When it comes to Amazon, it’s important to equip your product listings with all the features and information they need to perform well, and it’s critical to do that before you start advertising. This concept is called retail readiness. You’re likely already familiar with the concepts of retail readiness when it comes to traditional brick and mortar stores. Customers are much more likely to visit and purchase from stores that meet their needs. In brick and mortar, retail readiness means the store would have plenty of inventory, a good local reputation, a convenient location, clear signage explaining the benefits of top products, and competitive pricing for their primary products. On Amazon the factors of retail readiness mimic those of brick and mortar stores; however, the factors all live within the Amazon ecosystem.

The primary factors of Amazon retail readiness include the following:

  • Optimized product titles
  • Optimized product description and bullets
  • Descriptive product imagery
  • Brand Registry (for Brand Owners)
  • A+ Content (for Brand Owners)
  • Brand Store (for Brand Owners)
  • Inventory
  • Ratings & reviews
  • Pricing

The Importance of Retail Readiness

The elements of Amazon retail readiness help provide the customer with information that will help them make a purchase. Adhering to the best practices regarding these factors helps to increase conversion rates. Increased conversion rates leads to higher sales rank, which results in a feedback loop on the Amazon platform that leads to more sales and growth. Just as a brick and mortar store would make sure they are retail ready before promoting a grand opening or a major sale, any brand on Amazon should make sure that their products are retail ready before promoting them with advertising on the Amazon platform. Retail readiness helps increase the efficiency of Amazon advertising and improve overall sales for brands on the Amazon platform.

Are you making the profit in Amazon you think you are?Factors of Amazon Retail Readiness

Product Title Optimization

Optimized product titles help to grow visibility for relevant keywords related to your products. A proper title also helps users determine if the product fits their needs when the user is on the search result page and on the Amazon detail page itself. The best practices for writing Amazon titles state that the title should be limited to 200 characters, include the brand, explain details of this particular product variant, state the unit quantity, and describe the product using relevant keywords. Each Amazon category has specific guidelines, so it’s important to check the guidelines for your particular category.

Product Description and Bullet Optimization

The product description and bullets (also known as product features) are two major factors that help users make their purchase decision. In particular, optimized Amazon bullets are the second attribute customers read related to your product, second only to the title. As such, bullets should take advantage of the available real estate of 5 bullet points and 500 characters for each bullet. The bullets should list the most eye catching product features and benefits in order of importance. Just as with the product title, keywords should be included in each bullet to help the product gain visibility  in Amazon search. Similarly, the product description should highlight the major benefits of the product and include search keywords.

Product Images

Descriptive product images are one of the most important factors influencing a buyer’s purchase decision. Product images on Amazon need to communicate the size, functionality, and key features of product, similar to how a floor model would communicate these points in a traditional brick and mortar store. Sellers should make sure images provide a clear, appealing impression of the product while adhering to all of Amazon’s product image requirements. The main image needs to adhere to specific guidelines, including having an all white background and no text on the image. However, the rest of the images do not have such strict guidelines, and it’s wise for sellers to use text, graphics, and lifestyle photos to communicate the true value and utility of the product.

Brand Registry

For trademark owners, Amazon has a program in place called Brand Registry that provides trademark owners with additional benefits. By registering a brand with Brand Registry, sellers gain an added layer of protection over their brand and increased authority over their product listings. If a third party seller has included incorrect information, brand owners can more easily make changes for the content on their product listings. In addition, Brand Registry enables sellers to add A+ Content to product detail pages and also enables sellers to create an Amazon Brand Store.

A+ Content

Available only to vendors who sell through Vendor Central or to brand owners with Brand Registry who sell on Seller Central, A+ Content allows brand owners to add enhanced content to product detail pages. This content can include detailed product descriptions, narrative text, graphics, videos, and rich images. Product listings with A+ Content have been shown to have increased conversion rates and sales. Additionally, A+ Content is very customizable, enabling brand owners to convey the value of products through a rich shopping experience. See a few examples of some of the best A+ Content we’ve seen.

Brand Store

An Amazon Brand Store is an immersive online shopping experience where vendors and sellers with Brand Registry can construct multiple custom pages that feature only their own brand’s products. Pages can be customized to provide a unique experience, with options to use video, descriptive text, and photos to showcase product listings. A Brand Store enables a brand to build a more meaningful relationship with a customer or better communicate the features of the brand without the distraction of competing brands. A Brand Store can also serve as a meaningful final destination for Sponsored Brands Ads.

Inventory

Product listings that have enough inventory to fulfill orders stand a greater chance at maintaining their visibility in Amazon. Amazon places a high importance on being able to deliver products quickly, therefore, listings with inventory that is available at multiple distribution centers tend to receive more visibility. When a product inventory falls out of stock, the listing looses momentum or sales velocity in Amazon, which is very difficult to regain. This lost sales velocity is a risk that should be mitigated whenever possible. Prior to advertising on Amazon, it’s important to make sure you have the inventory to support higher sales numbers that come along with productive advertising.

Ratings & Reviews

Ratings and reviews are a major indicator to customers about the quality of a product. Therefore, most best practices state that sellers should have at least 10-15 reviews on each product before advertising that listing in Amazon. Reviews provide a quality voice of customer perspective that many users rely on before making a purchase.

Pricing

When competing with other sellers, pricing is one of the key factors that helps you win the buybox. Therefore, it’s very important to offer pricing that is equal or competitive with other sellers of the same product. Further, it’s important to price your product competitively with similar products on Amazon. If you have listings for the same product off Amazon, it is also critical to price your Amazon listing at the same price as your lowest priced listing. If you sell your products for a lower price outside Amazon, this can negatively affect Brand Health. Amazon Brand Health issues can get product listings disabled, often with very little recourse. There are instances where 3rd party resellers may undercut your own pricing both on and off Amazon. When your products are sold across multiple channels including Amazon, it’s wise to have a MAP pricing policy in place.

Be Retail Ready for Every Product Launch

Retail readiness is about taking advantage of factors you can control on Amazon to build momentum right at product launch. When you are vying for visibility on Amazon, a period of strong sales will propel your product to sell more.  A great start can build sales velocity in Amazon that leads to sustained visibility on the platform, leading to more sales and thus more visibility, creating a powerful feedback loop. In addition to adhering to these best practices, product launches should be planned for periods of increased demand so you can build a sales history during a strong sales period. For Vendors on Amazon, there is a a program called Born to Run that helps to propel products into increased sales right at product launch. Employing these strategies can provide products with a head start that helps them have a strong, sustained life on the Amazon platform.