A recent Yeoman study of over 1,500 items sold on Amazon from a leading US manufacturer found a whopping 70% contained errors or did not follow Amazon’s best practice recommendations for providing product details. This study further showed the same level of inaccuracy on Google and Bing product searches. This is a maddening problem that plagues manufacturers in every industry. Once a product is “out there,” resellers, partners, distributors and reviewers end up shaping and revising the product details that your customers are going to use to make their purchase decision.

Products sold by Amazon definitely had better data quality, but less than 4% could be considered 'optimized' with the proven best practices for any item:

  • Descriptive title at least 50 characters long (including brand, purpose, color, and set/quantity info)
  • Multiple images of product
  • Bullet/summary list of product features
  • Complete description that includes product benefits, usage instructions, what's in the box, and etc.
  • MSRP reference price
  • Proper brand name and manufacturer info
  • Mfg part number, ISBN, or UPC
  • Proper categorization within Amazon browser tree

 

This isn't necessarily Amazon's fault. Amazon relies heavily on third party merchants as part of their product information set. Manufacturers who don’t understand how product details evolve online end up with a mish-mash of ‘ugly baby’ product details that hurt their sales - both offline and online. 

To address or avoid data quality problems, make sure you have these three key components in place:

  1. Baseline data components in an accessible format. It's amazing how many manufacturers and publishers claim they have great data only to find out its on a spreadsheet somewhere in engineering or marketing.  If you're data isn't in an easily accessible format that partners can use, you can't expect them to get it right.  There are 64 "standard" fields that every manufacturer could pull together and offer up to their partners.  Do you know what they are?
  2. A monitoring program for your online product set. If you don't have a program that monitors your product details on the major channels (including eBay, Amazon, and the general web) you can't take any action.
  3. A product detail action plan. Once you've begun monitoring, make a plan to address bad data as you find it. This includes:
    1. Registering with Amazon brand registry (key for disputes)
    2. Addressing any trademark or misrepresentations on Google or other sites
    3. Providing easy access to your product details (either via website or product feeds)

 

Yeoman specializes in working with manufacturers and publishers to help you understand your online sales and distribution channels.  Contact us today for a review and assessment of your current data quality online.  We've helped scrub, clean, and optimize over 500,000 items in the last year alone! 

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Comments

  • Thanks for the information in this article.  Once you have your existing products cleaned up and a process in place to monitor and maintain them, the key then will be to have a proactive plan for the launch of new products.  If you're new product launch process includes having the data "online-ready," you can get ahead of the third party mish-mash.

  • As an online consumer, this is one of the most frustrating parts about shopping online. Amazon in particular is a great marketplace, but the inconsistency of products displayed makes it hard to shop and compare. It's great when you find products that have multiple images, detailed descriptions, size/quantity information, etc...it really helps with the buying process. It would be wonderful if we could educate more of the manufacturers and retailers about the 'best practices' and get them on board with implementing them! It would benefit everyone in the long run.

  • From a consumer standpoint the lack of data quality is maddening as well. I recently discovered one ecommerce platform listing the exact same item under three slightly different titles with three different prices; makes me hesitant to buy anything from them. Looking forward to the "wild west" of ecommerce getting tamed and the online shopping experience becoming more consistent - sure to make things better for seller and buyer alike.

  • Reply to JD: Thanks for the note about this article.  Part of the project was to create a program to address/fix the issues found.  Working with the manufacturer and Amazon Yeoman cleaned up and optimized all the items.  The results have been extremely impressive.  A 300% increase in overall product sales led by the 'long tail' item that hadn't traditionally been selling.  In fact, several items have started to ramp so quickly they're now purchased directly by Amazon (major win for the client!)

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