Amazon Vendor Express: Where’s the A+ Content?

Prior to Amazon Vendor Express launching in March 2015, becoming an Amazon vendor was an invite-only affair. We know of people who tried unsuccessfully for years to get invited by Amazon to become a first-party seller.

Amazon Vendor Express changes that, making it easier for third-party sellers to become Amazon suppliers. Or, as Amazon puts it, “You sell us your products and we take care of the rest—from shipping and promoting to customer service and returns.” Whether this is a good selling strategy or not is another question; make sure to read our Amazon Vendor Central v. Seller Central post for the pros and cons.

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But one of the things Amazon Vendor Express doesn’t allow is for the vendor to create enhanced product content using self-service modules (or templates, or any other vendor-controlled A+ content option).

“Vendor Express does not have A+ detail page support right now,” according to an Amazon manager asked about the topic on a LinkedIn forum. “We are very interested in feedback from our vendors and use vendor feedback to guide our next steps.”

Limited Content Options for Rising Brands

Some brands won’t care that they can’t add enhanced content to their product pages; the inclusion in Amazon Prime and the promise of “ships from and sold by Amazon.com” will be enough to make them sign up for Amazon Vendor Express.

But we’ve heard from several companies who thought Amazon Vendor Express would give them access to enhanced content (which is also referred to as Amazon A+ content), only to be told by Amazon that it wasn’t an option. Why would not getting enhanced content be a deal-breaker for brands looking to become vendors?

Enhanced content allows brands to add the following elements to their product pages:

  • Images: Product and lifestyle images make it easier for online shoppers to see what they’re buying.
  • Bulleted lists: When done correctly, these fact nuggets make it clear what the most important features and benefits are of the product.
  • Comparison charts: Are there other similar or related products offered by the same brand? This keeps shoppers in-brand.
  • In-depth product information: Some shoppers want to read everything they can about the product. Long-form text gives them thorough information about the product.

A+ content has been shown to increase sales and shopper engagement while decreasing return rates. So not having it puts small brands at a competitive disadvantage.

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This screenshot from Amazon’s video promoting Vendor Express indicates there may be some descriptive product content. But it seems Amazon will determine what that is.

 

More Competition for Large Brands

My guess is that Amazon will start allowing A+ content on Amazon Vendor Express at some point. If small brands have the option to add A+ content, big brands could find themselves out-classed. In our experience, small and medium companies currently selling on Amazon Vendor Central aren’t scared away by Amazon upload fees. They often commission beautiful product content.

And even if Amazon Vendor Express never allows for A+ content, the treatment of small brands as Amazon suppliers still adds competition for big brands that sell through Amazon Vendor Central.

Takeaway: Create Nimble Content

Most of the companies we work with realized a long time ago that their content strategy needed to extend beyond Amazon. You should be creating multichannel content that:

  • Has consistent information across retailers
  • Is optimized for search engines
  • Meets retailer-specific guidelines
  • Is ready to be translated and localized

Editor’s note: A follow up post was written September 2 to announce a version of A+ content offered through Amazon Vendor Express.