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Taxonomy and its classified value

. Clint

Taxonomy and its classified value

Taxonomy and its classified value

What is ‘taxonomy’ and what’s its value? In the simplest of definitions, taxonomy is the science and practice of classification. Everyone has used taxonomy at some point in their lives. They are all around you. They are in your grocery store, on your iPod, on your cell phone, in your computer, your kitchen, at your local library, and even in your government. They are everywhere. And everyone is a user.

Where are those taxonomies?

Your government is organized into a big taxonomy. Much like the Sears navigation there are different ‘verticals’ or top levels. There are the federal, state, regional, county and city levels of government. Everyone’s favorite government entity the Division of Motor Vehicles is a part of your state’s Department of Transportation. Each level of government has different responsibilities and provides specific products and services. Through use of government, and Mr. Crocker’s fourth grade civics lessons, we learn that our city government is responsible for the stop sign on the corner - not the federal government.

Your iPod is also full of taxonomy. In your classic iPod, you choose from Music, Videos, Photos, Podcasts or Extras. Once you choose Music, you can then navigate your way through Genres, Artists, Albums, Individual Songs or even Composers. Imagine 15,242 songs on an iPod and no way to find the one you want. A taxonomy system allows you to find and play the music you want.

E-Commerce Taxonomies

E-commerce is all about one thing – making money. Whether selling products or services, it’s all about selling something to someone. Sellers have lots of pieces of the puzzle that must fit together to attract and retain buyers to their stores. Through user testing, feedback, and other research methods, we’ve learned that our customers want a site that’s well organized and full of rich, relevant, usable content. Taxonomies are one of the corner pieces of the puzzle that is ecommerce.

A properly designed and implemented taxonomy provides an efficient, stable and scalable system for organizing products and services - and then describing them. E-commerce taxonomies reduce intricacy by representing products in a logical and culturally acceptable design. In other words, you wouldn’t expect to find side-by-side refrigerators under a heading of “Bed & Bath”.

An e-commerce display taxonomy is comprised of two primary units - hierarchy and attributes. Hierarchies are used to classify products and services, while the attributes are used to describe those products and services.

When you browse through a hierarchy of products, you’re browsing through a parent/child relationship. And with that comes a familiarity. If your goal is to find a refrigerator, while looking at the top level of terms in Sears.com’s hierarchy, the most reasonable expectation would be to find refrigerators under ‘Appliances’. Once you’ve found refrigerators, you can then choose from the remaining options to further narrow their choice until you come to class of products that you’re interested in.

Once you find the product you’re looking for, you’ll want lots of information on it. In today’s tight economy, purchasing decisions are made with forethought and certainty. You want to be confident in your decision. And the best way we can do that, is to give you all the relevant product info we can.

Using the example of refrigerators, let’s say there’s a plethora of specifications you’re interested in. You could be interested in the width, depth and height of the unit. Or maybe you want a stainless steel fridge. Or a white one. Or one with an ice maker. Or door shelves that can hold a gallon of milk. Some products can have 60 relevant attributes that will help you choose it from another. These are the marketing attributes used in a display taxonomy. With these attributes, we can supply you with everything you might need to know about a product and make that informed and confident buying decision.

On our site, you can interact with different tools and interfaces. Almost all of these are driven by a taxonomy and are dependent on the data that’s collected and stored on the site. Our Shoe Finder can’t help you, if the taxonomy doesn’t collect the size, color, or style of a shoe.

Even using a sites search capabilities, you’ll still interact with the browse hierarchy. A search term of “Battery” displays more than 2000 products in 11 different verticals on the Sears site. That’s when you can continue to narrow your selection by navigating through the display taxonomy.

Unless an e-commerce site only sells one item, no matter how you shop, you’ll interact with the taxonomy of the site. If you search for a product, you’ll still interact with either the hierarchy or the attributes. If you use a ‘Finder’ such as Shoe Finder or Battery Finder, you’ll use the attributes of the taxonomy. When you compare competing products such as a Kenmore Elite Dishwasher to the Kenmore Pro unit, you’re using attributes. Every user on a site will interact with the taxonomy some way, somehow.

Without taxonomy, there is no ecommerce.



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