Have you ever wondered why some products consistently appear in Amazon searches, while others barely get any visibility? Or why some product listings seem to lead to high rates of sales, while others get clicks and nothing more?
In many cases, these differences—the differences between a brand that makes it on Amazon and one that doesn’t—come down to the Amazon listing optimization.
What is an Amazon listing? And what does it mean to optimize it?
An Amazon product listing, or product page, is the page within Amazon’s platform that tells customers everything they need to know about a given product. The product page features images and videos of the product, brand-created promotional content, a product description, technical details, questions and answers, and customer reviews. Most importantly, the product page features the Buy Box.
Amazon listing optimization is the process of optimizing your listing content, reviews, advertising strategy, and product visibility to increase both traffic and conversion. This process doesn’t have to be complicated—you’ve done your job if a consumer can find your product, identify it, understand what it is and what it does, and envision themselves using it.
Why should you optimize your Amazon listings?
The answer to this question is simple: if you want to sell your product on Amazon, you need to optimize your product listings. Ecommerce isn’t like in-person shopping: customers can’t touch the product, smell it, read the packaging, or visualize its size. Optimized product listings let you recreate the retail experience for online shoppers, ensuring they have all the information they need to make a purchase. These listings help your product stand out and ensure your brand messaging is consistent.
Additionally, more than 350 million products are sold on Amazon, creating near-endless competition. Even if you have a top-notch product, you won’t have much luck selling it if shoppers can’t find it. Optimized product listings help your shoppers find your product among a sea of competitors and ultimately make the decision to purchase.
What’s the consumer decision journey, and where does optimized content come into play?
We can’t talk about the importance of Amazon listing optimization without also discussing the consumer decision journey. The consumer decision journey is the decision-making process that consumers work through when deciding which product to purchase.
As a seller, if you want a consumer’s journey to eventually end in the purchase of your product, there are four ecommerce elements you need to perfect: availability, findability, conversion, and post-purchase. Listing optimization comes into play in every step, and below we’ll explain how.
Availability is the first factor you need to consider when you’ve decided to optimize your Amazon listings. When it comes to availability’s role in listing optimization, there are two key points: inventory availability and Buy Box ownership. You could have the most beautiful images in the world on your product page, but if your product listing is suppressed because you’re out of stock or losing the Buy Box, nothing else matters.
Inventory availability is self-explanatory: for your Amazon listing to stay ranked and visible, your products must always remain in stock. Surprisingly, many sellers fail to consider how to keep their products in stock and manage their inventory flow. But when you stock out on Amazon, you lose your Amazon sales ranking, which loses you credibility and makes your product difficult to find.
The other aspect of availability is winning the Buy Box. One product typically has multiple Amazon vendors, but only one vendor at a time can own the Buy Box and get sales. As a seller, owning the Buy Box is one of the best ways to minimize returns and customer dissatisfaction. When you own the Buy Box, customers are purchasing the product through your storefront, and they’re likely seeing the content that you want to show them, not content from competing sellers. Generally speaking, and with some exceptions, customers only see the product listing content of the seller that owns the Buy Box.
Once your products are in stock and you’re winning the Buy Box, you’ve completed the first step of Amazon listing optimization. The next step, findability, is ensuring your customer can find your listings. Findability involves both your organic presence and your advertising presence.
Simply put, when a customer searches a keyword on Amazon, Amazon shows the products that have the best track record of selling for that keyword. Amazon wants to provide a great user experience to consumers, so it’s going off of historical success. To focus on your organic presence, you need to make sure you’re ranking for the core keywords your product represents to your consumers.
For your product to eventually rank in keyword searches, the first step is making sure you’re incorporating core keywords into your product listings. Whether you implement SEO for Amazon or not has a big impact on whether your products are findable. Your title is the most important factor—you need to hone in on your target keywords in your product title. It’s also important to include your target keywords in your bullet points, description, backend keywords, alternate text in images, and your A+ content.
The other half of findability is advertising. It’s critical to create an advertising strategy that utilizes all of Amazon’s advertising options to your benefit.
Once you’ve driven traffic to your product detail page, either through organic presence or advertising campaigns, your next goal is conversion. If your advertising campaign is leading to many clicks but few sales, it’s time to pivot. Your listing optimization strategy may need to change to reconsider which keywords you’re advertising for or what shoppers see on your product detail page.
Aside from a disconnect in advertising campaigns, the most important factor to conversion is your product detail page. Like we touched on earlier, this page is full of opportunities for content. Content on the product detail page is broken down into both above-the-fold content and below-the-fold content.
Above-the-fold content is the most important to conversion and includes your title, bullet points, and image stack. If you’re going to spend your time on your product detail page, your time will be best spent perfecting your above-the-fold content. As a study by the Nielsen Norman Group put it, “Users do scroll, but only if what’s above the fold is promising enough.”
When choosing your image stack strategy, treat your images like bullet points: ensure they address the main idea of the product and remain readable. Your main image should be clear and specific to your product, and your additional images should be used as opportunities to sell the product to the consumer in a very simplistic way.
You should utilize every slot available in your stack, and images should be high-quality and professional. Share the best possible angles of your product, use real people in your images, and include lifestyle photos of your products in use. Avoid overloading your images with content, using redundant images, and using fonts that are difficult to read.
Your product title and bullet points are your opportunity to insert keywords that are relevant to your consumer. To do this effectively, you need to understand your product on such a deep level that you understand what your target audiences are looking for. Sometimes, the keywords you think are most relevant to your product aren’t actually the ones most relevant to your consumers.
Below-the-fold you get more liberty to express yourself as a brand and dive deeper into the product. If your consumer is 90% sold on your product based on above-the-fold content, you can close the gap with the below-the-fold content. This is where you’ll find the product description, A+ content, additional videos, and customer ratings and reviews.
Customer reviews are important to optimizing your product listing page. Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. These reviews are also an excellent place to gain customer feedback and help you improve your product. If you see recurring themes of features that your customers praise, you can capitalize on these features in your above-the-fold content.
Although it may be surprising, optimizing your Amazon listings doesn’t end with conversion.
Customer satisfaction is key to keeping your listings optimized. You want your customers to have a good experience both on the product side and the seller storefront side. This experience shows in your product reviews. That’s why it’s important to continually evaluate reviews, adjust your product when necessary, and respond to all customer service questions and complaints as quickly and professionally as possible.
A good indication of a healthy post-purchase process is repeat customers. Purchase behavior is related and also important—how often do your customers purchase your products? Options like Amazon Subscribe & Save help boost customer satisfaction because products ship quickly and easily.
As you can see, optimizing your Amazon product listings is about a lot more than just creating quality content for your listing page. If you can make sure your product is always in stock, consistently win the Buy Box, drive traffic to your product detail pages, create content that converts, and give your customers a positive post-purchase experience, then your listing pages will attract traffic and drive conversion.
It may seem like all of this requires a great operations team, a top-notch content team, great management from a product perspective team, and a responsive customer service team. Making the simple act of optimizing amazon listings overwhelming and difficult for brands to do on their own, especially with a small e-commerce team. But that’s where Pattern comes in: our world-class teams can help you perfect every element of your ecommerce strategy and polish your product listings. No, really. Interested in a free consultation? Contact Pattern today.