Is Amazon Saying Goodbye to What’s in the Box?

As Amazon marches forward with self-service templates, its newest effort to automate product page content creation, there are clear patterns emerging.

For instance, when we first wrote about Amazon’s new template option, we were frustrated with how limited the available design options were. That’s still a concern, but as Amazon makes them available to more and more vendors, we’re adapting.

A new concern is how difficult it is to find a spot for What’s in the Box, which has always been a standard inclusion on content26‘s Amazon A+ pages. As project lead Dave McCaul said:

The reason for standardizing the inclusion and placement of this section may not be immediately obvious until you think back to the last time you bought a toy that didn’t come with required AAA batteries, or an MP3 player that didn’t come with the right cable to connect to your computer (where all your MP3s are stored). The frustration that comes from opening a product package and finding something other than what is expected or needed to operate the product sends many customers back to Amazon to write an angry one-star review full of exclamation marks and capital letters–even for products that are otherwise top-notch.

But in the new templates, our project leads have been reduced to squeezing this info in a caption or under an unrelated header, where it’s harder for consumers to find. And it’s looking more and more like those self-service templates are here to stay. Will Giersch, another content26 project lead, offered this opinion on the matter:

I wasn’t sure at first whether Amazon had a preference, but it has become clear that they’re shoving vendors toward the self-service option. Clearly, even with the greater revenue, it’s not worth it to them, and they’d prefer the vendors do everything. Several vendors have said they get the sense Amazon will phase out the custom option altogether.

Given the significant drawbacks of the custom option (lots of money and lots of time), this seems a likely route for Amazon to take. But will the retailer also start paying attention to the limitations of their templates and make them a little more vendor friendly? We can hope.