Every Amazon business owner should be eager to implement new opportunities for discovery and engagement among their potential customers. Optimizing your Amazon listings is a simple way to drive traffic to your product pages and give customers the branded store experiences they’re looking for.
1. Apply for Amazon Brand Registry
As we mentioned, although Amazon’s Brand Registry isn’t a new offering, it’s still not leveraged by a high volume of ecommerce companies. Applying for the registry not only validates your company in a big way, but you can register multiple brands under one umbrella, as well.
The primary function of Brand Registry is to let sellers gain detail page control, and to report any intellectual property or counterfeit infringements. By enrolling in Amazon Brand Registry, you’ll unlock a suite of tools to help build and protect your brand, and ultimately, give your customers the navigation they deserve.
2. Track Existing Amazon Listings
A crucial part of being a successful Amazon seller is managing your inventory. To begin, create a spreadsheet to track your existing product listings, by typing in any variations of your brand name, product name, or model number in the search bar. For each product, take note of the ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), as well as the 10-digit alphanumeric number.
Because Amazon ties every UPC to a single ASIN, you’ll also need to determine whether any of your primary barcodes are already in use. You can manually check on this by going to Inventory – Add a Product, and entering the UPC.
If a listing pops up, that will be the primary ASIN for your listing. The products you find will typically fall into one of three categories: (1) a legitimate listing using your manufacturer UPC, (2) a duplicate listing using your product title, photos, etc, or (3) a knockoff listing partially using your brand name, photos, and so on
3. Keep Track Of Existing Sellers
Once you’ve categorized your current listings, you’ll want to inventory the Amazon sellers related to those listings. For each detail page, select the option to view all available listings by other sellers; when you click on a seller’s name, you’ll automatically be taken to their storefront.
In a new tab on your spreadsheet, copy both the seller’s display name and their seller ID. Then, add any ASINs they’re listing next to that seller ID.
Note, the reason it’s so important to include their ID along with their display name, is that a seller can change their name at any time. Their ID, on the other hand, will always remain the same, and allow you to track said seller even if their display name looks different later on.
4. Create Optimized Amazon Listings
Using a Flat File Template (that is, Amazon’s Excel-based templates for adding new products), you can develop optimized product listings for all inventory items. Regardless if these products already exist or will be new listings, you’ll still want to meet the following optimization criteria.
a) Conduct SEO Keyword Research for Amazon
Amazon SEO keyword research is the foundation for any profitable listing, so you’re wise to analyze which search terms customers are using to find products similar to yours. With this knowledge, you can be proactive to include those keywords in your listing, and make sure your products have as many eyes on them as possible.
b) Optimize Your Amazon Listing Titles
While you’ll need to abide by the style guides Amazon provides for your specific category, you can optimize your product titles by including your brand name, followed by the most relevant, highest-searched keywords. Your title should be specific, but brief, and grab the attention of your customer within a limited character allowance.
c) Highlight Product Features
For each of your bullet points, you’ll want to include quality product features, plus benefits customers can expect from using the product. Don’t simply tell customers what your product does — share how it can improve some aspect of their everyday lives. Using all caps can be a great way to highlight a particular feature (or benefit) of what you’re selling.
d) Create Easy-to-Read Product Descriptions
The goal of each description is to help the customer imagine what it’s like to use your product. While Amazon has placed certain restrictions on HTML use in their style guides, you can use the bold (<b>) and break (<br>) code to split up the product description and make it easier to read. And don’t forget to add in a handful of keywords here, too.
e) Use Clear Product Images
Product images on Amazon need to be at least 1000 pixels on the longest side, and 500 pixels on the shortest side. The main image on your listing should showcase the product on its own, positioned on a pure white background. Any additional images should be shot from different angles, and show practical ways to use your product on a daily basis.
f) Search Terms
While Amazon search terms only exist within the back end of your product, they’re still incredibly helpful in driving traffic toward your listings. Right there in the first search term field, you’ll want to include any terms you were unable to fit in the product title (thanks to the confines of the 200-character limit).
5. Manage Your Amazon Listings Regularly
After you’ve optimized your listings within a template, you’ll finally be ready to upload them. For products assigned a UPC barcode, you’ll want to use that code as the product ID. Then, when you upload your template, Amazon will scour current listings to check if that UPC already exists and is assigned to an ASIN. (If it does exist, you’ll receive an error that some of your information does not match what’s listed on Amazon.)
Save a copy of the template, add -ASIN in the title for reference, and paste the ASIN in the product ID over the UPC. In the product ID type field, manually enter the ASIN (since it isn’t available as a dropdown option).
Next, change the update delete field to Partial Update. Repeat this process for as many errors as you received in the upload report, and then upload the template again. This time, it’ll override the values in the back end of Amazon, and along with Brand Registry, it’ll push the updates through to the detail page somewhere between fifteen minutes and twenty-four hours.
For sellers with a registered brand, you’ll want to do a Partial Update using the product ID (typically UPC or MPN), with only the required information in the first portion of the template. Doing so will mobilize Brand Registry and assign your products a GCID.
To verify which of your products are currently activated by Brand Registry, go to: Reports – Business Reports – Brand Performance. Every product in your catalog that has Brand Registry activated will be listed there.
6. Communicating With Infringing Sellers Is Not Allowed (Anymore)
In 2018, Amazon updated its policy to prohibit seller-to-seller communication, which was previously used to send cease and desist letters to unauthorized sellers. In the years since this update, Amazon has also added filtering at the server level to block any messages or communication referencing infringement.
7. Report Copyright, Trademark, Counterfeit & Listing Abuse Infringements
When contacting fellow sellers on Amazon, it’s important to reference the specific policy that’s being violated. In addition, when it comes to duplicate listings or a trademark in a competitor’s title, you can specify in your report that the infringement is against the listing itself (rather than against the seller). This helps you remove unauthorized use of IP, but without creating an influx of emails from merchants who were selling on that listing without knowledge of the infringement.
Whenever you submit an infringement report, Amazon requires you to acknowledge the following statement, so you fully understand the infringement you’re reporting and the consequences of submitting a complaint against other sellers that are false or inaccurate.
“As an Amazon seller, I understand that submitting false or inaccurate complaints against other sellers may result in the suspension or termination of my Amazon selling privileges.”
A duplicate listing describes a secondary listing of the same product, often created with a reseller UPC. The goal of Amazon’s duplicate listing policy is to remove (or merge) all sellers from the duplicate listing so it becomes inactive.
Trademark infringement describes a seller who is using your trademarked brand name in their title, copy, or display name. The goal of Amazon’s trademark infringement policy is to have the seller performance team remove the trademarked term(s) from the listing.
Counterfeit products describe a fraudulent imitation of lesser quality, intended to deceive the consumer. The goal of Amazon’s counterfeit products policy is to remove the phony listing or seller from Amazon (permanently, if possible).
Copyright infringement describes any seller who is using your photos or copy directly from your listing or company website. The goal of Amazon’s copyright infringement policy is to remove the copyrighted text or photos from the infringing listing(s).
Detail Page Listing Abuse
Detail page listing abuse describes a seller with an offer on a listing that does not accurately match the detail page description. The goal of Amazon’s detail page listing abuse policy is to remove the infringing seller from offering a listing on your product detail page or bundle.
Filing the Infringement Report
Once you’ve contacted an infringing seller, you can file your infringement using the Amazon Infringement Report or the Brand Registry’s Report a Violation tool.
Infringement Report Outcome
If you prove infringement, Amazon will act on your request and remove the copyrighted or trademarked information, or contact the infringing seller. However, Amazon may deny the request if you have not adequately proven the infringement.
In some cases, you may receive an email from a concerned seller asking you to withdraw the infringement against them. You’ll then need to carefully consider if the seller knowingly infringed upon your rights, and whether it was done by mistake (without malicious intent).
To retract a complaint, brand owners must send a retraction notice to Amazon and provide the infringing seller ID, complaint ID (if provided), and a notice of the retraction.
8. Merging Duplicate ASINs
To keep Amazon’s platform clean, sellers have the ability to ‘merge’ duplicate ASINs. The goal is to have every product listed just once, since duplicate listings can create customer confusion and hurt Amazon sales. Merging duplicate ASINs also has a variety of benefits for brand owners, like increasing the number of product reviews and tracking resellers on a single listing.
But keep in mind, nearly everything you do on Amazon can later be undone, including unmerging ASINs; if merging ASINs causes issues, a seller can request they be unmerged at any time. In select cases, Amazon may actually unmerge them if there are complications within the system, like when FBA inventory has been mismatched with UPC barcodes.
9. Change Listings via the Catalog Department
As its name suggests, Amazon’s Catalog Department is primarily responsible for maintaining or amending Amazon’s massive catalog. For any issues regarding detail page updates, those requests will need to be filed with the Catalog Department.
In addition, this department can also assist sellers with: merging and unmerging ASINs, removing child ASINs from parents, removing contributions from other sellers to display Brand Registry content, and more.
10. Enforce Distribution
It’s important to remember that distribution enforcement is always done through a brand’s supply chain long before a product makes an appearance on Amazon. Amazon’s official stance on Distribution Enforcement is:
“Amazon respects a manufacturer’s right to enter into exclusive distribution agreements for its products. However, violations of such agreements do not constitute intellectual property rights infringement. As the enforcement of these agreements is a matter between the manufacturer and the retailers, it would not be appropriate for Amazon to assist in enforcement activities.”
For both emerging and established merchants, having the ability to create individual reseller agreements through your distributor is essential to having a clear brand presence on Amazon. Similarly, having a strong handle on your inventory is critical to controlling who’s selling your products and where it is they’re sold.