What Is Amazon’s Choice, and What Does It Mean for Brands?
Originally developed to make voice shopping via Alexa easier, Amazon’s Choice is a feature that algorithmically identifies the “best fit” product for a customer’s search query. When browsing for products via devices such as the Echo smart speaker, Amazon’s Choice is often the first product Alexa recommends. On the Amazon website and mobile app, this distinction appears as a badge on search result and product detail pages.
With the increased adoption of voice technology and Alexa’s undeniable dominance in this market, Amazon’s Choice gives Amazon more control over customers’ purchasing decisions than ever before. Rather than being skeptical of this control, consumers are responding favorably, with 85% selecting the products Amazon suggests (OC&C). What’s more is that shoppers are actively seeking out these recommendations; since February 2018, there have been almost 2 million searches on Amazon for keywords containing “Amazon’s Choice” (OneSpace).
Below, we’ll explain exactly what Amazon’s Choice is and what its implications are for brands that rely on Amazon as a source of revenue.
What is Amazon’s Choice?
When the first Echo smart speaker was introduced in 2014, customers could only use it to re-order products they had previously purchased off Amazon. In 2015, however, Amazon released an update that allows customers to use Alexa to purchase products they haven’t bought before.
At the heart of this update is Amazon’s Choice. This feature makes Alexa voice shopping easier, as it algorithmically identifies the “best fit” product for a given query.
When prompted with a command such as “Alexa, search for [product keyword],” Alexa first searches through Prime-eligible items in the customer’s order history. If the customer has ordered a similar item before, Alexa recommends that product first. If the customer hasn’t purchased a similar item, Alexa instead recommends Amazon’s Choice for that product. If there isn’t an Amazon’s Choice option available, Alexa recommends the top-ranking Prime offer for the supplied keyword phrase.
The Amazon’s Choice distinction is also shown on Amazon’s website and mobile app, appearing as a badge within search results and on product detail pages.
Amazon’s Choice Criteria
Amazon’s Choice is not considered an ad space, and brands can neither apply nor pay to receive the distinction.
To be eligible for Amazon’s Choice, a product must first be Prime-eligible, in stock, and available to ship immediately. It must also have a low return rate compared to similar products, be highly rated, and be a popular item or category best-seller.
Amazon recently started surfacing this criteria directly on the product detail pages of some Choice products:
The Amazon’s Choice status is not static; according to OC&C, products change 4-5% daily due to stock or delivery issues.
Implications for Brands
Amazon’s Choice has serious implications for brands, as it essentially eliminates consumer choice and puts the purchasing decision entirely in Amazon’s hands.
Rather than being skeptical of this control, consumers are responding favorably, with 85% selecting the products Amazon suggests (OC&C). What’s more is that shoppers are actively seeking out these recommendations; since February 2018, there have been almost 2 million searches on Amazon for keywords containing “Amazon’s Choice” (OneSpace).
This high level of consumer trust should come as no surprise, as Amazon has built its entire empire on customer satisfaction. Instead of being threatened by Amazon’s foothold, however, manufacturers should see it as an opportunity to increase trust in their own brands by proxy.
A vote of confidence from Amazon holds a lot of weight with consumers and can translate to real results for brands. OC&C found that products that attain Amazon’s Choice status typically realize a sales boost of more than 3X, while losing this status frequently leads to a 30% reduction in sales.
Becoming Amazon’s Choice
So what can brands to do increase their products’ chances of becoming Amazon’s Choice?
- Ensure products are Prime-eligible. Alexa can only be used to order Prime-eligible products that are sold or fulfilled by Amazon. If your products aren’t available via Alexa, they won’t even be considered for Amazon’s Choice.
- Always have enough product in stock. Products that are out of stock immediately lose their Amazon’s Choice designation, so it’s important for brands to work with vendor managers to ensure their inventory is available to ship at all times.
- Monitor return rates. 50% of shoppers have returned an item they bought online because it didn’t match the description. Improve return rates by ensuring photos, titles, variants, descriptions and bullet points accurately portray what the customer is purchasing.
- Boost customer ratings and reviews. One easy way to boost a product’s ratings is to audit customer reviews and Q&As to identify common issues. Ensure these concerns are addressed in your product page content to improve post-purchase satisfaction.
- Maximize sales in your category. Increase search visibility on the Amazon website and app by optimizing product page content for the most popular keywords. Amplify this visibility with Amazon PPC ads.
- Keep an eye out for Alexa ads. Amazon is reportedly in talks with major CPG companies such as Procter & Gamble and Clorox about advertising options for Echo devices. These ads could be available as early as this year, so it’s crucial to speak with your Amazon vendor manager now to ensure you get priority access once they’re released.
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