High SKU FAQ: We Tackle the Biggest Questions in Catalog Management

Your ecommerce platform needs to be equipped to handle the complexity of an extensive catalog. But where do we even begin?

By Miva | April 8, 2024
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Ah, the ecommerce product catalog—it's the lifeblood of your online store. But for brands with a huge inventory, that catalog can quickly transform a goldmine into a maze. Tons of data, messy formatting, and a hard search function can stress out ecommerce managers. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack!

Your ecommerce platform needs to be equipped to handle the complexity of an extensive catalog. 

But where do we even begin?  

To tackle this near-universal problem, we dove headfirst into the trenches, talking to store owners and marketers who manage large digital catalogs—their frustrations (believe us when we say you are not alone!), their challenges with search functionality, and their struggles with integrating complex data from various sources. By understanding these real-world hurdles, we were able to identify and address the big questions businesses with large catalogs inevitably encounter. 

Q: Are big catalogs incompatible with ecommerce? 

While there are plenty of options available for smaller businesses, finding the perfect fit for larger catalogs can be a challenge. Some of the most common hurdles they often face when using popular ecommerce platforms are: 

  • Manual data updates: Some platforms rely heavily on manual data entry and spreadsheet uploads for product updates. This can be incredibly time-consuming and error-prone for large catalogs. Imagine having to update tens of thousands of products by hand—a recipe for inefficiency and frustration. 
  • Navigation nightmares: Large catalogs become a browsing black hole on platforms not built to sustain them. Imagine wading through endless pages of generic categories to find a specific item. A platform that lacks robust navigation features can lead to a frustrating user experience and potential customers abandoning their carts. Good luck finding that specific yoga mat or fastener nestled amongst hundreds of other items. 
  • Endless plugins: While some platforms offer a wide range of plugins to enhance functionality, an overreliance on them can create management headaches. You need a plugin for this, a plugin for that…and suddenly, your store is a Frankenstein's monster of code, and managing it becomes a nightmare. This can lead to a cluttered backend and potential compatibility issues.

Bonus Tip: Ditch the clunky shipping app (unless you really, really need it) 

Many ecommerce platforms rely on countless apps to calculate accurate shipping costs. But with the right ecommerce platform, you can do this right within the core software! This means: 

  • No more app overload: Avoid the hassle of installing, testing, and troubleshooting yet another app. Who needs that when you can have a streamlined system? 
  • Shipping rules you control: Stop forcing your products into a one-size-fits-all shipping box. Easily define complex shipping scenarios (e.g., bulky items, hazardous materials, and free shipping exclusions).  
  • Accurate costs, happy customers: Get precise shipping calculations to keep customers happy and avoid overcharging or undercharging yourself. Transparency in shipping costs builds trust and reduces cart abandonment.

Q: How can an ecommerce platform help me save time on catalog management? 

For large catalog brands, the need for efficiency becomes even more critical. Managing a massive digital product catalog requires a platform designed to streamline processes and allow you to focus on growth. Here are some key features to look for:  

  • Robust integrations: Seamless connections between your ecommerce platform and back-office systems (like your ERP) ensure data flows smoothly. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the risk of errors. 
  • Flexible data management: Look for a platform with powerful tools for managing and updating product information. Features like bulk editing, custom import templates, and well-defined API endpoints can significantly streamline this process. 
  • Advanced search capabilities: A platform with granular search controls empowers you to optimize your product data for discoverability. This means customers can easily find what they're looking for, regardless of how they choose to search. 

The more time you spend wrestling with your website, the less time you have to focus on what truly matters: driving sales and nurturing customer relationships. 

Q: How can I organize a large product catalog for an ecommerce store? 

The way you organize your products and product pages is crucial for maximizing sales. Think of it like a well-organized brick-and-mortar store—everything's easy to find, and you're more likely to stumble upon something delightful.

The beauty of ecommerce is that there's no one-size-fits-all approach. The best way to organize your catalog depends on your specific industry and target audience. Here are some ecommerce catalog management tips to get you started: 

  • Offer multiple paths to purchase: Don't make your customers guess. Offer them different ways to find what they're looking for. (Think categories, occasions, and brands—we'll get to that in a sec.) 
  • Create curated collections: People love feeling like you "get" them. Create targeted product groupings based on themes, holidays, or interests. This is great for SEO, too—think of any time people search "Best Gifts for Dad" near Father's Day or a birthday. 
  • Leverage brand power: Let your customers shop by brand. If they're die-hard Patagonia fans, they shouldn't have to wade through everything else to find their next favorite fleece jacket. 

Remember, the ecommerce platform should support your business model, not the other way around. You shouldn't have to contort your operations or products to fit the limitations of a platform.  

The Miva Advantage: Built to Handle Big Catalogs 

Navigating ecommerce with massive product catalogs can be tricky. Brands often run into search limitations, struggle with data updates, and are constantly battling a potentially overwhelming customer experience. But the right platform can optimize the process and give you time back in your day to focus on growing your brand. Here's how Miva empowers large catalog businesses: 

  • Unlimited product variations: No more SKU limitations! Handle massive catalogs with millions of variations, perfect for products with complex size, color, or other attribute options. 
  • Back-office integrations: Miva's robust API seamlessly connects with your entire ecommerce ecosystem – from search and shipping to warehouse management and tax calculation.  
  • Advanced shipping logic: Complex shipping rules don't have to be complicated. With Miva, you can define custom shipping scenarios based on customer location, order criteria, or product characteristics to ensure accurate costs and compliance. 
  • Custom product builders: Miva's online kit builders allow customers to create custom product bundles and configurations, increasing your average order value, so you can take personalization to the next level. 
  • Managed integrations with Miva Connect: Our team builds and maintains the connections between your store and your ERP, saving you time and resources. 
  • Smart pricing: Gain control over your pricing strategy, and create unlimited, flexible price books based on customer segments or custom rules. 

Struggling with a platform that can't handle your growing business? Curious to know what it takes to make a change? Download our free migration guide and discover everything you need to know about switching platforms. 


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Author's Bio


Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.

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