If you were that scrawny kid in highschool who loved sports but never could seem to measure up to the “big dogs”, you aren’t alone. It almost seemed like all of the school’s top athletes were advantageous in ways you only dreamed of: more muscular, higher prowess, favored by coaches. As an extension of these traits, they also seemed more popular.
As an individual seller on Amazon, sometimes it can feel the exact same way. With the competition steadily climbing whose pockets seem deep enough to cover all the top pages for sponsored ads, it can often feel like you're constantly competing with the same kids you did in highschool.
While there may not be much you can do in regards to expanding your PPC and bids, there are ways to increase your conversion rates without capitulating to black hat tactics.
The key ingredient you may be missing to incentivize buyers is A+ content. That's right … the artist, formerly known as EBC (enhanced brand content).
If you’ve ever been on any of the countless forums dedicated to Amazon sellers, you may have noticed they seem to be overrun with “Karens” - merchants always complaining about what this seller is doing, how Amazon is out to get them, and everything in between. Look, we get it. Amazon can be tumultuous, to say the least. Just like the highschool football star, it feels like everyone but you has a head-up on you. But the reality is that you have a lot of control over the customer experience, so blaming things like PPC really isn’t helpful. Why?
Amazon is all about providing a great experience for its customers. Customers don’t purchase things due to keywords. The only value for keywords is to help your product be found on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). That’s it. A customer types in what they are looking for and, if you are ranked for that set of keywords, then your listing will show up SOMEWHERE on the results pages.
Your detailed page is your chance to use persuasive sales copy to, you know, actually SELL your product. Think of it as if you were running a brick-and-mortar storefront: your ads and signs may bring people to the store, but that isn’t what actually incentivises buyers.
And there is simply no better way to incentivize buyers to finalize their purchase than to quickly answer the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY & HOW.
First, let's go through the basics and build our way up to why keywords and PPC really don’t matter in terms of conversions. (We know - pretty controversial statement, but hear us out).
First and foremost, you must be Brand Registered to enjoy these benefits. Oh, you aren't? Why not? According to Amazon, having A+ content can increase sales between 3-10%. Plus, it takes only a few days for Amazon to register your Trademark (which is essentially what Brand Registry means).
A+ content replaces the boring text of your product description and provides the opportunity to create engagement and explain (in detail) to thousands of potential customers: WHO you are, WHAT your brand stands for, and WHY your product is far superior than your competitor’s. Think of it as your digital brochure.
Fun fact: A+ content shows up first on mobile. Do you remember the phrase “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression?” Well this is your digital first impression. Make it count!
According to a 2018 CPC Strategy Study, 24% of shoppers use their mobile device. In 2020 Venture Beat reported there were 150 million paid Prime members. That means between 30-40 million Prime members would be seeing your A+ content before seeing your bullets. If your A+ content isn’t a scroll-stopper, you’ve missed your opportunity to create an impressive first impression.
So, what are the best practices when it comes to A+ content? Here are 6 ways to make the most of it.
Below are some examples of the A+ content. As you can see, the sellers are provided plenty of opportunity for graphics and text. The Amazon modules bequeath sellers the freedom for creative expansion and storytelling where the bullets only provide the cliff notes. Plus, because the actual text on A+ content does not index, you have more freedom to utilize this space for eye-catching banners and creative sales copy.
Notice the difference in the way these two companies utilize A+ content. While one the text boxes for extensive sales copy, the other forgos the typical modules and instead opts for infographics in the banners to highlight their product. Which one do you gravitate to more?
While both of these are great uses of the space they are allocated, the first example (subjectively) is a better use of the space. The first is an example of using the banners to call-out features and benefits that are more attention-grabbing than the second. The second example used text boxes for call-outs which reads harder on the eyes and is fairly long for a customer to have to sift through.
Again, remember that keywords are not pulled from your text in A+ content so feel free to be more imaginative with this opportunity and create banners that really “pop”.
While the actual text boxes don’t index, the headliners and image alt text within the modules can be indexed by Google, so your product can be found on Google search, sending more external traffic to your storefront. We know Amazon loves traffic coming from Google.
Below are where you can find the headliner sections as well as the alt text boxes.
We know this due to their recent incentivized external advertising traffic credit. Will this bring more traffic to your listing? No, not immediately. However, if you provide great content, these added sections will increase your conversions and as the listing shows improvement on sales, then yes, over time your listing will get in front of more eyes. Is this a hack? Stop looking for hacks and shortcuts! You own a business and therefore, this is for long term success and brand building, not for immediate results.
It’s important to also keep in mind that the image alt text is also utilized for blind people, so it also provides an explanation of what is in the image. Thus, you don’t want to keyword stuff. Use a few long-tail keywords combined with descriptors to explain the image and help you index.
As mentioned above, people don’t want to have to wade through a bunch of content. Sure, they want to make a savvy purchasing decision based on the provided information, but that information needs to be clear, concise, and obvious.
You are ultimately trying to achieve scroll-stopping behavior. This is when a potential customer is so interested in your A+ (be it images, colors, infographics, whatever) that they actually want to read it.
If we look at this brand’s image below, it tells us everything we need to know about the product. They provide a quick callout on the active ingredients and the benefits for the customer’s dog. We as humans are instinctively visual and you don’t have to look any further than the top social media platforms to confirm such a statement. Great images along with call-out key features that solve problems is the best 1-2 punch in e-commerce.
Again, don’t bombard your customer with too much information via text. Figure out what features and benefits they really care about and make them obvious and easy-to-read.
A+ can give you, the seller, a chance to really get down to the details. There is only so much you can squeeze into a 200 character bullet. Why not take the customer on a journey? In this example, where the ingredient is most abundant, the history of the ingredient and the brand is expanding on the health benefits of each ingredient. This can also give you the opportunity to gain trust and invoke confidence to
convert buyers into shoppers.
Essentially, A+ is an opportunity to convey information you weren’t able to with your main images and bullets. More modules and options means you can really stretch-out your creative legs and come up with cool ways to position your brand and product. Plus, it positions you as an expert in your particular category which evokes trust and eventually, brand loyalty.
Imagine you have a top selling product that has thousands of page views a day. The comparison chart allows you to place new or lower traffic products directly on a top converting ASIN without cheating. This also is a huge advantage for sellers who took the time to develop a customer avatar and to expound on why your brand provides a wholistic approach to whatever you are selling. Brands who do this have a competitive advantage because they source products that complement each other. When they complement one another, it provides more value to their customers and helps to raise their average price per transaction (along with creating more brand awareness).
This also is a more effective use than putting products into child ASINS because Amazon can be strict about what items you can run under the same Parent ASIN. Usually, they have to be variation products. The comparison chart allows you to present all of your products to a potential customer which is great (and free!) advertising.
Who isn’t a sucker for a good brand message and mission? People connect with other people, not things and the majority of people end up purchasing from a subconscious, emotional attachment to a brand.
The best way to get people to know you and identify with your brand is through A+.
Furthermore, 3rd party sellers as a whole, sell billions of dollars in annual revenue on Amazon. You are doing yourself a disservice if you assume that no one cares about “added fluff” to your listing. Even if we are to assume that customers don’t really care about A+, make them care about your brand. Let them know the story… the inspiration… the WHY behind it…
Remember: You aren’t just selling a product; you are selling a dream, an easier way of life, something that gives promise. And if you can express that message via A+, you are on step ahead of everyone else on Amazon who is just trying to make a quick buck.
So now that you are in content overload, please don’t walk away feeling overwhelmed. Let us give you a quick hit list to execute with confidence. We realize that photo content can be an expensive aspect of listing optimization and marketing, but don’t skimp on this. You’ve invested thousands of dollars in trademarks, products, packaging, and shipping. There is no room for cutting corners now, particularly living in a time where everyone is so image-driven.
1. Don’t reuse images that you have on as your main photos. It’s redundant and defeats the entire purpose of A+. Splurge on a few extra images, engage your social media followers, or do it yourself and show something authentic and truly organic.
2. Keep fonts & colorways consistent within your brand guidelines along with the listings you have on Amazon and on other platforms.
3. Get a scroll stopping image that summarizes the “why” of your product and incorporates your logo for immediate brand recognition.
4. Sell your brand. Distinguish yourself from the sea of sellers on Amazon promoting the same product as you. Show who you are and what you stand for and truly outshine the competition. If you haven’t done this yet, do it NOW. Many early Amazon sellers hunted for products instead of spending time developing a product line for an ideal customer. It is a difficult cycle to break, but it can be done.
5. Follow-up with a connection. Have a module that calls out your customers’ apprehensions when first buying a product and then be clear on the solution your product provides
6. Cross sell, up sell, down sell, showcase your product lines. This is a great strategy to use when you have a top selling product that is the source of most of your traffic.
7. Again, people connect with people, not things. It’s advisable to have some lifestyle images so that customers can see people actually using your product and can mentally put themselves there.
Most importantly, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What questions would you want answered? What things would you need to know before committing to a product. The problem is that most sellers know their product so well, they often forget to mention or highlight things that the layman may not know. If you are too close to your product to do this, ask friends what they think. Other people’s input is invaluable in order for you to make sure your dotting every I and crossing every T.