I hear this question often when retailers are working with a new supplier or distributor:
How do I import the suppliers entire product catalog into my store?
I‘d like to outline 3, not so obvious reasons to not import a suppliers entire product catalog into your store. The reasons below are related to suppliers that have a large product catalog.
Reason 1 - Too Many Pages Can Hurt SEO
Every page on your site has a certain amount of ‘SEO Juice’ that can be passed to other pages in the from of links. The most SEO juice is normally found on a site’s homepage, this is the page that adding links to has the most value.
When you start to bulk add thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of products quickly without any unique content, it can indicate to Google that these are low value pages.
Google also penalizes sites that add many ‘thin content’ pages.
Reason 2 - Bad Product Descriptions
Suppliers with large product catalogs normally do not spend much time writing each product description. In the case of distributors, some brand will have great product description, photos and information while other brands, not so much.
When you push a large number of products to your store in bulk chances are you’re not reviewing many of these products. What you’ll end up with is users coming to your site, seeing the description ‘Large Red Widget’ and this will lower that users trust in your site.
Reason 3 - Not Adding Value
If a large part of your business is drop shipping then what’s the value that your adding that makes you unique?
A few ways to add value as a dropshipper is to build a layer on top of a suppliers product catalog that helps your users make better purchasing decisions.
A couple ways to do this is by:
Catalog Curation - Curating a large product catalog into a much smaller but targeted subset of products is a way to add value for a certain niche. You could build the online destination for a niche such as left handed plumbers to come buy their wrenches... and if left-handed plumbers is not the niche for you, then there’s lots more you can think up.
Product Descriptions - Write product descriptions that are totally unique to your store. This is unique constant that will not just help to boot SEO but also give users a reason to shop in your store.
Catalog Taxonomy - Building rich layer of categories then carefully adding products to the categories is unique to you and gives users a reason to shop on your site.
How should I import a supplier’s product catalog into my store?
Plan to augment or rewrite the product descriptions that come over the supplier.
I always recommend importing products in small batches. Review and update the products then add more.
Doing this will allow you to review products, brands and categories as your importing them to be sure you keep your data quantity as high as possible.
You’ll also be using the ideas above to add your unique value to the market you serve.