Website Product Management - What is it, Why Important, and Best Practices

by Howard Morrison Sep 11, 2018

Research has found that wine labels, descriptions, images, and reviews can actually alter people’s emotions, even encouraging them to pay more for a bottle. Your online customers can't hold the bottle in their hand, so if your website doesn't provide complete, precise details about the products you sell, you're missing sales. The name of the wine and price is just not enough, people want to know more. And lack of product information is where a lot of online wine and spirit shops fail.

We get a lot of questions about product management for wine and spirits eCommerce websites. What is it? Why it is the most important cornerstone to success online? What are the Best Practices to providing Product Management? Let's take a look at the basics.

What is website Product Management?

Product Management is the process a merchant uses so that their website continually presents in-stock products with their available on hand quantities, and with accurate and complete product details, including images, descriptions, and reviews.  Product Management also includes providing categorization. For wines this can mean country of origin, appellation and varietal information. These details create a solid foundation for your products when it comes to search terms.  This allows your customers to find products on your website in addition to helping improve your rankings in search engines.

Why is Product Management the most important cornerstone to success online?

  • Creates Revenue: It’s products that provide the revenue that keeps a merchant in business. Customers are more likely to purchase a product online that they are sure is the product they are looking for or want to try. Good product management practices insure that products have the details a customer needs to decide to hit the "buy" button.

  • Increases Customer Satisfaction: Most customers today start their shopping by going online and searching for specific products which often times leads to finding other products of interest. 

  • Demonstrates Website Value: A website's starting value is communicated through the completeness of its products. Incomplete inventory on an eCommerce site can result in phone calls to the store inquiring about the availability of products. To a shopper looking to purchase online, this is an annoyance, which can lead to potential customers believing a website is not accurate or curated and not bothering to visit again.

What are the Best Practices to providing Product Management?

By following Best Practices, merchants greatly improve their chances of making a sale and building loyalty with their customers.

Best Practices include:

  • Develop a consistent system to keep your website products up-to-date.  Some merchants use spreadsheets or POS inventory extractions.  Ideally, your POS system will integrate with your website, enabling automatic inventory uploads so your current stock in your store is accurately reflected on your eCommerce website.

  • Do not show out-of-stock products on your website. This will lead to frustration for shoppers when they think they have found that perfect bottle they are looking for only to be told "sorry, we don't have it".  

  • Always provide a vintage on any wines that are subject to receiving a critic review and score.

  • Do not offer or suggest vintage substitutions. Your website needs to accurately reflect what is in-stock.  Your customers expect to receive the product that they click the Buy button on.

  • Present all products with accurate details that give your customer the confidence to purchase. Minimum requirements include an image, description, and critic reviews and scores from at least the three major publications Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, and Wine Enthusiast.

  • Categorization of wine products should include category, country, region, appellation, varietal, vintage, attributes (organic, screw top, etc), and alcohol percentage.

  • Categorization of spirits should include, category, age, country, region, brand, and alcohol percentage

Conclusion

In summary, creating robust product management practices is the first step towards realizing online success for any wine and spirits business with an eCommerce presence. By investing resources in guaranteeing your products are well presented to your online shoppers, you are setting the foundation for eCommerce sales and loyal online customers. As your customer base grows, your sales will continue to grow and make your website an integral part of your overall business strategy. 

For more information about how Bottlenose can help make your product management processes simple and effective, learn more here.


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