calendar September 2022 | updated icon February 2024 | read time 6 minute read | Topic Product Information Management

Product Attributes: A Simple Guide to Managing It Right

Product Attributes: A Simple Guide to Managing It Right

Converting modern online shoppers into customers can be pretty hard. But as a brand, you don’t need to jump through hoops in order to convince a shopper to buy from you. Not when you focus on product information. 

Product information has the power to engage, educate, and resonate with customers enough to encourage them to purchase your products instead of your competitors. But, the term product information can be broad, and this time around we aren’t looking into the quality of your product information as a whole. We want to focus more on product attributes

What are product attributes?

Product attributes are all the pieces of information tied to a product that helps describe a product to a customer. Examples of attributes can either be intangible or tangible, depending on the information which will matter most to a customer looking to make a purchase. 

Commonly used product attributes can be:

  • Quality 
  • Reliability 
  • The aesthetics of the product 
  • Size 
  • Color
  • Packaging
  • Weight
  • Volume
  • Taste 
  • Material composition 
  • Design 
  • Price 

When you’re thinking about attributes, make sure you consider attributes that are helpful enough to a customer that they trigger a purchase. 

Why are product attributes so important in ecommerce?

"Product attributes meet the needs of users to fully understand the product." 
– Ecommerce expert, David Alarcón

According to our ecommerce expert, David Alarcón, “In ecommerce, product attributes are especially important. They meet the needs of users to fully understand the product without being able to have physical access to a product or direct interaction with a seller during their purchase decision.”

For example, if a customer is looking for a white basic tee. A clothing brand would have attributes such as white, organic cotton, short sleeve, relaxed loose fit, and crew neck design. 

Every product attribute should trigger a customer into wanting to make a purchase as they give them a clear indication of what to expect. In ecommerce, customers want to know more about the product because they can’t examine it in person. They can only read the information you give them. And even beyond that, more customers crave transparency when they’re interacting with brands, in fact, 81% of consumers would prefer it, compared to only 69% in 2019

When shopping in-store, transparency can be shown through more detailed labels. But, in ecommerce, your customer cannot see the detailed label before the product gets delivered to their front door, but what they can see is your product descriptions and product attributes. If you can’t help a customer see that your product is what they’re looking for and that it meets their needs, they won’t hesitate to look elsewhere. And, with over 12 million to 24 million ecommerce sites available, they won’t struggle to find an alternative either.

Image of product attributes displayed on a product listing of a dress


How do you effectively manage product attributes?

Product attributes are the backbone of all product information as they’re the main data points related to each product. This means you need to manage them to ensure they’re up-to-date and can continue to increase product discovery, drive online sales, and bring the best experience to your customers. 

Here’s how you can start managing them:

1. Do your research

Managing any product content needs to be a team effort and attributes are no different. Your team needs to get together to do market research, gain more product knowledge, and data modeling.

When different people from different departments work together, they can manage product attributes more efficiently as they can come together to understand what’s currently going on and identify additional opportunities that can help increase discoverability. While doing research, check out what customers are saying. 

Study your and your competitors’ reviews as both good and bad reviews can be used to your advantage. Let’s say you or your competitor receive a negative product review related to your product description, where a customer complains that the product doesn’t match what they’ve read about the product and how it’s not true to what the customer receives.

Instead of looking at it as a bad review, you can now see that you have to adjust your descriptions and attributes to be true to the product. If a competitor is also getting good reviews, you can take a look at their descriptions and see where you can improve. 


2. Make sure your attribute list is complete

Creating an attribute list can help you identify that you have all the attributes each product needs and whether you’re missing any searchable attributes. If we use the basic white tee example again, let’s say you have the color, size, and material. With a visible list, you can notice that you’re forgetting the design and aesthetic of the product which can enhance your product attributes. If you need any more inspiration, you can take a look at your competitors and see which attributes you can add to your list. 

When checking your attribute list, take note of what’s missing. A good way to do that is by grouping them. For example:

  • Physical attributes— for product size, color, weight, volume, etc. 

  • Technical attributes— for the product’s material composition, water-resistant quality, etc. 

  • Marketing attributes— which are the product descriptions and product features 

  • Logistic attributes— which can include the packaging type, estimated delivery time, etc.

3. Group your attributes into families

When you sell various products, they won’t all have the same attributes. You need to identify what product families you need for each product type. Once you have that, you can create sets of attributes you’ll need, For example, if you sell coffee beans and coffee mugs, they won’t have the same attributes even though they are similar products. By creating product families, you make the management process much easier. Example of product families in Plytix with coffee vs coffee mugs

4. Automate product attributes with the right tools

Managing product attributes anywhere but an automated product information system is a recipe for disaster. If you’re managing product attributes in a spreadsheet the chances of having inaccurate, missing, or duplicated data is high. Plus, if you sell on various platforms, managing product attributes for each sales channel and your other product information won’t end well.

With a PIM tool, you can have a single source of truth for your information and you can efficiently manage product attributes for each platform with ease. PIMs have data validation capabilities, so you can always pick up if you have duplicate, inaccurate, or missing data. 

Manage your product attributes better with Plytix

Plytix is a next-generation PIM that makes product management easier. With a PIM solution like ours, you can import all your product data into centralized software and manage and tweak it according to your needs. Those needs can be creating and managing product attributes and even customizable computed attributes.

Computed attributes are formulas, just as you’d find in Excel. They make it easier for you to create discounts, change formats, and remove duplicate attributes in your account when a sales channel requires a different format. 

You can also automate creating product families, which helps you group attributes based on their product type. It’s incredibly useful if you have a variety of products that share specific sets of attributes that you need to manage.

We promise you, product attribute management is easier with Plytix. So, it’s worth the investment, plus Plytix is an affordable PIM tool. Small to medium businesses don’t have to dig deep in their pockets to get this valuable tool added to their ecommerce tech stack

Download our free PIM buyers guide for more information about PIM solutions and how they can benefit your business. Book a demo today to get more answers on how Plytix can help you with your business goals.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Product attributes are specific characteristics that define and describe a product, including its physical appearance, quality, reliability, and price, among others. They are essential for e-commerce because they provide customers with important information that aids in the decision-making process. Without being able to physically see or touch the product, customers rely on these attributes to understand what they're buying, ensure it meets their needs, and feel confident in their purchase decision. Accurate and detailed product attributes can lead to increased customer satisfaction, higher sales, and fewer returns.
  • Create a complete and well-organized attribute list, making sure to cover all relevant categories that matter to your customers.
  • Group your attributes into families for easier management and to ensure consistency across similar products.
  • Utilize a Product Information Management (PIM) tool to centralize and automate the process, reducing the risk of errors and maintaining up-to-date information across all sales channels.

When selecting a PIM tool for managing product attributes, consider the following essential features:

  • Centralized Data Management: A good PIM tool should offer a single repository for all your product information, making it easy to access and update data across your entire sales network.
  • Data Import and Export Capabilities: The ability to import and export data easily allows for efficient data management and updates, saving you time and reducing manual input errors.
  • Data Quality Control: Look for a PIM that includes validation rules to help maintain the accuracy, completeness, and quality of your product data.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: The tool should be flexible enough to accommodate your current product range and scalable to grow with your business.
  • Integration with Other Systems: Make sure the PIM can integrate with other systems such as ERP, CRM, and e-commerce platforms to ensure seamless data synchronization.
  • User Permissions and Collaborative Features: Effective PIM systems offer role-based user permissions and collaborative features for team-based product information management.
  • Customizable Data Fields: The ability to customize data fields and create computed attributes allows you to tailor the system to your specific needs.