In the Marketing world, Split Testing and Conversion Rate Optimization are widely discussed topics. Experts would explain that the two are different practices.
Split Testing or A/B Testing does what it says on the tin, you run tests to verify variations of content on your website. Conversion Rate Optimization on the other hand, is an ongoing process. This process should typically start by analyzing data, before making some hypotheses about what could be improved, and then testing these hypotheses continuously.
The two naturally go hand-in-hand. Conversion optimization is a process that relies on A/B testing to test your hypotheses. If you have your own ecommerce store, then you would be able to carry out Conversion Rate Optimization by ensuring you are tracking everything, analyzing your data and then testing the hypotheses you build from that data. With every test you would learn something new and this then allows the business to move forward and test further.
How Does CRO Differ for Amazon Sellers?
But Amazon is different. We all know that! Amazon sellers are making profits using the Amazon platform, which places certain limitations on what we can control, track and test.
On the one hand, you could argue this makes life easier. But on the other you may be frustrated by the limitations. The key thing to bear in mind here is that there is a very good reason for selling on Amazon. Make a relatively passive income from anywhere in the world, without having to touch any inventory!
The fact that Amazon have rules and can sometimes change them, or restrict what you can control is just a by-product of this. After all, Amazon is a growing force in ecommerce, and their platform really works when it comes to selling physical products. Optimistically, this saves Amazon FBA business owners a lot of work.
Why Sellers Should Consider Conversion Rate Optimization
This doesn’t mean that conversion rate optimization for Amazon is not an important consideration. On a very basic level, it translates to improving your product listing for greater conversions (more sales), and of course, more profit.
This isn’t just important for your bottom line. Any improvements that you can make to your sales and conversion rate will help to improve your rank (Best Seller’s Rank), and more sales through the door increases your chances of building up reviews.
Raise your hand if you are an Amazon seller that wants that – all of you, I assume.
Enter Product Listing Optimization
So how does the Conversion Rate Optimization model work for Amazon? What can we do to improve our offering when Amazon own the product page? What sort of hypotheses can we test?
We’re going to investigate:
- How ‘Amazon listing conversion optimization‘ works – that’s a bit of a tongue twister, maybe we can get ALO trending 😉
- Methods – How you can do it
- Some actionable takeaways to improve every area of your product listing today
First up, it’s worth taking a look at your data and trying to make some hypotheses about what elements of your product listing could be causing visitors not to convert. Or rather, not convincing the customer to purchase. A hypotheses by definition is a proposed explanation based on limited evidence. So what evidence do we have?
We can’t set up Analytics or heat maps on our product listing, to identify what people are looking at, clicking on and so on. We need to approach this differently. Try the following steps to decipher where your listing might be leaving money on the table…
1. Enter your ASIN in the Product Listing Grader to get instant results on what needs to be improved
This tool will grade each part of your listing at a top level:
It will also give you a full breakdown and a further list of tips and recommendations:
We’ll take a look at some tips and creativity hacks for improving your listing content later in this post, too!
2. Carry out some competitor analysis
This is important so you know what you are up against. If you have only three photos and lacklustre copy, whilst your competition has lots of photographs, infographics and features that really set the product apart, then they could be stealing market share.
- Look at all of your direct competitors on Amazon and check out their listings (you could also run their listing through the Product Listing Grader to spot whose listings are the strongest).
- Look at the competitions photography, is it clearer than yours? Does it offer different angles, or include a wider variety of photos?
- Do their product titles include more descriptive language or mention more added benefits?
- Keep a close eye on your competitors’ pricing, estimated sales and rank (BSR). You could use the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension to get all of this data as you browse Amazon. Alternatively, the Jungle Scout Product Tracker will run in the background and spy on all of the interesting data you need to know about your competitors:
3. Be honest with yourself!
Launching on Amazon is a busy time for any new business. Take a long, hard look at the work you put in during this time and ask yourself:
- How long has it been since the content and photography has been refreshed?
- Is it worth paying a professional photographer to take a new set of images?
- Does the product packaging need a re-design?
- Am I offering any added value with the product? Could I include an infographic or ebook with each sale?
- Does the content need refreshing to be more informative, descriptive and enticing?
Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If you think that you would purchase a competitor item over yours based on the listing alone, then there is definitely work to be done. Even if you think your listing is strong, running this exercise will probably highlight a few things that can be improved.
From here, you need to decide which elements require the most attention and prioritize them accordingly. More on exactly how to improve them coming up soon!
Testing your Hypotheses
Once you have made some assumptions about where you think your product listing might be leaking visitors, it’s time to test them. You’ve got two options at this stage:
You can make improvements to your listing or adjust your pricing manually, and see how this affects your bottom line.
It’s entirely possible to make improvements this way (and we have lot’s of tips coming up). But you just need to be aware that it’s pretty difficult to get statistically accurate results. More assumptions would have to be made on how the changes you make are affecting your sales, for better or for worse.
It’s recommended to change and improve just one element of your product listing at a time. After that you will need to monitor your sales in Seller Central for a couple of weeks, to make a judgement on whether it’s had a positive effect.
Always remember that there are a lot of moving parts on Amazon, so an increase or decrease in sales could also be attributed to seasonal fluctuations, competitor behavior or changes in your rank (BSR).
2. Use Software
This is the most accurate way to find out exactly how each change you make to your product listing affects your overall sales and profits.
This is where you utilize software like Splitly to automate side-by-side tests, directly comparing one version of your listing with another.
These tests will run for about two weeks, or until the data reaches statistical significance, showing that one version of the test has outperformed the other.
Tip: If you’re stuck with all of the jargon, check out our Amazon Split Testing Glossary.
Which ever route you choose, this is an incredibly important part of being an Amazon seller these days. It’s particularly useful for private label sellers, who ‘own’ their listing and the buy box. (Technically, Amazon own both of these, but private label sellers have much more control over the outcomes of their listing).
Finding out what makes your listing perform better is a very powerful tool that will help you stay ahead of your competition and increase your profits.
It’s also an effective tactic now that incentivized reviews are no longer allowed, after the TOS changes back on October 3rd 2016. It is still possible to employ tactics that help to increase your organic product reviews, but optimizing your listings for increased sales can only stand to improve your overall Amazon marketing strategy.
Tactical & Creative Ideas To Improve Product Listings
The silver lining at having less control over our product page, is that because the anatomy of the Amazon product listing is pretty much set in stone, testing and improving them is slightly more straightforward.
If there is one thing I have learnt about Amazon listing optimization after pouring over endless data and calculations, it’s that testing your pricing is the most powerful thing you can influence.
I won’t go into too much detail about changing your pricing here, as we have covered it extensively in other articles. I would highly recommend checking out this ebook for further information.
Instead here’s some top tips to summarize the thought process behind it:
- When testing a higher price, you need to ensure that a potential decrease in sales is compensated for by the higher profits per unit
- When testing a lower price, you need to ensure that loss of profit per unit it compensated for by a large enough increase in sales velocity
- Unusual price points can be powerful: for example, rather than $19.99 or $19.95, try a unique value like $19.87.
They say that an image can speak a thousand words, and in eCommerce this certainly bears some truth. Your product photography is the closest your customers get to seeing the real thing. It’s your shop window. Unsurprisingly, we have seen that testing your main image is the next most effective optimization hack after pricing.
Even slight changes in your images can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Here’s some useful tips for how you could go ahead and improve your main images today:
- Try different angles for your main image – even small changes can make a world of difference
Try zoomed in vs zoomed out
- Include the packaging in your main image
- If your image has poor quality, re-shoot it for a high-res version
- If you haven’t already, consider hiring a professional product photographer, particularly for your main image.
- Test the order of your images
- Add images of the product in use (lifestyle photography)
- Show the size, ingredients or a how-to guide with an info-graphic
- Add photos of packaging
- If you are sending out free eBooks or any added value materials, add a photo of them in your other images.
Product features offer a digestible format for potential customers to get a snapshot of how your product is going to benefit them. Features should always be benefits led.
Here’s some tips to guide you in improving your product features:
- Highlight all important features and try to use up your word limit
- Each bullet point should include a clear benefit to the customer
- Include quality, security and guarantees
- Try not to talk about yourself, i.e. don’t start a feature with the brand name or “we”
- Differentiate from your competitors – if they don’t offer a bigger pack size, a free guide or a guarantee, then make sure the customer knows that you do
- Experiment with long form and shorter bullet points to discover what works best for your listing.
Many private label sellers don’t think that their description plays a big part in conversions and sales. This common misconception could be costing you!
From what we have seen through the Splitly community, longer descriptions equal a higher conversion rate (see the chart below). There are some outliers, so you need to find out what works for each of your listings.
Here’s some top tips for writing engaging and conversion primed product descriptions:
- Don’t assume that customers will not read your description, because the ones that do will be disappointed
- Capitalize main features to draw attention to them
- Use powerful tag-lines or headings to break up your description
- Include descriptive language (stunning, beautiful, smooth, soft, luxurious, durable, robust, sturdy, etc.)
- Try to use a narrative that allows the reader to picture them owning this product, or how it would change their life
- Describe how the product is used; tell a story about the product being used by a fictional persona
Be bold, and be creative!
If you’re thinking to yourself, “I am selling a lemon squeezer, how will it change someones life?“, don’t do your product a disservice. People looking for a product in a niche want it for a reason. Find out what that reason is and really sell it to them. After all, why wouldn’t you want to get the most juice out of the lemon as possible?
“People looking for a product in a niche want it for a reason. Find out what that reason is and really sell it to them.”
Always remember to take your product feedback seriously, there will always be some insights in there that you can reverse engineer into your listing content.
Optimizing your listing is an underestimated opportunity for Amazon sellers to get ahead, and improving your conversion rate has a positive domino effect on your rank.
If you do nothing else, simply try to improve your listings with some of the tips I’ve provided. Get creative and make sure you are adding value. Even better, try to add a little bit of flair and brand personality.
We have many resources and articles about how Splitly can help you test your Amazon listings in a controlled, scientific manner. So if you are looking to run Split Tests, automate your pricing optimization or boost your rank, then make sure you check out other content on our blog and resources.
Got any comments or questions? Let us know below!
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