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How to Select the Best Category & Subcategories for your Products in Amazon & other e-Commerce Sites

Ensure your product’s e-commerce category listing is optimized to maximize opportunities for conversion and sales

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Selecting the right categories and subcategories for your products on Amazon, or any other online retailers, will have a significant impact on your sales. It’s important for brands to get their product categorization and taxonomy right from the start, and because subcategories and competitors can change more frequently online than they might in an offline store it’s equally important to monitor the position of your products in their categories on an ongoing basis.

Why is category important in e-commerce?

1) Shoppers browse by category

If most shoppers use free text search to find products on Amazon and other e-commerce platforms, you might ask ‘why put any effort in categorizing my products?’ Despite the dominance of search, particularly in large, cross-category online retailers and marketplaces, a significant proportion of online shoppers forgo search to browse through the category menu. Indeed, in vertically focused e-retailers such as pet or electronics retailers browsing from category to subcategory is often more popular than search. If your product is featured in the wrong category/subcategory pathway, these browsing consumers won’t be able to find it and buy it.

2) Correct categorization drives conversion

Picking the right category and subcategory for your product increases conversion because the product is more likely to be discovered, and subsequently purchased by interested consumers. On Amazon and other e-commerce sites it is not enough to list your product in a top category. If you are selling ‘Camera Straps’ for example you need to follow the pathway from the top category ‘Electronics & Photo’ through what Amazon calls Browsing Nodes to your most relevant subcategory (Camera & Photo/ Accessories/ Camcorder, Camera & Binocular Straps).

On Amazon, brands can only choose a single category pathway for a product. However, If the product logically sits in multiple categories, Amazon will automatically assign it to secondary category pathways based on browsing and purchase history. Hence, when monitoring category performance you need to be able to analyze category visibility and strategy execution all the way down to the subcategory, and across secondary categories.

3) e-commerce sites reward conversion

e-Commerce sites tend to promote product listings with higher conversion rates more widely. Amazon, as well as assigning secondary pathways where appropriate also provides additional opportunities such as adjacent selling – “customers who bought … also bought” – for high converting products. If your product’s category is not rigorously defined, it could automatically end up in an irrelevant category, reducing ranking, conversion and sales, missing out on additional promotional opportunities.

4) Become a Best Seller in your chosen category.

While relevancy is always the most important factor in selecting the right category for your product on e-commerce sites, it’s also worth considering the competition and your potential to outsell others in the category. Best Seller badges drive conversion.

Category Management Tools

Amazon provides sellers and product manufacturers with a number of tools to help them identify the most appropriate categories for their products, and manage the listings, including the Product Classifier and Browse Tree Guides (BTGs).

The Browse Tree Guide is a planning tool, for each category that provides information and keywords associated with a specific browse path on the platform. The information is useful in helping brands to identify the most appropriate categories and subcategories for their products.

Once you’ve selected the relevant category, the Product Classifier enables you to access the valid values needed in the so-called ‘inventory file template’ or XML feed to classify your listings correctly. Amazon uses these values to determine where to list your products in the menu structure. If the information is missing or incorrect, shoppers will have a difficult time finding, comparing and purchasing your products.

Category Performance Monitoring

eStoreMedia’s e-commerce analytics product eStoreCheck includes recently updated category monitoring reports that enable brands to track and analyze rank and presence in categories, and subcategories for all their products across online retailers. It maps each store’s individual category architecture providing actionable insights and a “Category Gap Closing” view that identifies where intervention is needed to improve category visibility for each of the products.

If you want to learn more about the Category Visibility monitoring in eStoreCheck contact your Client Partner or drop us an email contact@estoremedia.com.