It’s been quite an eventful month since Amazon’s A+ 2.0 service went live on Vendor Central portals across Europe. Now that the holiday season is approaching, we wanted to take a moment to step back and share some of the key benefits, potential pitfalls and frustrations that we’ve found with the new system.
A+ 2.0 Advantages and Opportunities
- Comparison Tables – for the first time in a long time, we’re able to link from comparison tables to the products featured within. And it feels good.
- Comparison Tables Part Deux – being able to highlight a column to subtly indicate to customers which product they’re currently viewing within the full range is a small thing but amazingly effective. We can’t imagine living without it now.
- Comparison Tables: The Return of The King – did we mention how good they are now? Because they are pretty damn good.
- Responsiveness – uploads are happening with 24 hours of submission. It’s like it’s 2009 all over again.
- Flexibility – one of the more enjoyable aspects of the past month has been brainstorming optimal layouts for our clients. Even back in the largely-unregulated days of the mid-2000’s this level of A+ freedom wasn’t available (well, not to any polished degree). If you’re prepared to put in the work, you’ll be able to create effective and attractive pages for just about any product type.
A+ 2.0 Annoyances and Oddities
- Preview Issues – the fears we had about A+ 2.0 launching without a working preview system were mostly unfounded, but we’re still finding it temperamental on a daily basis. The main issues include not pulling through the latest saved version, and failing to display certain elements properly.
- Browser-based Problems – occasionally we’re finding some functionality that works perfectly well in Firefox doesn’t always behave on Chrome. Of course, your mileage may vary.
- Beware the Backspace – I’m fairly sure we’re not the only ones to encounter this particular frustration. Let me paint the scene: you’re head-down, working though the stack of product content you need to finish before the deadline. You notice a typo. You reach for the backspace key to exterminate the offending non-word… and then realise with mounting horror that you’d failed to select the text box correctly. Your screams echo through the office as you’re thrown back to the homepage, your afternoon’s work surviving only as a distant memory.
- Duplication Issues – we’ve not been able to conclusively replicate the causes, but sometimes a project will be duplicated for no apparent reason. This all adds to…
- A Cluttered Workflow – Not being able to edit or delete items from your project list seems like quite the oversight. Sadly, without a fix on the horizon it looks like we’ll have to sort through multiple “Test” and “My Project” junk items for the foreseeable future. Make sure you avoid having to do the same.
- Limited Flexibility – no matter how free you are to adjust the layout, the nature of the A+ 2.0 system means there’ll always be something you want/need to do that isn’t possible. An example would be adding an extra headers – adding extra text is easy but there’s currently no provision for throwing in an extra title for that paragraph as well.
- I Got 5 on It – having 5 modules available per page can seem generous, but not all modules are created evenly. Adding a banner image and product selector can dramatically reduce the amount of space available for your copy and images, and can make using these attractive brand-led elements less desirable than would first seem. The line has to be drawn somewhere, but the current limit has led to more compromises having to be made than is ideal.
- No Links to Multiple ASINs – long gone are the days when you could use a hidden-keyword search link to direct to multiple products. The move to ASIN-only links makes sense when you have parent ASINs (with colour/specification selector on the page), but that’s not always the case.