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Amazon Vendor Central 2.1: Bundle Your Product Content

Posted by on May 20, 2015

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A new version of the Amazon Modules launchedincrease_sales_amazon earlier this month, forcing some brands to do a quick pivot with their Amazon content strategies. Before I go into details about why Amazon’s move to bundle products in product families is a big deal for brands, I want to share a juicy tidbit about conversion rate increases.

When they launched the modules 2.1, Amazon told vendors that adding enhanced content to product pages increases sales 3% to 10%. This is the first time we know of that Amazon has publicly stated that A+ content improves conversion rates. 

On to the main topic of this post: Amazon has changed their content requirements for products in one line or family. We’re calling the new requirement bundling.

Why Amazon Loves Bundling

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Bundling in A+ modules changes the way A+ content is created for a product family. A product family is a group of related goods that are manufactured by a single company. The term is synonymous with “product line.”

Before, if you wanted to create A+ content for three of five product pages in a family, no problem.

Now, if you create enhanced content for one member of the family, you need to create enhanced content for all members of the family. In addition, you have to use the same modules in the same order for each product. Some likely reasons for the change include:

Problems with the New Modules Rollout

Have there been technical glitches with the rollout? Of course there have! Amazon makes the changes first and fixes the problems later. As you might remember, the A+ modules were extremely buggy when they launched last year.

Some of the early glitches brands are experiencing will likely resolve themselves.  But here are three recurring issues you should be aware of.

1: Unwanted Items Appearing in Product Twisters

What’s a product twister? Product twisters appear toward the top of the Amazon page, making it easy to toggle between related products in a product family. The variations in a product twister might be one such as flavor, color, or size. Buying potato chips? Amazon has made it easier than ever to toggle between sizes and flavors.

But product twisters can also include entire additional components, as in the example shown. If you’re buying a Samsung Curved 78-inch TV, you’ll get the option of adding compatible speakers or a Blu-ray player.
Size_Style_Selector_Live_Page-2

This is great for cross-selling products within a brand. But the problem we’ve been seeing is that discontinued products and end-of-life products have been showing up in product twisters. And brands don’t have any control over what appears in the product twister on a given product page.

An Amazon Vendor Services employee told us that it’s no longer possible to create A+ content only for some members of a product family because it “provides a bad user experience when some variations on the page have content but others don’t.”

2: Communication

Some brands have successfully lobbied Amazon to have certain products removed from product families. Others have not been successful and are faced with having to create content for dozens of extra products, which may delay product launches and muck up promotional plans.

Amazon has been slow to respond to brands’ concerns. In some cases, brand managers have seen their product families change multiple times in less than a week. While it’s likely Amazon communicated changes to someone in the organization, the information doesn’t always get to the brand managers in charge of content creation.

3: Content Creation

Remember how I said that you’ll need to create enhanced content for all members of the family? And you have to use the same modules in the same order?

Content creation can get really tricky. You might want to use all five modules to create content for your 78-inch TV. You might have less to say about the related speaker. With Amazon’s new requirement, you can still vary the content. But the type, number, and order of modules is locked in for the entire family. A further complication is that you’ll have to also create content for the specific TV/speaker combo and different content for the TV/Blu-ray product twister.

While manufacturers can certainly plan for this from the get-go, the new requirement has been a problem for brands who already had A+ content created and published.

Our Recommendations: Get Smarter Content

cog-motion_slowerAmazon has always limited the types of clients allowed to have enhanced product pages (Amazon refers to this type of page as A+ enhanced marketing content, or A+ content for short) by making the platform for first-party sellers, Vendor Central, invite only. Amazon Seller Central and Amazon Vendor Express sellers do not have the option of adding A+ content.  Amazon launched A+ modules in mid-2014 as a way for its first-party sellers to more easily create and upload A+ content.

If you’re a Vendor Central user, here are our recommendations for how to deal with this bundled approach to content:

1. Know Your Product Family. You need to know how your product families are being set up and what will be included in your product twisters. If you don’t know which products are going to be part of your product family, you’re not ready to create enhanced content.

2. Group Wisely. You should be aware that if you have 150 ASINs in your product family, you’re going to have to plan enhanced content for all of them, even if some of them are discontinued or out of date.

3. Budget for Content. Once again, if you have 150 ASINs in your product family, budget accordingly if you want A+ content.

4. Strategize. Talk to your content26 account manager early in your project to plan out the best approach for all potential product twister combos.

5. Create Modular Content. Write and design your content in such a way that you can pivot quickly if the groupings change. We’re long-time advocates of intelligent content and have been excited at the recent attention this content approach is receiving. This is one example of where an intelligent, modular approach to both content creation and design will really pay dividends. (Yes, information architecture plays an important role as well.)

The Takeaway

Plan to create content for all of the ASINs in each product family and create content with as much built-in flexibility as possible.

Need to talk about your Amazon A+ strategy? Email us.

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