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How Does Product Matching Help Your Ecommerce Store

ByMashkoor Alam

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Picture this: You've poured your heart and soul into building your online store. Your products are meticulously curated, your descriptions are top-notch, and your photos are Instagram-worthy. But customers can’t find your products among the countless online listings.

This is the struggle faced by countless ecommerce store owners. With numerous new products added daily, the online marketplace can seem overwhelming. Potential customers searching for the perfect running shoe might get lost in a maze of similar-looking listings, never reaching their desired product. This is the exact problem that product matching solves for you.

In this guide, you will learn what product matching is, the different techniques used, and how it is used in ecommerce.

Table of contents

What is product matching?

Product matching refers to the process of accurately pairing a customer's search query with the most relevant products available on an online platform.

It analyzes everything about a product, from titles and descriptions to images and specifications, across different websites. Its mission? To find a similar product, even if it's listed with slight variations.

For example, say you sell a specific type of running shoe. Product matching would group all relevant listings together, even if the titles differ a bit. Here's an example:

  • Listing 1: "Men's Apex Running Shoe - Blue, Size 10"
  • Listing 2: "Apex Running Sneakers (Unisex) - Size 10 (Blue)"
  • Listing 3: "Blue Apex Athletic Shoes - Men's, Size 10"

Despite the variations, a product matching model recognizes these as the same shoe based on shared details like brand, model, size, and colour. By grouping these listings together, it empowers customers to easily compare prices and find the best deal, increasing your chances of a sale.

How does product matching work in ecommerce platforms

Product matching utilizes sophisticated algorithms to meticulously compare product details across various platforms. These algorithms analyze everything:

  • Titles: Do they mention the same brand, model, and size?
  • Descriptions: Do they share key features and specifications?
  • Images: Are the pictures visually identical?
  • Attributes: Do they match in terms of colour, material, or other specific details?

By efficiently matching customers with products that meet their specific needs and preferences, ecommerce platforms can enhance their overall shopping experience and increase customer satisfaction. This personalized approach not only helps customers find what they are looking for more easily but also boosts conversion rates and fosters brand loyalty.

Benefits of product matching in ecommerce

Product matching goes beyond simply finding the exact same item. Here are some ways it can help:

1. Boost sales with personalized recommendations

Imagine a customer browsing for a yoga mat. Product matching analyzes their choice and suggests complementary accessories like yoga blocks, straps, or a carrying case. These thoughtful recommendations not only enhance the customer experience by anticipating their needs but also tempt them to add more items to their cart, boosting your average order value.

2. Gain a competitive edge and stay ahead

Product matching equips you with a powerful weapon: competitive intelligence. By accurately matching products, you can implement dynamic pricing strategies. This allows you to adjust prices based on sales targets and market fluctuations, maximizing revenue and ensuring you stay ahead of the competition.

3. Optimize product listings for higher visibility

Product matching in ecommerce can be a powerful tool for analyzing top-performing listings for similar products across various stores. By examining these listings, you can gain valuable insights into effective titling strategies, high-converting descriptions, and the most commonly used keywords. Leveraging this knowledge, you can optimize your own listings in different ways to improve search ranking and drive more organic traffic to your products.

4. Effortlessly manage inventory across platforms

If you sell your products on multiple online marketplaces, product matching can be a game-changer for inventory management. By using product matching solutions, you can effortlessly identify identical products across different platforms, ensuring accurate stock levels and avoiding the issue of overselling items. This not only saves you time and resources but also prevents customer frustration arising from out-of-stock situations.

Copyright infringement is a serious concern in ecommerce. Product matching acts as your digital watchdog. It can swiftly identify instances where your designs or products are being illegally replicated or misrepresented by others, preventing copyright strikes. This allows you to take swift action, safeguarding your intellectual property and ensuring a fair marketplace for everyone.

Product matching models

There are a few notable product matching models that ecommerce platforms use. Let’s take you through them:

1. Title similarity

This model compares the titles of products. It employs machine learning (ML) to recognize identical titles even when phrased differently. For instance, imagine various retailers selling the same phone - iPhone XS Max. Here's how their titles might differ:

  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XS Max 6.46-inch
  • Apple iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XS Max Black
  • iPhone XS Max 256 GB NEW

As you can see, titles for the same product can vary. In this case, ML implements a specific product matching algorithm to evaluate title similarity of products using a title similarity module, and group identical products within the same search results.

2. Price similarity

Product matching models don’t just look at titles; they also consider prices. Similar prices can indicate similar products, helping to group them together. However, if one offer deviates significantly in price, it might indicate a different product altogether.

Imagine you're selling a specific brand of headphones. If several listings mention the same brand and model at similar prices, that's a good sign they're the same product, even if the titles differ slightly. On the other hand, a much higher or lower price tag might suggest a different product altogether. By analyzing how similar products are priced, product matching helps group listings accurately and allows for easy price similarity comparison.

3. Attribute extraction

Product matching also examines details like size, colour, and brand to ensure it's the same product and not just a similar-looking one. This method relies on the similarity of product attributes to identify matches. The technology employs data analysis algorithms to measure the level of discrepancy between products. If the discrepancy is low, the items are considered the same.

4. Image similarity

Sometimes, pictures are very useful for product matching, especially when titles and descriptions differ. Product matching in ecommerce uses complex algorithms to compare images and identify visually identical products or highly similar products despite variations in perspective, colour balance, or background settings. This is one of the most powerful and important deep learning algorithms we can use to find similar products.

However, unlike titles with a finite set of words, product images can exhibit a vast range of variations. Imagine a red dress – photographed outdoors on a sunny day in one listing and showcased in a studio with controlled lighting in another.

Additionally, the scarcity of labeled data points for each product further complicates image similarity algorithms, adding to the confusion of different titles and descriptions used by online stores and sellers. Image similarity is crucial in accurately matching products, especially when dealing with variations in product titles and descriptions.

Here's how product matching tackles this challenge:

  • Deep learning architectures like Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are widely used for comparing images. They're great at learning intricate patterns in pictures. By studying lots of labeled images, CNNs can figure out key features that represent what a product looks like, even if there are small differences.
  • Some methods use an auxiliary taxonomy to deal with limited data. It's like putting products into categories, such as "Clothing > Women > Dresses > Cocktail Dresses." This helps the algorithm find similar items, even if their pictures don't look alike, as long as they're in the same category.
  • Perceptual hashing is another technique that gives each image a unique digital ID, capturing its essence despite variations. By comparing these IDs, the algorithm can quickly spot visually similar products.

How can you implement product matching?

Product matching can be a game-changer for your online store, boosting sales, improving customer experience, and giving you a competitive edge. But how do you actually put it into action? Here's a breakdown of the steps involved:

1. Research product matching solutions

There are various product matching solutions available, ranging from free, basic options to more comprehensive and sophisticated, paid services. Consider your needs, budget, and technical expertise when making a choice. Some solutions integrate seamlessly with popular ecommerce platforms, while others require a more technical setup.

2. Integrate the solution with your store

Once you've chosen a product matching solution, follow the integration instructions provided by the provider. This typically involves installing plugins or APIs to connect your store's database with the product matching software.

3. Optimize your product listings

High-quality product listings are essential for effective product matching in ecommerce. Ensure your titles are accurate, descriptive, and include relevant keywords. Use clear and concise descriptions that highlight key features and benefits. Additionally, invest in high-resolution product images from various angles and with consistent backgrounds.

4. Implement the model

After optimizing your product listings, it's time to leverage your chosen product matching solution. This might involve configuring settings within the chosen solution, testing it to ensure it accurately matches products, etc.

5. Monitor and analyze

Once you've implemented product matching, keep an eye on its performance. Analyze how it impacts your product visibility, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Use this data to further refine your product matching strategy and optimize your listings for even better results.

Additionally, stay updated on the latest trends and technologies to ensure you’re getting the most out of your product matching strategy.

Conclusion

In 2015, the number of digital buyers worldwide was 1.46 billion. By 2021, this figure had soared to 2.14 billion, highlighting the dramatic growth of ecommerce. This trend underscores the importance of providing a seamless online shopping experience, and product matching plays a crucial role in achieving that.

By leveraging product matching, you can ensure your products are easily discoverable by potential customers searching across various platforms. This increased visibility can significantly boost your sales and contribute to your overall business growth in the dynamic world of ecommerce.

FAQs

Product matching in ecommerce is crucial for user experience in online shopping. It ensures that customers find the exact product they are looking for quickly, leading to higher satisfaction and increased conversions. Matching products accurately also reduces returns and boosts customer trust in the platform.

Product matching empowers consumers by providing accurate search results, saving time, and enabling informed purchasing decisions.

Product matching involves analyzing product details such as titles, descriptions, images, and attributes to identify similar or identical products across different sources or databases.

By presenting users with relevant search results and facilitating easy comparison shopping, product matching enhances the overall shopping experience, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Product matching enables consumers to compare prices across platforms easily, influencing their purchasing decisions. It also helps retailers optimize pricing based on market trends and competitive analysis.

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