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Mon May 30 2016 23:05:03

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

By: Ina Steiner

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In a guest column in Tuesday's issue of EcommerceBytes, Shotfarm CEO Mike Lapchick pulls no punches about what he sees as the poor quality of product information on the Amazon marketplace. 

He says part of the problem is that sellers can pose as brands, "meaning that product information is often incomplete or just incorrect."

I often read complaints from sellers about other sellers polluting Amazon product pages with incorrect information, bad photographs, and "piggybacking" on their listings.

Take a look at The Trouble with Amazon's Product Content (click here), and let us know just how bad (or good)  Amazon's product catalog is? Is Amazon good about making corrections when you report a listing? What's the answer to making sure product information is as accurate as possible?




Comments (14) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 31 01:27:38 2016

I've been selling antiquarian books for 34 years. I helped build Amazon's catalog by carefully adding hundreds of titles that weren't in the catalog. Now years later many of those listings are gone, or ruined by the reprint publishers who were allowed to hijack the first edition listings and convert them to their particular reprint edition. Why Amazon allowed this to happen I'll never understand. For a great many rare books there is no longer a valid place to list the first edition.

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 31 08:37:06 2016

Amazon's first problem they need to straighten out is themselves. Their "retail" department constantly messes up listings, merges incorrectly, and then refuses to allow them to be fixed, or you get it fixed and then they change it back. Next, whatever this upload way is that allows completely inaccurate info to be mass uploaded to the site. I have had 2 dropship sellers there scan my ebay listings and upload massive amounts of it to amazon without regard to in stock, information, anything, the only info on amazon is the item specifics which do not mean much without the descriptions (majority of it already there before!)
example some say brand and blue and my upc. Of course you cannot get amazon to fix this.
Crazy.

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 31 09:42:19 2016

It is indeed a bad situation getting worse with every day that passes. We have over 500 of our unique items to which we manufacture on Amazon under our trademark and brand. Every day we fight off the sellers that want to set up shop under our brand on the listing and offer something that is a knock off. Amazon's method to resolve this type issue is complex and absurd, requiring huge investments in time. Sales on Amazon have so far been worth it, but the trend is we are spending more and more time battling the issue. In fact so much, we are simply thinking of pulling our brand off of Amazon and serving them with a attorney letter to prevent sales of our brand name on Amazon completely. It is just that big of a headache! With the influx of more China sellers, it will definitely go from bad to worse.

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: sanddogg This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 2 00:20:42 2016

You Amazon sellers need to keep it zipped and get back to the grindstone.  Bezos wants to go to Mars and he needs more money. Shape up or ship out!

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 2 06:07:34 2016

Yes the catalog is very poor.  I had to contact seller support many times for a) wrong stock picture next to an item; b) wrong description; c) no picture of the item.  

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jun 2 08:57:42 2016

Yes, there are problems with the catalog. I estimate in the last 3 or so years I have started ~1000 new catalog pages. Thankfully in the niche I'm in, most sellers don't mess up the listing once it is made. However there are many that, I guess, to get higher exposure use incorrect UPCs so they get their 'own' catalog page. Others put down the minimum of information to the point that the shipping reimbursement is 50 cents less that normal. When I need to list on a catalog page that doesn't have the proper info, I fill it all in and in the process the 50 cents that was missing is now there towards shipping. I constantly am sending cases to CSR. I have found that the more I send, the better I have gotten in phrasing and writing the posts to get things changed, the easier and quicker they make the change. It does take hours out of my week sometimes for sure, yet I don't want to list something under a page that isn't correct. My son also sells what I do and he has said that he can always tell when I have made or fixed a product page. Probably because it is complete. I'm an older person with an old-fashion work ethic.

The problem is the lazy listers who make the problems, and those who follow behind that never want to take the time to fix something. If all worked to make those pages the best possible, the better eveyone ends up.

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: G-and-A This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 2 11:41:08 2016

I agree that the catalog is a mess.  From the buyer's point of view.  I recently bought a product that comes in an aerosol can.  Only one of the listings showed the number of ounces it contained.  The photos were deliberately blurred out where the oz was shown.  It was impossible to make an intelligent purchase between One can, three-cans, or four-can listings, because they were not all the same size, but the size was not stated.
   I did not leave any feedback for the seller, because I presume that this lack of consumer information is Amazon's fault.  One thing good I will say for them, they will ship things like aerosol cans that many other stores will not ship. That's why I bought at Amazon.
   As for books, I look for old books, and often want a particular edition.  It is increasingly impossible to find them on Amazon.
If the seller lists in their specific ad the publication date, color of cover, etc., it makes it possible.

 And when you do find a seller who packs the books well, etc., it is very difficult to manage to buy from that seller again. I don't think you can search by seller id.  If it is possible, I'd really like to know how.

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 2 15:26:12 2016

I have to echo  what @G-and-A  said.  I am a buyer only  and the catalog and product offerings are often so badly  done that I find myself shopping elsewhere  or so confused on what IS being offered I am taking a gamble.  Presumably the deal is that Amazon and their sellers WANT to sell things---however if you can't search  by sellers you have used in the past  or you can't search  for a OEM stock number (for instance) you spend a LOT of wasted  time trying to find an item to match what you NEED.  

Last night I was looking for a simple lawn mower starter---could not find the OEM numbers;  could not find an ad that actually sold what we need with clear pics  or descriptions--the ADS at the bottom of the page (which I resorted to!)  were less than useful---none of them went to sites that actually SOLD  the brand I needed.  Wasted  time.

'And the shipping times are ridic  too---I know some places drop  ship  etc  but telling me that it might be the end of JULY  before I get something---and then a different household member did the SAME search  and found a part I could have next week---there is something very wrong with this system.  

Sorting by seller
Sorting by price
Sorting by shipment dates (in/out of stock)
BETTER PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS
Reviews for the ACTUAL item you are searching FOR
More clear ideas on shipping costs  and what Is and is NOT FREE SHIP BEFORE YOU GET To CHECKOUT

All things AZ  needs to do  to keep sales going.  

And ship that Bezos fella off to Mars.  

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jun 2 21:54:49 2016

@Comet  --  You CAN search by seller, at least those that handle their own fulfilment, I don't know about the FBA guys. All sellers should have their own url to their store. It looks like this: >http://www.amazon.com/shops/moonwishes < instead of my name insert the sellers store name. You can use that url to go see their products and as far as I can tell only their products. Sometimes the link acts a bit wonky and only returns a few items under products and then you backwards out or close the page and insert the url again and under products you will see all the inventory. I make sure anyone that buys from me has both my Amazon and ecrater urls on the packing slip, etc. Also both of them are in my signature in my emails.

When you are doing a search in amazon, you also can sort by price as well and whether it can ship under the Prime program or not, new or used, reviews, and other things depending on the products for sale.

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Thu Jun 2 23:03:46 2016

I stopped trying to fix their catalog. It was a waste of my time. I'm phasing out selling (mostly books) there.

It IS that bad.

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 3 00:10:52 2016

@MOONWISHES----Thank you!   I often wish  to know of the seller has anything else I am interested in and did not know HOW to do this.  I recently found a section  to narrow your search  but have only used it once so far so not really sure what you can and cannot do with it.  

It does seem  tho that Amazon does not really CARE if the particular seller sells more piggy-backed---and I know for me if I see something I like I might want more or similar  so I DO want to go see what that seller has to offer.  

THANKS!!!!

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Sat Jun 4 21:25:58 2016

I have seen a shit in size Small, Medium and Chocolat! I have seen a lot of products with completely wrong picture and descriptions. Amazon uses a CraigsList like site to hire people in other countries and they bid a penny or less to get a job per description, how good can a description be if is done by a penny worker?

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sat Jun 4 23:24:40 2016

I was trying to purchase a compact microwave oven on Amazon and wanted to confirm the size. Even the Q&A was wrong since it was obviously just parroted the same incorrect info. Gave up on Amazon and purchased on another site.

Amazon's reviews are hard to navigate too, especially when it comes to various shades, colors and sizes. When doing a search, especially a book search, unless I find it right away, I look elsewhere. Shopping less and less online these days.

Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?   Is Amazon's Product Catalog as Bad as All That?

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 10 15:32:56 2016

Don't know if it's the Amazon catalog or search engine that's horrendous, but how come when you enter "Copper Pipe", you get a (sponsored, no less) search result for Electrical Wire Connector Terminals?  I mean, I get that electrical wire is often made of copper, but that's a tenuous connection at best!



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