An emerging E-commerce company achieved resource & performance optimization with our Catalog Processing ToolRishabh Rai
Our client was one of the leading e-commerce companies and the largest mobile commerce platform in India, selling products across categories such as fashion, home, electronics, industrial supplies, recharge services and more.
With over 100 million users, 80,000 merchants and 500 product categories offered they were receiving more than more than 50 million orders per month.
The unrelenting growth came with an enormous number of customers and vendors data from buying orders to product catalogs. Refining & processing the available information manually posed a significant challenge to the operations team efficiency, who was dealing with it day-in and day-out. We designed an automated Catalog Processing Tool (CPT) to ease-out and standardize the catalog handling process.
Identifying needs and challenges
The Indian e-commerce was expanding, and the e-marketplaces were adding thousands of merchants to their platform.
A large number of merchants were submitting their product catalogs for our client’s platform. These catalogs were in a uniform format as the practices followed by these merchants were not uniform. It was creating a big problem in clustering these products. For example, there were different acronyms used for 2 Gigabytes of memory like – 2GB/2G.B./2gb/ 2 GB. So, when a customer tried to set some filter, he had to select all these options corresponding to 2 GB specification.
Since most of their customers were using mobile, the UI was even more cluttered. It was hurting the end-user experience.
Our client dealt with a wide range of product assortment and these products differed across categories such as fashion, home, electronics, industrial supplies and more.
Following were the steps taken to standardize the catalogs before uploading it to their website:
- Reorder field columns to match the template required for uploading to c-panel
- Change attribute nomenclature to that of the standard Format
- Row-wise data validation to check for mandatory values, data type adherence, and standardization of refiners
This process required multiple iterations due to the cumbersome & error-prone manual handling techniques. On an average, it took 30 minutes before uploading the catalog to the c-panel.
Also, due to a constant influx of merchants joining the platform, the client was planning to double the number of personnel, thus increasing the team size to a whopping 400 people.
The Solution Implemented
The client wanted a cost-effective software interface that would free up staff time and company expense by minimizing redundant effort and operational errors during the product catalog standardization process.
With our expertise in Node.js & MySQL DB, we designed an automated Catalog Processing Tool for our client to satisfy their requirements. The tool consisted of three modules to provide varying access level to the business users:
User module: It was where most of the magic happened. It was in this module that the user processes each merchant’s catalog. It could map the merchant catalog template with the standardized format. The user could manually define any additional mapping rule.
It was designed to incorporate a host of other features like removing any applied function or filters, spelling checks, validating keyed-in data for defined parameters like a mandatory field or acceptable format. It also notified the user of any error to help easily fix.
They could extract any erroneous records into another file along with the reason(s) for the error whereas the system could also generate the correct CSV file.
Admin module: The Admin module allowed the Admin to create new templates and columns (attributes) on-the-fly. They could create new users’ credentials, provide role-based access, assign a task to the users and define any validation or mapping rules.
QC module: With the help of Quality Centre (QC) Module, the Quality Manager could check if the prepared files to be loaded into the e-commerce portal were correct or not. Before finalizing the catalog, the Quality Manager was getting notified of any missed-out errors. He could compare the file against the original file and can subsequently add, remove or change any values. If the prepared file meets the pre-requisites, the Quality Manager could export and upload it over.
CPT implementation helped them to reduce ad-hoc processes, manual efforts, thereby reducing the risk of human errors, enabling optimum utilization of human resources and enhancing user experience.
The catalog standardization process merely takes 3 minutes which earlier used to take anywhere between 30 minutes on an average. A 100% reduction in error was achieved in 90% lesser time and 85% drop in required team size.
Zero errors in 90% lesser time: The use of CPT reduced human effort, thus increasing throughput and reducing errors. It decreased the time taken for processing each product catalog from 30 minutes to 3 minutes.
Satisfied customers: CPT ensured the reliability of data in the product catalog based on defined checks and balances rather than human judgment. It enhanced the end user experience of the platform.
Team right-sizing: With its automated feature, the tool executed definable and recurring tasks that led to enhanced resource utilization and productivity. It enabled the client to suspend plans for further recruitment and reduced human efforts of up to 200 man-months.