Amazon’s New Technical Expectation
A simple browse through just about any product category on Amazon will clearly show that more brands than ever are taking an active role in controlling their customer experience on the channel.
Aside from ensuring a positive reflection of the brand, they’ve also have focused on tackling any issues that could negatively affect the consumer experience and subsequent conversion rates.
The third-party marketplace (combined with Amazon’s bare-minimum approach to info upload upon product launch), creates a virtual shopping trip that can often be anything but intuitive to the consumer.
To the average shopper not familiar with the nuances of Amazon’s third-party marketplace, duplicate listings (typically created by third-party sellers) may insinuate a difference between the replicated products, creating confusion in identifying the product they’re looking for.
Meanwhile, perhaps an even larger effect on conversion rate comes in the form of inconsistent or incomplete variations outlined within the listing itself.
The old, hands-off approach many brands took on Amazon until very recently has led many listings to lack vital variation buttons that can often rescue a sale that could otherwise be lost.
For example, intuitively, a consumer may identify the product they’re looking for (in terms of features and price-point), but the listing they’ve visited displays the product in blue, whereas they’re set on purchasing something red.
If a brand has technically optimized the listing by adding color variations, it’s simple for that person to click over to the color they desire, and purchase.
However, if a brand’s blue and red items are listed separately and not linked by variation (as unattended listings often are), the shopper is likely to abandon the page and search again, with a considerable possibility of finding and purchasing from a competitor.
Historically, fixing these technical issues was a simple move that could significantly shift a brand ahead of its competition. But times have changed, the channel has matured, and technical optimization has now quickly become the expectation.
Fewer and fewer companies are letting their Amazon presence drift in the wind, and cleaning up duplicate listings and variations is very often one of the first steps brands take in optimizing the channel.
If a year or two ago tackling technical issues put a company ahead of the curve, now it’s essentially a mandate to keep pace with competition.
The in-store equivalent to a brand with technically unsound product listings on Amazon would be akin to having identical products next to each other on the shelf, but each with a different price.
Or, even worse, it’d be like a competitors’ products being nicely sorted and displayed on the shelves in the appropriate aisles, while the unoptimized brand’s products are scattered throughout the store.
Not a retail executive in the world would be okay with that sort of in-store presence, yet countless brands across categories are still displayed this way on the pages of the world’s largest e-retailer.
This is the new reality on Amazon. If a company’s product catalog is not technically clean and well-organized, the time to act… well… the time to act was probably months ago.
But, if that is still the case, the loss of revenue and brand integrity is now substantial, and these issues should be remedied immediately by the brands who have, to this point, paid too little care and attention to the channel.