When it comes to ecommerce, one important component of selling to your audience is your product listing. This is the page that will give your customers all of the information about your product as well as your brand. Ranging from details such as the size, weight and dimensions of your product to a description, images and even videos of your goods, the listing is an important part of driving sales.
When it comes to shopping online, customers use product listings to make purchasing decisions – essentially deciding whether or not to buy your item based on the information you provide. Additionally, the quality of your product listing can have an impact on your visibility, meaning better listings can lead to your page showing up more frequently in customer searches.
With it being so important due to the influence it can have on your conversion, one question that is always on sellers’ minds is how to effectively optimise their product listings online. From utilising barcodes, detailed descriptions and good quality images, this article will cover key advice to optimise your listings for all marketplaces, in addition to some pro tips for selling on Amazon specifically.
The importance of barcodes
Optimising your product listings actually begins with something other than the listing itself – barcodes. One of the most widely recognised barcodes is the GTIN, or Global Trade Item Number. Developed by the international organisation GS1, the GTIN is a unique identifier for trade items, used to look up product information in a database which may belong to a retailer, manufacturer, or other entity.
As the name implies, the GTIN is recognised internationally. Since GS1 deal in global standards, it does not matter where you are selling, or whether you are selling online or offline – utilising the correct barcode is crucial. In the case of marketplaces, the platform may not even touch the physical product at all during the sales process. Therefore, getting the correct barcode can be seen as the starting point of your product listing journey and is just the tip of the iceberg.
GTIN and Marketplaces
So, where do you start? Well, first and foremost the starting point is to uniquely identify the products that you wish to sell – this is where the GTIN comes in. One way to think of it is like a passport number: you cannot go anywhere without your passport and a product cannot go anywhere without its GTIN. In a way, the number is a key which acts as an item reference within a database, allowing you to pull up any other attributes or information that is being kept about that product.
This is particularly important for marketplaces because they use catalogues, which utilise the number to match the product up to any existing listings, as well as reviews and search engines. Therefore, you need to learn how to assign those numbers to your products but most importantly, when to change those numbers. Although it’s just the start of the journey, when done wrong it can have huge implications for your listings, such as customers receiving the wrong items which can ultimately impact your sales negatively.
GTIN and Search Engines
As mentioned above, alongside marketplaces the GTIN is also used by search engines and this is one of the reasons marketplaces require them. Whether provided by the original manufacturer or an intermediary seller, the marketplace should have received well-structured product data that is keyed with this Global Trade Item Number.
When the marketplace advertises those products on search engines such as Google, it can recognise that the product being listed is the same item that other companies are advertising.
As aggregators of data, the search engine will then combine all of the information that it has about the product when a customer is searching for an item (such as images, videos, reviews and anything else in the database belonging to that good.)
Therefore, if you are a seller then you want your product to be featured at the top of the shopping tab page so that you appear alongside other sellers of that item. To do this, you need to ensure that the GTIN you are using is correct and original, which shows the importance of the barcode’s influence on optimising your listings for visibility.
Optimising product listings
Now that we have discussed the importance of barcodes and the GTIN as the beginning of the journey, how do you go about optimising the product listing itself? That is to say, the page on which shoppers will land which showcases and describes your products’ attributes effectively so that it leads to a conversion.
One of these aspects of course is the product description. If you are trying to sell an item and you have a short, 30 word description which is very bland, generic or uses similar phrases across multiple products, then there is little information available for search engines to use.
However, having a richer product description makes the product more likely to be found, because there is more relevant information available for search engines to understand it as an end-use product for a customer searching online, increasing visibility.
To continue, optimisation of a product listing is about building out and expanding on the raw detail. There is mandatory data about a product that has to be present in order for a listing to function, but this is the minimum set of information. Optimisation is about enhancing and building on these facts.
For example, some certain factual attributes of a cake tin may be that it’s non-stick and dishwasher safe. However, when listing the cake tin, you do not just want to state these characteristics. Instead, you might write a rich product description describing how brilliant it is for making a birthday cake for a child and perhaps linking to a recipe. To optimise a listing, you will want to write a product description with quality detail and supplementary activities.
Pro tips for listing and selling on Amazon
Another very popular marketplace for retailers to list their products is Amazon. So what are some pro tips for sellers looking to effectively optimise their product listings on Amazon specifically? To begin with, one of the main considerations is detail.
When setting up a product on Amazon, most sellers go for the standard option: add a product manually through Seller Central. They then start listing the product section by section – the mistake they make is using the minimum information required, resulting in a low probability of being found.
Instead, one recommendation is to use spreadsheets. Typically, companies use between 20-30 different product details when listing. However, Amazon has a spreadsheet file available for download which can increase this significantly. With clothing, for example, you can add up to 300 different elements of a product, greatly increasing the chance of your item being discovered.
To conclude, the process of optimising your listings begins with the GTIN. Ensuring that you use the correct and original GTIN will make sure your customers receive the correct items. This will help avoid mistakes, build brand loyalty and your reputation for providing excellent customer experience. It will also make your brand more visible, allowing you to show up in search results next to sellers of the same products.
Following this, the key to an effective listing is to prioritise product descriptions with rich detail. Where possible, you will want your descriptions to be naturally written for the shopper rather than for SEO purposes. Instead of stating factual characteristics about your product, try using supplementary material that can appeal to human emotion.
Finally, if you want your Amazon listings to be successful, a high level of detail is crucial. Instead of including the minimum amount of information, utilise the available Amazon spreadsheet files to include as many elements as you can. Although these processes can be time-consuming, they can really pay off by massively increasing your chances of being discovered.
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