I don’t know if you noticed it yet, but Amazon have quietly introduced a brand new feature for sellers. It’s called “Enhanced Brand Content”. Enhancing your brand content – your product listing – sounds like a long awaited feature to me.
This is really exciting news for Amazon private label sellers. I’m going to explain to you what it is and why you should pay attention to it. On top of that, I decided to use our Collaborative Launch product, Jungle Stix, as a case study. So I am going to include a run-down of how we added Enhanced Content to the Jungle Stix listing. Then we will take a look at some of the results so far.
If you do anything, there is a concise run-down of the benefits and pitfalls towards the end of this post. Make sure you know those details if you’re a private label seller!
What is Enhanced Brand Content?
Well it does do what it says on the tin. It’s an enhanced way to present your product information on your listing page. This will be welcome news to your ears (or eyes), if like me you would prefer to add a little bit of visual flair and enticing narrative to your product information.
You may have previously heard of Amazon A+ Content, which is something that you used to have to sign up for, (and pay a fee), in order to get access to rich-content product descriptions.
Usually this would allow high-profile sellers to add HTML based, premium content, from the Manufacturer, for example:
Although Amazon is the biggest ecommerce platform that allows people like us to create a business and make loads of money, it can also be frustrating at times. Confession: I’m a control freak and I like to keep things neat and tidy. So when I first entered a description into Amazon Seller Central and saw my first glimpse of a preview, can you imagine how upset I was when I saw the text had all been squashed into one paragraph. Without any line breaks!
Enter Enhanced Brand Content (shall we call it EBC yet?!)
It’s not quite as flexible as having full custom-HTML control, as we will explore. But it does give you several easy-to-use templates, from which you can build a rich online shopping experience for your customers.
This allows you to:
- Make your content more scannable – because we know people skim the internet
- Add images within the description for more visual effect
- Add subheadings, paragraphs, bold, italics, underlined text and bullet points
- Section your content into logical chunks of information
Using Enhanced Content – 5 Simple Steps
Amazon has now opened this awesome feature up to third party sellers at no extra cost. Apparently, this is for a limited time, so it’s probably something they are testing. It’s actually happened quite low-key, but I believe it is available to all sellers who have private label products (that are under the Amazon Brand Registry).
I’m now going to walk you through the entire process, using Jungle Stix as an example. We will report on the sales metrics afterward.
Step 1 – Navigate to ‘Enhanced Brand Content’
Here’s where you can find it within Seller Central:
Step 2 – Select a template
Easy enough. What’s next? You just enter the SKU you are looking to create Enhanced Content for and then you will be offered a choice of templates:
For Jungle Stix, I knew that I had a few sweet images and infographics to work with, so I selected Template 1. Don’t worry, if you choose the wrong one you can go back and change it at any point.
Just for reference, I want to show you what the Jungle Stix listing looked like pre-Enhanced Content:
As you can see, we have got some formatting in the description. But even so, it’s a pretty heavy portion of copy, which has a super wide line-width. (FYI, shorter line width is much better for readability, someone should let Jeff Bezos know this).
Step 3 – Add your content
I decided to attack this with our product listing in front of me, and with the folder of product images open ready to go. Take a few minutes to get yourself prepped for this.
We have spent quite a bit of time writing, optimizing and including keywords in our content and for the most part, I just want to break it up, and make it more visually appealing.
So here is where I edited the content based on the template I chose:
It’s really straightforward, and as I move down the page there are more sections where I can add images and text.
Once I was happy with my content, I hit the preview button and I immediately get some messages:
First of all, there are some words in there that are not allowed and it won’t let me submit my content with them included. Interestingly, these were unedited paragraphs from the original listing. Nonetheless, I reworded the copy to be in-line with the rules.
As you can see above, you also get a useful notification if you have more space to add more content. Great!
At the moment I am happy with what I have got, but I may come back at a later date with some new lifestyle photography to spice things up.
Note: At this point I am using my existing product images which are all featured on the listing. In the future it would be worth exploring whether adding more / different types of images here would improve the performance of the product.
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Step 4 – Submit for review
Once I was entirely happy and there were no errors I preview one last time:
Then I hit submit and it goes off to the powers that be to approve it.
It took Amazon about a day to review the content I submitted. Guess what, it did not get approved the first time around. Here’s a screenshot of the report I received from the disapproved content:
So although I managed to get around the errors report previously by removing certain words about guarantees or satisfaction, it turns out that I needed to remove all reference of this.
Getting EBC content approved
It’s likely that this content is being approved by humans at Amazon, therefore any mentions of returns information that previously got through the submission errors will be picked up.
This is a good lesson to learn. It is slightly disconcerting that I have to remove this part of the copy from my enhanced brand content, as it was in the original copy and I know that the product has been performing well with it included. Nonetheless, I remove this and replace it with some other value re-enforcements, for example:
“Buy Now and be delighted with these deluxe marshmallow roasting sticks. These bamboo roasting sticks will bring life to your next occasion and many occasions to come.”
The second issue was to remove any reference to actual or relative price or promotion. When I scanned my content back, the only culprit I could find was along the lines of “get more for your money”, or “GREAT VALUE”, with a mention of the pack size of 110 pieces. This could have been picked up due to reference to ‘relative’ price. So I tried playing around with the value offering sentence:
“PRACTICAL & FUN – Get the most out of your purchase with Jungle Stix: 110 sticks per unit will last you through several seasons and many fun occasions.”
Don’t forget that any offending words or references need to be removed from the copy and any graphics or images.
Resubmitting for approval
Once happy with my edits I resubmitted for approval. Here’s the help page from Amazon with all of the requirements and rules for Enhanced Content.
After this I actually got more feedback, that was previously not included. This time it was that one of the images was not of a high enough quality for the size it was used in this content. I simply fixed this by sourcing and uploading the most high-res version possible. Particularly for any infographics or images with words on, it can look really bad if the quality is not high enough.
Tip: Ensure you have high quality photography and infographics if you plan to use Enhanced Brand Content. Even if it gets past Amazon’s checks, blurry images will look unprofessional.
Result: The Jungle Stix Enhanced Brand Content is live (as of 11th January 2017).
Once approved, Amazon will just automatically update your listing and your shiny new content will be there for all to see.
There is some white space between the top two sections, which I thought was an issue with Amazon. Upon closer inspection, it might just be that the dimensions of one of the top two images is taller. Something that I can fix myself!
If you are just starting out with Enhanced Brand Content, and your copy is already optimized, then you might want to follow my footsteps and just apply the same copy and images to an enhanced template. This way, you can learn from any roadblocks.
But it is also a good idea to read through the rules. Judging by the scrupulous checks and the varied time it took to get a response, there are real human beings at Amazon checking this content.
For this listing, I used the same images from the main image block, which according to the rules is not allowed. But I was able to get this through still. (Oh and yes, more exciting photography is now on the to-do list).
Step 5 – Watch the results
We definitely want to know how Enhanced Brand Content has impacted our bottom line. I managed to get the Jungle Stix content live on the 11th of January. So how did it hold up after a couple of weeks of sales?
I like to do a side-by-side comparison with two date ranges. It’s early days at the moment so I can’t draw a statistical conclusion, but I will share some data for the first few weeks so you can see the thought process behind it.
In the two week period prior to getting the content approved there were 161 total sales:
And in the two week period since approving the content there have been 176 total sales:
(This data view is from Fetcher – profit analytics software).
This shows that there has been a small increase in total sales, and you can also see some greater fluctuations day by day.
Check conversion rates
What we need to be interested in, though, is conversion rates. If we go to Reports > Business Reports > Sales and Traffic in Seller Central, we can find our conversion rate %:
In here you can select date ranges and see your conversion rates (taking into account number of sessions/views and sales). This will be listed as ‘Order Item Session Percentage’:
At the moment, Seller Central can not show the full two weeks (there is always a delay of a few days). But, I can see that conversion rate has barely moved from 5.07% the week before the enhanced content went live, to 4.92% the first week it was live.
As I mentioned, this is just a couple of weeks so it’s really too soon to tell. Obviously we will want to monitor this over the coming months to ensure it’s having a good impact. So far, sales haven’t tanked, but they haven’t increased dramatically overnight, either.
If your product has been selling for a long time, you can even do a year on year comparison, which works especially well if you know you have seasonality. In the name of transparency we will keep you updated on this when we have more data.
The benefits of Enhanced Brand Content
There are some obvious benefits to being able to add more to your product listings:
- It appeals to different types of shoppers. Whether you scan things, read every detail or stare at images for ages, this type of content is richer, more accessible and more likely to convert a wider range of viewers. It will probably make a better first impression from the off, and prevent some people from bouncing right off your listing.
- Opportunity to increases sales! The important one. Improving your listing can equal more sales and more profits. Time will tell how well Enhanced Content works. But it’s safe to say that the original enhanced content A+ sellers could utilize was available for a reason.
Changing your product listing from a regular listing to an enhanced listing might be a way to improve your conversions and profits. Now you can try it for yourself right within Seller Central.
What are the pitfalls?
- There has been some eagle-eyed suggestions that your copy in EBC will not be indexed. Therefore adding your target keywords or long-tail keywords will be ineffective when consumers are searching. (Read more here – scroll to item #3).
- All EBC content is being approved by human beings, so you can get away with less. A lot of the content that we had disapproved was in our previous listing.
- This means that you may need to remove copy that you previously knew was working well for you.
- Takes a while to get approved – in my experience so far it can be anything from a day to well over a week.
- You really must have high-quality images and graphics as well as engaging content. If you don’t have these, then it’s time to get to work.
So that’s all on this topic for now. It will be interesting to see what Amazon does next to give sellers more creative freedom with our product listings. As an opportunity to provide a richer shopping experience and increase your profits, this is one thing I would recommend you keep on your radar for 2017.
However, as it’s new and because we are not yet sure of the impact it is having on sales, approach with some caution. Try this out with some of your products and test what works. Keep a close eye on your sales over a period of time, and make sure you keep a backup of your original description copy.
We will let you know how it has performed with Jungle Stix when the data becomes available!
Have you already started using Enhanced Content? How have you found it? Has it improved your sales velocity? Let us know in the comments!