Importance Of Product Repository While Building An Online Ecommerce Marketplace
One of the biggest challenges faced while running an online marketplace or multi-vendor e-commerce platform is maintaining the user experience quality of the platform. The majority of the marketplaces looks way different from how it was designed once they are launched. This is because the merchants tend to add products images, descriptions etc. as they please. The situation gets worse when the number of merchants increases. So how do we bring the order back and maintain the user experience quality just like how you desired it to be? The answer is “Product Repository”- a must have an ingenious feature in your e-commerce marketplace software that can effectively bring order.
What is Product Repository?
A part of Product repository can be found in the front end in the form of a ‘Buy Box’ in sites like Amazon. They allow users to select offers from the list of merchants. However, there is a lot more to this feature in the merchant and marketplace admin dashboard.
The feature provides e-commerce marketplace admin with the ability to monitor, filter and add quality product information to a centralised product repository during the process of approving the product added by the merchant for listing. The repository will let the admin know whether there are similar products already in the marketplace. If an identical product is found the admin will have the privilege to approve only the merchant-specific information like Price offered, shipping method, warehouse location, inventory etc. Once approved the merchant-specific details will appear in the ‘Buy-box’ list (see image below).
The merchant will have a product search option apart from add option in their dedicated dashboard to search for similar products in the product repository. If an identical product is found they need to only submit the merchant-specific information for approval.
Advantages of having a product repository
Since product repository reduces product duplication the users will find it easy to find their products within the least time, which also improves the accuracy of the search. This improves user experience considerably and improves customer engagement with the site.
Improved navigation experience
It is not just about having millions of products, your customers should be able to navigate easily to reach their desired category or products. Since product repository provides admin total control over the new products (and their categories) added by the merchants, admin can easily make sure every product appears under the exact category they belong to.
Improved customer engagement
As you may know, good images and videos play a significant role in customer purchase decision. In a site without product repository (for e.g. eBay) you may find several products with blurred images and lack of product videos or proper description. This not only reduces the customer engagement with the site but also significantly impacts the conversion rate. The product repository helps admin to check for the quality of the images, videos, description etc. before letting them go live.
Convenience for customers and merchants
Product repository allows you to prioritise the merchant listing in the buy box based on whether the merchant has a warehouse near the customer who is trying to purchase the product. This feature not only helps a customer save on shipping fee but also provides merchants with an opportunity in increasing their listing preferences in the buy box.
Yes, product repository can help you earn additional income as well. You may introduce pricing packages for displaying the merchants as featured in the buy box. Sites like Amazon have a whole revenue model based on the ‘buy box’ they have on their site. It can also help to increase the priority of your listing if you yourself are a merchant in your marketplace.