As marketplaces like Amazon grow in competition, the reality is this: if you don’t differentiate, you’re doomed.
You have to find ways to stand out from the crowd and convince customers to buy your product over the competition.
So, in this article, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best ways to differentiate a product on Amazon to save you time and give you some product research inspiration.
This list is built from launching many products over the last 5+ years and helping 500+ students do the same inside Brand Builder University.
Let’s dive in!
1. Product Quality
The foundation of any long-lasting, successful eCommerce brand is a core of good products.
As such, it should be every new seller’s endeavor to identify opportunities to improve overall product quality
For example, if you’re selling organic skincare products insist on the use of premium, sustainably sourced ingredients.
Or if you’re selling a dog bed, make sure it’s the fluffiest, comfiest bed your customer’s furry friends will ever set their lucky paws on!
It doesn’t have to just be the quality of materials, either. It can also be the quality of the design.
One of our Brand Builder University members Kevan did such a great job of improving product design that he appeared on TV’s Dragon’s Den (the UK’s version of Shark Tank).
Check out the interview I did with him discussing his journey and the TV experience here:
Remember: successful eCommerce is not just about selling products to whoever will buy them.
It’s about crafting an experience that delights customers, builds trust, and establishes your brand as a long-term, reliable source of quality products.
It can be tempting to cut corners to get the cheapest cost price possible.
But, by investing in product quality, you not only ensure customer satisfaction but also reduce the likelihood of negative reviews or returns.
This is a long-term play that helps you stand out, attract clicks and conversions, charge premium prices, and ultimately build a profitable eCommerce business.
As such, starting here is a must and should be your number one differentiation priority.
2. Product Utility
In the product research module of our Amazon FBA course, I talk about the ‘Product Potency Formula’ which involves three core principles:
- Identifying products that are in demand…
- That have problems the market isn’t fully solving…
- And that target a specific niche of people…
If you just try and sell products to people, you’ll struggle. But when you identify problems with existing products in the market, you’ll find opportunities for success.
Finding new ways to improve the utility of existing, in-demand products is one of the best ways to differentiate.
To find ideas for what exactly needs improving, study a product’s reviews. Using Helium 10’s Chrome extension will save you hours with this.
I always find the 4* reviews are a treasure chest of valuable information as a product was almost great, but for one or two reasons didn’t quite get full marks. Identify those reasons and solve them in your product and you’re on to a winner.
Let’s take the example of phone cases.
This is a hugely competitive market, but you could identify a problem to solve within the market, such as the difficulty people with arthritis have with holding their phones.
You could design a phone case with a special grip or ergonomic features to make it easier for individuals with arthritis to hold and use their phones comfortably.
This targeted approach caters to a specific need and audience and helps your product stand out in a crowded space.
3. Ease of Use
Simplicity can be a powerful selling point.
Making sure your product is intuitive and user-friendly is a good start, but a good way to go further and stand out pre-purchase is by offering clear, detailed instructions.
If your product is particularly complex or needs any kind of setup, clearly stating (and showing visually) that your product comes with detailed instructions is a big plus for customers.
They can buy with confidence knowing that they will have the support they need to get good use out of your product.
You’ll find this is a common theme in a lot of negative reviews so the opportunity to put a bit of extra work in and stand out here is big.
Eye-catching packaging can leave a lasting impression.
Well-designed packaging not only protects your product but also enhances several aspects of your product experience:
- Unboxing: A positive unboxing experience goes a long way to setting good foundations for customer satisfaction and as a result, positive reviews.
- Giftability: Gift shopping on Amazon is a growing trend and top of the priorities for these kinds of purchases is the first impression of a gift which can be dramatically improved with good packaging.
- Imagery: To make it obvious to customers your product comes with premium packaging it needs to be prominent in your images. Colorful, eye-catching packaging goes a long way to improving the click-through rate when shown in your main image and improving the conversion rate when shown in other images throughout your listing.
Packaging isn’t the only aspect of marketing you can use to differentiate your products.
Taking the time to learn good marketing principles can go a long way to catch a browser’s eye and convert them into a buyer.
Here are some ideas to stand out:
- Images: Don’t just show your product from six different angles, invest in high-quality images that include color, graphics, props, models, and whatever else you need to clearly show the benefits of your product.
- Copy: Online marketplaces are flooded with low-quality products and even lower-quality product listings. Take the time needed to craft compelling, benefit-driven titles, bullets, and product descriptions that engage the reader.
- Ads: With custom lifestyle images and video ads you have the ability to inject some creativity and make your ads stand out.
If you start with a foundation of a good quality product that solves clear problems, then layer on good marketing you’ll have a potent combination.
Find products with opportunities to improve marketing by filtering for ‘number of images’ inside Helium 10’s Black Box. If a listing is selling well but only using 2-3 images, imagine how well you could do if you used all 7?!
While it won’t work for every product, offering variations can help cater to different customer preferences.
By offering various sizes, colors, or configurations you can widen your audience by giving customers more choices which almost always leads to higher conversion rates.
For example, let’s say a shopper is looking for a bright and colorful yoga mat to go with their chirpy personality.
Your competitors only sell boring black yoga mats.
However, you in your brand-building genius decide to offer multiple color variations including a multi-colored tie-dye effect yoga mat that could be seen from a mile away.
All of a sudden it’s your product line that stands out and you who wins the sale.
This strategy is a big part of the 9-figure brand Simple Modern‘s success which I discussed with co-founder Bryan Porter in our podcast interview:
Bundling is a powerful strategy that can significantly boost your sales and improve the overall shopping experience for your customers when done right.
By combining complementary products into bundles or kits, you not only encourage customers to buy more from you but also simplify their shopping process.
The benefits of bundling include:
- Increased Average Order Value (AOV): Bundles encourage customers to purchase multiple items at once, increasing the total transaction value. For example, if you sell camping gear, offering a bundle that includes a tent, sleeping bag, and camping stove can lead to a higher AOV than selling these items individually.
- Value Perception: Bundles create the perception of value. Customers often feel like they are getting a deal when purchasing a bundle because they save money compared to buying each item separately.
- Cross-Selling: Bundling allows you to cross-sell related products that customers may not have considered on their own. This can introduce customers to items they didn’t initially intend to purchase.
- Streamlined Shopping: Customers appreciate the convenience of one-stop shopping. Bundles make it easy for them to find everything they need in one place, saving time and effort.
Bundling can benefit both your business and your customers, but you must think carefully about curating the right kind of bundle.
Bundle too broad a selection of items together and you will find conversion rates can be very low as customers may not be looking for all items in the bundle.
The best way to start testing bundling is with one small additional, closely related product added to the main product a customer is searching for.
Make it high enough value to increase the perceived value for your customer, but low enough cost that it doesn’t negatively impact your margins.
8. Customer Service
While not strictly a pre-purchase decision-making factor, good customer service will go a long way to generating positive reviews that help your product stand out in search results.
So do everything you can to be responsive to customer inquiries, offer hassle-free returns, and go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.
9. Brand Story
I’ve found that consumers aren’t as moved by a powerful brand story as we brand owners might like to think.
However, sharing your brand’s story and values can still help create goodwill with your customers.
So, explain why you started your business and how it aligns with your customer’s needs and values.
A compelling brand story can create an emotional connection and help turn browsers into buyers.
The good news is that Amazon’s A+ Content tools give you a brand story module that helps tell this story to every visitor to your listing.
Pricing is way down this list for a reason.
Generally speaking, price is the last thing you want to differentiate on as it can create a race to the bottom where nobody wins.
To build a profitable, sustainable business you should instead usually aim to attract premium prices for your products for the extra quality that you have built into them.
However, there are scenarios where good sourcing or innovation will allow you to offer cheaper prices than your competition while maintaining strong profitability.
If you can protect your innovations with a patent then you’re onto a real winner.
Product quality + attractive pricing = an explosion of sales!
Bonus Amazon product differentiation ideas
The next ideas for differentiation may only apply to a small portion of potential product ideas, but they are well worth considering.
By incorporating sustainable practices into your product’s lifecycle you are not only doing your bit to protect the environment but also appealing to a growing number of eco-conscious consumers.
From sourcing materials to packaging, and manufacturing processes, highlight your commitment to the environment and stand out in a changing society.
12. Product Customization
Allowing customers to personalize their purchases is not usually very scalable, but if you can pull it off, you can really stand out.
For example, if you sell jewelry, offer customization options like name or image engraving.
13. Product Origin
If your product is made locally or in a region known for expertise in a particular industry (e.g., Italian leather or Swiss watches), use that as a selling point.
14. Educational Content
Create how-to guides, tutorial videos, or eBooks that demonstrate the benefits and uses of your product or expand on it.
For example, if you are selling a frying pan you could include an eBook containing the top 10 healthy recipes it can be used for.
Compatibility can make your product more appealing to customers looking for a hassle-free experience.
For example, making a laptop case that is compatible with a wide range of laptops can help it stand out against less versatile options.
The importance of product differentiation
Making your products stand out is an essential part of success in a competitive marketplace like Amazon.
To find ways to differentiate your products you can start with this list as inspiration, then head to the Amazon search bar.
Type in the main keyword for a product and begin to look through the most-reviewed products looking for negative customer comments that give ideas for improvement.
You can speed up this process by using Helium 10’s ‘Review Insights’ function within its Chrome Extension and sorting by number of stars.
This can be a time-consuming stage of the product research process, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to avoid a race to the bottom on pricing.
By making your products well differentiated you are ensuring that your eCommerce business is built on firm foundations and can stand the test of time (and competition!).
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