Are You Utilizing the Amazon Product Classifier Tool? You Should.
This is a follow up to the last post about listing products in the right categories and subcategories, as this is a crucial subject for boosting product discoverability and ranking. Making sure you’ve optimized your listing with relevant Keywords definitively makes finding your product easier; there is however, another component to product discoverability and BSRs which is directly related to the subcategory pathways you selected when listing your product.
As mentioned previously, Amazon’s catalog team is making changes to the number of subcategory BSR browsing pathways from multiple to one. If you don’t use what Amazon deems as the right browsing pathway, then they’ll eventually end up doing it for you. If that statement gave you reason to sigh in relief, don’t exhale just yet. This could affect your subcategory BSR overnight and most likely not in the direction you’d like, albeit temporarily. But sales could be lost before your subcategory BSR adjusts to it’s new pathways.
The point of the post is to get you into the catalog team’s mindset before they come across your listing and make subcategory pathway changes without notification. Fortunately you don’t have to be a mind reader as the Amazon Product Classifier tool has browse node (subcategory) IDs readily available to you. Based on decades of accumulated metadata on how Amazon shoppers search via main categories then subsequent subcategories; the Amazon Product Classifier is like getting the keys to the kingdom…well a portion of it anyway.
You’ve probably heard this so many times before, yet it’s worth reiterating: Amazon is obsessed with delivering customer service that’s beyond even the highest standards known today. The answer to, “How can we enhance every customer’s shopping experience?” drives EVERY decision they make. Educating Sellers on how to most-effectively move product and serve their customers continues to be a key goal for Amazon as it directly ties into that question and response as well.
This includes making it super duper easy for shoppers to find what they want at the speed of light. In walks the Amazon Product Classifier tool for Sellers to actually make that lickety-split process real.
Keeping Up With the Amazon’s
According to Amazon, if you previously used the Browse Tree Guide when listing your product, those files are still available. However, they recommend that you now transition to the Amazon Product Classifier, because it includes the most current and accurate information on the Amazon website structure. If you haven’t shopped on Amazon lately, check out how they have renovated their site (yet again) and why it’s important to keep up with them.
In addition to the typical bar search, consumers have always been able to also shop by department. Once a department is clicked, the screen shows all the (main) Categories:
If a shopper clicks one of the main categories, then the sub-categories will be displayed…
And then more subcategories show up until the shopper reaches their destination. Each of the subcategories clicked creates a browsing path, or browse tree, or node or pathway (all are the same). Amazon knows the most common browsing pathway customers take to find your product or your product type. These patterns backed by heavy duty empirical evidence is how Amazon determined THE pathway that’s most suitable for your product. Remember, eventually there will be only one subcategory BSR pathway on your product listing, so why not start building up your ranking now for the one Amazon will end up putting you in anyway?
Why You Should Use the Amazon Product Classifier
Amazon has come up with a short, clever clip as a means of informing Sellers that they can boost sales 8.9% by using the Amazon Product Classifier. For your convenience, I’ve included it here:
If you noticed, the video mentioned that it does take some time (and effort) to using the Amazon Product Classifier. I’ll enhance their instructions with some visuals to make it even easier for you.
How to Classify Your Products with Amazon Product Classifier
Keep in mind that Amazon uses values (information) provided by Sellers to determine where listings appear in the Amazon catalog. If this information is missing or incorrect, customers will have a difficult time finding, comparing and purchasing your products. Amazon wants to avoid that at all costs.
To use the Amazon Product Classifier tool, follow the steps below:
Go to the Product Classifier tool and use either the Browse or Search method to identify the appropriate classifications for your products.
For this example, I’ll use the Search method for a Cutting Board:
(Note that instead of each subcategory going straight across as it is actually displayed, I put the continuation on the bottom for space-saving purposes).
As you can see, the browsing pathway looks like this:
Home & Kitchen → Kitchen & Dining→ Cutlery & Knife Accessories → Cutting Boards → Carving Boards (if that’s the type of cutting board it really is).
Notice down at the bottom, there is a designated Node ID number. That’s an important identifier because it’s officially a pathway that Amazon recognizes.
In case you’re wondering if this would look the same using the traditional Add a New Product process from your Seller Central account; the answer is “no”. The subcategories are even different. Why Amazon still offers this option is currently beyond me. Although it could just be a question of time.
While the Amazon Product Classifier tool isn’t quite as simple as the original way to Add a Product (unless you’re already accustomed to bulk/Inventory File Templates); you don’t need a master’s degree to use it. And if you’ve been bulk uploading with the Inventory File template, then using the Amazon Product Classifier tool will be a piece of cake. It will automatically have the details you need to fill out the relevant fields accordingly.
If it’s all new, be patient with yourself. I recommend getting familiar with this process now before there’s a sweeping change that throws every product subcategory BSR off.
Select the Download Classification Summary button for the file containing the values required to classify your listings. This will come in an Excel format. Once opened, there are two tabs Instructions and Classification.
The Overview info may help you understand Amazon’s intentions:
Amazon uses values supplied by sellers to determine where listings are visible on Amazon.com (e.g., Men’s Dress Shirts). If a seller does not provide a browse node, then Amazon will assign the product to the root node (the broadest or most general node) for the category (e.g., Clothing). These products tend to perform less well because customers have difficulty finding and comparing them to other listings.
The Classifications tab is populated with the classifying details based on the pathway you took to get to your product. Heads up though, there isn’t a link that takes you to the appropriate Inventory File Template. Amazon just provides the template name and you’ll have to find it here.
Finding Your Inventory File Template
Scroll down the page, looking at the first column only, then click on the template that matches the “closest” to what Amazon suggested. An empty template will download (in an Excel format) and it’s time for you to populate each of the values from your Product Classifier file.
You’ll have to fill in the non-Product Classifier details about your product. Things like the title, bullet points, description, keywords etc. will need to be added if this is the first time using a template to upload new products.
Upload your newly revised Inventory File Template here.
A Final Reminder
Each node (or what Sellers commonly call subcategories) on your product pathway is a way shoppers can find you. You may want to consider adding each subcategory name, that resulted from your Amazon Product Classifier, to your back office search terms. It just may help you even more.
Tina Marie Bueno is a global citizen with an MBA in Int’l Business plus over 20 years of content marketing experience both in the U.S. and overseas. As the Lead Writer at MarketHustl, she strives to deliver relevant content to serve Amazon businesses of all sizes.
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