Sales are customer initiated through self-service or through your internal Sales team. Either way, both of these channels rely on having accurate pricing and service availability. The CSP product catalog for Microsoft partners has close to a thousand subscription services with changes to product availability and pricing along with availability in different regions around the world.
Having current pricing in your product catalog for your sales team can boost sales, save time and increase customer satisfaction. A customer using Microsoft Cloud services will tend to consume services in an additive way. They may start out with a basic service, add security, voice and other services as they become more aware of their needs, transition existing services or just adopt new products as they become available. The partner center makes it quite easy to provision new services. However, the provisioning process when it is disconnected from the sales and billing process creates a significant operational challenge for any Cloud Services provider.
Catalog management, or product catalog management helps you organize and consolidate e-commerce product data into a single, digital point of reference. In an optimal selling environment, the catalog maintains and stores product information for an e-commerce business client facing portal and or your internal sales team. It’s the strategic process of managing and maintaining your product catalog to ensure the quality of your product data across all sales channels. It includes how you organize, standardize, and publish your product data to each channel.
Catalog management ensures the quality of product data, by allowing an admin to update the product information in a catalog, so that customers can make informed buying decisions. The seller can help buyers make those decisions by providing important details for their decisions. These solutions are typically bundled with additional e-commerce marketing software, and other support tools.
If you think about the concept of catalog management, it seems very simple right? You just must maintain a single catalog of all the products you sell online.
Unfortunately, this is hard to do for many reasons:
- Product Updates – in our industry, products are been constantly added, removed and their prices can change anytime. How would you keep up with all these changes? Are you sales team selling the product with the right pricing and markup?
- Product Relationships – different types of product can make SKU management more complex and often have parent-child relationships that can be hard to manage. How do you ensure that SKUs relate to its parent item, but also are represented as individuals?
- Conciliate Third-Party Product Data – If you receive product data from third parties like Microsoft Partner Center, this data can come in all sorts of formats. You must make sure all attributes from different distributors are organized as you necessary for your optimal operation.
- Selling on Multiple Channels – another challenge of product data is managing it across multiple sales channels. Each of these channels require a specific format of your product data for listing purposes.
- Customer-specific Pricing – the same product can vary in price according to your buyer. This is common practice in our industry. Individual customers or groups can have their own specific pricing structure. It’s important to maintain this information because you’ll want to ensure that the right prices show online for the right customers. Offering the best buyer experience possible.
Product data can become messy, fast. It can be tedious and time-consuming for business to normalize product data from other sources to meet their internal requirements. In our industry, many businesses often have large teams who spends weeks compiling, updating, and publishing product data. Not only is it hard on your operations, but it can also result in wrong and inconsistent data on your website for customers.
With all these issues in mind, our team developed a simple, straight forward but robust product catalog for our Work 365 Billing and subscription application. Watch our quick video about our new feature!
If you have any questions don’t hesitate in scheduling a demo.