TECHNOLOGY

Engaging content drives Amazon product search results

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Products that feature more robust content are topping Amazon’s merchandise searches.

Items with more product content, from images to bullets and reviews, not only outrank merchandise with less content a majority of the time, they are also the most frequently purchased items, according to “The Sales Impact of Optimized Product Content,” a study from Salsify. The study analyzed pages associated with more than 500,000 Amazon search results, and 60,000 Amazon product pages across 78 brands.

According to the study, products with significantly more reviews will convert at a higher rate and outrank its top competitor 58% of the time. The same holds true for listing with images (53%), and those with bullets (51%).

Product pages with top-tier Amazon sales ranks have 64% more images, on average. These products were also more than twice as likely to have increased their image and bullet counts over the past year, as compared to poorer-selling products on the site, the report said.

Ongoing content optimization also helped improve merchandise rankings in the past year. For example, 50% of products with enhanced product listings improved their average Amazon sales rank over 2017. Meanwhile, 73% of these items improved their average sales ranking overall. Items with better Amazon sales ranks also have a higher sales share in their category, the study revealed.

“Online retailers like Amazon see that consumers respond to great content by purchasing the items that provide robust product page experiences. It’s why they work that insight into their search algorithms,” explained Josh Silverman, director of analytics and data science at Salsify. “If brands want to beat out their competitors and gain market share long-term, they need to act nimbly and aim to continually optimize their product content online.”

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Online no-brand retail upstart secures new funding to fuel growth

BY Marianne Wilson

An online retailer that sells no-name home staples — mostly at $3 a pop — is resonating with consumers and investors.

Brandless announced it has raised $240 million in Series C funding, led by the SoftBank Vision Fund. Existing investors NEA, Redpoint Ventures, GV, and Sherpa Capital also participated in the round. SoftBank Investment Advisors’ Jeffrey Housenbold and Justin Wilson will join the Brandless board.

Launched in July 2017, Brandless makes and sells a curated assortment of “no-brand” everyday essentials — from organic, non-GMO food and clean beauty and personal care products to non-toxic cleaners and home goods. Most items are priced at $3.

“After just one year, we already offer more than 300 proprietary Brandless products and ship to 48 states every day in support of our thriving #Brandlesslife community,” said Tina Sharkey, co-founder and CEO of Brandless. “SoftBank’s deep experience in e-commerce, global network and long-term perspective will help us accelerate our mission to make better stuff accessible and affordable for more people.”

In the near-term, Brandless will use the funding to deepen its investment in data science and accelerate the creation and distribution of new products and categories. It will also invest in its operations and logistics platforms and capabilities.

In addition to selling product, Brandless also creates and curates original digital content, ranging from recipes to spotlights on people doing good in the world. The company also partners with Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food bank.

“When we founded Brandless, we set out to break molds, and take a fresh approach to the way people buy products by focusing on quality, access and affordability for everyone,” said Brandless co-founder and chairman Ido Leffler. “Our new partnership with SoftBank is an incredible validation of our mission and will allow us to build our community beyond our wildest dreams.”

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Walmart hit with lawsuit alleging produce technology was stolen

BY CSA Staff

Walmart may not have the secret to keeping produce fresh, after all.

The discount giant was sued on Wednesday by Silicon Valley start-up Zest Labs, which is accusing Walmart of stealing its technology that reduces spoilage and prolongs the shelf life of produce, according to Reuters.

The $2 billion lawsuit claims that Walmart’s “Eden” technology “looks, sounds, and functions” like its own Zest Fresh technology. Zest claims it worked along-side the discounter “for years” to create the technology. Walmart ended the relationship in November after losing interest in the project, according to Reuters.

However, the discount giant launched the software in March, claiming it was developed internally following a hack-a-thon. Walmart has estimated a $2 billion of savings over five years from Eden, Reuters reported.

The lawsuit seeks to recover costs related to Walmart’s alleged theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, breach of contract and other wrongdoing, the report said.

To read more, click here.

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