Successfully selling on Amazon isn’t just a question of finding the right product. It’s a question of optimizing the right product.


But there’s a certain disconnect between optimization and listing on Amazon. Namely, that traditional marketing strategies simply don’t work on Amazon. Amazon Marketplace is simply about the facts—and nothing but the facts. After all, customer-centricity is at the heart of Amazon’s infrastructure. And in 2021, there’s no longer any room in marketing for hyperbole and false claims.


Think of Amazon as a game; a $144.8 Billion game. While they may set the rules, sellers aren’t necessarily as restricted as it might seem. Amazon’s protocol is in place to ensure seller transparency. And sellers can use that transparency to their advantage. Whether you’re new to selling on Amazon or need to make the most out of your existing presence, there’s a few rough guidelines to keep in mind.


The Top Do’s and Don'ts for Amazon Sellers


  • Do adhere to seller policies regarding code of conduct, product and category restrictions and product detail rules. Amazon is a self-policing community, one in which users are likely to flag any restricted listing which escapes the watchful eyes of Amazon bots. There’s a world of difference between casually selling a product on Amazon and acting as a registered seller; and distinguishing yourself means following correct protocol.


  • Don’t include promotional or sale information in your title, product details or images. Amazon doesn’t just frown on promotional marketing on Marketplace. They outright prohibit it. If you’re running any particular sales or promotions, link back to your listing either on your own site or through social media. Promotional materials on Amazon are considered a direct violation of seller protocol and can result in suspension of selling privileges.


  • Do make certain that the title of your listing includes only pertinent product information such as brand, model number, product type, series and size. There’s a 100 character limit to your product title, so make certain it contains only the most factual information that’s relevant to purchase decisions.


  • Don’t include reviews, testimonials or coercive language in your listing. It’s been estimated that 82 percent of consumers read reviews prior to making a purchase. And objective and unbiased reviews are one of the key benefits to selling on Amazon. But if you hope to take advantage of the strength of testimonials, customers will do so for you. Amazon is extremely specific about their product listing guidelines and insists on only factual language which describes product specifications and usage. Let your customers evaluate your product in their own reviews, not in your listing.


  • Do use product listing bullet points to your advantage. Again, Amazon allows you a maximum of 100 characters for each bullet point. Be detailed in your description, but succinct. And make absolutely certain your listing is proofread and free from both typos and grammatical errors before publishing.


  • Don’t link back to your own external site in your product listing. Your listing is already going to be seen by millions of customers per day; more so than your own site. Amazon’s providing you with exposure to the largest customer base in the world. That’s one of the reasons why they’re so stringent on marketing materials. It’s to ensure there’s a level playing field for all sellers.


  • Do conduct thorough keyword research prior to your listing. It might seem time consuming, but Amazon customers generally tend to know exactly what they want. Your keywords are what helps drive your visibility. It’s also what brings your product description into sharper clarity. Make certain you spend some time conducting thorough research before developing a keyword pool. It won’t just streamline your product listing. It will help you gain deeper insight into your customers.


  • Don’t include irrelevant keywords or overuse existing ones. Amazon limits each search term attribute to less than 250 characters. The key is quality, not quantity. Thoroughly pare down your keyword pool to only the most relevant and popular search terms; but keep in mind that the latter can change almost monthly. Constantly review and refine your keyword strategy every other month for best results.


  • Do ensure listing images are high quality and on a purely white background. For best practices, ensure that your hero image is web-optimized (a jpeg file compressed to no more than 400 kb) at a ratio of 16:9 (1600 x 500 pixels for web and 800 x 1200 for mobile.)


  • Don’t use specialty filters for your images. Customers are interested in your product as is, not your aesthetics. While there’s definitely room to experiment with the images in your listing, try to emphasize the product and its usage—not your own artistry.


Transparency, Amazon and Your Sales Advantage


You’re not just selling on Amazon out of convenience. You’re selling on Amazon to take advantage of the largest digital marketplace on the planet. And one that could very well outpace even physical retail in the coming years.


But so are 2.4 million other active sellers. And not all of them may have their customers’ best interest in mind. Amazon may seem heavy handed in their restrictions on seller activities at times. And selling guidelines change constantly. But selling protocol isn’t just for Amazon’s benefit. And it’s not just for the customer’s either. It’s there for you as a seller.


Transparency builds trust. There’s a reason why false advertising laws are in place. And while some companies may walk an extremely fine line around it, customers aren’t so easily fooled. They know that the ultimate value of a product is just how it relates to their lives. And they certainly don’t want a company dictating its usage to them. And Amazon’s approach of “just the facts” provides exactly that for both customers and sellers alike.


Information, not a sales pitch. Relevance, not hyperbole. Choice, not coercion.


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.


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