Whether navigating a traditional brick-and-mortar store or an eCommerce website, product categorization is key to helping customers find what they are looking for quickly and easily. In the physical world, product categorization is pretty straightforward. For example, all the cereal in a grocery store will be grouped on shelves in the breakfast aisle.
But what about online? With an almost infinite amount of product and content options available, product categorization on eCommerce websites is critical to ensure a good customer experience. This is where product taxonomy comes in.
Product taxonomy keeps your entire online inventory and store well-organized, streamlined, and easy to navigate – no matter how large or complex your product catalog may be. Hence, making it easy for customers (and search engines) to find what need.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what product taxonomy is, how it works and why automating your product taxonomy can be key to success in eCommerce.
What Is Product Categorization?
In the world of eCommerce, product categorization is the process of classifying and labeling products based on their attributes, features, and functions. By creating a product taxonomy, you can establish a hierarchy of product categories and subcategories that will help you organize your product catalog in a way that makes sense to both customers and search engines.
There are many different ways to categorize products, but the most important thing is to make sure that your product taxonomy is well-organized, intuitive, and easy to navigate.
A well-organized product taxonomy will:
Help customers find what they’re looking for quickly and easily
Help search engines index and rank your products
Facilitate product comparisons and cross-selling
Help you keep track of your inventory
Start Building your eCommerce Product Categorization
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is product categorization?” it’s time to start building your product taxonomy.
When creating a product taxonomy, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
The Needs of Your Customers
What do your customers want and need? How can you make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for?
Your product taxonomy should be designed with your customers in mind. Consider their needs, pain points, and common search queries when deciding how to categorize your products.
The Structure of Your Website
How is your website structured? What pages do you already have, and how can you best utilize them?
Your product taxonomy should be closely aligned with the structure of your website. This will make it easier for customers to navigate your site and find what they’re looking for.
The Limitations of Your Technology
What technology do you have in place, and what are its limitations?
Depending on the technology you’re using, there may be certain limitations that you have to work within. For example, if you’re using a product categorization tool like Pumice, you can easily create and manage an unlimited number of product categories and subcategories.
But if you’re using a more limited platform, like Shopify, you may have to be more selective in how you categorize your products. This is because Shopify limits the number of product categories and subcategories that you can create.
Your Detailed Product Hierarchy
Once you’ve considered the needs of your customers, the structure of your website, and the limitations of your technology, it’s time to start outlining your product taxonomy.
Begin by brainstorming a list of high-level product categories. Then, for each category, brainstorm a list of sub-categories. And for each subcategory, brainstorm a list of product types.
Having a clear hierarchy will only foster customer search, online visibility, customer retention, and brand trust resulting in higher sales and revenue.
Why does Product Taxonomy Automation Matter?
Organizing your product catalog manually can be time-consuming, tedious, and error-prone. And as your product catalog grows, it will only become more difficult to keep track of everything without a product taxonomy automation tool.
An automated product taxonomy system takes the guesswork out of product categorization and ensures that your product catalog is always up-to-date and accurate.
A product taxonomy automation tool like Pumice.ai can help you:
Instantly categorize your products to a given taxonomy
Create and manage an unlimited number of product categories and subcategories
Import product data from multiple sources
Update your product catalog in real-time
Generate product reports and analytics
Product Taxonomy Definition and Hierarchy Examples
A product taxonomy is a hierarchical classification of products. It typically includes a broad category (e.g., “Clothing”), followed by subcategories (e.g., “Men’s Clothing,” “Women’s Clothing,” etc.), and then a more specific product type (e.g., “Shirts,” “Pants,” etc.).
For example, Shein’s product taxonomy includes the following hierarchy:
Men’s Clothing: Shirts, Pants
Women’s Clothing: Dresses, Skirts
Home Decor: Pillows, Rugs
They are divided further by facets such as color, season, customer need, sizes, designs, styles, etc.
Top product taxonomies will be easy for customers to understand and use. They should also be optimized for search engines (SEO) so potential customers can easily find your products online. The best way to create a product taxonomy is to start with a broad category and then add more specific subcategories progressively.
Top 4 Product Taxonomy Best Practices
Now that you know the basics of product taxonomy, it’s time to learn some best practices for creating and managing your product categories.
Here are the top four product taxonomy best practices:
Deeply Understand Your Products
It's always a good place to start by deep analyzing your product catalog. This will help you understand your product assortment and how it fits within your larger product strategy.
To deeply understand your products, ask yourself the following questions:
Who is my target customer and how do they show product intent in my internal search?
What needs does my product meet?
What are the features of my product?
How is my product different from competing products?
What are the common product attributes?
Optimize Your Taxonomies For SEO
Did you know that product taxonomy can also help improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO)?
This is because product taxonomies provide a clear and well-organized structure for your website’s content. And when your content is well-organized, it’s easier for search engines to index and rank your website.
To optimize your product taxonomy for SEO, make sure to:
Include relevant keywords in your product categories and subcategories
Use hyphens to separate words in your product category names (e.g., “men’s-clothing” instead of “mensclothing”)
Create unique product category pages with keyword-rich descriptions
Build collection pages for top of funnel keywords that are higher up in your taxonomy
Test And Adapt Your Taxonomy With Real-Time Data
Once you have a product taxonomy in place, it’s important to test and adapt it on an ongoing basis. This will help you ensure that your product taxonomy is always accurate and up-to-date.
One way to test your product taxonomy is to use real-time data from your website’s analytics. This data can help you understand how customers are interacting with your product categories and subcategories.
If you notice that certain product categories are being accessed more frequently than others, you may want to consider making them more prominent on your website. On the other hand, if you notice that certain product categories are being accessed less frequently, you may want to consider eliminating them.
Leverage Behavioral Data To Optimize Your Product Taxonomy
In addition to real-time data, it’s also important to leverage behavioral data to optimize your product taxonomy. Behavioral data can help you understand how customers interact with your product categories and subcategories over time.
For example, let’s say you have a customer who regularly buys products from the “flats” subcategory. However, you notice that this customer never clicks on the “no heels” subcategory.
Based on this data, you may want to consider eliminating the “no heels” subcategory from your product taxonomy. This will help simplify your product categories and make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.
Automate Your Product Taxonomy With Pumice.ai
Now that you know the basics of product taxonomy, it’s time to start automating your product categorization with Pumice.ai.
Pumice.ai is a cloud-based software platform that uses powerful artificial intelligence (AI) & natural language processing to automatically categorize your products. The models learn a deep relationship between your specific product data and taxonomy that goes past just matching on underlying semantic relationships.
With Pumice.ai, you can save the hassle of manually categorizing your product catalog. And best of all, Pumice.ai is always error-free and up-to-date, so you can be confident that your product taxonomy is always accurate.
If you’re ready to start automating your product taxonomy, start your free demo today!