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Managing Product Attributes: A Guide

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managing product attributes_a guide

My dog Rosie may only weigh 18 pounds but she is a power chewer. So when I search for dog toys online, you bet I rely on product information to find ones that can withstand the crushing strength of her little puppy jaws.

Understanding what information your shoppers need to shop and purchase online is critical.

Read on, as we discuss the basics of developing and communicating the attributes of your products in the marketing field, including a definition of these attributes, their importance, and best practices for attribute management.

What are product attributes?

Product attributes are the properties that describe a product. They include details that are tangible and intangible, subjective and objective. All of this information enables shoppers to find, compare, and choose products.

For example, a shopper may search for small backpacks for day trips and find two that look practical. Both may claim to be lightweight in their product description but the weight attribute provides an objective value.

Product attribute examples

Product attributes examples

Attributes vary but can apply to multiple products and product categories. Here are a few examples:

  • Name
  • Product ID
  • Size
  • Color
  • Weight
  • Materials used in construction
  • Design features
  • Lifestyle photographs
  • How-to videos
  • Country of origin
  • Price

Why do product attributes matter?

Attributes allow shoppers to find, comprehend, and compare your products. Selling online isn’t just about offering the best products but also the best descriptive data. Remember, it’s not just about making the sale but delivering on your promise. Unmet expectations lead to bad reviews and returns.

Product attributes in marketing

While engineering and product departments establish the raw product data, this bone dry information isn’t enough to sell online. Marketing teams build on the basic data to tell a more compelling, complete product story. Attributes like product descriptions, lifestyle photography, and training videos are created to capture shoppers’ attention and illustrate what life looks like with your product. This requires a fair amount of market research and a clear understanding of your product's value.

How to manage product attributes: best practices

Here are a few ideas to help you on your way to helpful, complete, and consistent product attributes.

  • Collaborate with your teams. Product information is a team sport. It requires expertise in data modeling, product knowledge, market research, and writing. Ask around the different departments in your organization to understand what’s currently in-place and identify opportunities for collaboration.
  • Create a product attributes list. An attributes list can help you identify the most salient (and searchable) attributes of your product lines. If you're not certain that the information you're providing is complete, you can take a look, you can take a look at the information your closest competitors provide.
  • Group attributes. Identify which attributes apply to all of our products and which ones apply to specific assortments.
  • Use attribute types and rules. Controlled vocabularies like single-select or multi-select dropdown lists improve the consistency and quality of your data. Clearly define your unit types. 
  • Study your competition. Review and analyze how the top sellers in your industry describe their products. Taking note of their attributes is a good starting point in understanding the wants, needs, and priorities of your potential customers.
  • Read product reviews. Reviews for both your own products and your competitors will often give you insights into what your customers want and need. This customer feedback will help you course correct when needed and capitalize on what is working. This means you can tailor descriptions of your product to meet the exact needs or wants of your customer base in the most effective way.

A product information management (PIM) system helps you collect, enhance, and distribute all of your attribute data. Widen's solution combines PIM with digital asset management (DAM) for a complete approach to attribute management. Request a demo to learn more.

Topics: PIM, e-commerce

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