What is the Best Listing Management Software?
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Originally Posted On: https://www.esenshi.com/what-is-the-best-listing-management-software
Every ecommerce business has a different mix of sales channels and products. Some businesses may have complex variations, kits and bundles, while others have simple products with no variations. To make matters more confusing, some companies may have not had a clean strategy to begin with, resulting in messy catalogs with improperly configured SKUs across various channels.
Listing management software can save you time and money and help protect your reputation. However, the differences between ecommerce companies mean there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. In this article, we’ll provide some basic information about listing management, the benefits of using software, and important features to look for in a multi-channel listing platform.
Most importantly, we have done extensive research comparing 20+ different ecommerce listing management software platforms. You can find a summarized version of this information at the bottom of this article or sign up here to receive a full copy of this data in an Excel file.
One of the most important operational aspects of an eCommerce business is managing online listings. These listings are the revenue generators of the entire business, and great care should be taken in creating, optimizing, and updating them. Doing this manually is manageable for a small eCommerce business operating on a single sales channel. However, it becomes significantly more challenging as your business grows and additional marketplaces and sales channels are added.
When a customer visits a franchise or a chain store in real life, they expect to see the same or very similar offerings, prices, information, and quality from location to location. This is similar to a multi-channel eCommerce businesses, where cross platform customers expect to see consistent and up-to-date product information and pricing across the internet.
This is where listing management software comes into play. It enables businesses to automate the bulk editing of prices, descriptions, images, and other important data across multiple products and sales channels. This increased efficiency is a crucial factor in the scalability of an eCommerce business.
What is Listing Management?
Listing management is a simple in concept: it is the creation and maintenance of all the frontend and backend listing data across all marketplaces and sales channels. The execution of listing management, however, is not always so straightforward. If performed incorrectly, it can lead to lost sales, erode customer trust, and make it harder and more expensive to grow your business.
An eCommerce business procures products, determines price, promotion, and placement, and gets to work listing its products for sale in various marketplaces and sales channels. These online listings include all the important data about the product.
The most important information are the customer-facing details, such as images, descriptions, titles, price, related products (cross sells) and upgraded versions (upsells). It’s extremely important that this customer-facing information is fully updated, accurate, and consistent across channels.
Other attributes, such as SKUs, product tags, and collection/category tags, may not be seen by the customer. However, it’s important that this information is properly formatted and well thought-out to aid in cross-platform growth.
Why Is Listing Management Important?
You have probably put a lot of time, money, and thought into procuring the perfect inventory at the right price. You’ve thoroughly researched your competitors and their products. Now, you just have to create listings on your targeted marketplace(s). You hire a company, contractor, or employee and provide them with accurate, relevant data. Your first orders start to come through, and everything seems to be going as planned.
Then negative reviews and customer complaints start trickling in. Those crucial products, the money makers of your business, have been improperly listed. Images do not match descriptions, titles are wrong, and prices are all over the map.
This is not a hypothetical situation—I’ve been there, and it’s not pretty. Your hard work has been wasted, your customers are upset, product and seller reviews have nosedived, and you’re back at square one, with no choice but to pull it all down and start over.
Failing to thoroughly researched product listing management and understand what can go wrong can be a costly mistake.
Luckily, it is possible to bring some order to your listings with well thought-out product data. Just as importantly, it is now easier than ever to use listing management software for centralized ecommerce listing.
The nightmare scenario above can be avoided.
Multi-channel listing software is designed to help create and maintain online listings across various sales channels and online marketplaces. This software has a variety of functionalities, aiding in the creation of listings from product details created within the software. Most allow the import of pre-existing listings on various channels in order to push the listings to other channels or map them to existing products on those other channels. Others are able to set Amazon reprice rules, aid in inventory management, upload images in bulk, and enable cross-channel business rules.
The functionality of centralized eCommerce listing management software varies drastically from one platform to another. Furthermore, “listing” software often overlaps with inventory management, order management, and shipping management software. We have covered each of these topics separately.
Benefits of Using Listing Management Software
Opportunity for Growth
eCommerce businesses are not restricted by geographical boundaries, and they shouldn’t be restricted to any one marketplace. I’ve personally experienced flat sales on Amazon for a product that performed extremely well on Etsy, and vice versa. Using multiple sales channels can and will increase your revenue.
However, the increased complexity and costs associated with operating a multi-channel business often prevent profits from reaching their potential. Centralized listing management software enables expansion to other sales channels with minimal effort.
Managing listing details from a centralized location reduces the redundant and manual work of logging into different platforms to create and update the same products. This efficiency is crucial to maintaining or increasing your bottom line as you expand into multiple channels.
Product details are maintained in a consistent manner across all sales channels and marketplaces. User errors and mistakes are reduced between channels, resulting in more accurate and reliable product listings.
Pricing and updates of product details are automated across channels.
Some listing management software is more robust and may include inventory management, order management, and shipping management, allowing your company to handle more aspects of operations from one place.
What Should You Consider when Choosing Listing Management Software?
Every eCommerce business is different, and the choice of which software you should use depends on a lot of variables. Some businesses sell high-value, direct-to-consumer items with in-house fulfillment and low numbers of SKUs and orders. Others resell branded products in a competitive market with third-party fulfillment and large order volumes over large numbers of SKUs.
These differences call for drastically different business requirements, meaning there is no “best” listing management software. A better question would be, “What’s the best listing management software for my business?”
We have put together some important things to consider, and we have provided research of various software on these topics.
Of course, price is always a top consideration, but we want to stress the importance of value and factors that influence price. Consider the cost/benefit analysis of a specific function given your business requirements.
Further, each of these options are SaaS models, and as such each has various price points based on different variables such as: # of SKUs, Orders, Integrations and Users.
Many software options are similar in functionality, but some may differ in how they host/store/retrieve images, work with variants, support multiple currencies, offer custom listing templates, and allow for flexibility in allowing different titles or images in different sales channels.
Some specific things to consider:
Importing – Does the software allow you to import from your current sales channels? If CSV only, do they have templates preconfigured per marketplace export?
Saved/custom templates – Does the software allow you to create listing templates to pre-fill data such as categories, shipping settings, and product conditions?
Image hosting/management – Does the software act as an image host or connect to external image links?
Editing functionality – Almost all options will allow you to edit in bulk, but what other time savers do they offer? Auto repricing? Auto-syncing of inventory?
Bundles/kits capabilities – Kitting and bundling is the process of grouping various products together to be sold as one unit. Being able to combine different products can allow a business to increase exposure through increased listings per channel without violating duplicate listing rules.
Additional functionality–Some platforms allow you to manage inventory, orders, and shipping as well as listing all from one platform.
Scalability – If you plan to grow by offering products on multiple sales channels, think about which channels are the most appropriate for your business model, and find out whether the software you’re considering offers reliable integrations.
There’s a lot of information to absorb and a lot of factors to consider when choosing listing management software. To help simplify the process, we’ve put together a spreadsheet with a variety of software options, their features, and prices. We do not endorse any specific software, nor are we affiliated with any of these companies. We believe you should consider your own business goals and requirements before making a choice.
We are always here to help our clients succeed and will do our best to help in this decision process when appropriate.