How Can Brands Win the “Amazon’s Choice” Designation?

Frictionless shopping is one of Amazon’s key priorities. When it comes to narrowing the distance between a consumer’s pain point and the point of purchase, Amazon is at the forefront of the marketplace. Amazon’s Choice, a simple but powerful product label, is one of the company’s latest methods for reducing consumer friction and is now highly sought after by brands looking to stand out in Amazon search – so how can brands win this designation?

The Path to Purchase

Imagine you’re in your kitchen and you realize you’re running low on paper towels. You can write it down on your shopping list, drive to the store, choose a brand, and bring it home – but each of these steps takes time and could introduce obstacles and distractions that may capture your attention and prevent you from making the purchase.

The more distance between the pain point and the point of purchase, the less likely people are to buy a product. Amazon is taking the lead in reducing this distance with numerous “frictionless” innovations, starting with Amazon Dash. This device allows you to assign a specific product to a “dash” button so that you can reorder it with one press whenever you’re running low.

In 2014, Amazon launched Alexa, the voice-activated personal assistant originally for the Echo smart speaker and now also available in the Amazon mobile app and numerous smart devices. Using Alexa, you can place an order at the very moment of the pain point: as soon as you realize you’re running out of paper towels, you can ask Alexa to order some more and have them delivered in as little as two hours.

The Echo is Amazon’s bestselling product and the most successful smart speaker on the market and Alexa has become a leading technology in the growing home automation industry. According to a report from Voicebot.ai, 72.9% of all smart speaker purchases in the US were performed using the Echo.

This works in one of two ways. When you ask Alexa to search for a product, for example “paper towels”, it will first check your purchase history and if it finds that you’ve purchased paper towels in the past, it will reorder the same product. But if there are no paper towels in your purchase history, Alexa will default to the “Amazon’s Choice” for the search term.

Amazon’s Choice was specifically designed to be the search result for voice purchases. Because Alexa only returns one search result, Amazon needed a way to determine the default product for any given search term. Today, voice purchasing still has limited market penetration, but the Amazon’s Choice tag also drives conversion on desktop and mobile devices.

Before Alexa, search was already a high-stakes game on Amazon, so the onset of voice commerce and the Amazon’s Choice label has raised the stakes even higher. Across all devices, capturing Amazon’s Choice for relevant search terms goes a long way toward making products stand out on Amazon and should be a key priority for brands.

What Drives Amazon’s Choice?

The metrics driving Amazon’s Choice are not a hard-and-fast rule (and Amazon may adjust them at any time), but brands can increase their likelihood of capturing the label if they meet certain minimum requirements. The designation is competitive against other search results for the same key terms however, so meeting the minimum may not always be enough to beat the competition.

In some cases, brands can negotiate the label – an Amazon Vendor Manager can guarantee Amazon’s Choice to brands that achieve a high profitability threshold – while in other cases it’s selected automatically. Amazon recently began showing some of the metrics which drive Amazon’s Choice on product detail pages carrying the label, and by applying these metrics to over 100 sample items we have observed the following minimum requirements of the designation:

  1. Highly Rated: To be classified as Amazon’s Choice, an item must have an average rating of at least 4.0. The total number of reviews is also taken into account; most of our sample items had 600+ reviews.
  2. Low Return Rate: Of our sample items, the lowest performers that still earned the Amazon’s Choice label had 13% fewer returns than competitive products.
  3. Search Term Relevancy: Amazon measures the popularity of items with shoppers using the specific search term. An item will rank higher depending on how often shoppers using that term have gone on to purchase the item.
  4. Prime Eligibility: Amazon’s Choice items must be Prime Eligible; whether a first-party or third-party item, it must be fulfilled by Amazon.
  5. Availability: Product must be consistently in-stock to win and keep the label.
  6. Price: Price is not a strong factor driving Amazon’s Choice, but all else being equal, the lower-priced item will win the label.
  7. Private Brand Priority: In some cases, Amazon gives priority to private brands. For example, for the search term “paper towel”, the Plenty brand is winning in nearly every metric, but Amazon has given the Amazon’s Choice designation to Presto, a private brand. This is not always the case, however, as in “phone charger” for which DEEGO beats AmazonBasics.

Voice commerce is still nascent, but with the Echo and Echo Dot easily ranking as two of the bestselling items on Amazon, the potential is unquestionable. Brands that capture the Amazon’s Choice label can win the loyalty of Echo owners, who spend more on Amazon than Prime members. The label also drives conversion on desktop and mobile – all else being equal, shoppers are more likely to buy an item carrying the label.

The same metrics that drive Amazon’s Choice drive eCommerce success across the board. Amazon’s Choice is another way to reduce friction in the path to purchase, but investing in these metrics will improve brand performance even for those that do not win the designation. Amazon will continue to adjust and refine its many features and storefronts, but the fundamentals of success will always be effective.

 

 

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