Using Amazon Custom

After adding the options for my new personalised towels to my own website I decided to see if there was a way I could advertise them on Amazon (since I already have the account). A quick Google and I came across something called Amazon Custom.

What is Amazon Custom?

I hadn’t heard of this, nor do I see many personalised items on Amazon (UK),  so can only assume it’s new and not well-used at the moment.  Amazon are currently not charging an additional fee for using it (you still pay the usual monthly fee for your Seller’s Account).  The way they word it, does make me wonder if they’ll charge for it in future!

Fees associated with Amazon Custom
Hmmm…

Once you sign up,  you see an additional option in the menu under Manage Inventory.  (See below.)

Amazon screenshot

Creating listings

Amazon Custom only supports ASINs that are seller-fulfilled.  As my towels are currently FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon), I had to create completely new listings for them and set them as seller-fulfilled.  This involved getting new barcodes, but as I already have an account with GS1 this wasn’t a problem.

You can copy your existing listing to work from, so you have the same description, bullet points and keywords. (You copy the parent listing, which you will then create the variations from.  See this article which further explains how you do this.)  You will need to update one of your bullet points to explain that your item can be personalised.  (This is a requirement that Amazon sets out.)  You also probably want to add some keywords related to the fact your item can be customised.

Amazon Custom listing requirements

As usual, what should have been a 30 minute job took at least double that time.  All the photos need to be added again and you obviously have to include some of how the products look when they’re personalised too.

Seller Central kept saying there were no photos and not allowing me to save and continue, which involved a lot of going in and out of the listings.  There’s also a new photo to add if there are variations, called a ‘swatch”.  (New since I created the original towel listings anyway.)  I didn’t realise what this was until I saw the listings ‘live’ on Amazon.  Basically it’s the bit that lets you toggle between options.

Amazon product variations

I wanted to update the photos I’d used here, once I knew what it was.  For some unknown reason I couldn’t update it for the blue towel, so contacted Seller Central. As usual they tried to answer a completely different question to the one I’d ask and told me I had to re-apply for Brand Registry.   (This didn’t answer my question, or help particularly, but I’ve done it anyway and the results are pending.) The criteria has changed since I last applied and you can now register logos – so fingers crossed!

Enabling customisation

When all that’s done, you need to select the Custom Products link shown above and set up all your options.  When you go in here you’ll see all your ASINS listed and you can select ‘enable customisation’.  For products that are FBA, you’ll see this option is greyed out.

This threw me a little, as I didn’t find it obvious what to do.

You have to upload a photo showing the area that can be customised, then select what customisation options there are.  For example, I added a box where the customer has to type in the name to be embroidered (this is a required field) and I then have a dropdown box to select the font.

Fonts is a separate tab when you set up the customisations.  You have to select the font you use and there aren’t many options.  You can upload your own, but I chose to display an image showing the three available options (regular, bold and italic) and ask they choose from those.

You have to specify colours too. As customers can only have embroidery in the colour that matches the towel, I’ve set this as the only option.

Add to basket screenshot for Amazon custom product
The ‘add to basket’ process once you’ve set up a custom product.

I’m still not sure I have it exactly right (you can see what I’ve done here) and I may well update it at some point.

PPC

I wasn’t sure about which keywords to use for PPC, but worried that an automatic listing would be competing with my original towel listing.  I used a keyword planner tool to help find suitable keywords, from a small list I’d already created, and have set up a manual campaign.   

So, that’s where I’m at right now.  Have you tried Amazon Custom yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.