Whether you like it or not, if you’re a manufacturer selling a product in 2021, that product is going to end up on Amazon.
Online B2B sales platforms have seen explosive growth over the past few years, and sellers looking for opportunity are paying close attention, including your own VARs. VARs are flocking to Amazon to create product listings and sell products, but far too many of them have no idea what they’re doing.
While this might seem harmless, VARs who are thoughtless about their listings and ill-equipped to navigate Amazon can indirectly harm the reputation and growth of the brands they’re representing. Even the best B2B brands in the world are negatively impacted by VARs misrepresenting their products online.
So what’s the secret to avoiding that? It starts with knowing the difference between a good listing and a bad one.
A brand with a good Amazon presence incorporates best practices into their listings. These are just a few of the best practices that can elevate a listing.
Brands with good listings leverage their product title by including long-tail keywords that can put their product at the top of organic search rankings and reach customers who might not otherwise be able to find them on Amazon.
Many brands lose their buyers’ attention by having too much information cluttering their product descriptions. Great product descriptions incorporate bullet points, which are far more concise than big paragraphs and allow buyers to quickly scan listings for the most important information about a product.
Research shows that 84% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That means that in order to stand out, you need to have product reviews and you need a customer experience so stellar that customers are more likely to leave good reviews. Good reviews can also be showcased on your listing to give other buyers the social proof that your product is worth buying.
Less is most definitely not more when it comes to listing imagery. A good rule of thumb is to have around seven images in your stack that allow consumers to get a complete view of the product. A good listing also has high quality images.
Good listings give consumers a full view and understanding of the product, and a great way to do that is to include 3D renderings. 3D renderings make listings more eye-catching, and they also allow consumers to engage with products in the digital equivalent way to touching and feeling them in-store.
Like 3D renderings, video is a fantastic way to engage customers and give them a full understanding of what your product will look like and how it will function once they have it in-hand. Think of it as one extra layer of trust and education.
When a price on a product is too low, customers distrust it, and when it’s too high, customers won’t buy it. A good product listing has a reasonable price, and that price doesn’t change dramatically often, and doesn’t change drastically if buyers shop around between sites and physical retail locations.
Now that you have an idea of what it looks like when a brand is doing listings right, here’s what it looks like when a brand is doing listings wrong.
Sonicwall is a six-time award winner in the Network Product Guide’s 2020 IT World Awards, but looking at this particular lack-lustre listing for their Network Security Appliance, you wouldn’t know it. For starters, this listing lacks the long-tailed keywords we mentioned previously that brands need to rank on page one of the Amazon search results. That means that potential new customers who don’t know about Sonicwall likely aren’t finding their product on Amazon. This listing also only has one product image instead of the seven which is considered best practice, and it lacks the necessary bullet points and descriptions needed to educate Sonicwall customers.
Bad listings aren’t a problem reserved for small and little-known brands. Some of the best B2B tech brands in the world struggle with their listings. This particular example comes from a B2B brand well known for their product excellence: Cisco.
In the listing above we can see that there’s a bit more information about the product than in Sonicwall’s listing, but not much. While they have three images in their stack, all of those images appear to be the exact same image, giving customers a limited understanding of the product.
But the biggest issue with this particular product listing is the price. Historically, pricing on this listing has been all over the place and in no way consistent with MAP. Inconsistent pricing is a very common issue on Amazon, because the lowest price tends to be the one that “wins the buy box” or gets the sale on Amazon, but this is a misrepresentation of the brand and their image.
The issues with this listing from Axis are pretty obvious. Although they have a great product rating, the page gives very little information in the way of educating their consumers. The imagery only shows the packaging and, like the Cisco example above, all of the images are duplicates. There is a lot to be desired in the way of customer experience.
Fortinet shares similar problems with the last three brands. On this product listing, they only have one image, and they’ve committed the cardinal listing image sin: it’s blurry. There is not much in the way of product description or bullet points, the pricing is less than MAP, and the product doesn’t have any reviews, leaving consumers with very little information on why they should choose Fortinet over competitors.
HP is another well-known brand that has an underwhelming Amazon listing. Even though this Print Server is high ranking in search results—you can see from the URL that its search rank is row one, slot three—the listing itself has some issues that render that ranking almost useless for the brand. They need to get more reviews, the majority of the few reviews they have are poor, they only have one image in their stack, and they also have no product description. Shoppers might be able to find this product on Amazon, but they won’t know anything about it and won’t be convinced to buy.
These examples, all from fantastic B2B tech brands, really depict the issue we see in the B2B ecommerce market. All of these brands have put time, effort, and money behind protecting their brand and its image, but because their products are listed on Amazon, and most likely not managed by a VAR with marketplace experience, the brand is cheapened and looks second-rate instead of the first class prestige these brands are known for.
Working with a VAR who understands Amazon well and knows how to leverage listings is key to doing well on the platform, and Pattern can be that VAR for your brand. At Pattern, we’re Amazon experts who work with brands to provide an exceptional customer experience across online channels. We consolidate every support tool and consultation you need into one package that includes marketing, SEO, shipping, customer experience, and marketplace expertise, saving you money and helping you grow your business.
To learn how Pattern can help your B2B tech brand create dazzling listings and grow online, get a custom demo for more information.
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