Best Practices For Product Attributes

In our previous post, we talked about product attributes — what they are and why they matter. In case you missed the post, here’s a quick recap. Product attributes are characteristics or features that a product may or may not have (for example, size, colour, fit, and similar) and are a way for brands to distinguish one product from another. 

For retailers, product attributes are incredibly important and can play a crucial role in whether a brand succeeds or fails. Without product attributes, customers will not be able to find what they are looking for, or, on the off chance that they do find their ideal product, the scant quantity of product information available will not allow them to make an informed decision that would lead to purchase. 

Aside from streamlining and customising the customer experience, product attributes also make life easier for inventory management staff (by optimising the inventory management process) and floor staff (by simplifying inventory, making it easier to find items customers are looking for in-store). 

Product attributes are the hero of fashion personalisation. However, the question remains: how can brands incorporate product attributes into their product pages? Brands that want to make the most of product attributes should follow the below best practices. 

1. Understand Which Product Attributes Are Important to Your Customer



Although it is generally a good idea to attach as many relevant attributes to a product as possible, not all product attributes are created equal. Customers assess and evaluate products based on attributes that are important to them, so knowing which product attributes to highlight is particularly important. 

There are a number of ways brands can figure out which product attributes are most relevant to their customers, including:

    • Market research. Through surveys and questionnaires, brands can directly ask customers which product attributes they pay attention to when shopping on their site and which product attributes they ignore. For example, one study that analysed the preferred product attributes for sustainable outdoor clothes found that the most important attributes for that brand’s customers were the type of down, label, price, and fabric.
    • Text mining or product reviews. In addition to surveys, brands should also pay attention to consumer feedback. Often, when customers leave reviews, they will mention specific product attributes without even realising that they’re doing so, including product attributes that may turn them off a product. For example, if a photo of a dress looks red but customers complain that it is actually orange in real life, it is a clear sign that a brand needs to include its colour as a product attribute. 
    • Product comparison. Comparing similar products, regardless of whether they belong to the brand in question or a competitor, can also help retailers figure out which product attributes a brand’s customers are most focused on in a specific product category. 
    • Using product attributes directly. Examining the product attributes customers search for most often on a brand’s site is another way a brand can understand customer preferences and backgrounds (i.e., where in the world they’re located and their demographics). For example, customers from one area may frequently search for maxi dresses when shopping for dresses, whereas shoppers from another region may instead be more interested in mini dresses. Knowing customer preferences based on the area they come from can allow brands to make better regional stock allocations.


2. Optimise Content for Search Engines (SEO)



While knowing which product attributes your customers value is vital, proper attribute placement also requires knowing where on your product pages you should include them to optimise your store for search engines. Two of the most critical places brands should incorporate product attributes into are product titles and product descriptions

Properly optimised product titles let customers know whether the product they’re looking at is something that meets their needs or not at a glance. When a customer comes across a product with a product title that seems to match what they’re looking for, they’re highly likely to click on it to learn more about it via the product description. The best titles for products tend to be written in precise, simple, and clear language and include both the category and subcategory of the product, the model, and any other essential attributes. 

Just like product titles, product descriptions should also be optimised based on the product’s attributes. This means not only including any relevant information about the product — such as colour, size, material, and fit — but also explaining what the product does, even if it’s something as self-explanatory as a rain jacket. To provide further value, brands can offer additional information, such as styling tips. 

Note that a long product description does not equal a good product description. Every word and every sentence in a product description should add value to the product. If it doesn’t, it should not be there. That means that replicating content from other products isn’t good enough and can actually cost a brand its customers. 


3. Automate Product Tagging



If copy-pasting from one product description to another is detrimental to a brand’s success, why do so many retailers continue to do so? The answer is simple: Because they still tag their products manually. 

Tagging products manually is a time-consuming process that usually requires retailers to hire additional labour. This pushes up costs and makes stores less profitable. However, that’s not the worst of it. Humans are also subject to bias and are apt to make costly mistakes, like forgetting to match all product categories or sort through relevant attributes. The end result? A customer won’t find what they’re looking for, and a brand will lose a sale. 

In contrast, automated product tagging improves operational efficiency, making the process of tagging products faster and cheaper. It also ensures brands have accurate, standardised, and consistent metadata.

4. Invest In a High-Quality Attribute Tagging Product



When it comes to products that offer automated product tagging, there is an abundance of options to choose from. However, finding an attribute tagging product that delivers on the promises it makes is not easy. For this reason, it is vital that brands looking to automate their product tagging do extensive research before they invest in an attribute tagging tool. A poor quality attribute tagging product may actually be worse than tagging all your products manually. Here are some things to consider when choosing an attribute tagging tool:

Fashion-specific data set

For fashion brands, a generic list of product attributes is useless. Instead, you want to find an attribute tagging tool that offers a fashion-specific data set that can be calibrated to the needs of an individual retailer. 

Intelistyle has 500 fashion-specific attributes developed with the sole goal of addressing the needs of brands within the fashion industry. 

With Intelistyle, you can tag each product using a hierarchical product tagging system, which makes it easier to control your stock. For example, when tagging a silk blouse, you can choose “blouses-shirts” as the general category and “blouses” as the subcategory. Known as “mutually exclusive” product tags, these tags allow you to sort your product catalogue into high-level categories, making it easier to find products quickly. 

However, when tagging the same silk blouse, you can also add additional tags, such as “silk” (fabric), “floral” (print), “straight” (cut), “fitted” (fit), “smart” (occasion), “summer” (weather), and so on. Known as “non-mutually exclusive product tags,” these attributes can help brands enrich their catalogue to full capacity. 

Visual recognition and multi-product detection

An attribute tagging product that features visual recognition technology, such as Intelistyle, will detect and tag all products on product photos, regardless of whether they’re editorial-style photos or user-generated full-body shots. 

Attribute groups

The last thing any brand wants is to accidentally omit product tags that will either help customers find their products in the first place or convince them that a specific product is exactly what they’re looking for. Attribute groups break down and assign tags for each product in a categorical way, ensuring that your product is tagged optimally. 

Optional control

A good product tagging tool should give a merchandising team the ability to approve or edit product titles and descriptions. While an attribute tagging tool will do all the hard work for you, some retailers may prefer to have a human team member check that product titles and descriptions match what they had in mind. 


Final Thoughts

With customers growing more impatient and demanding, retailers can’t afford to forego product tagging. However, the days when brands could get away with tagging their products manually are long over. From improving customer experiences to freeing up staff time, a high-quality and reliable attribute tagging tool, like Intelistyle, can give retailers the edge they need to succeed in this ever-changing and evolving industry.

Book a free consultation