The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Don't Want to Make in Amazon Product Listings and How to Fix Them

Sloppy mistakes in your sales listings equal low sales on Amazon. Find out what you can do to polish your product listings.
The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Don't Want to Make in Amazon Product Listings and How to Fix Them
Image credit: Michael Short | Getty Images

Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing

This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media marketing in businesses.
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Timothy P. Seward’s book Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

It’s a haphazard world. If you insist on being sloppy, careless and inattentive to detail, you can usually get away with it. But people who settle for this spend much of their time being disappointed, frustrated and poorly compensated as a result. That’s as true on Amazon as it is in the real world, especially when it comes to product listings.

The range of quality is vast: from product listings with a single, grainy photograph, a few vague bullet points and zero reviews to highly optimized, lengthy listings with professional photographs, extensive and highly descriptive copy, and thorough technical details.

You want to err on the side of excellence. The more expensive or technical your product is, and providing the market volume exists for it, the more you’ll want to increase the time and effort you pour into these listings. Make them your masterpiece.

Related: 2 Quick Steps to Getting Started as an Amazon Seller

Provided you’ve already nailed product quality and have rave reviews from your customers, you’ve developed inspired branding and product packaging, and you have the supply chain and customer-service infrastructure necessary to support strong sales growth, your success on Amazon starts with a strong catalog product listing.

Sometimes you can fix a not-so-great product listing by doing a little troubleshooting. There are five shortcomings I commonly see with Amazon product listings:

1. Poor product/Brand representation

Take a moment to look at a listing on Amazon for an Amazon-owned product -- for example, an Echo smart speaker with Alexa. Because Amazon owns that brand, they optimize all the selling tools available to them, so looking at their products is a good way to see what best practices for a product listing look like. Note the number and quality of photos, presence of video, and thoroughness of the product description in the top section. Then scroll down; look at the media testimonials, rich sections with very large photographs and additional descriptions, technical details and the number of customer questions with answers.

While not every product needs the same level of detail that a new piece of technology does, it gives you some insight into how to make a product listing that’s on-brand, thorough, and beautiful. It’s clear that Amazon has run countless tests to maximize their conversion rates and determine exactly what types of images and information can turn a visitor into a customer.

Related: 3 Keys to Achieving Brand Success on Amazon

2. Inaccurate or misleading product claims

Good business practices on Amazon (or anywhere) mean making accurate and truthful statements. Back in the Wild West days, a traveling snake-oil salesman could say anything he wanted about his product and then move on after pocketing his profits, never to return.

But today, with customer reviews, social media, and the importance of repeat and referral business, every listing requires the utmost honesty and transparency. Scour your existing Amazon listings and make sure they represent your product as well as your brand’s main catalog does.

3. Unanswered or poorly answered questions

Amazon gives buyers and potential buyers an opportunity to ask questions on each product detail page. It’s under the “Customer Questions & Answers” section toward the lower part of the page.

In some cases, the questions posed will be answered by existing customers, who already have experience with your product. In other cases, you’ll provide the answers. Either way, periodically check for new questions on your pages and proactively answer them.

Related: How To Win in Today's Amazon World

4. Negative reviews

The review score for each of your products should be the consumers’ honest reflection of the product’s quality, usefulness, packaging and overall gratification. Obviously, the higher your score, the better. This is why it’s key to pay attention to negative reviews and take action where appropriate.

Think about negative reviews in three ways:

  1. As an opportunity to get valuable feedback on your products directly from cus­tomers so you can learn from them and improve.
  2. As an avenue to provide customer service whenever your product, packaging, or documentation has fallen short. You can offer to fix the problem in a way that is visible to other customers.
  3. As a chance to spot when a customer may have received a counterfeit product. If you determine this is the case, you can report the situation to Amazon (to cut off the supply of counterfeits going forward) and publicly offer to replace the coun­terfeit product with a genuine one (which should earn you some goodwill with your customers).

Countering negative reviews in one of these ways will help you maximize the selling potential of each listing.

5. Duplicate listings

Amazon’s system works by assigning a single ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number, a 10-character alphanumeric code used for product identification) per unique product on their marketplace. It creates a poor experience for the customer if the same item is accidentally listed twice under two different ASINs. Someone in your organization may have listed it again, or perhaps it was one of your distributors.

If the additional ASIN is causing a duplicate product listing, you should delete it. This is simple if your company created both listings. Another option is to merge the duplicate product detail pages. If someone outside your team created the duplicate listing and you’re the brand owner, you can report the offending duplicate as a violation with Amazon Seller Support. You can merge, delete or report duplicate violations through the Help menu in Amazon Seller Central.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur