Always Up-to-Date Guide to Ecommerce Titles, Descriptions & More

Allison Lee

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August 18, 2020

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Guide to Ecommerce Copy Requirements

The Glossary of Amazon Listing Errors

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Last Updated: August 2020

Every ecommerce marketplace has its unique quirks. And while copywriting guidelines are often generalized as SEO best practices—make no mistake that each marketplace has its own rules of engagement.

In this blog we'll cover requirements and recommendations for getting your products listed properly on each channel. Make sure to check out our guide for images if you haven't already and bookmark, print or download this page for easy reference later on.

Content Requirements by Channel

<div id="amazon"></div>

Amazon

With the lion's share of the U.S. ecommerce market, Amazon is getting more and more strict with its listing requirements to limit the chances of messy, spammy or inauthentic content. There are already 1.1 million U.S. sellers (and counting) on its marketplace. To compete, you'll want to make sure that your copy meets all the standards and is optimized for Amazon's A9 algorithm specifically.

Keep in mind that aside from the below standards, Amazon tends to favor products with a high click-through rate, positive product reviews and high conversion rates. Many sellers will therefore leverage Amazon ads to some capacity to kickstart the flywheel effect and get the momentum going.

Free Tool: Zentail's Amazon Listing Checker Report for Brand Owners

Product Title Guidelines

illustration showing product title on an amazon listing
  • Maximum of 200 characters, including spaces, though some categories may have a lower maximum count
  • Recommended word count: 80-120
  • Note that mobile devices will only show about 45-90 characters so put the most important details, like brand and keyword, up front
  • Amazon has recommended title formulas for certain categories (for example, titles for small appliances should include brand name and model name and/or number first)
  • Use capital letters for the first letter of each word, except for conjunctions, articles and certain prepositions
  • Spell out measurements like “inch” or "pound"
  • Do not use JavaScript, HTML, and any other form of coding
  • Do not use symbols for decorations
  • Do not sure promotional phrases like “free shipping”
  • Never give details on the availability, condition and price of product

Featured Bullet Points Guidelines

illustration showing featured bullets on an amazon listing
  • Start every bullet with a capital letter
  • Recommended to have at least 5 bullet points
  • Maximum 500 characters per bullet point in most categories
  • Write as sentence fragments and do not include ending punctuation
  • Write all numbers as numerals
  • Highlight top five benefits (not simply features) here and be as specific as possible
  • Speak to your product, not your company as a whole
  • Do not include alternative shipping offers or links to other websites, including your branded website
  • Do not include quotes, reviews or testimonials
  • Same exclusions as Product Title Guidelines

Product Description Guidelines

illustration showing product description on an amazon listing
  • Recommended word count: 250 or more
  • Note that Amazon will shorten your product descriptions after 150 characters on both desktop and mobile
  • Information must be in paragraph form (typically a few paragraphs long)
  • Do not use JavaScript, HTML, and any other form of coding, though for special cases, line breaks </br> can be used in the description
  • Include key benefits that matter to your target customer and write to inform, not necessary to sell (read: don’t be overly salesy)
  • Include keywords without stuffing them in unnaturally
  • Highly recommended to use Enhanced Brand Content if you're eligible
  • Same exclusions as Featured Bullets Guidelines

<div id="walmart"></div>

Walmart Marketplace

As now the second largest online retailer in the U.S., Walmart is turning heads with its fast-growing marketplace. More and more sellers are lining up for access. Meanwhile, the company maintains that its ambitions are different from that of Amazon; instead of partnering with every seller, it's looking to partner with the right sellers.

This sets the tone for many of its policies, from its application process to its listing standards. Make sure you follow the below guidelines to stay listed and study Walmart SEO best practices to get your products ranking.

Watch Also: 'Ask Walmart Anything' Live Chat on Getting Started on Walmart Marketplace

Product Name Guidelines

illustration showing the product title on a walmart listing
  • Recommended 50-70 characters
  • Note that Walmart starts to shorten the product title after 50 or so characters on both desktop and mobile
  • Unique, specific name this isn’t used word-for-word on another site
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word except for article, conjunctions, prepositions and acronyms (title case); do not use all caps
  • If product is part of a variant group, do not mention just one variation in your title
  • Do not use special characters and symbols
  • Do not include promotional phrases like “best selling” or “free shipping”
  • Do not include info about yourself or company
  • Do not include any references to other marketplaces, like “sold on Amazon”
  • The product type should be clear; use a key word that describes your product
  • Recommended formula by Walmart: Brand + Product Line (if applicable) + Size/Power (if applicable) + Defining Quality + Item Name + Pack Co

Long Description Guidelines

illustration showing the short description on a walmart listing
  • Minimum of one paragraph with 150 words
  • Recommended 500-1,000 characters
  • For SEO purposes, repeat product name in the first line
  • Information should be in paragraph form, except for the product name which should be bolded (using <strong></strong> tags) with no bullet
  • Include synonyms of your root keyword
  • Think from your customers’ shoes and try to mimic an in-store experience by answering their most important questions, e.g., how to use your product, what makes it unique, etc.
  • Consider adding rich media, like product videos and size guides, by tapping one of Walmart's certified Content Solution Providers
  • If you're writing copy for a base-variant page (multiple color or sizes), do not mention color or size information in the description; this should be included in the item page
  • Same exclusions as Walmart Product Name Guidelines

Key Features (aka Highlights) Guidelines

Note: some bullet points may automatically appear as "Product Highlights" near the top of your listing
  • Minimum of three bullet points
  • Maximum 80 characters (space included) per bullet point
  • Recommended a list of 5-10 main features and benefits
  • Capitalize first letter of each bullet point
  • Write as sentence fragments and do not include ending punctuation
  • Copy must be unique—do not copy from another site
  • Reiterate important information from title and description
  • Put the most important features first
  • Keep the information specific to the product and make it easy to understand
  • Be clear and conversational
  • Do not include generic, repetitive, hyperbolic ("everyone's favorite brand") or vague marketing-driven phrases
  • If you're writing copy for a base-variant page (multiple color or sizes), do not mention color or size information in the key features section; this should be included in the item page
  • Same exclusions as Walmart Product Name Guidelines

<div id="ebay"></div>

eBay

Though it lost its second-place title to Walmart, eBay is still a vital channel for many multichannel sellers. With a loyal following of hobbyists and everyday buyers looking for a good deal (especially in categories like clothing, cell phones, home/garden, and sports goods), eBay won't be going away any time soon.

That being said, the marketplace is a mixed bag of at-home sellers and brands, like adidas. To stand out, you'll want to make sure that your listings offer as much detailed and authentic content as possible, and speak to the values of eBay consumers.

Product Title Guidelines

illustration showing product title on an ebay listing
  • Maximum 80 characters in length
  • Should be easy to read and describe the product’s top features
  • Title should be 100% unique
  • Should differentiate the product from other similar items
  • Title for bundles should include the base product and main items
  • Title for multipacks should include pack size, volume, length and other differentiators (if applicable)
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word except for article, conjunctions, prepositions and acronyms (title case)
  • Exclude articles and conjunctions as much as possible
  • Should not include misspelled words, special characters or special formatting, like all caps or bolded words
  • Can include the minus sign when part of brand or product name, or used to specify differentiating product feature (usually at the end of the title)
  • Must not contain false or misleading information
  • Do not use superlatives like “excellent” unless product did, in fact, win an award
  • Do not use plurals unless product comes in pairs, like gloves
  • Do not include promotional text, conditions, prices, shipping options or irrelevant keywords
  • Do not include abbreviated or hyphenated words
  • Do not include foreign words unless commonly known or part of product name
  • Do not include HTML, links, email address or other contact information
  • Do no use profanities or offensive language

Product Description Guidelines

illustration showing product description on an ebay listing
  • Maximum 4,000 characters
  • Unless you have explicit permission from a third party to use their description, you must write all your descriptions
  • All claims must be 100% factual
  • Include information about the brand, company or manufacturer
  • Write in a conversational manner that’s easy to understand
  • Highlight the top benefits of the product and information like size, shape, color and other notable features; do not simply list out features
  • Always write in second or third person
  • Description for bundles should give information about all products and accessories, along with dimension of the box
  • Description for multipacks should include information about lot size
  • Do not include personal opinions, comparisons or negative comments
  • Do not use time-sensitive adjectives like “next generation” or “new”
  • Do not embed pictures
  • Do not mention a competitor’s marketplace
  • Same exclusion as Product Title Guidelines

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