The 3 Questions your Amazon Product Listing Should Answer

There’s a lot of advice out there about Amazon product listing optimization. So much, in fact, that it can be hard to wrap your head around what direction is best when optimizing your Amazon listings. However, when you really look at it and synthesize those tips, then it boils down to understanding your customers and how to communicate that your product fits their needs.

To appeal to an Amazon shopper, think like an Amazon shopper. This means understanding and intuiting their thought process when they look at an Amazon product listing and decide whether or not to buy it. Do this, and you’ll appeal to both your customers and Amazon’s almighty algorithm.

Amazon’s Algorithm

According to Amazon legend Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s ranking algorithm began as a ranking method based on collaborative filtering, but it has grown into a collaborative filtering heuristic model. This might sound like gibberish for anyone who hasn’t spent time in the machine learning sphere, so let’s break it down.

Say you’re an Amazon shopper. When you check out a product, Amazon also shows you other products that people like you have clicked or purchased in the past. Whether or not you click on or order these suggestions is added to the algorithm’s knowledge bank to offer better suggestions to people like you in the future. The algorithm gets billions of pieces of information every day. Let’s just hope it doesn’t one day snap and turn on us.

HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey

To hack this algorithm, we need to dive into the Amazon buyer’s thought process. There are three questions that every potential buyer asks themselves on a deep, subconscious level every time they look at an Amazon product page:

  1. What is this?
  2. Is this right for me?
  3. How do I get it?

If your listing can answer those three questions multiple times within seconds, you’ll get sales.

What is This?

“What is this?” is the first question Amazon shoppers ask themselves, and it starts on the search page. In order to answer this question, you need to make sure your product listing title is clear, descriptive, and relevant to the search term for which you rank.

An amazon product listing for powdered peanut butter with a good listing title

Take this listing for high-protein powdered peanut butter, for example. From the listing title, we know what the product is, how much there is, and how much protein it has. From this, a shopper can determine what it is and if it aligns with what they’re looking for in a fraction of a second.

If someone searches for “bookshelf,” they already have an expectation that the answer to the question “what is this?” is “bookshelf.” If it isn’t, or if it’s too difficult to figure out, they will quickly move on to the next search result.

The sign that you have successfully answered the question of “what is it?” is a click. You’ve drawn in the shopper’s initial attention and now you can get to work answering the next two questions.

Is This Right for Me?

Once a shopper clicks on your listing, then they move on to the next question: “Is this right for me?” Answering this question is the job of your product listing images and bullet points.

Make sure your product listing photos show your product being used for their intended purpose by your intended audience. This peanut butter product below achieves this by showing the product in a variety of use cases and shows through context that it is for people who care about eating healthy.

an amazon product listing for powdered peanut butter that shows the product being used in several ways

Even if it’s just a picture of you using the product, that can be a huge improvement over a photo that looks nice but doesn’t deliver worthwhile information.

With your bullet points and description, keep it short and sweet. Shoppers don’t want to comb through a wall of text to figure out if they want a product, so make the most important information is clearly available.

An amazon product listing with informative, descriptive bullet points

With this Amazon product listing, all of the important information is clearly mentioned, and a shopper could easily learn about the product through skimming. There’s a little extra fluff, but within 10 seconds, a shopper learns how the product benefits them, for whom this product is made, and the health benefits it has over substitute products.

Take the time to look around your Amazon product listings from a shopper’s perspective. Skim through them, notice what draws your eye first, and ask yourself how your target buyer sees themselves and if their needs are reflected in your product listing content.

Now that you’ve roped them in and they’re interested in buying, all that’s left to seal the deal is answering the final question.

How Do I Get It?

The final question– “How do I get it?”– entails more than the simple logistics of how your product gets to your customer’s doorstep. It involves the customer’s experience of purchasing the product and how they integrate your product into their life. 

For example, if you have a variation where you offer an add-on alongside the base product, you give the customer extra information on how they can receive the full benefits of your product. If your product requires some sort of connection or integration with other technology, make that clear in the listing.

If your listings don’t answer this question, even if you get a sale, the customer’s satisfaction will drop if they have to figure out how to make your product work. This could lower your chances of repeat purchases and lead to negative product reviews.

You also want to show where your product fits into your customer’s life physically. One way to accomplish this is by including a lifestyle photo in your listing that shows where your customer would typically store your product. This helps the customer visualize the product in their life.

Answering the Three Questions on your Amazon Product Listings

Communication is key when working with a team to optimize your Amazon product listings to answer the three questions.

Create a document that lists each of your ASINs; outline what they are and who the target customer is for each one. From there, determine what to emphasize in your listings and how to emphasize it.

Look at your competitors for inspiration, especially those that rank high in your category. How do they answer the three questions? Take their tactics and tailor them to your own unique product and brand voice.

Be clear on exactly how you intend to answer the three questions, especially if you’re working with a designer. Be specific with what you want in your product images to ensure that the end result works for your listings. The better your communication is with your team, the better the end product will be at communicating your value proposition to shoppers.

Key Takeaways

Answering these three questions takes Amazon product listing optimization from checking off boxes to creating a 24/7 salesperson for your product.

First, answer the question “What is this?” by having a descriptive product listing title that matches the shopper’s intention. Once they click on your listing, you start to answer both “Is this right for me?” and “How do I get it?” through your product description, bullet points, and lifestyle images that reflect the customer.

You want your customers to think as little as possible before buying your product. There is not a single Amazon shopper out there who reads every word of the description of every product page they click.

We have a bit of homework for you (don’t panic). The next time you shop on Amazon, look at the product pages you visit and go through the three questions in your head. Do those product pages answer the three questions, and if so, how effectively do they do it? What methods do they use to answer those three questions?

Answer the three questions clearly, concisely, and frequently, and you’ll have A-list product listings!

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