Year in Review: How Amazon Listing Requirements Changed in 2014

January 14, 2015

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Do you know the meaning behind Amazon’s logo?

The orange arrow swooping from the letter “A” to the letter “Z” represents the company’s vast, “A-to-Z” product selection. One of the main reasons consumers flock to Amazon is its massive selection of items. In fact, the percentage of shoppers who start their product searches on Amazon is more than triple that of those who begin their product searches on Google.

And the reason for the arrow’s upward curve? It represents the smile consumers are meant to express after shopping on Amazon, a company famous for its “consumer first” approach to business.

If you understand that product selection and customer experience are at the core of Amazon, it’s easier to wrap your mind around the methods behind the marketplace’s madness — such as its ever-changing listing requirements.

Below are three tweaks Amazon made to its product listings in 2014 in efforts to improve product visibility and customer experience. If your Amazon listings don’t follow suit, you might as well turn your ship around and head home, because your listings will likely be lost in the vast Amazon ocean.

1. Listing Optimization Framework

What does this mean for retailers? Listing quality improves product visibility and conversion.

Listings with complete product information improve the shopping experience by making it easier for customers to not only find, but evaluate and purchase your product. Amazon has too many data requirements to list here, but retailers should break down and think about each of their listings using a List Optimization Framework, consisting of core data (product title, image, brand, etc.), categorization data (Item Type keyword) and product-specific data (size, color, style, etc.).

2. Suppressed Listings

What does this mean for retailers? Amazon may already be suppressing some of your products. Regularly review Amazon’s Suppressed Products and address missing data.

Ask yourself this question: Are all the items you’ve listed live on the site? Amazon will suppress product listings that don’t meet certain standards, so it’s important that you keep a close watch on which products are being suppressed. The Amazon Selling Coach can provide you with an updated list.

3. Listing Visibility

What does this mean for retailers? Amazon will continue to increase listing requirements, so you should clean and expand your data now. Act like a buyer, review the product browsing process on and provide the attributes that are missing.

Think of a traditional, brick-and-mortar store. Merchandise is organized logically and strategically so buyers can easily locate products. Amazon accomplishes this same merchandising concept online by using an Item Type keyword value to put your product in the right place. So make sure you’re using the right Item Type, so that your products are being cataloged correctly and finding the right shoppers.

Data quality often becomes a problem for many retailers as they increase their number of SKUs and have more to keep up with. It helps to use a robust e-commerce platform provider that has the tools to keep your data accurate and up to date. ChannelAdvisor’s Amazon Insights feature can monitor your data quality for you, alert you to potential data quality issues and help you address them before they become problems.

Bottom Line

The massive product selection on Amazon brings with it a massive consumer base. And to retain customers and draw in new ones, Amazon will continue to evolve to better cater to consumers’ needs. And this goes well beyond updated listing requirements.

As a retailer, if you’re not on top of Amazon’s evolutions — Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), mobile and social, advertising and promotions, and expansion (just to name a few) — you may risk becoming obsolete on the marketplace.

We know it’s not easy chasing Amazon around, which is why we’ve done it for you! In this free eBook, we’ve broken down the major Amazon changes in 2014 that you might have missed. Then, we tell you what implications they have for your listings and provide a quick checklist for steps you can take to adapt.

Happy selling!


Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor

year-in-rev-14-LPWe’ve broken down some of Amazon’s major 2014 changes that you might have missed. Download this free eBook, Year in Review: What’s New with Amazon.