Amazon

How to List Products on Amazon

Listing a product on Amazon is simultaneously the most important and most underappreciated tool in an Amazon vendor’s arsenal. A properly listed item will practically win the “Buy Button” on its own without the need for bloating your product page with superlatives, gimmicky catchphrases or even a presence outside of the Amazon marketplace. This blog will take you through the checklist of creating a strong listing in a manner that answers your questions without having to delve through hours of reading to get the full picture.

*An Important Note About Product Pages*

Amazon has a catalog which contains products from tens of thousands of businesses. This means that for the sake of the customer, as well as ease of use for vendors, they have consolidated many of these products into singular “Product Pages”. Therefore, when two vendors list an item with the same “Product Identifier” (e.g. SKU, EAN, ISBN), they will be consolidated into a single page.

*Only the original person to upload the product identifier, whom Amazon calls the “Page Owner”, may edit the metadata of the product. If you have edits you would like made to one of these pages, you must contact Amazon directly since you cannot directly contact the Page Owner.

What Makes a Good Product Listing?

All products on Amazon are listed as a “page” instead of an individual item. Each page is used by any vendor listing the same item. The following image is a page that a customer would see at the time of this blog’s writing. To help simplify the criteria Amazon desires on these pages, I will cover this particular page piece by piece to help you visualize the concepts. To keep the concepts from cluttering, I have broken this blog into sections; focussing on the most important general ideas using images containing red highlights. Make sure to check the links as well, as they will assist in answering your questions!

Selecting and Preparing Your Image(s)

*a typical product page*

*a typical product page*

First, let’s look at the section that most consumers gravitate to before even opening the page itself. I want you to focus on a few elements of these images that uphold Amazon’s standards:

  1. The image contains a white background.

  2. These are supporting images which showcase the product at different angles.

  3. There are images of accessories/individual components of the product set.

Image_Examples.png

With those three primary criteria in mind, you can begin to create your product images. If you aren’t taking dedicated photographs with the purpose of Amazon listings in mind, I would suggest making use of Adobe Photoshop (or alternatively the Open Source program GIMP) to make sure your images are up to snuff.

Titling Your Product

 

Giving your product a title will instinctively feel as if you can slap anything down and customers will find your item(s) on Amazon. While the name of the listing is still pretty simplistic, you should keep in mind a few points. This token listing showcases a well-made title for a product:

Title_Example.png

Note the order in which the title is presented as this is the recommended format:

  1. Brand name

  2. Product model

  3. Key features (size, color, etc.)

  4. The product name (for this image, the “Roku Smart LED TV”)

  5. Additional key identifiers (differentiating the sub-series, such as “2017 Model,” can help a customer find your item. Many customers want a specific item, meaning that any ambiguity can lose a sale)

Don’t make your title too complex. Keep to the keywords which a customer would use to search for your product, and leave the rest to the description itself. After all, there’s a reason that your listing is a full page!

Writing Your Product Description

Your title has already done the job of helping prospective customers locate your product, but now your product page needs to explain what makes your product special.

The product description should be able to answer almost all of your customer’s potential questions so that they don’t have to ask you or leave the page to find the answers. Your description is also a powerful tool towards gaining traffic from Google (as opposed to only Amazon) so don’t underestimate how important it is!

Description_Example.png
  • Avoid superlatives at all costs!

The reason I am making this the first point is because it appears unprofessional. Anyone can say their product is “good” or “tough” but, ultimately, it’s all subjective to the customers’ opinions. If you sell mailboxes, your “durable” wooden frame is objectively weaker than that of an iron mailbox. Even wood has variables, as White Oak isn’t as durable as African Rosewood. Keep the adjectives in check and the customer will appreciate being allowed to decide for themselves what a product’s strengths are.

*Please note that the example image’s “Smart” TV is a category, not an adjective.*

  • Notate all dimensions, the weight, and specs.

Your product description should leave little to the imagination in terms of what the product is capable of and what the product comes with when ordered. Does your product offer certain ports for additional compatibility? Is there a special material used in the grip? Was it designed with aluminum to keep the weight down? Tell your customer! Just as Amazon has criteria, so does your consumer base. Help them make the right choice because making the right choice helps with making a quicker sale as well as building a referral base.

  • Make sure to keep the variations (colors, sizes, etc.) out of the description.

The product variations will have their own section in the product listing, as shown in the example pictures (see the size and style differences in example listing) This can be colors or a few other options. We will be covering how to create these listings in its own blog.

Additional Points of Discussion and Tips

We now know the core essentials for creating a new product listing on Amazon. However, there are a few topics which aren’t part of every product page or aren’t expansive enough to warrant a full section, but still are important to address. These points are:

  • Just in case some of you skipped the introduction, I wanted to address page ownership. Some products will already have an existing page, which is owned by another party. Do not be afraid to use an existing product page, and make note of the existing ASIN/Title used by Amazon. If you find that you aren’t the first to create a product and that there are errors on the page, you will need to contact Amazon directly by following these guidelines. Read through the page a couple times to make sure you understand what information Amazon wants from you.

  • Use the “Fulfilled By Amazon” or “FBA” service! 3rd party fulfillment centers are generally more expensive, and you run the risk of accountability. FBA also helps you win the “Buy Box”, so there are too many upsides for most businesses to turn down. Keep in mind that you are accountable for any mistakes made by a 3rd party you are involved with unless it’s FBA.

  • Some categories aren’t unlocked to the seller by default and your products may need to be sold in one or more of those categories. These categories will require approval directly from Amazon, which you can find instructions here on setting up your request(s).

  • You need to keep the ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number, or Amazon’s assigned version of an SKU/EAN) logged with each product in your inventory spreadsheet. This will help you communicate issues with Amazon down the road, and more importantly, help you identify products quickly and accurately when interacting with customers.

  • Study what your competition is doing on their pages as well as the formatting for popular items sold on Amazon. Determine if the product pages from your competition are on par with the quality of pages you see for popular products. If they are, attempt to emulate their choices in your original product pages (e.g. If you sell a type of leaf blower that no one else sells, research how other leaf blowers are presented!). This will help ensure you aren’t missing points and helps takes some stress off your shoulders.

  • Browse the Amazon Seller Central Forums for nuanced tips and discussions. Even if you sell using Advantage, the Seller Central forums will have solid advice geared toward how you present your products, as well as how to manage your interactions with Amazon and customers.

  • Stay on top of your message center and returns! Arguably your #1 priority. Once you begin selling, you should be on top of addressing all requests for communication with your business through Amazon. Being as much as 1-2 days late in your responses can be detrimental to the overall health of your account, on top of your company potentially receiving poor reviews from unhappy customers. Don’t let small issues such as replying to messages compound into an unrecoverable flag on your account.

  • Always keep your inventory up to date! Amazon and other services can assist you in maintaining your stock levels but, ultimately, it’s your responsibility to keep products in stock. Update your spreadsheets, programs, your Amazon seller accounts, and keep on top of any 3rd party fulfillment centers.

Amazon puts the customer first in most circumstances; it’s what keeps them at the top of the food chain. Understand that Amazon views sellers as having a privilege to sell on Amazon, not a right. Don’t patronize, don’t attempt to argue, simply take responsibility for your actions and ensure that mistakes aren’t made.

What Have We Learned?

  • All writing on Amazon shares the same ruleset, both in your product pages and correspondence with Amazon or customers. Keep your writing brief, concise, and do not patronize or embellish.

  • Products are sold on pages which can be shared by multiple sellers. You can win the “Buy Button” on these pages by following Amazon’s product criteria, enlisting in the “Fulfilled By Amazon” service, and by keeping on top of communications from Amazon or customers.

  • Your company is ultimately responsible for all issues pertaining to your sales, with few, nuanced exceptions. Amazon isn’t welcoming of the attitude of using their platform to learn how to sell. If you are using Amazon as your first ecommerce outlet, make sure to study up and ask questions on the forums when needed.

  • Always maintain your inventory and logs as close to real-time as you possibly can. This prevents issues from compounding down the road.


Check out these other articles about selling on Amazon:

Top 5 Things You Can Do To Be A Top Seller On Amazon

Amazon is one of those household names that isn’t restricted to any specific demographic of people. Buyers of all professions, locations, ethnicities, cultures, and hobbies shop at all hours of the day. All of us are aware of the seemingly infinite number of products available and know that it can be overwhelming to discover the best option when looking at competing products.

Amazon’s solution to customers feeling bombarded with options is to challenge companies to win the “Buy Button” on a product in addition to the general refinement options such as prices and ratings. This means that companies can no longer simply list items and hope that the good name of the product wins their buyers - they must actively compete to be the favored in the marketplace in order to attract with consistency. Not only does this prevent a general monopoly from being established, but it forces companies to strive to outperform the competition.

While the “Buy Button” is an extremely powerful option to strive for, your performance shouldn’t be based solely on achieving the button. Amazon maintains strong rulesets about who they allow selling as it is Amazon’s marketplace and Amazon’s reputation at stake when a vendor fails to perform. It is easy for small companies looking to enter the fray to make mistakes on Amazon, simply due to not having done research or by continuing habits that are permissible for small companies acting independently. Many companies have had their selling permissions revoked for issues which Amazon views as baseline necessities which the small vendors viewed as over the top. With this “do or die” environment, expect to be ready to perform at an extremely professional level. Here are some tips to help you capitalize on Amazon’s reach without getting on their bad side:


1) Actively read then POLITELY and PROMPTLY respond to your customers’ messages.

I wanted to keep this point at the top as it’s an issue which surprisingly crops up constantly within the small business community. I, as well as several of my colleagues, have witnessed businesses who are late to respond, condescending to their customers, and sometimes even flat-out never respond to queries. Sure, some customers will be rude or may not properly phrase their questions, but this doesn’t excuse a professional from employing proper etiquette in response. Keep to the message tame and explain as concisely as you can what the solution your company will provide is going to be. Respond within a 24-hour window, even during the weekends. Add the appropriate apps to your phone to check your messages, or even hire a dedicated staff member to handle all customer relations. Make sure to respond concisely, quickly, and politely. Amazon prioritizes its customer base, and in turn, you should be matching their priorities to ensure all parties involved are happy.

 

2) Have either an extremely reliable form of fulfillment, or use Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA)

Similar to how point #1 is repeatedly offended by small businesses, the concept of quick and reliable fulfillment to the customer isn’t always a priority for some business owners. With Amazon, you should keep in mind that the direction they want to take with all products is their “Prime” selection, which offers 2-day shipping to subscribed customers. Aim to make sure that your fulfillment center is processing purchases and shipping *the same day* whenever possible. FBA is the most surefire way to ensure success, as it’s done by Amazon themselves. Not only are you insured reliable service for yourself, but you’ll be on Amazon’s good side for working side by side with them.

 

3) Keep your products in stock.

There’s a novelty idea that selling out of a product means it looks good to potential buyers who see that the demand has actually overcome the supply. In general, and ESPECIALLY when it comes to Amazon, running out of stock causes customers and Amazon both to view your company as someone who’s unprepared for the appropriate volume of orders. If you DO have a limited stock which cannot be replenished quickly, make sure you are properly maintaining inventory on both your data management programs AND AMAZON ITSELF!!! It’s easy to update one but not the other, so make sure you or your employee is disciplined in ensuring BOTH are always up to date to avoid being dinged for late shipments, A-Z claims, or chargebacks.

 

4) All product listings must be as accurate as humanly possible.

For those with a smaller volume of products, this point seems rather obvious and something that has no downside. Those with a large volume of products (several hundred or more) will see that creating and editing massive bulks of products can be tedious and be viewed as pricey, especially if having to hire multiple data-entry staff members. As with any other portion of your online sales strategies, you cannot afford to drop quality on even the small details such as listing your products with accurate descriptions and photographs. Customers have been trained to look for stock photo quality images and descriptions which have long detailed descriptions as well as bullet points to evaluate the product without having to leave the page. Amazon provides fantastic details on listing your products to their standards, and there are non-official Amazon resources created by super-users which will help break down all the mentioned and unsaid criteria which Amazon operates with.

 

5) Use the available resources to maintain strong account health and ratings.

With Amazon being such a huge multinational business, there are users and official staff worldwide who have provided resources tailored to nuances in the Amazon workflow. Here is a list of some (but not all!) powerful tools to help you understand how to optimally perform on Amazon:

  • Amazon Seller Central Forum. Seller Central is considered Amazon’s “elite” sellers. Go to the forums occasionally and read up on the various topics presented by the users. Some will be proactive and help you understand how to improve, and others will be mistakes made by other businesses which will help you avoid making mistakes which can be detrimental to your seller account’s health. Several of the users have posted thousands of replies, so make sure to keep an eye out for them in particular.

  • Amazon's FAQ for Vendors: You can go to Amazon’s vendor FAQ to learn about anything to do with listing your products. You will notice that there are several other options on the tables on the left side of the screen; I would suggest using these to understand all components of Amazon’s operation so that your account health isn’t tainted by being ignorant of the rules.

  • Amazon's Buyer-Seller Messaging Service Guidelines: Amazon has provided their guidelines and general how-to for vendors sending messages or replying to buyers. This messaging method allows you to directly respond via their user interface, or even route emails to and from your email of choice through their system to allow ease-of-use while maintaining the appropriate level of security for both the buyers and vendors involved.

  • Amazon's "Fulfilled By Amazon" (FBA): Amazon’s fulfillment is one of the strongest choices you can make for your business if you don’t have an already tried-and-true fulfillment option of your own. You send them some inventory, and they’ll ship everything for you without any hassle. FBA sends you inventory updates and requests so that you are always in stock with them, and even helps you ship for platforms outside of Amazon itself (such as your company’s website). The page linked contains information about all of the frequently asked questions directed to FBA.