This blog post shares the importance of enriching your product data to maximize your sales opportunity.
Content is King
Bill Gates is credited as the first person to use the oft cited phrase – and it’s probably even more relevant today. Successful sellers invest in their product content – wherever the consumer is shopping – and having accurate and consistent content at every consumer touchpoint is key for success.
Different + different = do later?
Marketplaces typically have different content requirements and different guidelines with very little standardization. Consequently, it can feel like an intimidating amount of work to undertake a full review and enrichment of your product data so it is often put off and something that we intend to do later. Helping consumers find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently is critical and if we don’t, we increase the likelihood of dissatisfaction and returns further down the line. It can be tempting to quickly fast-list products with minimal information – to get them available for sale as soon as possible – but you’re only going to generate orders if consumers can find your listings.
In short, to make your listings more visible, you should provide sufficient data fields so that your listings appear in each search or filter results and they should conform to any guidelines that are provided and should all have valid values. Not doing this will significantly reduce discoverability and your selling opportunity.
What can you do to have better content
for marketplace listings?
Whether it’s Amazon’s Seller Central, Walmart’s Seller Center, eBay’s Seller Hub, Etsy’s Shop Manager or somewhere else, a really good place to start is by logging in and reviewing your product/listing pages to identify gaps and add missing data.
Simply put, for consumers to find your products on Amazon, you must provide sufficient data to match the terms or fields that a consumer might use when searching for what they want to buy. Investing the time and effort to ensure your product data is optimal will result in better discoverability, more sales and fewer returns. Broadly, there are three main areas to focus on:
1. Listing Quality
The most popular Amazon optimizations to try and create a high quality product listing page are changes to:
- title – make sure you reference their guidelines for your categories
- images – should be accurate, show only the product for sale, white background and fill 85% of the image space
- description and bullet points – details on features, usage and highlight any other key information
In addition to those “primary” fields, there are many others that help consumers refine and sort their results. A great starting point is to review the recommendations on Amazon’s Listing Quality Dashboard, which was introduced to assist sellers. (Navigate to: Seller Central/Catalog/Improve Listing Quality).
The default view shows all recommended improvements but you can use filters to help prioritize and even sort the resulting recommendations by Amazon-priority, Sales, Availability or Page Views. Helpfully, there are also usually explanations and commentary for each recommendation displayed on the page, and you can provide feedback if you want to reject anything they are proposing.
Be sure to review these regularly and use that tool to enhance the content of your listings. We suggest a one off review and monthly task thereafter.
2. Category Filters
Another impactful task is to check the category filters for your products and make sure that you enter any missing data with valid values.
Taking the example below. To maximize discoverability, each of the product listings should have the Pattern, Special Sizes and Regular Sizes fields input to ensure products show in filtered search results.
3. Secondary/Tertiary Audits/Changes
Within a product page you should also allocate some time to review fields on the following tabs, which are visible when you edit a product listing in Seller Central.
- Vital Info – if you have any key fields with missing data, these will be highlighted on the page and you can usually select the appropriate value from a dropdown list. At a minimum, ensure that required fields are complete and accurate, ideally complete relevant fields as well
- Compliance and More Details – some very important information is input here, but the time you allocate here will vary depending on your product categories. Note that the layout of these pages may be different to the image shown as the page may vary by category.
Entering as much data as possible on these pages will help make your listing even more visible and it’s a good idea to diarize these tasks to be looked at regularly so as not to overlook them as well as updating internal product creation processes to input as much of these details at the start.
To learn more about Amazon, be sure to check out StoreAutomator’s Knowledge Base articles here.
Next, let’s take a look at the second biggest marketplace in the – US Walmart.
Broadly, Walmart’s Seller Center (and most other marketplaces) all offer a similar interface to make changes directly to the platform, in addition to integrated API connections that enable these tasks to be undertaken in bulk. Upon login, the page that’s displayed is Product Catalog/Items, navigate here if it’s not your default.
Grouping tasks into key areas to focus on:
1. Listing Quality Coach / Issues
Selecting a product from this overview you to the Item Edit page and ITEM CONTENT tab by default. This page has sections for Required, Recommended and Additional and each piece of content in the group has an “Issues” box that describes the issue and provides a recommendation on what the action they suggest you take to resolve the issue. For example, a product may have the following:
- Multiple Issues (X) box; where X = number of issues they have identified. Examples of issues are:
- Contains Spelling Errors; lists examples
- Too long; notifies you on how many words the description is now compared to the top performing items’ word count is e.g. “The length of this description is 293 words, while it should be closer to the length of this product type’s top performing items, which is between 26 and 106 words. Try to make it shorter.”
- Written With Bullet Points; Bullet points should be used in the ‘Key Features’ (aka ‘Long Description’) field, but not in the Product Description (aka ‘Short Description’).
- Missing – this item requires a submission for this attribute. Please fill out this attribute.
- Listing Quality Coach – this can be toggled on or off and can be filtered further to show all Recommended activities and/or Additional activities to improve your listings. When you toggle on the switch and select the appropriate checkboxes, the page only displays those fields and removes everything else.
Additionally on the Item Edit page are the IMAGERY and MEDIA tabs. Switching to these tabs will allow you to see if there are any additional recommendations. For example, Walmart will provide feedback and suggestions on the quality of the image and how this may be improved: e.g. “(1) This primary image has excessive whitespace. Please re-crop so the product is more visible. (2) This item has only 2 image(s), while this category requires the item have 5 or more images. Please add more images.”.
You can accomplish a lot by reviewing from your product pages and considering/implementing Walmart’s recommendations. Helpfully the default view can have several filters applied to it to help you prioritize: Unpublished Items could be a great starting filtered list, likewise Items with Errors filter.
Remember to click the Submit Changes button after making any changes!
2. Walmart Category filters
Be sure to check the category filters for your products and enter any missing data with valid values.
Examples of Walmart’s additional filters are highlighted in the image below.
The Women’s Pajama Set is a great example we can improve with some simple changes – let’s take a closer look.
The page shows that there are over a thousand products listed under the Women’s Pajama Sets category (1000+). However, we can see that only two products have the additional field “100% Silk” set. So, if a consumer is looking for a pajama set with 100% silk fabric and applies this filter, your sales probability increases from one in a thousand (or 0.1%) to one in two (50%).
To learn more about Walmart, be sure to check out StoreAutomator’s Knowledge Base articles here.
eBay works slightly differently to other marketplaces in that it receives the data it needs from sellers but will only list your products if the minimum number of required fields are provided in full – missing or incomplete data will result in no listing. Although eBay may seem very strict in this regard, it is actually one of the most flexible marketplaces.
Navigating to Seller Hub/Listings presents you with an overview of all products with a variety of filters that you can apply. Having been required to provide full, accurate data up front or risk products not being listed there should not be as much work to add additional, supplementary information.
Editing a product takes you to Ebay’s “Revise your listing” page and you can update/add details here. Compared with some of the other marketplaces, it’s a greatly simplified page with no specific comment or recommendations from Ebay but optional fields are clearly marked, there are in-line help boxes beside the fields and their general Help shortcut provides additional guidance.
The order of Ebay’s search results is called Best Match and this has been designed to show the most relevant listings and considers:
- How closely the listing matches the buyer’s search terms
- How popular the item is
- The price of the item
- The quality of your listing (description, photos, and so on)
- How complete the listing is
Ebay helpfully have provided a great knowledge base article with their own recommendations on how to improve your listings and we’ve included the highlights below for your convenience.
1. Start with competitive pricing, reasonable shipping and great customer service
2. Create complete and accurate listings – the more they know about your item, the better they can match it to buyer searches:-
- Write a clear and concise title with correct spelling and no more than 80 characters
- Add an accurate description, using product details from the eBay catalog wherever you can
- Use high-quality photos, taken from every angle, and show any flaws or scratches. You can include up to 24 pictures for free
- Add item specifics. This will vary by category but details like brand, type, make, model, size, color, and style etc. See the image below for an example.
3. List in the right category – pick the category that’s most relevant for your item; see more about that further in this article. You can also choose to list in a second category.
4. Include high-quality pictures of your item
- Take high quality photos that will showcase your item
- Photograph your item at different angles
- Include photos of any scratches, flaws, or other parts of your item that a buyer would want to see
- Don’t add borders or text to your photos
- Don’t use the stock photo as your main picture when using the eBay catalog if your item is not brand new
Another quick, simple check on Ebay is to make sure that your products will appear in filtered results. Taking the example image below for the Men’s T-Shirt category, when a consumer reviews and selects the filter by color, the presence of “Not Specified” indicates that there are sellers who still need to provide color data for the t-shirts they are trying to sell – an easy yet impactful fix.
To learn more about Ebay, be sure to check out StoreAutomator’s Knowledge Base articles here.
- Etsy advises that the top factors that determine which items appear in Etsy search and the order in which they’re displayed are as follows and they also provide useful Knowledge Articles to help with optimization; we’ve summarized their advice for you here:
- Tag and title relevance – Etsy matches tags to consumer searches to find results. A tag can be a short descriptive phrase e.g. gold necklace and you have up to 13; use them all
- Item attribute relevance – adding attributes to the Listing Detail section helps consumers find your items. Start with the kind of item you’re listing (handmade, vintage or craft supply) and its categories (more below)
- Listing quality – impacted by things like product thumbnail photo, a clear title and how a consumer interacts with a listing e.g. favoring or purchasing contributes to the listing’s quality score.
- Customer & market experience – Etsy wants consumers to have a great experience and so they consider your shop’s record of service and whether it’s in good standing according to their policies.
- For US shoppers: Free delivery – these are prioritized in US search results.
Sending additional data on Etsy, will help consumers find your products more quickly and increase their likelihood of purchasing. The Esty ecosystem, named “Shop Manager” is simple compared with some of the alternate ecommerce giants, reflecting their focus on handmade, vintage and craft products. The Shop Manager/Listings pages are split into the following areas:
- Listing details
- Inventory and pricing
- Returns and exchanges
Each section provides helpful guidance and advice to consider. For example, you can use up to ten photos to show – and it’s easy to see if you have fewer along with suggestions as to the type of image you could provide to enhance your listing e.g. different angles, or showing the product in use.
It is certainly worth reviewing the information on this page and the recommendations. The Listing Details section is where you can add more information to tell consumers what they’ll love about your product and what categories it will appear in and Etsy indicate required fields with an asterisk (*) and mark Optional fields.
As with all Marketplaces, category filters are something specifically worth checking and the image below shows the Women’s Jacket & Coats category filters on Etsy. It seems that under this category, fields such as “Jacket style, Hooded, Pattern, Closure style, Closure” are not required but you can clearly see that appearing in these filtered results will definitely help your sales.
If you want to make your products appear on the front page when consumers select any of these filters, the relevant data must be provided to Etsy beforehand to ensure they know to list them under the appropriate filters. Doing this will increase your chances of getting more sales.
To learn more about Etsy, be sure to check out StoreAutomator’s Knowledge Base articles here and also Etsy’s How to Optimise Your Listings for Etsy Search.
Listing a product on any marketplace means you need to do as much as you can to maximize your product visibility. Consumers want to quickly and efficiently find the products they are looking to buy and all marketplaces provide many relevant fields and filter options to help consumers find these products immediately or refine a long list of results from searching or browsing by category.
Sellers that include all relevant information – more than the minimum required – will fully maximize their sales opportunity. Providing additional fields for each of the products you list can increase your sales chances significantly – up to 50% (maybe more), as seen in the Walmart example. What else can you do today that could positively impact your sales chances as much as that?
See how StoreAutomator can help you streamline and grow your ecommerce business today!