| schedule 5 minute read | label Product Information Management

5 Product Listing Optimization (PLO) Errors Affecting Your Ecommerce Sales

5 Product Listing Optimization Errors Affecting Your Bottom Line

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that we can’t tell customers where to shop. 

Whether it’s from a single channel that offers free shipping, impressive deals, one-day delivery, or a multichannel solution that allows you to shop for several brands at once, it all comes down to convenience. To feature, you need to optimize your product well enough so that customers can shop and find your product online.

And this is where product listing optimization (PLO) comes in handy. 

What is product listing optimization

When you hear about product listing optimization, your initial thought would be search engine optimization (SEO). And to be frank, you aren’t too far off as PLO is similar to the SEO tactics you implement in your Shopify store, for instance.

However, the difference is that PLO is about optimizing product pages to ensure product visibility when a customer is searching for a product on a marketplace. It helps to ensure that your products are discoverable, even for window shoppers.

So, what are the costly roadblocks stopping you from achieving this? 

1. Not using the correct search terms 

Again, when you think of search terms, you automatically assume it's on Google. But that’s not always the case. When it comes to product listing optimization, we’re talking about keywords for marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon, or Walmart.

While Google is the biggest search engine, Amazon has a 54% market share of product searches. This makes Amazon the most popular ecommerce search engine, and tells you that you can’t just use the keywords that you used in your store to attract customers on multiple sales channels. You will need to use the correct search terms for that specific channel. If you miss this step, you will miss out on sales, and you’ll have stock sitting idly instead of bringing in money. 

But how do you ensure you use search terms that bring in sales?

Well, start by doing extensive keyword research based on each marketplace. For example, when selling on marketplaces, you can use relevant keywords in your product title and descriptions to increase product visibility. (Remember: each marketplace has its own character limit and keyword requirements.) When done right, you can improve your brand’s online visibility and bring in more sales. 

2. Slacking on product listing content

A sure way to lose sales is by having poor content on your product listings. Did you know 20% of unsuccessful buys are due to a lack of product information? This was found in a study conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group. At the end of the day, your product listings are what will convert a browser into a buyer. It’s your one and only chance to tell your customers why they need, and should buy, your product.

Poor product listings increase the chances of returns, cart abandonment, and distrust for the brand. This won’t only make shoppers lose faith in your product and brand, but it will push them straight to your competitor. 

Make sure you create rich and compelling pages with all the information a customer needs to make a purchase. This will help you gain drive more traffic to your website for shoppers who are eager to see what else you have to offer. 

3. Errors on product pages 

Aside from lacking product information, there is always room for error when working with data. But, this human mistake can be harmful to your multichannel commerce success. Most online sellers who have had incorrect information on their product pages have seen a drop in sales. Take TightsPlease.co.uk, for example. They had unknowingly spelled tights incorrectly which resulted in a decrease in conversions. “They noticed that on the tights category page, they had misspelled the word “Tights” — the misspelling was “Tihgts” — and they noticed that was causing the page to leak money. Once fixed, conversions jumped by 80 percent.”

Spelling, incorrect sizing, or prices can be detrimental to your brand. In fact, 42.5% of survey respondents say they're influenced by spelling or grammar mistakes.

Statistics on ecommerce product page errors

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4. Bad quality images 

If you are guilty of this, then here is a reminder that bad-quality images do not sell. Whether they have low resolution, a cluttered background, out of focus, or simply bad lighting, you need to scrap them and provide new high-quality images.

Why?

To convert sales, you need high-quality images that are consistent on every sales channel you are a part of. Additionally, you want to focus on ensuring that your images are in the right size and follow the image guidelines appropriate for each sales channel. Make sure you stick to Shopify’s image requirements as it may impact how fast your web page loads which will indirectly cost you more sales.

Recent studies show that slow loading websites cost retailers nearly £60 billion in lost sales each year. Additionally, you want to ensure you have optimized images for all the sales channels you’re on. For instance, for Esty, listing images should be 2000px for the shortest side of the image, and a resolution of 72PPI.

And, all images should be one of these file types: .jpg, .gif, or .png any other format will appear black on the site. 

Example of image formats for ecommerce

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Whereas on Walmart Marketplace, different images have different formulas.

For example, listings with zoom capability need to be in 4:3 portrait format, and at least 1500 pixels wide x 2000 pixels high. Listings without zoom capability need to be in 4:3 portrait format, and at least 600 pixels wide x 800 pixels high.

This is a strict requirement and uploading in any other ratio can result in your images being distorted. By knowing these requirements and optimizing your listings you ensure you get the best result from your multichannel strategy. 

Example of good imagery and color variations

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5. Create multiple listings for product variations 

Multichannel sales management can be challenging, and many sellers find adding product variations tricky. Some resort to creating a separate listing for every product variation, instead of creating one listing with multiple variations. A little word of advice: this is a no-no and can impact your sales. For example, if you’re selling dry dog food in different flavors and sizes, instead of listing each product, create one listing and add the different variations of the product (see image below). 

Example of variations for the same product

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This is because customers expect product filters on your multichannel listing. But what they don’t expect is having issues searching for a different color gym set when they’re already on the exact product page. This will just result in frustration for your customers and you could lose out on an increase in conversions by 26%. While we have only scratched the surface with common mistakes that come with product listing optimization, one thing is clear: businesses need to work with systems that make product syndication to multiple sales channels easier.

The answer to this is PIM software. 

What can a PIM do for PLO? 

The core job of PIM in ecommerce is simple: it stores all product information for multichannel success in one place. But that’s not all! It is also a master product catalog management tool that makes product listing optimization easy. It allows you to store all your content for various channels in one single location. That way, you limit the distraction caused by accessing data from various sources and spend more time on ensuring that all the content is clear, compelling, and accurate across all sales channels. When you invest in a next-generation PIM tool like ours, you don’t only ensure you are able to store all your data for product content syndication, but you can also store multimedia content, and automate feeds.

Plytix, one of the best PIMs for Shopify and small businesses, is designed to ensure businesses can effortlessly manage multichannel distribution because we know that multichannel ecommerce is the future. Download our free white paper for more information about multichannel commerce, or contact us about PIM today! 

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