Product description best practicesUse quality descriptions for accurate classifications.
Harmonized System (HS) code classification is important for selling internationally, but it can be tricky. Luckily, Zonos Classify makes it easy with automated catalog classification. However, the quality of your product descriptions can determine the accuracy of your classifications.
Luckily, good descriptions = simple descriptions, as you will learn below. We don't want you to waste time writing long descriptions when a simple description with the right information is all we need.
In this document, you will learn the importance of proper classification descriptions, best practices, and why Zonos is the classification expert.
The most important input field for an accurate classification is a proper description of the items being classified. So before we jump into how to write proper descriptions, let's discuss why they are critical to accurate classification.
Good descriptions are important for HS code classification
Providing good product descriptions improve the classification process in the following ways:
Allows for more accurate classifications resulting in faster clearance and accurate duty rates
- As mentioned above, a detailed description increases classification accuracy, which helps avoid many delays during customs clearance or inaccurate duty charges.
Prevents classification delays caused by vagueness or irrelevant details
- When you provide descriptions with relevant details, the classification process is smooth because you are providing all of the information required to quickly and correctly classify your products. If the description is too vague or filled with irrelevant details, Classify may require you to re-submit a proper description before the item can be classified.
You know your products better than anyone. Because you're the expert on your products, only you know how to best and most accurately describe them. Therefore, being detailed and not leaving anything up for interpretation will give you a more precise classification. If you aren't sure about product details, you will most likely have the info to contact the manufacturer to get the needed information.
Now that you know why providing accurate, detailed descriptions for your goods is important, let's jump into the dos and don'ts of classification descriptions.
The key to getting an accurate HS code classification is to provide the information for your items that will be the most impactful. In other words, focus on the important details like, “What is it?” “What is it made of?” etc. This requires finding a balance of not being vague, while being careful not to provide detail that is not pertinent to the classification. See the list of dos and don'ts below.
- Do not use overly descriptive or vague terms to classify an item, e.g. vague = shirt; too descriptive = pink shirt with 13 buttons and ribbons on the shoulders; just right = 100% cotton t-shirt
- Do not let a brand name replace elements essential to an item's description (the brand typically doesn't help with the classification and can be included as a separate column if needed), e.g. Nike shirt
- Do not use the long description of an item from your website as your description for classification; it is too long and descriptive and contains extraneous words. We are not marketing the item; we are classifying it, e,g. Make your laptop pop with these textured stickers that come in every color!
- Do not include the color in your description, e.g. oatmeal, coffee, charcoal. It does not impact the HS code, but if you include the word “oatmeal” as a color shade, you may end up with a code for cereal!
- Do not use multiple languages when writing descriptions and formatting your template.
- Do not provide contradicting information, e.g. women's, children's, babies'
- Do not use any non-UTF-8 characters, i.e. emojis, e.g.
- Do provide the composition of an item and any process that may impact classification, e.g. 100% cotton or freeze dried
As you've probably noticed, the don'ts outnumber the do's, which basically means this: Don't overthink the your item descriptions. Once you have answered the basic questions required, and your description isn't open for misinterpretation, you're all set. To give you a more concrete idea of these dos and don'ts, see the table below for examples.
Examples of good and bad classification descriptions
|Too vague||Useless details||Perfect|
|Shoe||These grey and pink sneakers are a must-have addition to your summer wardrobe.||Women's athletic shoes with leather upper|
|Blouse||Pink blouse with some floral lilac designs and made for warm weather||Women's 100% raw cotton blouse|
What the item is, and the material makeup are separate details that help with accurate classification.
Sets, bundles, and kits are different for classification purposes and should be classified separately using Zonos' manual classification process for maximum accuracy.
Zonos' groundbreaking product, Classify, is changing the industry. Here's what Classify can do for you:
- Using models trained on real data and tariff rulings, Classify accurately classifies the items in your catalog.
- Taking only milliseconds per classification, Classify can instantly process one item or your entire catalog at record speeds with the convenience of the bulk upload feature. This feature allows for an average of 50,000 classifications per hour.
- Combined machine learning with human expertise allows for speed and accuracy that far surpasses the capability of a single broker.