Amazon Business Practices
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): Uncover the Hidden Potential
Amazon makes finding spare parts much easier by connecting buyers with previously out-of-reach sources. This creates an opportunity for Amazon sellers who are willing to dig into Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) and include this detail in their listings.
Have you ever been frustrated when trying to get the right parts? Anyone who needed specialized electronics or tools, replacement parts for home or auto repair, or parts for modifications, hacks, or DIY projects, know how difficult it can be to cut through the clutter surrounding replacement parts.

Even what seems like a simple replacement light bulb, filter, or switch can be a challenge to find. This is especially true if you're looking to replace a part on an older model.

Most often, the best places to find spare parts are direct from the manufacturer or from eBay. But now Amazon makes finding such items much easier by connecting buyers with previously out-of-reach sources. This creates an opportunity for Amazon sellers who are willing to dig into Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) and include this detail in their listings.

Not all merchants have added MPN where applicable, which creates three problems:

  1. Difficulty for shoppers looking to find exactly what they need
  2. Reducing conversions because buyers are afraid to order the wrong part
  3. Increasing the likelihood of open-box and used returns due to a wrong part being ordered.
What Is a Manufacturer Part Number (MPN)?

MPN is a unique identifier set by the product's manufacturer to differentiate it from similar parts and counterfeits. It helps manufacturers and sellers identify and manage stock levels and it puts buyers' minds at ease because they know that they are getting the right component.

For Amazon, MPN is an optional field in the inventory listing file and not applicable to all merchandise. For example, a sweater has a SKU, not an MPN, and a book has an ISBN, not an MPN.

That said, the Manufacturer Part Number is really only relevant in certain cases, most often parts for automotive, powersports and consumer electronics. But in those cases, it's pure gold for several reasons. Let's explore.

The Benefits of Including the MPN

  • Discoverability: MPN is a field that is indexed by Amazon and by Google, which means that if you include it in your listing, it will be picked up and matched by both search engines and displayed in results. This gets your product found fast and without ambiguity.
  • Conversion: A replacement part or a highly specific piece of equipment isn't an optional item or one where a shopper browses for a better match or a different color. These sorts of items are what the shopper needs and no other part will do. When you drill down to MPN specificity, and that MPN is the exact term for which the user is searching, you are almost certain to achieve the conversion because the shopper has undoubtedly found the right product.
  • Few or Even No Returns: When you sell the right product to the customer who needs that exact item, you won't have many (or any) returns. This saves you time and money and it helps your seller rankings and ratings. Amazon loves a low return rate.
  • Better and More Frequent Product Reviews: With no doubt about the compatibility of the item, you are likely to get a good review from the buyer. Shoppers are immensely appreciative of those sellers who can meet their highly specific demands. They also appreciate being able to fix or restore items by replacing parts rather than having to purchase an entirely new larger, more-expensive product.
  • Multiple Quantities Sold to Repeat Customers: A shopper who is a serious stereo enthusiast or DIYer often needs multiple specialty parts or single parts in multiple quantities. A person working on a classic car might need four of something if he or she is working on wheels. A person replacing bulbs in commercial ceiling fans will likely buy more than one bulb so that he or she has spares on hand when the next bulb needs replaced. When a customer knows that a seller has the right parts, that customer will often buy in quantity and return to that seller for reasons of ease and trust. Why buy from another seller when you know you can get the right part without doubt or hassle? That's the beauty of MPN.

    Best Practices of Adding an MPN in the Optional Field

If you've got MPN-applicable merchandise, including that detail is great, but you can still go further and get more out of it.

  1. First and foremost, double check that you're listing your MPN correctly. The confusion here undoes all of the good of using the MPN in the first place.
  2. Don't just include the MPN in the Manufacturer Part Number field in the inventory listing. Instead, add the MPN to the title and bullet points. If it has dashes in it from the manufacturer, list it with dashes and also without punctuation so it doesn't trip up the buyer or the search.
  3. Show, as well as tell, your buyer that the part is undoubtedly the right one; include the MPN in one of your detail images. Usually, the MPN is stamped on the part and seeing that will boost a customer's confidence.
  4. If you know that a particular part is compatible with many products, list those other products as well so you can pick up traffic from buyers who might not know that what you have to offer will do the job for them.

Example: Imagine you were searching for a replacement wheel cap cover for a 2016 VW Jetta Sport 1.8. Your initial search led you to some totally irrelevant results. Adding your vehicle to my Amazon Garage helped, but even then you were seeing incompatible parts.

You do a search, but which search terms should you use? "VW wheel cap cover"? "Volkswagen hubcap emblem"? Wait, why are Toyota parts showing up as matches now?

Note that Amazon sellers can solve this search wording problem with a tool like Scope, which tells you the exact words that shoppers are using to search and how to use those as your listing keywords.

Finally you get to what I thought what the right part but you may be not entirely sure. After all, you didn't want to order the wrong item and have to deal with a return, so you go ahead and get the part number from an PDF technical manual online. Now you can search using the precise Manufacturer Part Number, get an immediate perfect match, and order the part you needed. And the seller got the sale. Win-win!

If you're looking to boost conversions, accelerate sales velocity, and get your products ranking higher on Amazon, get your free image audit and start designing more engaging and better-selling Amazon product listings.

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