Categorizing your products may be one of the most important, as well as difficult and tenuous of getting set up on the comparison shopping engines.
This is especially true if you’re a merchant with a high volume of products, and/or one selling items in a vastly different amount of areas.
Miscategorizations of your products can make it difficult for customers to find your products, or prevent your products from being listed at all.
While your initial data feed may contain your own product categories, each CSE contains their own set of categories which may be much more detailed and comprehensive–or it may be broader and can incorporate multiple categories of yours into just one.
For instance, one client of ours sells bedding products and is listed on NexTag, Shopzilla, and Pricegrabber. The table below shows how each of the engines break down specific bedding categories (category taxonomy files can generally be found at each engine’s websites):
As you can see from the chart, Pricegrabber has 11 categories within bedding, Shopzilla has a whopping 16, while Nextag makes life easy for merchants with just 1 category that encompasses everything related to bedding.
While we at CPC Strategy have our own mechanism for automating the categorization process, merchants have been known to go clinically insane after trying to categorize each and every last product in their feed manually, particularly with engines that break everything down into so many categories.
Here are a few tips we have for such merchants:
- Populate Field Initially – Use the most generic category to populate each product. For example for Shopzilla categorize each item under “miscelaneous bedding”, just to be sure that you don’t leave any category fields blank when you send in the feed.
- Break Down Fields From There – After you find a general category for each product, go through each specific category that each engine has, and apply it to each product where it applies. For instance fill in all your bedding sets with the above, then bedskirts, bedspreads, etc. Excel’s autofilter function comes extremely handy here.
- Search for Product on Engine for Ideas – If you have no idea where a category should be categorized, a search for that product into an engine lead you to a similar product that another merchant may be selling, and from there you can extract what category that particular product is listed under.
Overall process can take anywhere from minutes, to hours depending on the number of products you have, how diverse your listings are, what engine you’re categorizing for, and your level of patience.
If you have any tips of your own on categorizing your products, be sure to post them in the comments below.