SumUp: Unified Item Catalog

SumUp: Unified Item Catalog

Back in 2020, managing items was difficult for SumUp merchants. We had 3 individual and disconnected item catalogs for POS Lite, Online Store and Invoices. First, users had to enable "Items" in the mobile settings, then they had to manage them in Checkout. To make things worse, we lacked common features like Inventory, Discounts, and Tax Management. Our experience to set items up took 2x or 3x longer compared to competitor solutions.

If we look closer into editing items, "Cancel" was more prominent than "Save", users were confused by the default category "My shelf", the colors were mistaken by the color of the item itself, variants were not clear, and Online Store merchants missed the option to add multiple images to let their items shine. Our team had a Miro board with 65 Post-It's pointing out all issues with the former Item Catalog – and only one positive Post-It said "It's easier in Web".


As a team, we conducted interviews with merchants from different business categories. We asked them to walk us through their business process. Through that, we learned that merchants manage inventory more on an ad-hoc basis, they create duplicate items with a discount (because we lacked discounts back then), they struggled with one-off products, shared their frustration when they had to created items in the Online Store all over again.

By looking into the data of Merchant Category Codes in 2020, Retail was the biggest group from all items created, no big surprise here. However, service-based merchants represented a whopping 43% of all items created and that includes e.g. Professional Services, Craftsmen, Beauty & Barber. Gastro users were surprisingly low. This fresh look on products vs. services led to the renaming to "items", as "products" resonated less with service providers.

MVP Early 2021

The Unified Item Catalog MVP had these core ideas:
✅ – Create a dedicated space for items and categories
✅ – Sync items across all sales channels and platforms
✅ – Build it 1x, not 3x times (for POS, Online Store, Invoices)
✅ – All required fields come first: item name, price, tax rate
✅ – Add swipe gestures for convenience
✅ – Keep enablement in settings for MVP, remove later

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The improvements for Unified Item Catalog were rolled out gradually starting from January 2021. In a time period of 12 months, the number of transacting Item Catalog users nearly doubled, TPV of items grew by 2.2x, and the completion rate of saving items increased from ~40% to ~70% across all platforms.