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.

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.

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2 Quick Steps to Getting Started as an Amazon Seller

Once you’ve decided to begin selling your products on Amazon, you can jump in pretty quickly by following these two steps.

6 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

There are many reasons to begin selling your brand’s products on Amazon, from the millions of active customers on the Amazon worldwide marketplace to the extremely high conversion rates many businesses experience. If you have a new brand, you can start selling on Ama­zon quickly without the need for a stand-alone website.

Amazon offers two Selling Plans to get you started. The Individual Selling Plan carries a fee of $0.99 per item sold (plus other fees, which vary by category), and the Professional Selling Plan has a subscription fee of $39.99 per month plus other selling fees.

Those other fees include referral fees (usually taken as a percentage of revenue from products sold, which varies based on the product category and may carry a minimum fee of $1), and for sellers who let Amazon handle product warehousing and shipping for them, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) fees. These include such fees as order picking and packing, shipping cost, packing boxes or envelopes, inner “cushion” packaging, and monthly storage fees.

Not all selling categories are open to Individual Sellers (e.g., fine jewelry, personal computers, and professional services). In addition, the use of feeds, spreadsheets, and other tools to load inventory are only available to Professional Sellers.

Related: 3 Keys to Achieving Brand Success on Amazon

If you plan on selling more than 40 items a month, want to sell your products in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico (rather than simply one of the three), or offer special promotions and a gift wrap option for your products, then go with the Professional Selling Plan.

Once you’ve decided on a Selling Plan, it’s time to open your Amazon selling account. To open an Amazon selling account (of either type), simply register for the account of your choice by clicking on the “Sell as a Professional” or “Sell as an Individual” button on the Amazon Services site (

After you sign up, you’ll be asked to complete a two-step login verification process. Once that concludes, you’ll officially have an Amazon Seller Central account. Now let’s walk through the basics of what you can expect with that account.

Amazon seller central

Amazon Seller Central is where you’ll spend much of your time as a seller; it’s also where you’ll find the tools you need to manage your inventory on the Amazon marketplace. This is where you’ll create listings, manage orders, correspond with buyers, get feedback from Amazon about your performance, run reports, set up Sponsored Products campaigns, and more.

Once you’re in Seller Central, you might want to use the Settings menu/User Permissions to add more users from your company if you have other employees who will be working on your Amazon account. By adding users, you can give them access to Seller Central and customize their permissions so they’ll have the appropriate system rights for their role at your company.

If you’d like to learn more about Seller Central and selling on Amazon in general, and you prefer a more formal learning process, open an additional tab in your browser and go to the Amazon Seller University: Seller University (a curriculum of instructional videos designed to help you master the Amazon marketplace), available to users within Seller Central, will help teach you the details of selling on Amazon, tools and policies for sellers, and the products and services that can help you grow. These instructional videos and PDF learning documents are very thorough. I highly recommend you and the other members of your team dive in and explore!

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

Amazon brand registry

There’s one final step that’s key to controlling your brand’s content on Amazon, and I strongly recommend any brand owner with a registered trademark enable it in the “getting started” section of Seller Central: signing up for the Amazon Brand Registry program.

According to Amazon, Brand Registry helps protect your brand’s intellectual property and create an accurate and trusted experience for customers on Amazon. With Amazon Brand Registry, you can have your trademarked brand’s Amazon product detail page content locked down so only one marketplace seller (i.e., you or someone who works for you) can alter it.

If you don’t register your brand, you can still submit updated or enhanced product content (including images); you’ll just have to contact Seller Support for each individual product and have Amazon make the changes for you.

In addition, Amazon says your enrollment in the program gives you access to text and image search tools, predictive automation from your reports of possible intellectual property rights violations, and increased authority (and therefore control) over product listings with your brand name. Finally, Amazon Brand Registry can give you access to Enhanced Brand Content, Amazon Stores, and Sponsored Brands, which all allow you to share your brand’s unique story and educate consumers about your products.

If you don’t take control, resellers (authorized, unauthorized, or both) will set up product listings for your products, and they, not you, will determine how your brand promises are communicated to Amazon customers. A reseller will never represent your brand exactly as you would. And because Amazon product page listings often get highly ranked on Google, it’s common for many of those listings to show up higher on the Google search results page than a brand’s own organic listings.

Once you’ve locked down your trademarked brands through the Brand Registry program, you can remain responsible for content maintenance or align with a reseller to create and maintain thorough and accurate product listings for your brand.

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3 Keys to Achieving Brand Success on Amazon

Discover why branded businesses are more successful on Amazon and what you can do to create a stronger brand.

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

When considering Amazon’s scope, one critical fact is hidden from the average consumer: Amazon only makes about half their sales as a first-party retailer. As of Q3, 2018, 53 percent of all paid units on the site were sold by third-party marketplace sellers.

So Amazon takes half the deck and then splits the other half among roughly 2 million sellers competing in their marketplace. If you want to know how to get a piece of either deck, you should understand how the infrastructure for selling on or to Amazon caters primarily to brand owners.

Stacking your deck

The first step toward stacking the revenue growth deck in your favor is to realize that consumers are loyal to brands, not retailers or sellers. Resellers make one-off sales. Brands can create loyal customers. So you’re already one step ahead if your company owns one or more brands.

If you are a reseller of products in a specific category, why not begin the journey toward building your own brand?

In our hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, the month of May kicks off the summer concert season. There are so many bands and artists to see. The energy and excitement that comes from hearing your favorite music performed live by the original artist while you’re surrounded by friends and neighbors is almost indescribable.

But for every top performer who is hugely successful at what they do (and rich because of it), there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of musicians who are struggling, pounding the pavement, and working gigs at small clubs hoping to hit it big.

The same is true in business generally and brand commerce specifically. For every Apple, Staples, Amazon, and Macy’s, there are thousands more companies that are just doing OK.

As you consider how best to build your brand on Amazon, think broadly about your game plan for optimal success. Here are a few key strategies to help you focus your efforts on finding even greater success in commerce — whether you’re celebrating your fifth year in business or your 50th.

Related: How To Win in Today’s Amazon World

Key 1: You understand the mind of the buyer

You sell products and services where you keenly understand the mind of the buyer. The more you understand the buyer — their needs or desires, what they’re willing to pay good money for, why they buy — the easier it will be to make great decisions. If you don’t know what they want, then survey them until you do.

At ROI Revolution, we’re always asking questions to better serve our clients, and you should do the same. We ask questions like:

  • Would you recommend us to your friends and colleagues?
  • What about your business keeps you awake at night?
  • What was the specific pain you wanted to address just before you hired us?
  • What enabled you to eventually trust us?
  • What other marketing services do you need or want?

Think of questions to ask customers or potential customers so you can better address their needs and wants.

Key 2: You’re doing something you have intense enthusiasm for

Have you ever studied the tour calendar for a major band or artist? Lubbock, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Lafayette, Louisiana; St. Louis, Missouri; Noblesville, Indiana; on and on it goes as they crisscross the country in their tour buses and big rigs. Night after night, it’s the same performance, the same songs, again and again and again.

But when your favorite band comes to play, even if it’s the 37th stop of the tour for the artist, for the audience, it’s magic. It’s as if they came to play just for you and your friends. How do they stay fresh?

In two words: intense enthusiasm. A talented artist bemoans the end of the tour. Make sure you’re doing or selling something for which you have, or can develop, an intense enthusiasm for. And if you’ve already created success but lose enthusiasm for your work, the success soon leaves you.

For your brand, develop and market products you truly believe in and are excited about.

Related: Advertising Is Growing Amazon’s Business, So Let Amazon Help Grow Yours Too

Key 3: You build and promote your own brand

Virtually every artist starts out performing covers of other artists’ songs in small clubs. However, name one major band or artist who makes performing other bands’ popular songs their core repertoire. You can’t. Sure, most artists perform some songs by other bands, but it’s not their whole act.

The same rule applies to products. It’s fine if you start off selling other companies’ products, but focus on getting to the point where you’re selling your own trademark-protected products (i.e., under your own brand or label).

A well-designed Amazon brand strategy does three things:

  1. It controls pricing and product distribution (because if you sell products to dis­tributors, you’ll likely find some or all of them on Amazon, even if you don’t deal with Amazon directly).
  2. It enhances product listings so your brand is well-represented and consumers are fully informed of what your brand offers.
  3. It accelerates sales (on and off Amazon) with advertising.

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