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Q4 2021 Recap: Amazon Features and Updates

December 20, 2021
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In Q4, brands and advertisers were busy preparing for and living through the holiday shopping season, but Amazon did not slow down with new features, tools, and changes. During this busy time, it can be hard to keep up, so we’re sharing some of the most top-of-mind and important Amazon features and platform updates we’ve seen impact our clients at Code3. 

Seller Central In-Stock Head Start Amazon Feature

In Seller Central, Amazon now allows out-of-stock products to be discoverable in SERPs and allows ads to run via the new In-Stock Head Start Feature. With this feature enabled, an “In Stock Soon'' message will appear to shoppers on the PDP, even if a product will not be delivered for several weeks. While this Amazon feature may be beneficial for increasing visibility in some situations, such as a newly launched product awaiting stock or a competitive category, there is a high likelihood ad conversion rates will drop. This is because a shopper can be directed to a PDP without the ability to receive products in their expected 2-day timeframe. 

Brands can enable or disable this feature, so if conversion rates are a priority, consider turning it off when items are OOS. However, it may be a good feature to enable when Amazon shipments are only a few days away from arriving in the warehouse. 

Seller Central Compliance Reference Tool

Compliance regulations can change regularly, and Amazon has rolled out a reference tool in Seller Central to help sellers stay in the know. The Compliance Reference Tool offers pre-listing, self-service tools to help sellers navigate product compliance, import and export trade compliance, and dangerous goods compliance. This new Amazon feature is also searchable by keywords to find product-specific requirements.  

AMS Brand Metrics

A new view available within AMS, Brand Metrics, allows sellers to measure the long-term value of brand engagement. The data isn’t specific to shoppers exposed to AMS and DSP advertising, it is holistic shopper data of anyone shopping in the category during your selected timeframe. This allows brands to evaluate what’s driving growth across all Amazon activity, both organic and ad-attributed. 

Brand Metrics works by providing data in Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase buckets, allowing brands to see how they’re doing within a specific category compared to competitors. Sellers can utilize this data to improve their overall strategy within the different categories. For example, if the data shows your brand is struggling with Consideration and Awareness, you could invest more in mid-to-upper funnel tactics to ensure you’re showing up earlier in a customer’s shopping experience. 

Seller Central Product Opportunity Explorer 

We shared information about the Seller Central Product Opportunity  Explorer when the new feature was announced at Amazon Accelerate, and while it appeared to be in beta, we were happy to see many of our clients now have access. The Product Opportunity Explorer tool offers brands information about search volume and click share. Our team of Technical Strategists is continuing to dig into the data, keywords, and information provided in the Product Opportunity Explorer, and using this insight to improve client strategies. 

Sponsored Display Ads Now Available for Portfolios

In late November, Amazon began allowing Sponsored Display Ads to be added to portfolios, a feature that has been on advertisers’ wish lists for a long time. This new feature makes for more efficient and streamlined budgeting and reduces the chance of overspending. It’s important to note this new feature is still being rolled out to all advertisers. 

Vendor Central Listing Quality Dashboard Tool 

In September 2020, Amazon unveiled a Listing Quality Dashboard in Seller Central to help brands “identify and fix listing issues affecting discoverability, detail page experience, and customer returns.” The feature is now available in Vendor Central, offering brands insight into listing improvement recommendations and more. 

Amazon PDP Updates 

In September, Amazon made a formal effort to make the Unit Count/Price Per Unit (PPU) fields a requirement across a number of categories in both Vendor and Seller Central. Soon after, in October, it also added mandatory attributes for net content, item form, and the number of items data. These attributes are mostly found within the grocery, beauty, and health/household categories.  

Across many categories, our commerce team has seen variations displayed in a new format. Overall, variations are taking up more space with larger variant buttons, and mixing up the typical alphabetical and numerical organization at times. The changes offer a better experience when an item is variated with colors, but ASINs with large variations are cluttered. 

Some listing revisions within the book category are indicative of a possible new format display rolling out in the future. Code3’s commerce team has been working closely with clients experiencing listing formats reverting and have noticed signs of changes that could impact the category eventually. For example, a tradebook format reverted to a textbook format, which removes the ability to show optimized image galleries and includes above the fold content. Our team is keeping a close eye on changes and making strategic recommendations to clients as changes unfold. 

Amazon also added further requirements for pesticide products. Now, in addition to Pesticide Marking and EPA Compliance requirements, to be sold in California, pesticide products must be registered with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) before January 24, 2021. If the ASINs are not registered with the CDPR by January 24, products will not be removed from Amazon, but they will not be available for sale in California until registered. 

As always, there’s never a dull moment when selling on Amazon! Our commerce strategists are well-versed in keeping up with the changing Amazon features and strategically utilizing new tools to drive sales for our clients. If you could use a strategic partner, contact us today

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