Product Attributes: Everything You Need to Know (Definition and List)
What are Product Attributes?
Product Attributes are characteristics of a product that help you define your products for users that visit your ecommerce stores. While companies recognize their own products through SKUs which are unique numbers assigned to each product, consumers use natural language that includes the benefits and features of a product. For example, Black Skinny Leather Pants.
Attributes are divided into two categories: tangible (physical) and intangible (non-physical).
- Tangibles include characteristics such as size, color, smell, product design, weight, etc.
- Intangible refers to attributes like price and quality.
Why do you need Product Attributes?
Using product attributes can make your product stand out to customers in a crowded ecommerce marketplace. It helps separate your products from those of competitors. Companies should list their product attributes in a style that is understandable by the average user.
Consumer searches and queries have become extremely specific over the years, so your attributes should be designed in a way that caters to those searches. Marketers need to design product descriptions that capture the target market’s interests, with each product attribute being a positive selling point.
List of Product Attributes
1. Product Name
Consumers find your products through the product name. These should be clear, concise and give away sufficient information about the product just through the title. The product name is critical to your SEO and is the name through which users will look up your products. It should highlight key features of your product, but don’t overdo it. I’ve gone into more detail on how to optimize your product details in my guide here.
2. Product Images
Product images help customers visualize your product when they can’t actually touch or feel it.
The ideal product images should meet the following requirements:
- Resolution should be at least 1080px*1080px.
- Size should not exceed 200kb in order to optimize quality and page load times.
- Image formats should be either JPG, PNG, or JPEG.
- The image should be in square format as most e-commerce platforms and marketplaces only accept these.
To learn more about getting the perfect e-commerce images, read these 8 Brilliant Ways To Make Sure Your E-commerce Product Images Stand Out.
An SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is a unique alphanumeric number assigned to each product to help you keep track of your inventory. These are mostly based on various characteristics of the products and are broken down into classifications and categories.
One SKU can only be used for a single product, therefore it can never be repeated.
4. Retail Price & Cost Price
Retail price is the manufacturer’s suggested price for the product to be sold to the final consumer. Cost price is the price manufacturers charge the retailers for their products. While you don’t highlight the cost price to the final consumer, it’s important to have it in your records. The price displayed to the customers is the retail price.
5. BARCODE: (ISBN, UPC, GTIN, etc.)
A barcode is a machine-readable form of information on a scannable, visual surface. The barcode is read by using a special scanner that then transmits the data onto a database to keep track of inventory. Barcodes come in many forms and different countries and companies use different barcodes for their products. We’ll discuss a few of them here:
GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is an internationally recognized system for identifying products. It has brought together several systems to ensure they all adhere to a common structure. The types of GTIN that currently exist include:
- ISBN – International Standard Book Number
- UPC – Universal Product Code
ISBN (International Standard Book Number): An ISBN is essentially a product identifier used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers and other supply chain participants for ordering, listing, sales records, and stock control purposes. The ISBN identifies the registrant as well as the specific title, edition and format.
UPC (Universal Product Code): The purpose of a UPC code is to allow consumers to identify special product features, like its size or color when an item is scanned at checkout. UPCs enable accurate and efficient product tracking from production to the distribution process.
MSI Plessey (Modified Plessey): These are barcodes used for inventory management in retail environments, such as labeling supermarket shelves. They’re also used across warehouses and other storage facilities to support accurate inventory checking.
Two-dimensional (2D): 2D barcodes systematically represent data using two-dimensional symbols and shapes. They are similar to a linear 1D barcode but can represent more data per unit area.
QR codes are most often used in tracking and marketing initiatives, such as advertisements, magazines, and business cards. They are flexible in size, offer high fault tolerance, and have fast readability, though they can’t be read with a laser scanner.
This attribute lets the consumer know how much the product weighs. It is up to you to decide which unit to use for your products: kilograms (kg) or pounds (lbs), depending on the type of products you’re selling. It’s a good idea to have both units listed for each product, but to avoid the hassle, you can just pick one and stay consistent with it throughout your website.
Categories allow you to organize your products. These categories can be based on your product’s functionality, demographics, customer needs, or preferences. When thinking about products, the largest thing is usually a category while the smallest is an individual item. Categories make it easier for your customers to navigate across your website, and find what they’re looking for.
This attribute allows you to identify your product line.
9. Product Type
Under this, you can create a custom Product Type with attributes dedicated to your product. Every time you choose this product type for any new products that you add, it will automatically update the attributes according to information provided by you for the product type.
When shopping online, you’ll see that the same product is available in different sizes, colours, materials, or price points. These options are known as product variants. For example, if you’re adding a clothing item, your two variants can be Size and Colour. However, if you’re adding a laptop, your two variants can be RAM and Screen Size. In most cases, you must also assign a unique SKU to each variant.
11. Custom Attributes
Custom Attributes allow you to add unique attributes to existing Product Types. For example, one Type that you may have is a Mobile Phone. If you wish to add custom attributes to this product such as a Secondary Display for your Mobile Phone listing, you can do this through custom attributes. See our guide on Custom Attributes to understand how.
12. SEO Fields
For each product that you upload, you’ll have to fill out SEO Fields to help it rank on Google. These include the META Title, META Description, and the META Keyword. Let’s go over what each of these is and why they’re important.
Also known as Title tags, these are the titles used by search engines and visitors to understand what any given page on your website is about. This is the text you’ll see at the top of your browser. Title tags are supposed to be as concise and accurate as possible. META Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of their search result, and how it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used by visitors to decide which information to click on, hence, these must be of high quality.
This is an HTML attribute that provides a concise description of your product next to its META Title. It explains to search engines and searchers themselves what your page is about. The META description is extremely important for the click-through rate. A compelling META description could entice visitors to click on your link to view your product and learn more about it.
META keywords are another type of META tag that appears in the HTML code of a web page. These allow search engines to know the topic of your page. The keywords that you use must always be relevant to the content of your page, otherwise, they won’t add any value to your content.
Stand out from your competition
Make sure to highlight all your product positives, include a custom attribute that makes your product stand out, and create a product description that immediately resonates with the customer. They should think “Yes, this is something I need!”. Having the right product descriptions and attributes in place can give you exactly the boost in sales conversions that you’ve been aiming for.
Time-to-market (TTM) is a term used to describe the time it takes from the initial idea of the product to the final, finished product being put out in the market.
In a fast-paced economy where there is always someone doing something similar to what you’re doing, it’s important to gain a competitive advantage over them.
A product variant is a unique variant that is used to identify specific products. Some products share common attributes, but there are some attributes that differ; these are called variants. Each product variant has its own unique identifier, such as price, and every variant is based on the same product definition.
Import products quickly to your Shopify store via CSV, or directly import products from your dashboard to Shopify using a PIM tool.