Dear Online Retailers: When writing product descriptions, will you please stop using the phrase “Made in USA or Imported?” I can give you two good reasons:
First, it’s utterly meaningless. Every product in the world is either Made-in-the-USA or not Made-in-the-USA (imported), so stating that an item is “Made in USA or Imported” doesn’t help consumers one bit in their purchasing decisions.
Second, it’s sneaky. Using the phrase, “Made in USA or Imported” means that the shorter phrase “Made in USA” will be visible to search engines, and your product will appear in the results when a consumer is clearly looking for American-made products.
Another part of the sneaky factor is how easy it is, when scanning a product description, to see the words “Made in USA” and miss the words “or Imported.” I made this mistake myself on one of our posts and a reader had to point it out to me (thank you, my eagle-eyed friend).
Above is a screen grab from The Brooks Store on Amazon, which describes this running shoe as “Made in USA or Imported,” Those words appear in the text just below the product pictures. But further down the page…
..amidst a big block of text, we find that China is the country of manufacture. While the Brooks website brags that “every stitch” of their product is designed, engineered and specified in the United states, the fact remains that none of their shoes are MADE here, so the term “Made in USA or Imported,” does nothing more than confuse the consumer.Another interesting example is this swimsuit from Land’s End. On the website, it is described as “Made in USA or Imported.” I used the Live Chat feature to ask a customer service rep for more info. Here’s the gist:
Me: I’m looking at the Women’s Slender Grecian One Piece Swimsuit and it says “Made in USA or imported.” Can you please tell me which it is, “Made in USA” or “imported”?
Land’s End: That’s a great question! We have two factories that make that suit. One is in the USA, the other in Columbia.
Me: When I get the suit, what will the label say?
Land’s End: It will say where the product was manufactured.
Me: It might say either USA or Colombia, depending on the individual suit?
Land’s End: Yes
Me: Can I request a Made-in-USA suit?
Land’s End: Yes. You’d have to write that in the space for special requests.
I wasn’t expecting that answer and it was good to hear that it was possible to request the American-made item (presuming the information was correct). Still, I wondered if the suit was simply in the middle of being transitioned overseas.
Anyway, I can’t seem to think of a scenario where using the phrase “Made in USA or Imported” is of any use to the consumer, so let’s encourage the retailers we frequent to stop using it. I’ve decided I’m going to leave a comment whenever I see the phrase. Please join me.
Here are a few people that are way ahead of us.
From the Target Facebook page:
Also from Amazon.com
From the Made in USA Project Blog