The Five Laws of Product Data – Part Four

November 12, 2013

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Welcome
to part four of our five-part blog series on product data. Written by Rynhardt
Hanekom and Rachel Miller from ChannelAdvisor’s Customer Success team, Part One, Part Two and Part Three are
available in case you missed any of the previous instalments.

When
selling online, your products are constantly being compared and measured
against your competitors’ products. What’s the key to getting a customer to select
your product over another? Some say it’s the item price or delivery cost and time,
while others say it depends on the brand itself.

What
isn’t commonly recognised is that ultimately the customer’s decision comes down
to your product data. We all respond to stimuli, and although selling products
online holds many advantages for retailers, one major disadvantage is that you have
access to only a few senses that drive decision-making. Retailers selling in
the bustling high street have sounds, sights, touch, smell and even taste
playing in their favour.

A
significant advantage for online retailers, however, is the potential to market
your products to millions of global shoppers. The fourth instalment of this
five-part blog series aims to review the key factors that affect purchase
decisions and how to most effectively list your products.

The Importance of Excellence

In
law two of this blog series, we reviewed
how sustainability product data is key to success. The natural extension to this
topic is law four, excellence. Having
subpar building materials won’t serve your business well and you could find
yourself outperformed in the industry. Quality is essential, especially when
competing against an extensively busy and determined online retail market.

Competing
in this e-commerce landscape can be a challenge. Whether your product is
grouped in a shared listing (such as Amazon) or an individual listing (like
eBay), you are constantly competing with other retailers. It’s therefore vital
that you utilise product data to the fullest, making sure you stay one step
ahead of the competition. One part of achieving this is by applying law three: showcasing
your products and gaining that competitive edge.

The
same principles you apply on marketplaces can also be applied on your webstore,
taking the best components or suggestions each marketplace has to offer. This
relates to the second
law
: ensuring that your data is sustainable. To have your website’s product
display pages in a desired format, you ought to invest in drawing buyers to
your site, as well as perform A/B testing and additional exercises to keep them
engaged. Applying all the data laws to your website design will help create a
user-friendly experience that converts.

How do I achieve Excellence?

If
you have been following this blog series, you will have gone through the
process of planning and reviewing your data. So with that tackled, let’s take a
closer look at how to construct your data on eBay and Amazon:

Title

Your
product title is the most important component of your data and what the buyer
first encounters when looking at product listings. Each word in the title is searchable,
so you want to include every term a buyer will search. Avoid using spam keywords;
the marketplaces don’t like it and buyers don’t want to read it. Presentation
is also key, so make sure to be descriptive and accurate — and proofread to
ensure there are no spelling mistakes.

Provide all the necessary information to help buyers make their
decision. Make sure you ask yourself these questions when listing:

  • What is the
    item?
  • Does it have
    a brand or other descriptive attribute?
  • What is it
    made of?
  • What colour
    is it?
  • Is size a
    concern?
  • Is packaging
    or packaging quantity important?
  • Is
    seasonality important?
  • Does it have
    a model number?

Don’t include discount information or words and phrases not
pertaining to the item itself, such as ‘L@@k,’ ‘shipped from the UK,’ ‘as seen
worn by Joe Schmo’ or ‘lowest price in the U.K.’ Keep in mind that different
marketplaces have different character restrictions, so you’ll likely end with
different titles across each channel:

  • eBay title: Men’s ACME
    Casual Blue Shirt in Hawaiian Design with Floral Print – Large
  • Amazon title: Men’s ACME
    Blue Casual Short Sleeve Shirt in Hawaiian Design with Floral Print –
    Large

Description

When
writing a product description, make sure to get to the point fast and with the
most relevant data. When on eBay, utilise bullet points, which will either need
to be written as HTML or, if you use ChannelAdvisor, could already be built
into your template and you would just need to reference the attributes.

On
Amazon you can utilise the five featured bullets, while through ChannelAdvisor
you can map the relevant attributes in your template. If you have additional
information that you wish to include to help buyers make a decision, then make
sure to keep it brief. One or two paragraphs should suffice.

Don’t
repeat information already highlighted in other parts of the product page, and don’t
include images, links or information that’s comparative, negative or unrelated.

Categories

The
importance of categories cannot be stressed enough. They have the ability to
generate information you might not already have listed and can be used to map
or generate information such as product type, which is required in certain
marketplaces.

In
Excel you can use VLOOKUP for this exercise, while in ChannelAdvisor you can
use lookup lists or business rules.


Product Data Screenshot 1Descriptive Attributes

Descriptive
attributes are any additional key information about the product. Below are some
different uses of descriptive attributes.

eBay item
specifics:
These are displayed within the product listing page but are also
used in left-hand navigation within the category. Item specifics allow buyers
to filter out products unrelated to what they are looking for; also known as
refined search, or filtered navigation. By not entering this information, your
products might not appear in a search and you could potentially lose out on
sales. eBay requires item specifics to be populated for certain categories,
such as clothing.

Product Data Screenshot 2
Variation
data
:
Size, colour and flavour are all attributes that you can have your products
vary by to improve buyer experience on most channels.

Search terms: On Amazon, this
is a good way to help shoppers find your products. Make sure not to repeat
words you’ve already used, such as in your title. Use standalone words, not
phrases; your item will only be relevant if consumers search for the entire
phrase.

Below are product
specifications on Amazon, which can help with the buying experience.

Product Data Screenshot 3

Images

Images
are a vital tool for marketing your listings. Without seeing a product image,
buyers are drastically less likely to purchase your item.

Each
marketplace has different specifications for images — and eBay recently changed
its requirements. See this recent blog post on the topic, titled “Why
You Need to Upgrade Your Images Now
.”

We
suggest comparing the requirements across all channels you’re selling on, or
expanding to and ensuring your images are of the best quality and will be
effective on all channels. The overall goal here is to succeed in law two,
making your images sustainable.

Summary

Each component of your product listing — whether it’s the title,
description, category or any other component — plays an essential part in marketing
your product to potential buyers and standing out from a busy and competitive
crowd.

Head back next week for the fifth and final part of this blog series on the laws of product data. To receive this
blog instalment directly to your inbox, simply subscribe to the blog through the
form on the right-hand side of the page.