Adding Products to Your Business Website

Do it yourself or hire a professional?

Whether your business should add products to its website or delegate tasks to web developers is a critical decision. This article explores the pros and cons of both approaches, helping you choose the best fit for your company’s needs.

Internal Product Management

Having your staff manage product listings has several advantages. Firstly, direct control allows for immediate updates and ensures accuracy in product descriptions. Since your staff has in-house knowledge of the products, creating detailed listings becomes easier. Businesses that utilise internal staff can benefit from the speed and agility of changes—changes can be made quickly without external reliance.

However, there are downsides to consider. Managing product listings can take time away from other important business activities. Furthermore, skill gaps may exist. Employees might need more technical expertise for effective e-commerce platform management, potentially leading to errors or subpar listings.

Professionals product management

Outsourcing product management to web developers offers distinct advantages. Professional quality is a key benefit. Developers ensure products are added correctly using the best Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), usability and design practices. Their technical expertise allows them to handle complex integrations, customisations and optimisations that might be beyond the skillset of typical business staff. This frees you and your employees to focus on core business responsibilities, ultimately improving productivity.

There are drawbacks, however. Cost is a major consideration. Ongoing fees for web development services can add up, especially for businesses with frequent product updates. Additionally, relying on an external team creates a dependency, potentially slowing operations and reducing flexibility. Finally, communication issues can arise, leading to errors or delays in product updates.

Ecommerce Data Entry Products - Adding Products To Your Business Website

Why web developers don't handle product additions

Although adding products is typically not a web developer’s core responsibility, they can certainly contribute to the process by setting up the system, handling complex integrations, and creating automation for efficiency. The ideal scenario often involves a collaboration where you manage the product information, and the developer ensures the technical aspects function smoothly.

  • Focus on Expertise: Developers specialise in building and maintaining the technical aspects of the website, not data entry. Adding products is generally considered data entry, which can be time-consuming and repetitive.
  • Client Knowledge: You, the business owner, likely have the most knowledge about your products. You can provide detailed descriptions, specifications and high-quality images that best represent your offerings.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS): Most e-commerce platforms have user-friendly interfaces for non-technical users. These allow you to add, edit and manage your products yourself.

Why web developers may dislike data entry

It’s not uncommon for web developers to dislike doing data entry for e-commerce products. Here are several reasons why this might be the case:

Nature of the Work

  • Repetitive Tasks: Data entry is often seen as repetitive and monotonous compared to development work, which is more creative and problem-solving.
  • Skill Misalignment: Developers are typically skilled in coding, problem-solving and building complex systems. Data entry doesn’t utilise these skills and can be a poor use of their expertise.

Time and Productivity

  • Inefficient Use of Time: Developers may feel that time spent on data entry could be better utilised for tasks requiring specific technical skills, such as developing new features, fixing bugs, or optimising performance.
  • Disruption of Workflow: Switching between development tasks and data entry can disrupt a developer’s workflow and productivity, as these tasks require different mindsets and levels of concentration.

Job Satisfaction

  • Lack of Challenge: Developers often seek intellectually challenging and engaging work. Being straightforward and routine, data entry offers a different level of engagement.
  • Job Fulfillment: Developers might find more fulfilment in creating, innovating, and solving complex problems, which data entry typically needs to improve.
Web Developer Data Entry - Adding Products To Your Business Website

Addressing the Issue

Given these points, here are some strategies to address the issue:

Delegate Data Entry to Appropriate Roles

  • Data Entry Specialists: Hire data entry specialists or clerks whose primary role is to handle data entry tasks. This ensures that data is managed efficiently and allows developers to focus on their core responsibilities.
  • Interns or Temporary Staff: Utilise interns or temporary staff for data entry, especially during high volumes, such as new product launches or seasonal updates.

Automate Data Entry

  • Automation Tools: Invest in automation tools and software that can handle bulk uploads and data synchronisation from suppliers or other databases. Many e-commerce platforms offer features that facilitate bulk data uploads.
  • Custom Scripts: Have your developers create scripts or tools to automate repetitive data entry tasks, reducing the manual workload.

Use User-Friendly CMS

Content Management Systems (CMS): Ensure your e-commerce platform or CMS has a user-friendly interface for product management. Platforms like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce and WooCommerce provide intuitive interfaces that can be used by non-technical staff.

Clear Process and Training

  • Documentation: Create clear, detailed documentation on the data entry process to ensure accuracy and consistency.
  • Training: Provide training to the designated data entry personnel to ensure their proficiency with the tools and processes.

Outsource Data Entry

Freelancers and Agencies: Consider outsourcing data entry tasks to freelancers or agencies specialising in e-commerce data management. This can be a cost-effective solution and ensures professional handling of your product data. Here are some additional factors to consider when outsourcing:

  • Experience: Look for freelancers or agencies with expertise in your industry and familiarity with your e-commerce platform.
  • Security: Ensure the provider has robust security measures to protect sensitive product data.
  • Communication: Choose a provider with excellent communication skills to ensure clear instructions and timely updates.
  • Scalability: Consider whether the provider can scale their services to accommodate your future growth.

Data Entry Services: Many companies offer dedicated data entry services for e-commerce businesses. These services typically provide a team of experienced data entry specialists who can handle all aspects of product data management, including:

  • Uploading product information
  • Managing product descriptions, images and specifications
  • Ensuring data accuracy and consistency
  • Updating product information as needed

Data Entry Tools and Software

Several data entry tools and software programs can automate or streamline the data entry process. These tools can be particularly helpful for businesses with a large volume of products or for those that frequently update their product offerings. Here are some examples of data entry tools:

  • Product Information Management (PIM) Systems: PIM systems provide a central location for storing and managing your product data. They can also automate tasks such as data validation and enrichment.
  • Bulk Upload Tools: Many e-commerce platforms offer bulk upload tools that allow you to upload product information from a spreadsheet or other file format.
  • Data Import/Export Services: Some data entry service providers offer data import/export services to help you migrate your product data from one platform to another.

A Hybrid Approach

Many businesses find a hybrid approach most effective. This involves:

  • Training Staff: Empowering internal staff to handle basic product updates and management allows for quick changes when needed.
  • Developer Support: Retain web developers for complex tasks such as initial setup, custom features, and troubleshooting technical issues.

While web developers may dislike data entry due to the nature of the work and the mismatch with their skills, there are effective strategies to manage this task. By delegating data entry to specialists, automating processes, and using user-friendly tools, you can ensure that product data is handled efficiently without burdening your developers. This allows your developers to focus on what they do best, contributing to your business’s overall productivity and growth.

Online Shopping Experience - Adding Products To Your Business Website

Choosing the Right Approach

The optimal approach hinges on your business’s unique needs and capabilities. Smaller firms with a manageable product catalogue might effectively manage updates internally. Larger enterprises with complex requirements find greater benefits from involving web developers—the key lies in balancing control, cost efficiency and operational agility.

Regardless of the chosen method, clear procedures and consistent communication are vital to ensure your website’s product information remains accurate, current and optimised for customer engagement and sales success.

Here are some additional factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Budget: Can you afford ongoing fees for web development services?
  • Technical Expertise: Does your internal team have the necessary skills to manage the e-commerce platform effectively?
  • Time Constraints: How much time can your staff dedicate to product management tasks?
  • Product Complexity: How complex are your products and their descriptions?
  • Growth Projections: Do you anticipate a significant increase in product offerings?

By carefully considering these factors and the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches, you can make an informed decision that best suits your business’s specific needs and goals.

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