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7 Data-Backed Steps to Optimize Your Amazon Listing

Last Updated April 28, 2021

🛒This is a guest post from our friends at Sellerly. Sellerly provides Amazon sellers with tools to scale their sales.

You can tell the difference between a poor and a successful listing with the naked eye. So, when it comes to listing optimization, a lot of sellers rely on intuition, common sense, and advice. 

Sellerly did a data study on this topic by taking at random 100 best-seller and 100  non-bestseller listings across 18 categories, and running these through their Listing Quality Check tool to find out what differentiates the former from the latter. 

In the article below we translated our findings into actionable recommendations and added some hacks to help you pave your way into Amazon’s Bestseller List.

1. Start with an Informative Title

The information you provide in the title of your listing should not just provide the potential buyer with key information about the product (e.g. brand, model, size, quantity, colors etc.) but persuade them to move forward towards the purchase. 

Amazon allows you to create titles up to 250 characters long, but that doesn’t mean you need to use all of them. 

We found that most bestseller listing titles  had 108 characters and non-bestsellers had 110. There were also some category-related specifics, e.g. in those categories that required technical details (cameras, cell phone cases, computers, etc.) the titles tended to be longer,  reaching 151 characters. In addition, almost 80% of the top listings started their titles with brand names.

The general recommendation for a title is to make it descriptive and easy to comprehend. And, of course, you can always begin it with your key phrase or leverage questions people ask about your product. 

Data-driven hacks:

  • Try to write all your titles in some kind of standard format, e.g. brand name, color, size.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word in the title, but avoid using ALL CAPS or capitalizing conjunctions (and, or, for), articles (the, a, an), or prepositions with fewer than five letters (in, on, over, with).
  • Don't use non-language (Æ, ©, ™, or ®) or special characters (~ ! * $ ? _ ~ { } # < > | * ; ^ ¬ ¦).
  • To save space, write all numbers as numerals and use commas to make large numbers easy to read. 
  • Don’t put your name down as the brand or manufacturer unless you genuinely own the product.
  • Don’t turn your title into a promo offer. Avoid phrases like ‘free shipping’ or ‘100% quality.’

2. Add a Clear Description

The product description lets you demonstrate your product’s excellence compared to competing products. 

Amazon gives you 2,000 characters to explain to shoppers what your product is and how it works. We didn't find anything remarkable when analyzing this section, however the descriptions of almost 100% of the top ASINs we looked at were very close to the above character  limit. These descriptions also didn’t contain any sellers’ names, emails, website URLs, or promotional or shipping information.

Data-driven hacks:

  • Use short sentences to make your description easy to read. 
  • Start each sentence with a capital letter.
  • Focus on the product’s strengths, but don’t make false promises. 

3. Make the Most of Your Bullets

The bullet points section is another place where you can highlight your product features and talk about its benefits. Bullets also play an important role in listing indexing. So we weren’t surprised to see all available bullet points used in both bestselling and non-bestselling listings.

Each bullet point can contain up to 15 words and 500 characters max. Amazon guidelines strongly recommend sticking to shorter bullets, but we found quite a number  exceeded the 200-character average for better performance. 50% of the top listings even sacrificed the ending punctuation (hyphens, symbols, periods and exclamation points) to add more text. However, in such categories as Baby, Pet Supplies, and Industrial/Scientific over 70% of top listings’ bullet points were under 200 characters.

Data-driven hacks:

  • Start each bullet point with a capital letter but don’t use all capitals.
  • Avoid symbols, hyphens, and exclamation points.
  • To save space, write all numbers as numerals and use commas to make large numbers easy to read. 
  • Remove all promotional, pricing and shipping details. 

4. Upload High-Quality Images and a Video

The visual side of the listing is also very important as a number of negative buyer reviews are connected to a misconception of the size or appearance of the product. 

Amazon allows the uploading of up to nine product images, including a lead image. The recommended size is 1,000 pixels wide and 500 pixels high.

An average bestseller listing contained 7 images vs. 6 for a non-bestseller. This means that using as many images as you can is likely to give your product a boost. 

Amazon advises having the product fill at least 85% of the image, and this rule was followed by 90% of bestsellers in such categories as Sports & Outdoors, Clothing, and Shoes & Jewelry

The lead image of 97% of bestseller listings had a pure white background. 

Aside from images, you can try to benefit from the Amazon Product Video feature. Currently, brands don’t seem to be too familiar with this option as only 50% of the top listings have videos. As for the rest, this number is even lower at 33% even though a professional video can make your listing stand out from those that contain images only. 

Data-driven hacks:

  • Follow Amazon image size requirements. Apart from a clear, attractive picture you’ll also get a zoom function. This will let potential buyers see every detail of what you are offering. 
  • For a lead image, take a close-up photo of your product on a white background. 
  • Avoid decorations, borders, text, or watermarks.
  • Use lifestyle and infographic images or shoot your product from different angles and outside/inside the packaging to make the visuals more interesting and informative. 

5. Leverage A+ Content

Brand owners have a chance to use A+ content, which combines professionally written product texts, rich images, charts, and other multimedia elements. Although it requires some investment, Amazon promises that these will better educate consumers about your product and brand and consequently increase your conversions. 

And yes, A+ content really works. As 91% of bestsellers had it, it’s definitely one of the factors that took them to where they are. 

Data-driven hacks:

  • Tell the story of your brand to build trust.
  • Highlight your product’s usability.
  • Try to cross-sell your other products.

6. Accumulate Reviews

Product reviews are crucial for a successful listing, serving as the best assurance of your product quality. 

We saw 30X more customer feedback on bestsellers than on their bestselling counterparts. Taking into account the fact that only 1-3% of customers leave feedback, they seem to have a serious advantage in sales. 

Reviews are category-specific and keyword-dependent, though. For example, the more competitive your keywords are the more reviews you’ll receive, but the more you’ll need to compete. 

Data-driven hacks:

  • Use Amazon-led services like Vine to increase the number of reviews.
  • Create an email template for feedback requests.

7. Take Care of the Service

Amazon runs one of the best-organized fulfillment networks in the world. The Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program lets you delegate storage, packing, and shipping of your products to Amazon. This in turn helps you reach out to more customers and guarantee better quality of service. 

You can also consider getting on the waitlist for Seller Fulfilled Prime to ship the goods from your own storage if FBA is not an option. 

95% of bestseller listings had an FBA offer. So when most of your rivals have an FBA, you just have no choice.

Data-driven hacks:

  • If any of the above listed is not a viable option you should do your best to handle and deliver your orders as quickly as possible. 

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