One of the biggest factors to advertising on Amazon successfully is how ‘retail ready’ your ASINs are. There are 6 key factors that your product listings need to have sorted out for Amazon retail readiness before running effective sponsored ads.
When an Amazon product is considered “retail ready,” it means that the product listing has all of the necessary information and details for the customer to fully understand the product, increasing the chances of them making a purchase.
Retail readiness is something we often see businesses not paying enough attention to, despite the fact that conversion rate impacts every aspect of selling on the platform.
Whether you’re driving sessions from advertising, organic traffic, or sending people to Amazon from your own website, you have to be retail ready in order to take full advantage of that traffic.
In fact, Amazon just recently added a feature that directly advises you on what products are Advertising-Ready as you step through the process to build Sponsored Product campaigns in the Advertising Console.
Many Amazon sellers have learned this lesson the hard way after running Amazon ads to products that aren’t yet retail ready. Wasted ad spend, poor SERP keyword rank, and possible strikes against your account are symptoms of a poorly optimized ASIN.
Follow the Amazon retail readiness guidelines below to improve your product listings, brand appearance, and the health of your Amazon account.
Titles and Descriptions:
The title and the description should describe the product for two audiences: humans (shoppers) and computers (Amazon algorithms). Find the balance between the two and be persuasive.
You use the title and description to both educate and excite shoppers to the point where they want to buy your product and buy into your brand.
To be retail ready, your product titles and descriptions should accurately describe the product and include necessary information such as:
- Pack size
- And More!
What is the most common retail readiness mistake you see from clients?
“From a listing perspective, short bullet points, not using A+ content in the description section, and keyword dumping in the title.
But the biggest problem is sellers trying to advertise against products which do not have a sufficient number of reviews, or a bad star rating. The star ratings are very important and it is remarkable how fast shoppers get turned off by anything less than 4.5 *”
COO | AMZ Pathfinder
Two ways to improve your title, bullet points, and description is doing advanced keyword research and pulling data from your advertising reports. A lot of sellers are not aware of the importance of keyword relevance.
Amazon’s systems are determining how relevant a keyword is based on its inclusion in the product listing. This also has an impact on the efficiency of your ad campaigns and what you can advertise against.
The more relevant your product is for a given keyword, the more easily you’ll be indexed for it and be able to show up in the ad auction, so it partially determines how efficient your ads are going to be. So making sure that you have all the right keywords in the right place in your listing is very important.
If you’re interested in the best tool for keyword research, we recommend using Helium10 for advanced Amazon keyword research.
The next step is placing those keywords in the right areas, making sure you’re prioritizing your most important keywords in your title. And then after that, the backend search terms and subject matter, aka, the metadata of your listing, then fleshing out the bullet points and product description.
You should fill out the product description, even if you are using enhanced brand content or A-plus content, because Amazon is still paying attention to the content in that field.
This will ensure that your product is indexing for keywords. Indexation essentially means that your product is understood to be relevant for the keywords that you have put in your listing. Making sure that you can actually show up in the search results. This is going to have a big impact on the efficiency of your Amazon PPC campaigns.
For Amazon retail readiness, your product photography should match the product title as accurately as possible. It’s essential for your product listing and brand to have clear and professional images, if possible using all photo slots available with high-resolution zoomable images.
Put yourself in the shoes of a shopper who has never held your product in their hands – what would you want to know before making a purchase? What details are best conveyed by images? If you are Brand Registered you’ll also be able to include videos in your product listing.
Far too many businesses cut corners in this department so that’s why it’s important that you have very clear, white background primary images and flattering lifestyle shots that are showing your products in action.
This helps shoppers understand how amazing your products are, drawing them to imagine using or having them in their home. Lifestyle photos are so key for driving conversions and really selling the customer.
The saying, “A photo is worth a thousand words” really matters to a shopper during the decision making process.
“Listings which are complete and professional looking, with high-quality pictures and all the listing components present convert far better. A+ content also makes the customer feel they are dealing with a legit brand — this strengthens the chances of a sale.”
COO | AMZ Pathfinder
Ratings and Review:
Having a minimum of 15 reviews and a star rating of 4.0 or more is very important. Star ratings are somewhat category-dependent and you should think of how your products rating stacks up against the most direct competitors.
Reviews are a huge part of the buying decision for customers, and in many cases shoppers who aren’t even purchasing on Amazon check reviews before buying directly on the brands website because they trust Amazon as a marketplace. Not having reviews is going to impact your conversion rate substantially.
The more reviews you have and the higher quality they are, the easier it’s going to be to compete against those selling in your sub category. Then having ample inventory ensures your products are in stock for shoppers to buy and avoids long ship times resulting in poor customer experience and bad reviews. Speaking of Inventory…
If your products are selling really well, do your best to not run out of the inventory. Depending on your supply chain and logistics this is something that can start months in advance of products being available for sale on Amazon. Having a robust system for inventory forecasting in place is key to long-term success.
If you suddenly run out of stock for 24 hours, a week, or a month, it’s detrimental to your rankings and will hurt your product’s standing in the long run.
The longer the duration of that out-of-stock period is, the worse the damage will be. Ensure your best-selling products stay in stock to maintain sales velocity, keyword rank, and build your brand.
One approach many businesses take is having a backup fulfillment solution in place and ready in the event there are any issues with Amazon’s FBA service.
This proved especially useful during the surge of sales thanks to COVID-19 demand. We on the agency side cannot advertise products if they aren’t in stock and ready to be shipped, but having the ability to quickly change SKUs in your advertising campaigns to those fulfilled by a 3PL instead of by Amazon is a very effective way to keep the sales machine moving.
Stay competitive and keep your pricing reasonable. Pricing on Amazon is never done in a vacuum, as the marketplace is hyper competitive and shoppers are keenly aware of what other competitors just under your listing are charging for what may be in their eyes the same or a very similar product
Shoppers may be more or less motivated to click on your ad if the price does not match the perceived value of your product, so price even has an impact on advertising Click Thru Rate.
It is a balancing act to ensure your pricing is not so competitive that the margins make it impossible to advertise. If you want to price your products higher, it’s important to not only improve your images, but position your brand to be higher value than your competitors so you can scale your advertising efforts.
The Buy Box:
The final consideration for Amazon retail readiness is buy box ownership. This is directly related to both inventory and price, along with your account history and fulfillment success, so think of it as a combination of several factors we’ve already covered.
For many companies who are selling their own brands on Amazon, Buy Box ownership is not a concern as they are the only brand, but for many businesses in any number of arrangements such as distribution agreements or resellers it is important to consider.
Ensure you’re winning the buy box to reap the rewards of your advertising spend. Sponsored Product campaigns will not spend against SKUs for which you don’t currently own the buy box, but Sponsored Brand campaigns in most circumstances still will. This is something to be aware of and monitored.
Pro tip: optimize your listings for conversions, aka conversion optimization. The three most important things when it comes to conversion rate optimization is:
- Having sales inducing copy interwoven in the listing with your keywords, driving customers to want to buy your product.
- Have a strong review funnel in place so that you’re continually driving in new reviews is not only going to help you now, but really going to pay off in the future. Competitively priced offers are so important.
- Incorporate coupons, discounts and promotions. Amazon offers you the opportunity to offer coupons on the page or discounts for buying multiple items.
Using these different tactics to impact the conversion rate on your listing is going to be a great way to help boost your overall PPC abilities as well as overall sales on the product.
“Although there is no one size fits all system when it comes to retail readiness, making sure your product listing is retail ready before starting advertising will only give you the best possible chance of success.
High quality is key: pictures, bullet points and branded A+ content alike will make customers feel safe with the brand. Finally, make sure you have a couple of reviews and a high star rating. This further enforces the trustworthiness of the brand.”
COO | AMZ Pathfinder
With that being said, here is a list of questions you should ask yourself anytime you decide to advertise a particular product in your account:
- Is your ASIN’s product title between 50 to 100 characters?
- Does your product title include your most relevant keywords?
- Does your product title include your brand name?
- Does your product title include the products color, size, material, and quantity?
- Do you have at least 5 bullet points on your product detail page?
- Does your product description explain how the product is used, what its major features are and information on warranties, model numbers, assembly instructions and other must-know data?
- Are your main product images clear?
- Are your main product images captured on a white background?
- Does your ASIN have at least 15 (or more) customer reviews?
- Does your ASIN have at least a 4.0 star rating (or higher)?
- Is your product in-stock?
- Is your pricing aligned with the perceived value of your product?
- Is your product winning the Buy Box?
- Does your product detail page include Enhanced Content like additional images and rich text within the product description that highlight the value proposition and brand story?
So this has been our Amazon retail readiness guide. If you want to actually go and have further success in advertising or success on Amazon in general, you cannot cut corners.
So we recommend you go through these factors like a checklist and begin implementing so that you can see those conversion rates soar and watch your ad spend become much more efficient.
The AMZ Pathfinder team wishes you best of luck!