving the right information about the product is very important because the aisle concept is dead in an online model. Buyers cannot find products on their own because they only see one home page and they have to search.

You have to ensure that you make your product findable.

This is important because there is no point having the product on the website if people cannot find it.

The right images also need to be there because of a low touch purchase model where the feeling of uncertainty post-purchase will be high. When you make your website very flexible because of the richness of the site, even a robot can even pick up and place the order.


Importance of Product Information for OmniChannel Marketing

Business Issues without OmniChannel Marketing

Customers have changed their purchase behavior. It is getting difficult to predict which device they will use, what search phrases they will use and which channel they will like to receive messages and access your website.

Hence, you need to reach out to your customers in as many channels as you can. It is also important that you integrate all these channels to give a seamless experience to your customers.

The answer is Omni-Channel.

I am giving you some channels which almost all e-retailers use.

They are:

Brick & Mortar Retail Store
E-commerce Storefront
Direct mail
Mail order catalog

You also know that your prospective customer can start the buying journey in any one of the channels, take decisions to purchase in another channel and finally complete the purchase in a different channel. The research usually starts with a search and landing on your website, leading to your e-commerce storefront for additional information. The prospective customer may also do multiple visits to a brick and mortar store to touch and feel, visiting the website to make a decision to purchase and the final purchase may happen on the Mobile.

The key to the Sales Conversion here is presenting accurate and similar Product Information across all the channels to help the customer can get confident and make a buying decision. The challenge before companies of all sizes is the high cost of creating different formats of Product & Sales information for multiple channels. Maintaining them is complex when you consider selling across multiple cities and multiple languages.

To manage these you need to create and capture detailed Cross-Channel product information as a Single Source of Truth to be published across different Channels in different formats for a seamless customer experience. You can centrally control and maintain consistent Product Information across channels and also helps you save on significant costs on maintenance and version control.

How do you create an OmniChannel Experience?

  • Create and deploy a Master Product Information Strategy / Roadmap
  • Build a single comprehensive data model that would help you collate high-quality sets of data.
  • Implement a Product Information Management Tool which streamlines the Storage, Dissemination, and Maintenance of Data across Channels.
  • Scope out and help you implement a Data Governance Program to maintain new Product Information that you had from time to time through our New Product Introduction Managed Service Programme.
  • Measure, Monitor and Help your organization to utilize the Product Information from Higher Sales Conversion.

Benefits of Implementing an OmniChannel System

  • Company-wide single repository of Product Information that is available to all Channels including Marketing, Store Personnel, Distribution Partners, and Customers.
  • Single Source of creation and multiple automated channels of dissemination of Product Information resulting in high level of consistency and cost savings.
  • Quicker product launches across all channels
  • Accurate and consistent information across channels that will lead to a better customer experience & improved sales conversion.
  • Increased efficiency of Inside and External Sales Teams as information is available accurately across channels.
  • Considerable reduction in Return Merchandise cost.
  • Increased Loyalty and Brand value.

Google Assistant at its best! – Altius Technology Solution

When they started, they made “Google Search” so that anyone can find what they need among the gazillion things in the world. But today, sometimes its easy to feel like you need a little help just in your own world. Your photos, phones, videos, calendars, messages, friends, trips, reservations and so on.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had help with all that?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a google for your world?

That’s exactly why they built something called google assistant.

Google assistant is getting smarter day by day, no doubt about that. Your assistant can respond in English, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.

That’s a lot of languages, yet they are working on expanding the range. This device can not only work in different languages, but it can literally control your entire life digitally.

The assistant can basically do anything you want. You can ask random questions and your personal google assistant will have an answer.

All you have to say is “Ok Google” or press and hold the home button on your android phone for it to obey your commands.

That’s right, it’s as simple as that!

This artificial intelligent helper can call and send messages to your loved ones, when you give a vocal command.

You can even carry on a conversation with it. The assistant is always there for you, so if you’re on the road and you need to find a gas station, you can ask where to fill up.

If you are at home, you ask for it to favourite music, or if you are in a chat with a friend, it can show you what movie is playing tonight.

Its like your own personal google. Your google assistant can work on any device.

It can even wake you up. Waking up is a huge task for everyone, it becomes harder when you must wake up to a wailing noise. Well, google assistant can make it peaceful.

All you must do is say “hey google, set an alarm at 6 o’clock that plays (any one of your favourite songs)” your day starts off well when you wake up listening to your playlist.

Naturally, everything you share with your google assistant is safe and secured. The more you use your google assistant, the more useful it becomes.

Now what are you waiting for? Start using your personal assistant immediately.

Say Hi to your own personal google, always ready to help!


What do your tradesmen expect out of your Product Catalog?

Your tradesmen operate from the field and hence they have limited time and bandwidth.

They would require information instantly to take decisions to order products on the field.

The customer chooses the products by punching the product number if they know about the product.

The customer chooses the faceted search if they do not know about the product.

Therefore, the search bar should be intelligent enough to understand the industry terminology. The other information they need is also to look for the confirmation of the application areas compatibility.

The customer hence would expect two things – get the most relevant products within a few clicks through the right attribute selection and an attractive price of the product.

How can you make your faceted search accurate?

  • Decide the top navigation attributes from a tradesmen’s perspective
  • Cross-mapping of your competitor’s part numbers to display your product for findability
  • Displaying your Images in multiple dimensions and changes
  • Special features for fitment of application types captured as attributes
  • Structuring the data for mobile use as well

Client Benefits

  • Tradesmen complete the transaction in the shortest possible time and hence increase brand loyalty.
  • Better product findability enables a reduction in returns
  • Allows the tradesmen to select substitutable products and hence increase the sales opportunity

Product Data Enrichment – Making products more Findable

Are you wondering why the success rate in getting visitors to your website is not that proportionately repeatable in converting them into customers?

The visitors find your product page the visitors are searching for. This is a high impact purchase for their company. They begin evaluating the product for the fitment of their needs.

The visitors are not able to find enough of information about the products they are looking for. They also know that the other 100s of competitors are one click away. They leave your website for others and don’t come back.

The efforts, money and time spent on getting the right customers to your website are going waste. This is because the product does not have adequate information that the visitors are looking for.

The Solution!!!

Data Enrichment – A+ Enhanced Product Content

It is the art of ensuring that the product page is complete. It is fair that you think that my supplier is giving me the data about the product. My IT team uploads only that data and why should I invest more money to organize the data.

I am not telling you that the data from your suppliers are not adequate. I am only asking you to look at the entire process from shoes of the customers perspective instead of looking from your point of view.

The product that you would upload should have a combination of data and images. How many times have you visited a variety of online stores for the sake of a Search for Information and Evaluation of Alternatives and have gone back to a store that has impressed you to make the purchase?

Can you recollect what impressed you the most? Was its ease of navigation of the product page, the product, the images, the information, the product, The UX (filtering mechanism), the ability to reach the product within a few clicks because hit understood your selection process? There could be many more parameters which would have made you make the purchase in a store among all the others.

There could be a possibility that your website may be missing some important parameters of configuring the product information in a better way that you have n’t thought about.

How can this situation be changed?

Let us look at the purchase process from a Buyers perspective. The buyers making a low involvement purchase or a routine purchase where they know what they want to buy may not look too much at the product information.

However, this changes if the buyers are making a high involvement purchase or you have some unique products that could be a potential replacement for the existing products that your buyers are using.

It is important that you provide enough of information about the product so that you influence the buyer in considering your product seriously. It is also proven that the lack of information on the product on your website may make your customers lose faith in your ability to deliver.

Even if buyers buy these products without lack of product information, there is a good chance that your return rates will increase because they would have purchased the wrong product.

So, it is important that you have a variety of parameters about the product data and should enrich your product with these types of data so that you can influence the buyers to buy the right products for them and come back to you because you have made their decision process much simpler.