Product content plays a big role in selling the right item to the right customer. There are various pieces of information about a product you should know before uploading to marketplaces. MPN is one of them. Another crucial question sellers should answer: how to ensure MPN is on the feed list and is regularly updated? The answer lies in automated product content delivery, aka. product content syndication.
What is MPN?
MPN (Manufacturer Part Number) is the product identifier used to differentiate a product among other (similar) products from the same brand/manufacturer, making it easier for customers to find and buy your products and protecting it from counterfeit (that is, when somebody would be trying illegally sell products on behalf of a manufacturer or make a copy of a product. Example: Chinese making their versions of "iPhones". Usually, they will not know MPNs unless contact a manufacturer).
MPN doesn’t have a generally accepted form, and it is usually up to a manufacturer to decide how the code will look like and where it will be located.
It is often easier for the customer to find a product by a short MPN number like HV-HM02 rather than typing “ZMAUTOPARTS Hood Deck Vent Panel Handle Covers Trim ABS Chrome 5Pcs For 2003-2009 Hummer H2”.
Why is MPN important/ benefits of MPN
Generally, MPN helps a shopper to buy the right item. This reduces the headache of managing product returns and dealing with a dissatisfied client.
MPN is especially important when it comes to tagging the parts of the product. Mainly that’s vehicles, machinery, computer appliances, or DIY (do-it-yourself). Even such a seemingly simple product as cartridges for a printer might be challenging to find, especially if the model of a printer is not very popular. Let’s break down another example. Your customer got a Volkswagen car and needs to change the hubcap for wheels. Among the number of options, he needs to find the precise model that would fit his type of VW (say, Jetta-Sedan 2011). Knowing the precise MPN number would help a customer distinguish between a similar range of products and make the right choice.
Manufacturer Part Number helps:
- Make a product search more accurate;
- Correctly match a search query with the item;
- Ensure a customer purchases the right product or product detail;
- Place product ads in search engines or social networks to the right audience;
- Track product information more accurately within a product catalog;
For Manufacturers MPN helps:
- track specific details/part numbers of a product;
- manage, arrange, and communicate on the product details amongst internal and external systems and partners.
How to find manufacturer part number
Typically you will find MPN number on a product packaging: on a label or a bar code. If you didn’t manage to find it there, do Manufacturer Part Number Search across:
- manufacturer catalog;
- manufacturer website;
- online database.
MPN is issued by the manufacturer only, so the first source of truth is a Manufacturer.
Warning: do not type in any other code in an MPN field. It is not the same and every marketplace has a right to put a ban for this kind of fraud. Do not use a value that you’ve created yourself (unless you are a manufacturer). For example, you can’t use a UPC number as an MPN, because Amazon/eBay/any other marketplace will reject it.
Tip: add MPN to the product title and bullet points (not only to an MPN field). This increases chances to appear in the right search query.
What is MPN on eBay + MPN on Amazon + comparison engines (Google Shopping)
MPNs are used when importing products to marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress, as well as comparison shopping engines like Google Shopping. They let those platforms match products with customers’ search queries and perform product comparisons in a more precise way.
What is MPN on eBay
MPN on eBay is not a “must-have” point, though there are quite literal guidelines for which product categories and subcategories it is mandatory, and for which it is optional. For instance, for such eBay product categories as Business & Industrial, Cameras & Photo, Cell Phones & Accessories, Computers / Tablets & Networking, Consumer Electronics, Musical Instruments & Gear, and Sporting Goods it is a must. For such categories as Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Crafts, Health & Beauty, Tickets & Experiences, and Pet Supplies eBay will accept products without MPN numbers. See the detailed eBay product identifiers table, where you can see MPN eBay demands.
Remember: when you match your product with the one in the eBay catalog, the unique identifiers for your product are included automatically.
MPN on eBay example:
Manufacturer Part Number Amazon
On Amazon MPN is an optional field. Though for such categories, where you know your customers will be struggling to find a specific product detail, it is important to help in navigation.
How to get Manufacturer Part Number for Amazon? As for any other marketplace, you should contact the product manufacturer to get an MPN. Though, if the product you’re selling is already on Amazon listing — the code will be applied automatically.
Here are more benefits of using MPN on Amazon:
- Product is better indexed and positioned in Amazon search.
- You get more return customers: usually when buying some parts for a product, clients are coming back for other replacements.
- Less returns: the more precise information you provide, less chance of getting the wrong item/the item that doesn’t fit or serve well.
- Good reviews: if you’ve tried to find highly specific products/products’ parts on a web, you realize what a challenge it is. Those kind of clients are highly appreciative, when served with the right match.
Important: before uploading product feeds, check Amazon product ID (GTIN) requirements by category.
MPN on Amazon example:
MPN Google Shopping
What does Google Shopping say about MPN? Google Merchant Help Center mentions that MPN is only required for products that do not have a manufacturer-assigned GTIN (UPC/EAN/ISBN for books). It is also optional for the custom-made products (for instance, art, custom clothes, handmade).
Formatting Guidelines for MPN at Google Shopping:
Source: Google Merchant Help Center
MPN on Google Shopping example:
Distinguish between variants: do they have different MPNs?
Be careful to use the correct MPN for each item. Commonly, each variant of a product (that could be different colors, sizes, models) has its own manufacturer product number.
Exception: is the different sizes of fashion/apparel sizes often go under the same MPN.
What to do if the product doesn’t have MPN?
Some products don’t have an MPN, and so you don’t need to submit it. Although, if the item has an MPN number and you didn’t apply it, for example, for a reason that you don’t know it or couldn’t find, or gave the wrong one — then the product could be not accepted by the marketplaces (if there was a field for MPN).
If the product doesn’t have an MPN on a packaging, barcode, or in other product documentation, aim to reach a manufacturer himself. As he is the one who issues the code.
Moreover, MPN is sometimes optional if you have one of the GTIN numbers there (UPC, EAN, ISBN for books).
MPN vs. SKU
It happens, retailers are mixing the notions of SKU and MPN. SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) and MPN (Manufacturer Part Number) difference lies mainly in the method of usage. SKUs are used by retailers or brands to keep track of inventory internally; while MPNs are exposed to the customers and are visible to search engines and marketplaces.
MPN number is usually an optional field for the simple items, consisting of one or few parts. Though MPN is of great value when it comes to helping customers do the right choice of highly specialized complex details or parts of a product (computer, motor/vehicle, tech appliances, DIY, etc.). In any case, knowing the item’s MPN helps to increase the visibility of this product on marketplace search results and better navigate customers across their shopping journey.
MPN, being a part of product information, improves your positions in search engines (Google, Bing, etc.). Do not forget that enhancing other values in product information will multiply these results. And automation processes, as product content delivery, will reduce time-to-market and cut operating costs at least by 80%. Ask Gepard, how do we successfully push product content, while transforming the data to the formats each marketplace requires.
And remember, retailers that choose to use MPN, even if it is optional, make it easier for customers to feel more at ease knowing they are buying the right product.