In theory, it’s easy to list products on Amazon. There are literally millions of product listings out there on the site.
Though the vast number of listings is evidence that it’s relatively easy to list a product, it’s also proof that the competition for customers is steep.
In this saturated market, how do you make your products stand out? What’s the difference between a regular Amazon product listing and a listing that’s optimized for success? How do you optimize? Which fields in the listing count?
Optimizing as a Best Practice for Small Business Owners
Google clocks in as the world’s most powerful search engine, with billions of searches performed by consumers around the world each day. As most of us know from personal experience, search engine results dictate the way that many of us decide where and how they will spend their money.
By the time you get to the listing stage, you will already have your Amazon UPC codes. And you’ll likely already be knee-deep in the depths of running a small business.
That being said, there is no better way to spend your time as an e-commerce entrepreneur than optimizing your product listings.
Not only do optimized listings allow customers to actually find your products on Amazon, they can also help you advance the rate of your conversions.
All of this results in better profit potential for you. Optimization gives you a better bottom line.
Think of Amazon listings as a template that you can fill in as you please. Within each listing, you have opportunities to optimize each area:
- Information about the product
When customers enjoy interacting with your product listings, they may be happier with your product, and even leave you a positive review.
Optimization is a win-win situation.
What You Need to Know About Product Listings
Whether you are dealing with retail arbitrage or private label, every listing has the same basic components. It’s important to optimize each of these iteratively.
In other words, optimization is not a one-time task that you can check off. Optimization is a process of continuous improvement.
Components of every Amazon listing include the following:
- Title of the product
- Photos or other images of the product
- Description of the product
- List of the product’s key features
- Rating of the product
- Customer reviews
Evaluating Your Current Product Listings
As with any optimization opportunity, the first thing you should do is to gauge where you are now. How well do your current Amazon product listings stand up to the test?
Examining the components of each of your current listings against best practices can give you an idea of the most important areas of focus. Each of the components has special guidelines, which we’ve outlined below for your convenience.
Product TitlesDo you ever see products on Amazon with long titles? These vendors are taking advantage of the room that the Amazon title affords them.
Mosts Amazon titles allow you up to 250 character, which translates to roughly 50 words. It’s in your interest to use all of the room that you have! The title is a perfect place to include optimized keywords and other important information about the product.
Other considerations include the following:
- Put keywords into your title as well as the product description. These keywords may “count” differently if included in the title. If you’re not sure which keywords to use, there are tons of online resources that can help you choose the best keyword selections for your product.
- That being said, make sure that your title is optimized to be readable by human beings. Nothing looks stranger than a title that isn’t designed for the human eye. Think about running the title by a few friends or colleagues to see what they think.
- Include value-added details. Does your product have a special feature? What is it made out of? Is it especially durable? Going the extra mile here is how your listing can stand out from the competitors. Consumers want to know about your product. Give them the information they need right in the title.
It’s very likely that you will not able to include every detail you want to in your product title. This is why writing the title is a practice in prioritizing the most important information and the details that the customers need the most. Luckily, the product listing has several other fields for you to use to your company’s advantage.
You probably know that you should include some kind of photo of your product, but an optimization point that many entrepreneurs tend to forget is to include as many photos as possible of the item. Photos are key to any e-commerce venture since consumers are not able to hold the product in their hands.
Amazon allows you to upload up to nine images of the product per listing. You should take advantage of every single spot!
If you upload only a single photo, you are using only 11% of the total visual real estate available to you on your product listing.
Have you run out of ideas? Creativity goes a long way here. Upload photos of your project from every angle, yes, but make sure to include some other perspectives on the product as well.
Consider including the following kinds of images:
- Zoomed-in and zoomed-out photos of your product so that customers can see it up close as well as get the big picture. Using a quality camera and proper lighting is important.
- Photos of the product’s packaging. How will it look when it arrives in the mail? Is there a carrying case? An instruction manual?
- Lifestyle photos of people actually using the project. What does it look like as it’s used?
- Photos of the project in front of a simple white background. This is important for credibility. The last thing you want is for customers to feel deceived, or for the product to lack a feature they thought was there originally. Make sure to photograph all parts of the product.
- Photos of the product that display its scale and size. A photo of the product that includes a person can be one way to showcase a product’s scale. If you are offering multiple sizes of the same product, you may want to photograph them side-by-side to display scale.
- Infographics are another way to display size and scale. Creating a diagram that charts the size and shape of the project can help give potential customers more information.
Before taking any photos, it’s wise to consider whether hiring a professional photographer is worth the cost. It very well may be!
Common sense dictates that people are more likely to purchase a product if they feel like they have a good sense of what it looks like. Hiring a professional photographer may be cheaper than you expect, and good photos are almost certain to have a positive impact on your Amazon sales. Spending money on professional photos may actually make you money.
Features of the ProductThis “features” area is a list of bullet points as well as an opportunity to add value to your product. What differentiates you from the competition?
Your bullet pointed list of features has a 1,000 character maximum length, so like the title, you’ll need to work to get the most bang for your buck per word.
The product features are an opportunity to answer customer questions such as the following:
- What materials is the product made out of?
- Why should I buy this product from your company instead of one from the competitors?
- When I purchase this product, what is included (accessories, coupons for further purchases, etc.)?
- Are there any guarantees or warranties included with the product? How can this product help me or solve a problem I’m having?
Prioritize the most important features: remember, many customers simply won’t read to the end of the list.
The features section is a great example of why optimization is a process that continues to evolve over time. The feedback you get from customers will inform how you craft and re-craft your product features section.
Description of the Product
If the features are a quick rundown of your product’s highlights, the description is an opportunity to go in-depth. Running at a limit of 2,000 characters, the description allows you to flesh out more of the details about the product for consumers who like to do their research.
Optimizing written content for the web is all about readability. Your Amazon product description is no different.
The description is a longer narrative about the product, and there are important opportunities for optimization.
A few guidelines to keep in mind as you write and revise the product description include the following:
- Describe the benefits that the product will provide to customers. No matter your product, customers are interested in something that will improve their lives in some way.
- Keep sentences short and snappy. We all have busy lives, so the more concise your description, the better.
- That being said, use all of the real estate available to you in the “Description” field. If you are running out of things to say, read some other product descriptions on Amazon to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
- Strive for total readability. As with the product title, you want to include keywords in the product description, but don’t sacrifice readability for keywords.
- Keep it narrative. You are telling a story, and every reader loves a story. Leading with a story is one way to keep potential customers reading, and ultimately, to purchase your product.
- Be mindful of your tone. The tone and style of your description should be friendly, but not too informal. Keep it informative, but warm. Consumers are looking to purchase from a company they feel they can trust.
How to Deal with ReviewsAlthough you cannot ask customers for incentivized reviews due to Amazon’s regulations, reviews still are vital to your Amazon listing.
This means that you cannot offer a customer a reward in return for a review. You can, however, encourage previous customers to consider leaving a review to describe their customer experience.
Customers rely on reviews to feel confidence in your company and to understand that they can rely on the product. As an entrepreneur starting out on Amazon, it can feel like garnering reviews is an impossible task. Over time, though, this will get easier.
Here are a few steps you can take to encourage reviews:
- Provide an excellent experience to every customer. A high level of consistency drives the likelihood that customers will review your product. A good customer experience is an optimization that money can’t buy.
- Implement some quality control measures to ensure that all customers are receiving an optimal experience. This process will look different depending on the nature of your company, but no matter your field or company size, you can conduct quality control.
- Set up automated email campaigns so that customers stay in the loop about when and how their product will arrive. According to Amazon’s Terms of Service, you cannot ask for reviews in conjunction with a promotion. You can, however, ask for feedback in regular automated emails about the product the customer has already purchased.
Customer Ratings and Your ProductHow many stars has your product accrued already? If your product is in the 4-star or 5-star, keep up the good work!
If you have a rating that is any lower, that means there is a disconnect between customer expectations and the experience you’ve been delivering.
This can be a hard pill to swallow, but being real about customer experience is essential to the success of your venture.
As any entrepreneur knows (especially those who deal in e-sales), there is no way to completely avoid negative ratings. However, taking into account legitimate critical feedback will only help your company.
A couple of steps you can take to address negative customer ratings include the following:
- Do what you can to accrue more reviews and ratings. This includes implementing an automated email campaign so that customers know what’s going on with the product they’ve ordered, and so they can complete a review.
- Address any legitimate issues that customers are having. When we face the facts, we can admit that no company is perfect. Customer ratings are actually a good opportunity to see if customers are receiving the experience you have designed for them.
Optimizing Your URL
One last (often hidden) area of potential optimization is the URL of your product. Including keywords in your URL can help drive sales. This opportunity will present itself as you setup your product listing.
Checking Your Optimization: Did It Work?
Searching Amazon for your keywords after you optimize your product listing is important. These kinds of searches are the best way to see if your strategies worked.
If you are not ranking for a keyword, go back to your listing and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the keyword actually included?
- Are there any typos, misspellings, or rogue commas?
- Is the keyword included in your product’s title/features?
- Are all the fields of your Amazon product listing complete?
Split testing is another way to check out what is working and what isn’t. There are several products on the market that can provide you with a split test on your Amazon product listing. This data works best when it is studied over time.
So I’ve Optimized: Now What?Optimizing each and every component of your product listing will help your product rank better over time.
But as mentioned before, it’s important to do continuous checks on your optimization. What works now may need to be adjusted down the line, especially as you compete in a dynamic online market.
Whether you’re new to selling on Amazon, or whether Amazon e-commerce is old hat to you by now, there are likely optimization opportunities that you haven’t had the chance to take advantage of yet.
When you have a great product, online sales is all about getting in front of customers and communicating the experience you will provide them. We hope that these tips help you get your product into as many hands as possible.