Out of all the available marketing tools Amazon has made available to help both seasoned and novice sellers, one of the most popular is A+ content. And it’s not hard to see why. It’s not just user friendly. It can be virtually automatic. With the Amazon Builds For You module in A+, Amazon will optimize your layout and content based on both a vendor’s sales history and that of their competitors.
It’s been estimated that close to 70 percent of all online shopping carts are ultimately abandoned by users. The chief reason isn’t that the checkout process is particularly complicated. Or additional fees. It’s that customers simply didn’t feel informed enough to make a purchase.
The reality is that conversion rates will always be contingent on both product demand as well as how you’re delivering marketing content. Conversions are rarely an overnight phenomenon. Nor are they at all predictable. Market trends can’t be manipulated, no matter how enhanced your content is.
Amazon likes to claim that A+ content can increase conversions—sometimes by as much as 10 percent. We’re not about to doubt them. Reportedly, Amazon came to that conclusion as the result of a 2015 survey of 134,000 ASINs. The problem isn’t necessarily that the survey dates back to 2015. It’s that Amazon only reported content delivery in aggregate form. They didn’t specify which content delivers the highest conversion rates. With that in mind, we decided to review some of the pros and cons of Amazon A+ as well as suggest best practices so you can make a better informed decision.
Pro: Basic Amazon A+ content is entirely free to create.
For sellers and vendors who are already familiar with the dynamics of content creation and layout, the ability to integrate multiple pictures, product comparison charts and rich text into one listing is an incredibly useful tool which takes a substantial amount of legwork out of your Amazon strategy.
Con: Higher levels of A+ content are only accessible at a fee.
Amazon A+ comes in two options: Self Service and Amazon Builds For You. Each has four separate modules of Basic, Silver, Gold and Premium, each with corresponding fees. Only the Self Service Basic option is free; and while each level has additional features such as 360° product views and HD Videos, they’re also successively more expensive.
Pro: Amazon A+ is available for both first party vendors and third party sellers.
In the past, A+ was for vendors by invitation only. It wasn’t until last year that qualified sellers enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry service were allowed to participate with up to twenty pending submissions under review at any given time.
Con: Sellers pay higher fees for A+ Silver, Gold and Platinum solutions.
Not only do sellers have to be enrolled in the Brand Registry program, A+ services require sellers to be invited by a Vendor Manager to participate in the Silver, Gold and Premium modules—at a cost that can be considerably more than vendor prices.
Pro: Qualified vendors may be eligible for A++ (Amazon A+ Premium) content.
A+ Premium (also known as A++) content contains the same features found in standard A+ content. But it also features a host of much more advanced features including integrated video, voice commands, clickable Q & A options, automated mobile optimization and hotspot modules activated by users hovering over specific product features.
Con: A++ is an invitation only solution—at a cost that’s none too inviting.
A+ Premium is only available to vendors, not sellers. And with good reason. Not only must vendors need to qualify for A+ Premium eligibility, they need to be specifically invited by Amazon to participate in the program. In addition the cost for Premium eligibility is considerably higher—sometimes up to $1500.
Pro: When optimized properly, A+ content can seem almost like an alternate website.
Because of its enhanced features and customizable layout, you can differentiate your product from competitors by providing a much more informative multimedia experience. In essence? A+ content acts just like a landing page, only on the largest digital retail platform in the world.
Con: Amazon does not currently index A+ content.
A+ content exists for the benefit of both you and your customers. It showcases your brand and helps you create a narrative so users can stay better informed. However, that doesn’t mean A+ content will show up in Amazon search results. Amazon does not currently index A+ content yet, although users have reported that it does show up in Google.
Content Delivery And Conversions
An estimated 55 percent of all online users consumers spend less than 15 seconds reading content on a web page.
A 2020 report from Wyzowl revealed that 80 percent of marketers felt video played a dramatic role in sales growth, with 95 percent indicating it helped increase user understanding of a product or service.
A recent forecast from Zenith Media predicts the average user will spend 100 minutes per day viewing online video by 2021.
According to a 2019 report from CMI, only 54 percent of content marketers feel they provide an adequate experience for consumers across their engagement journey.
Independent business consultant OC&C Strategy predicts over $40 billion will be spent through voice commerce in the US alone by 2022.
An estimated 88 percent of marketers have indicated interactive media helps differentiate their brand from competitors.
Best Practices For A+ Content
Product content is not just about your product.
It’s natural to assume your best-selling product will be the focus of your A+ campaign. But how aligned is it with your brand overall? Does it reflect your reputation? Does it represent your product category as a whole? By featuring a company profile, comparison charts and product-specific highlights, you’re indicating you’re more than just one product. You’re part of a much larger retail fabric.
You may not see automatic conversions with A+ content. Market trends are never set in stone. And your A+ campaign shouldn’t be either. If you’re finding enhanced content doesn’t appear to be gaining traction, audit your campaign. Few consumers want to see stagnant listings from three or more years ago. Review competitive results but never imitate. Improve on them.
A+ Is Not Your Only Tool.
There’s an entire array of solutions available for you through Amazon Advertising which have been proven to drive sales. Sponsored Products. Sponsored Brands. Sponsored Display Ads. Amazon DSP. Stores on Amazon. Amazon PPC. A+ may simply not be enough. Confining yourself to just one solution in a landscape like Amazon doesn’t just hinder your visibility. It could render your presence virtually obsolete.
Connectivity, A+ Content And Your Brand Story
According to a recent report from Business Insider, mobile is predicted to account for 45 percent of the US eCommerce market by the end of 2020 and 44 percent of global eCommerce as a whole by 2024. And while optimizing mobile may be critical for sales, it’s even more critical for A+ content.
Right after your tile and gallery images, your A+ content is the first to show up on mobile browsers. And it can be more persuasive than straightforward descriptions. That’s because the nature of mobile retail is rooted in both speed, portability and convenience. Very few mobile consumers will find technical product specifications anywhere near as engaging as image rich content. They may review details once their interest is sparked, but product details are simply not a compelling lead-in.
What does compel in A+ content is your brand narrative. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then A+ content could be worth an entire dictionary. Comparison charts are a great example. Your customers are faced with dozens, if not hundreds, of competitive products vying for their attention. And you’ll need a way to stand out from the pack while still retaining a cohesive narrative. Comparison charts tell your customers exactly why they should purchase your brand in particular—one reason why they’ve historically led to higher conversions. You can’t necessarily obtain that impetus in 200 characters or less.
More importantly, Amazon A+ content allows you to showcase your personal creativity as much as it allows you to showcase your brand. Standard Amazon content looks uniform and sterile for a reason: to ensure a consistency in user experience. But enhanced A+ content doesn’t just give customers standard details. It allows for a much more personal user experience that showcases just how your product can impact the daily lives of your audience.
A personalization that isn’t just worth a thousand words. It’s priceless.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.