Amazon News Roundup: Prime Day 2019

Amazon FBA Seller News – June 28th, 2019

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Amazon News Roundup, Volume 10

Seller chatter

The title saga continues.

Just last week, we reported that Amazon would be changing its guidelines for titles, reducing the title length to 50 characters. Within a few hours of posting this news, Amazon changed their minds, switching it back to 200 characters.

Here is what the new Terms of Service for titles read:

Product title guidelines

Length

200 characters maximum is the general rule. However, some product categories allow longer titles, so be sure to review category-specific instructions.

Capitalization

  • Capitalize the first letter of each word.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS.
  • Conjunctions (and, or, for) and articles (the, a, an) should not be capitalized.
  • Don’t capitalize prepositions with fewer than five letters (in, on, over, with).

Numbers and symbols

  • Use numerals (“2” instead of “two”)
  • Spell out measurements ( “6 inches” not “6”” )
  • Don’t use symbols, such as ~ ! * $ ? _ ~ { } [ ] # < > | * ; / ^ ¬ ¦
  • Don’t use Type 1 High ASCII characters (Æ, ©, ô, etc.)

Product information

  • Include relevant product information such as type of product.Include the size and color in child ASINs for variations (see below).
  • Don’t include price or promotional messages, such as “sale” or “free shipping”.Don’t use subjective commentary, such as “Hot Item” or “Best Seller”.
  • Your merchant name for Brand or Manufacturer information should not be included, unless your product is Private Label.
Tip: Move product-specific information, such as “great workout”, to the Product Description for the ASIN, or include it in the keywords.

Titles using variation relationships

In Variation Relationships, only the title of the parent ASIN is shown on the detail page. The title for the selected child ASIN will appear once the ASIN is added to the customer’s cart, so it is important to include the variation attributes like size and color in the title for the child ASIN.

  • Example parent: Crocs Beach Clog
  • Example child: Crocs Beach Clog, Lime, Medium (Women’s 8-9 M US/Men’s 6-7 M US)

At first, it seemed like a good thing:

As we reported last week, a number of sellers in our Amazon FBA Competitive Edge Facebook group were excited about the change, seeing it as an improvement.

“I think it’s a great idea. Some listings are so long they are unreadable, with irrelevant keyword stuffing.” – Sam B.

“Still not clear if it applies to ALL categories. relevant pages, style guides, etc. have not been updated.” – Barry D.

“As a buyer, I am happy with shortening titles. As a seller I want my buyer to be happy so I will shorten the title.” – Geoff W.

This week, however, we started to see where the real issues with the reduced word count were.

How it affects sellers with hundreds, or thousands, of listings:

While at the Prosper Amazon Seller Conference in Las Vegas, Jungle Scout’s User Experience Director, Danny Villarreal, spoke with sellers about this topic.

“I met someone who had 1800 listings and was really worried about the impact it would have to have to update it and the impact if they were to get repressed from searches.”

Many private label sellers list just one, or maybe two items, so these changes seem minor. But those at the enterprise level, with hundreds–even thousands–of listings, have a lot more to be concerned about.

After all, changing 1,800 ASINs is quite the undertaking.

How it affects sellers in Health/Personal Care:

Here is the perspective of Competitive Edge member Donald R., who sells in Health/Personal Care:

“I sell in health and personal care. Almost every brand (including massive ones) are using more than 100 characters and often close to 200. 50 characters was just not enough. I played around with my titles and was barely getting enough information across under 100 characters. It would have made it impossible to differentiate for man products.

“[For example], take a basic supplement that has the product name, function and number of type of capsules per bottle- “Supplement1 – Helps Support and Maintain a Healthy XYZ. 90 Vegan Capsules.” [That’s] as bare bones as you can get it in my opinion and you are at 73 characters. Another one: “Thorne Research vitamin k2 as menaquinone. 120 vegan capsules.” Even that is at 63 characters. Going that low would have hurt sellers and customers searching for specific products.

“One more for Pediasure, a massive kids product from Abbot Nutrition: “PediaSure Grow & Gain Kids’ Nutritional Shake, with Protein, DHA, and Vitamins & Minerals, Chocolate, 8 fl oz, 24-Count“; you are at 64 characters.”

I further pointed out that Amazon is also requiring its sellers to spell out units of measurement. Therefore, “fl oz” would have to be fluid ounces.

What sellers think Amazon will do now:

Many sellers seem annoyed by the change, and then the quick change back.

“The whole thing did not seem to be thought-through. My category (Sports) did not have any additional character-count guidance. That said, there are many, many other ‘violations’ other than character count they could and should enforce. I have to fix listings all the time with UPPERCASE words and bad abbreviations.” – Duane S.

“By the time I bothered to change mine it was 200. This is the fun [thing] about depending on someone else. Good lesson is to start your own outside source of revenue for your brand in case Amazon cuts you off.” – Neal R.

“They’ll mean it until they don’t. Amazon has one of the cleanest minds in e-Commerce–because they change it often.” – Barry D.

What to expect from Amazon:

Honestly, no one except Amazon knows. And this recent development proves even they may not know what they’re going to do moving forward.

All we can do is wait and see.


Want to get in on the chatter?

If you’re a Jungle Scout user, join our members-only Facebook group:


Amazon FBA news this week

Need to know for Amazon FBA Sellers

  1. IRCE: The Amazon vendor purge is coming very soon – Business Insider
  2. Amazon seller fees you need to know about in 2019 – Business 2 Community
  3. Bestsellers from last year’s Amazon Prime Day and what to expect in 2019 – Digital Trends

Also of interest:

  1. What happens after Amazon’s domination is complete? Its bookstore offers clues – New York Times
  2. Amazon best sellers in grilling have been overtaken by meat thermometers – House Beautiful
  3. Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports could hurt one of Amazon’s most successful businesses – Business Insider

Anything we missed?

Let us know what’s important to you by filling out the following (anonymous) form:

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