Is your next product retail ready?
You probably have your own benchmarks for launching new products, and so does Amazon. In fact, there’s an entire course through their Advertising Console designed to help you check if your product is ready to go live.
Amazon’s goal in advocating for retail readiness is to ensure listings are ready for advertising campaigns. Of course, they do better when you do better and so many benefits retail readiness brings beyond the world of advertising.
Why Retail Readiness?
At its core, retail readiness is exactly what it sounds like: whether or not your product and product listing are truly ready to go live on the website. This includes everything from product images to bullet points. In the world of Amazon, you can also include A+ Content and even Amazon Posts in this list.
These days, brands are expanding beyond Amazon, and so what it means to be retail-ready will expand too.
Shoppers are more likely to Google your brand name in their product research. When that happens, what does your social media look like? What kind of news articles may pop up?
Retail readiness goes beyond just your individual products — make sure your brand is retail ready too.
Let’s break down your Checklist for Retail Readiness Success.
There’s so much to consider when it comes to writing the perfect product title. It needs to be descriptive enough to capitalize on keywords while simple enough to not overwhelm the “casual scroller”.
You only have 200 characters (including spaces), so you have to make the most of it.
- Start your product title with your brand name.
- Include your main target keyword or key phrase. Keep in mind that this is YOUR target keyword or key phrase, not necessarily the most popular one for your product. For example, you may have found an opportunity to rank higher for “travel charger” as opposed to “portable battery charger”.
- Avoid any promotional phrases like “free shipping” or “quality guarantee” and the like.
- Include specifications like size, wattage, color, compatibility, etc.
- Just say no to the pipe symbols (|). This is a waste of character space.
While Amazon listings can get picked up by other search engines like Google, consider your listings beyond Amazon.
With Amazon’s new “Buy with Prime,” it’s easier than ever to build your own website, gain trust from shoppers, AND provide a checkout experience they’re used to, converting more browsers into buyers.
When equating a product title to SEO best practices, this should be your H1.
It should include your target keyword for the entire page, as close to the front of the title as possible. Since it’s your own website, your brand will be all over, so you can move that toward the back.
Product images are EVERYTHING. Shoppers are incredibly visual these days, and a product image can make or break a listing.
On your website, include a ton of images! You, of course, still want clear product images, but you can be more flexible with the images you show.
Add in more lifestyle images or images of your product in creative (and relevant) places. If brand followers have posted photos using or including your product, use those (with permission).
- Have photos of the product from every angle.
- Include measurements or “to scale” items in an image to help shoppers better visualize the item.
- For anything in consumables, including nutrition information.
We’ll touch on A+ Content more in a bit, but utilize that space to include lifestyle images. The more someone can picture themselves using your product, the more likely they will be to purchase.
On Amazon, your bullet points should be both detailed and clear. This is one of the highest opportunities on the page for you to describe your product to a potential buyer.
You have a total of five bullet points, and up to 1,000 characters total, so use them wisely.
Bullet points are another opportunity to try and index for additional keywords. This does not mean stuffing as many keywords as possible. Be intentional with your choices.
- Keep bullet points clear. You can start with ALL CAPS for differentiators from the competition.
- Get someone else (that doesn’t know your product as well as you do) to read the bullet points. See if they make sense and clearly communicate the problem your product solves.
- Write in sentences, not a stream of consciousness.
On your own website, you don’t necessarily need to include bullet points. However, attention spans are short, so bullet points are a great way to give quick, digestible facts about your product and why someone should buy it.
Before writing your product description, be sure to check the character limit for your product as the limit will vary by category.
The product description is another piece of retail readiness that also can be indexed by Amazon’s search algorithm.
That means it’s another opportunity to add in relevant keywords. Amazon has also stated that you can use the product description to UPSELL. This could be an updated version of your product, attachments, or add-ons.
Product descriptions are text only, so avoid the bullet points here. Share alternative uses of your product or any additional details you think might be helpful.
In the overall scope of your product detail page, the product description is the least likely to be read.
On your website, be sure to write product listings keeping Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices in mind (Things like having at least 350 words on the page, including keywords in H1, adding a meta description, etc.).
It’s similar to Amazon’s algorithm, but on a much larger scale. Plus, this content is on your own website, so there’s more opportunity to target additional keywords, be more descriptive, and give more upfront details to answer shoppers’ questions.
Don’t tell your life story in the product description, but paint a picture for your potential buyers. Make them want to purchase your product. In fact, make it so clear that they feel they NEED your product.
When you’re working on your listing and getting everything in place, keep an eye on your inventory. Whether you’re using Amazon FBA, a 3PL, or even shipping items from your garage, your listing should not go live until it is ready and available to ship.
Honestly, there is no difference between Amazon availability and availability on your website. Keep it simple and make sure your product is available.
✔️Ratings & Reviews
In recent years, Amazon has expanded and adjusted its ratings and reviews system. Now, a customer can simply leave a rating without writing any sort of review. As we all know, shoppers flock to reviews to see if a product is worth purchasing or not.
While no one likes to receive negative reviews, keep in mind that this helps show that your product listing is authentic. No one will believe that your product has gotten nothing but five-star reviews.
Keep an eye on these ratings and reviews (especially the negative ones) for ways to improve both your product and your product detail page.
It’s up to you whether you decide to include ratings and reviews on your own website. Shoppers do love social proof, especially for online shopping.
It could be as simple as opening up ratings and reviews on your brand’s Facebook page!
If a shopper is looking at your brand (and not at a marketplace like Amazon or Walmart), they’ll probably find your Facebook page or social media profiles to see if you’re a reputable company before giving you payment methods.
✔️The Buy Box
Amazon will prioritize the most relevant and best-selling item on a product detail page. They’ll also prioritize Prime offers over FBM, even if the FBM offer is less expensive.
Keep in mind that, when it comes to Amazon ads, you will only be charged if you are winning the Buy Box. Thus, Amazon will also prioritize those who are running ads (since it’s an opportunity for more income on their part).
Other marketplaces do have a setup similar to Amazon’s Buy Box, so you do have to be aware of these placements.
If you’re not interested in competing, choosing a direct-to-consumer platform is a great option. That way your customers, and you don’t have to compete with anyone to be the only option a shopper will see.
A+ Content, formerly known as Enhanced Brand Content, was one of the first opportunities Amazon provided to brands to tell their story more in the marketplace.
This is a placement on the product detail page to include lifestyle imagery, a brand story, more details about the product, and so much more.
While it is a templated setup, we’ve seen this visual storytelling compel many shoppers to convert on a listing.
Remember, this is a bonus space, so use fresh content! Brands can include anything from customer success images and stories to quotes to more fun imagery. This is a chance to inject some of your own brands into the Amazon marketplace.
As many experts have said, people want to do business with people. Online, make sure your brand is relatable and human.
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