Optimize Your Amazon New Item Setups on Vendor Central (10 PRO TIPS)

10 Pro Tips

New Year, new products! Back from holidays, and your company may be getting ready to load 2019 items on Amazon.com. Loading products through the Amazon New Item Setup template can be deceivingly simple to do. Here are 10 Pro Tips to ensure you optimize your setup.

1. Check your UPCs/EANs/GTINs. 
Make sure that each product has a unique barcode at the consumer packaging level. Don’t confuse and list a master carton identifier as the consumer level barcode, otherwise Amazon will sell the entire master carton at the cost you list. Ensure that the barcode is labeled on the consumer level packaging in a manner compliant with Amazon standards. Amazon will scan that barcode on a receipt, unless you are on a pallet-level receive program. (Learn more about all these barcodes at GTIN Info.)

2. Understand how the Amazon Setup Form creates product titles.  
Each setup form creates titles a bit differently. Some combine information from different columns to create your product title. Some allow you to write your product title directly, or to suggest a product title in a separate column. Some teams are rigorous on the format which typically follows a form of <Brand><Model Number><Product Title>, <Size>, <Color>, and may omit model number. The title is important as each word is “indexed” in a database as a keyword, and their closeness to each other is a factor as well. These keywords affect how your product shows up in search. You want a short, readable title with important keywords that help a customer identify that your product is correct for their needs.

3. Have compelling bullet points for your products. 
Bullet points are what we call “scroll-bait” to get a customer to read further. If you could say one thing about why your product was unique and a great value, that should be in the first bullet point. The second bullet point can be how the product relates to the rest of your products. Avoid salesmanship (the greatest, amazing!), polemics (the best, the lightest made!) and unsubstantiated claims. Speak in Amazon’s third person voice, not first or second person (I, We, Our Brand..). avoid dated promises (New for 2016!) and don’t use symbols such as © or (™). DO answer the customer’s question “Why is this product good for me?” and “Why is this a good value?” Write bullets in the form of Benefit – Feature (-50 degree temperature rating with 4 lbs of microfiber fill).

4. Write a keyword-laden description in Amazon’s voice. 
Amazon product descriptions are indexed by both Amazon and Google so having the right keywords or keyword phrases is important to how your products rank in search. We recommend loading the most important keywords in the first two sentences of the description. They should be in coherent, sentence format–so no keyword lists! Like with bullets, use Amazon’s “voice.” The Amazon voice is positive, matter-of-fact, and doesn’t sound like a sales pitch. Set the right expectations for the product. If you over-promise and under-deliver, product reviews will be low and sales will be non-existent.

5. Research hidden keywords through Amazon, Google, and Premium Analytics. 
Browse hidden keywords are the best way to load relevant keywords without creating cumbersome product titles. The best way to research keywords is through Amazon’s search engine auto-fill feature. Just type in a word and you’ll see 7 to 11 other words customers use in conjunction with the first word. AMS Headline keyword Ad Builder and Amazon Retail Analytics Premium are excellent research tools. Google’s Adwords and ARA Premium are also good ways to determine keyword relevance. What works in Adwords can also work on Amazon.

6. Have mobile-optimized images ready for upload. 
It’s estimated that Holiday 2018 will have seen close to 70% of shoppers use a mobile device to browse and buy on Amazon. We are going to be very direct in this Pro Tip because this is important. Stop taking product photos as if you were optimizing for a computer screen-based shopping experience. Images on a phone are tiny, and they are even smaller in search results. Fill the entire available square image canvas with product. Tweak it slightly to make it vibrant. Don’t shoot using the same lens, don’t position the product the way you have in the past. Never email it or compress it to prevent artifacts. Keep it in an online document repository and organize the images by UPC code as the file name.

7. Request variations of styles on a single page to aggregate reviews and improve search relevance. 
Style, Color, or Size — pick any two attributes to group common products together. This makes the shopping experience easier on the customer and aggregates reviews to improve search relevancy. Be careful of the attributes that you choose, as you want bullet points and images to change as the consumer clicks on or uses drop-downs to make different choices to narrow down their selection. Check out bicycles on Amazon to see how they deal with different frame sizes, speeds, and colors as an example. Download the Variation template from the Resource Center and familiarize yourself with how it works.

8. Walk the store and confirm the setup. 
For various reasons, what ends up on Amazon isn’t always what you put in the NIS form. Once the NIS has been processed, review each detail page to make sure product information is correct, variation sets were created correctly, and images are live.

9. Build Amazon ASINs in Vendor Central before your 3rd Party Sellers. 
One important benefit to being a Vendor on Amazon is the ability to control content. If you build the Amazon ASIN through your vendor account first, before third party resellers build it, you have far more definitive control over the content of the Amazon Standard Identification Number and its content (ASIN), including bullet points and description. Simply, don’t release your setup information to your other channels until you have assigned ASINs from Amazon. If 3rd party resellers do setup before you do, and they use your UPC and part number, then Amazon will assign that ASIN to your Vendor code. If a different UPC is used by a 3rd party it creates a separate page and ASIN that must be manually merged to your page and your “Vendor ASIN” with a Contact Us ticket.

10. Keep product information in Excel, Google Sheet, or in a database. 
There’s nothing more time-consuming than trying to pull product information out of Word or Text files, or (shudder) scraping a web page. If you have multiple people entering data, use Google Sheets. Multiple people can work on them simultaneously and collaboratively with reduced risk for overwriting data or getting the wrong version out of your email. Make a goal this year to build and maintain a central repository of product data. It will streamline the NIS process and improve brand consistency.

Bonus PRO TIP! Review your evergreen product content.
Have products continuing on year after year? Review them for their replenishment codes, inventory levels, forecast, bullet points, and description. Are the images there?