Amazon Updates: Brand New Seller Communication Guidelines

Amazon announced imminent updates to its Buyer-Seller communication guidelines. Are you prepared for the change?

Sellers talked, Amazon listened.

After receiving feedback from sellers and developers about aspects of the Amazon Communication Guidelines being confusing, Amazon has attempted to simplify and clarify their updated policy.

The updated guidelines go into effect on November 3, 2020, so sellers have a few weeks until these changes go in place. Sellers would be wise to familiarize themselves with these changes ASAP, as not to be left behind during this hectic Q4.

Any sellers who violate these Communication Guidelines risk limitations being placed on Permitted Messages or even a suspension of their selling privileges. It’s important to remember these guidelines exist to maintain the mutually beneficial relationship between sellers and buyers on Amazon.

What’s Allowed?

Perhaps the most significant, actionable update, sellers maintain the option to directly ask customers for a review or feedback.

“You may send proactive Permitted Messages for the following reasons: resolving an issue with order fulfillment, requesting additional information required to complete the order, asking a return-related question, sending an invoice, requesting product review and/or seller feedback, scheduling the delivery of a heavy or bulky item, scheduling a Home Services appointment, verifying a custom design, or any other reason where the contact is required for the buyer to receive their purchase.”

In terms of timeframe, sellers can only send messages to a customer within 30 days after the order was placed. You are also allowed 1 message per order placed. After 30 days or your first message, contacting them is a no-go unless they are to place another order with you.

You retain the option to include instructions or warranty information, but no more messages that simply say “thank you” without an approved attachment.

Sellers can breathe a sigh of relief, as sellers can still utilize third-party applications to help simplify the review generation provided those third-party applications utilize Amazon’s “Request A Review” button. Viral Launch’s Review Automation tool, included inside of Market Intelligence, automates this process to make it simple and effective for sellers to maximize their review boosting efforts.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that Amazon still handles much of the communication with sellers to set a standard across the marketplace and streamline the buyer and seller experience. Amazon requests that sellers promptly confirm shipment of all orders, which is primarily completed in the Manage Orders feature. Once you’ve confirmed shipment, Amazon fires off a confirmation email to the buyer.

What’s NOT Allowed?

While most of the updated policy remains the same in practicality, it’s well worth reviewing as a refresher to make sure you’re abiding by Amazon guidelines.

One of the eye-catching notes also included in the policy is that “spelling errors or grammar issues” may not be included in messaging.

As always, it might be worth running your messages by a second person or through an app such as Grammarly to make sure you’re figuratively crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s when it comes to spelling and grammar.

If you sell internationally, Google Translate is a free app that may come in handy. This is especially notable for those who sell outside of their residence and may not be fluent in the customer’s language. Sellers must respond to buyers in the customer’s Language of Preference.

The updated guidelines dictate that no tracking pixels or images, links to opt-out of messaging, or external links (unless they are secure working links) are allowed for formatting purposes. Additionally, approved message and graphic sizes are specified in the guidelines, so ensure your layout is within Amazon’s recommendations.

For any questions on specifics to your communication methods, it’s best to contact Seller Central Support before the changes go into effect to avoid any complications.

Verify your messaging templates are in line with the updated Communication Guidelines by November 3 to optimize your selling experience! Be sure to drop your email below to stay informed about the latest Amazon updates and news.

The Complete History of Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day has only existed for a few years, but has made a tremendous impact since its inception.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 is finally here! Shoppers and sellers rejoice!

After being postponed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Day has arrived for its first-ever Q4 date. Typically held in July to fill the summer shopping season’s void, Prime Day will instead serve as an unofficial kickoff to a holiday season unlike any other.

Since the first-ever Prime Day in 2015, the amount of Prime Subscribers has more than tripled. An increase in subscribers means an increase in Prime Day participants, which leads to even more sales that can benefit more sellers!

An instant success, Prime Day has grown exponentially since its inception.

In just a few years, Amazon has turned a special event to celebrate a landmark anniversary into one of the most preeminent shopping days in the world.

To celebrate its arrival, it’s worth looking at how the eCommerce mega-event has evolved since its inception.

Prime Day 2015

The first-ever Amazon Prime Day touted more deals than Black Friday.

The first-ever Prime Day took place on July 15, 2015, to commemorate 20 years since Amazon.com went live and 10 years of Prime. Lasting 24 hours, the first-ever Prime Day features participation from 9 countries, including the U.S., UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria.

Sales outpaced the previous Black Friday, which was the biggest Black Friday to date. Customers purchased hundreds of thousands of Amazon devices, furthering their reach with items such as the Echo, Kindle, and Fire TV Stick. For many, this sales event introduced Amazon Alexa, a voice-activated virtual assistant AI, into households worldwide.

Amazon sellers who utilized Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) experienced an unprecedented amount of sales, as unit sales grew nearly 300% worldwide.

Prime Day 2016

After an astonishingly successful debut, the hype over the sales spectacle only grew for its sequel. The original 9 countries participated yet again and added Belgium to its reach.

Despite some users reporting checkout issues, likely a result of the massive influx of consumer traffic and consumers checking out at such a rampant rate, Prime Day 2016 was a success of epic proportions. 

Over the course of the record-setting sales day…

  • over 2 million toys were purchased
  • more than 1 million pairs of shoes were bought
  • 200,000+ headphones were sold on the platform

After selling 24,000 Instant Pot pressure cookers in 2015, that number ballooned to 215,000 in the same 24-hour span. Prime subscribers purchased an average of one Alexa-exclusive deal per second.

Prime Day 2017

How do you follow up on the sensation of the first two Prime Days? You expand it from 24 hours to 30 hours, while also running one-day sales specials across Amazon categories in the five days before Prime Day officially began on July 11th. 

Did the extended length put a damper on the excitement? Of course not! 

More new Prime members joined on Prime Day 2017 than any single day in Amazon history to this point. Perhaps more than anything, this statistic highlights the mutually beneficial brilliance of Prime Day, as it rewards its customers while simultaneously promoting the Prime service.

Partially thanks to the record-setting sales event, the Prime subscriber base grew to the 100 million milestone in 2017.

In 2017, the number of countries participating in the Prime Day grew, with Mexico and China joining the fun. Orders on the Amazon app more than doubled the 2016’s mobile orders, marking a turning point in how customers shop.

Prime Day 2018

After Prime Day 2017 proved the sales event didn’t need to be confined to just one day, it was expanded to 36 hours and was the most extensive global shopping day and a half in Amazon history.

Small and medium-sized Amazon businesses exceed $1.5 billion in sales. After acquiring Whole Foods in the previous year, Amazon included the grocery store with Prime deals for the first time ever.

Continuing to innovate, Prime Day 2018 saw the debut of Prime Day Launches for new product launches and Unboxing Prime Day events in select cities. Unboxing Prime Day saw local celebrations in certain cities, with special entertainment. The Unboxing event in New York saw a live concert headlined by Ariana Grande. 

However, expanding to grocery stores and holding concerts by pop superstars didn’t come at the expense of Prime Day’s signature lightning deals and mega markdowns.

Customers purchased more than five million items in each of the following categories: Toys, Beauty, PCs and Computer Accessories, Apparel and Kitchen products. Prime members purchased over 300,000 Instant Pot 7-in-1 pressure cookers in the 36 hours.

Prime Day 2019

Amazon Music got in on the Prime Day celebration with a concert from music superstar Taylor Swift.

For the first time ever, Prime Day became a full two-day event, lasting 48 hours on July 15th and 16th. The list of participating countries doubled from the original 9, with 18 unique countries included.

Sales exceeded the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Over 175 million items were purchased and Amazon devices such as the Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Stick 4K saw top-selling deals.

The 48-hour event was even headlined by 10-time Grammy award winning superstar Taylor Swift.

An estimated $7.16 billion worth of goods were sold on Prime Day 2019.

The massive amount of goods sold shows just how far Amazon has come in only a few years, with sales and Prime subscribers expanding so rapidly.

Prime Day 2020

Better late than never, Amazon Prime Day kicks off today in place of the regular mid-July date due to complications resulting from the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. 

More than ever, Amazon has emphasized the commitment to helping small businesses as they continue to recover from the unforeseen consequences of COVID-19. Amazon has offered $10 credit to use on Prime Day when members spend at least $10 on items sold by select small businesses within the platform. 

Prime Day 2020 is poised to be yet another enormous worldwide sales event. The mid-October start date will undoubtedly be interesting to see how it stacks up with the usual July deals. Industry experts forecast Prime Day 2020 to crush the competition yet again.

Prime Day taking place so close to Black Friday will undoubtedly steal some of the thunder from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and has the potential to change what we know of the holiday shopping season.

As traditional retailers face struggles presented by COVID-19, ecommerce is poised to dominate this holiday season. With an extended shopping void due to the delayed Prime Day, the appetite for deals could be at an all-time high.

Where does it go from here? There’s no telling!

As Amazon continues to expand its reach, there truly is no limit to how expansive Prime Day can be! Who would’ve thought that a Taylor Swift concert would headline Prime Day? Or that Prime Day would be in grocery stores, as it is with Amazon-owned Whole Foods?

The possibilities are endless, and the Prime subscriber base continues to expand in the U.S. and around the world. 

For more on Amazon Prime Day 2020 and all that’s happening on the Amazon marketplace, be sure to subscribe by dropping your email below!

Amazon Prime Day 2020 Scheduled Date Leaked

According to reports, Amazon Prime Day 2020 has a start date at long last. The biggest day in eCommerce is slated to last 48 hours, starting on October 13th.

The long-awaited signature shopping holiday from Amazon typically occurs in July but experienced a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its complications. Instead, Prime Day 2020 will kick off an absolutely loaded Q4 in mid-October.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 was the largest shopping event in Amazon history. Lasting 48 hours, Amazon offered over 1 million deals leading to over 175 million items sold, more than the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

With just a few weeks to prepare, sellers should take all possible precautions to handle an influx of sales, such as ensuring inventory is adequately stocked and replenishing the warehouse as sales. Sellers who are not on Page One for desired search results pages have a little bit of time to increase their organic rank through promotions, PPC advertising, or other methods to boost visibility and take advantage of the inevitable increase in traffic.

The mid-October start date beats other retailers to the punch on the upcoming holiday season. In an ordinary year, Black Friday is known for being the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. However, Prime Day will steal some of Black Friday’s thunder as customers flock to the Amazon marketplace looking to take advantage of the massive markdowns and limited-time Lightning Deals.

While traditional retail suffers from COVID-related restrictions and customers opting to stay inside for their shopping, 2020’s Q4 has all the makings of a hectic holiday season that will present unique challenges and provide tremendous opportunities for sellers.

Sellers who are able to successfully navigate through the potential roadblocks in these unprecedented times will reap the immense benefits. As this holiday season becomes more imminent, it’s as critical as ever to have the data in your hands.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and YouTube to stay up-to-date as we march toward Amazon Prime Day 2020 and a holiday season like no other. We’ll be sure to keep you posted with the latest Amazon news, along with tips and insights to make Q4 is your best sales season yet!

WeChat Banned: 6 Alternative Messaging Apps for Amazon Sellers

On Friday morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced plans to ban downloads to TikTok and WeChat effective Sunday, September 20th.

Users who have already downloaded the apps will retain access for the time-being, but will be unable to download updated versions of the app in the future under current restrictions.

“The only real change as of Sunday night will be [TikTok users] won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday morning on Fox Business.

For Amazon sellers, the restrictions to the apps may present a roadblock — and not because it complicates their ability to upload their version of the latest TikTok dance craze.

Many Amazon sellers who use manufacturers abroad in countries such as China rely upon WeChat for communication with their suppliers. Any disruptions in communication could be crucial for Amazon sellers, especially as a loaded Q4 awaits.

While those with WeChat already installed will maintain the ability to use the messaging, social media, and social media, US servers carrying data will no longer work. This means messages will be sent through servers overseas, which will likely take much longer and complicate communication.

Affected sellers would be wise to establish another means of communication to exchange messages with manufacturers as soon as possible. There are quite a few WeChat alternatives to choose from: 

WhatsApp: Perhaps the mobile chatting platform most similar to WeChat, WhatsApp allows quick and easy messaging without pesky SMS charges. WhatsApp is a stripped down version of WeChat that focuses more on chat and less on being a social media and search engine.

Slack: As more and more companies opt to go the remote route in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slack has become an integral part of businesses in 2020. Slack is commonly at the top of the list for collaborative productivity tools as it contains seemingly endless integrations to fit the needs of professionals.

Line: The Japanese-based messaging app is free and gives users the ability to communicate via chat, voice, or video. 

Telegram: With an emphasis on end-to-end encryption to keep your messages between you and the intended recipient, Telegram can be used via app or desktop. Telegram is expected to announce end-to-end encrypted group videos before the end of 2020, and its popularity could see an uptick soon as a result.

Weibo: Usually referred to as the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, Weibo has over 500 million active users and gives you the option to post publicly or send private messages.

Facebook Messenger: Chances are, you already have a Facebook and utilized the handy Facebook Messenger app with family, friends, or coworkers. Facebook’s messaging app is free to use with a Facebook account and is American-owned, so there’s less risk from potential U.S. governmental interference.

With an unprecedented Q4 ahead, avoiding potential communication hazards will be increasingly critical to your company’s ultimate success.

As with much of the recent news regarding the availability of TikTok and WeChat, the situation remains fluid and is something Amazon sellers should be keeping tabs on.

Introducing Amazon Accelerate: A Free Virtual Conference for Sellers Sept. 1–3

Attention all Amazon sellers and those interested in starting their own online business! 

Amazon is hosting Amazon Accelerate, a free-to-attend virtual summit taking place from September 1–3. Amazon boasts the conference as the “biggest-ever U.S. event dedicated to seller success.”

Sellers can expect to discover insights, strategies, and techniques from experts to help their small business thrive. 

The biggest name in e-commerce has set two unique agendas; one for current sellers, another for those just starting or interested in selling on Amazon. More than 60 sessions hosted by Amazon pros covering all aspects of the platform are currently scheduled throughout the three-day event.

Packed with helpful resources, conversations with successful sellers, and educational walkthroughs covering nearly all aspects of selling on Amazon, this summit is a MUST-ATTEND for anyone serious about getting started on Amazon or taking their existing online business to the next level.

“Amazon is deeply invested in empowering small businesses, and this is an important time for us to come together and learn from each other as we navigate new economic realities,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO worldwide consumer at Amazon.

Third-party sellers make up 50% of all sales on Amazon, and it appears the company realizes the health of its small businesses is a catalyst for their success.

 “It’s our good fortune at Amazon to partner with a large, vibrant community of sellers,” Wilke said. “Accelerate will help small businesses find new ways to grow and expand while also creating new connections.”

Wilke is one of four featured Amazon Accelerate speakers and will kick off the event with a fireside chat. Fellow speakers include Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide customer trust and partner support, Devesh Mishra, VP of Worldwide Supply Chain, and Amazon fashion group leader Christine Beauchamp.

Sellers can expect content centered around what’s new and the latest in online selling tools, programs, and services. Timely information about how to adapt and prepare for a successful holiday season is anticipated to be provided, along with a Build Your Business Toolkit.

Don’t miss out on the Amazon Accelerate summit! Sign up and confirm your virtual seat here to be a part of the seller spectacle. You can create your schedule ahead of time with their Agenda Builder once signed up.

If you’re unable to join the action live, don’t fret! All keynotes and breakout sessions will be available on-demand for registered attendees the day after they air through September 30th. At that point, the materials will be migrated to Seller University.

For additional resources on how to get your Amazon business off the ground or take your existing one to the stratosphere, subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we have content for every step of your Amazon journey!

We’ll be covering the event, so come back next week as we’ll be summarizing and breaking down all the big happenings from the seller summit!

Amazon Officially Delays Prime Day 2020

As speculated, Amazon has shelved its signature summertime shopping holiday for a later date than usual this year. 

The annual e-commerce mega-event typically kicks off in mid-July, and the postponement was assumed as COVID-19 created complications. Amazon did not provide a replacement date for Prime Day, only giving away that “This year we’ll be holding Prime Day later than usual.” via an Amazon spokesperson. Despite an officially announced date, it’s been reported that Prime Day will occur sometime in September of this year.

Prime Day started in 2015 with heavily discounted products available exclusively to Amazon Prime subscribers to celebrate Amazon’s 20th birthday. Since the inception of Prime Day, it has rivaled Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the calendar’s most massive commerce days. In 2019, Prime Day was extended to 48 hours, with 18 participating countries. Over 175 million items were purchased, surpassing sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 combined.

Prime Day sales per year, from Statista

With this immense influx of sales from the over 150 million Amazon Prime subscribers, Prime Day has been an incredible opportunity for sellers to extend their reach and boost their sales. Like the holiday season, it requires unique planning for sellers as they gear up to optimize their chance to make the most of the sales spectacular.

All sellers should circle the eventual date of Prime Day as soon as that is announced, so keep an eye out for updates. In the meantime, we recommend penciling in September for the expected Prime Day 2020.

Prime Day always presents a humongous opportunity for sellers to take advantage of the sales promotion and deep discounts.

For sellers, Prime Day prep begins well before the event kicks off, as making sure you’re well-positioned with marketing and inventory to get peak value as a result of the additional exposure from the sales extravaganza.

Be sure to stay posted to our blog, as we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest happenings surrounding Prime Day and other aspects of selling on Amazon to keep you informed!

Product and market research is absolutely critical to ensuring you’ve got the edge on your competition all of the time, but the importance of that edge amplifies during times of increased sales.

Make sure you’re the most informed seller in your market by utilizing tools like Market Intelligence and Competitor Intelligence to have the upper hand and dominate your market!

Amazon News and Updates: Business Name and Address To Be Publicly Displayed

Recently, Amazon announced that business name and address will be displayed on the public-facing seller profile page beginning September 1, 2020.

Amazon states the change has been made to “help customers learn more about the businesses of a seller and the products that they are selling. We are making this change to ensure there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions.”

The change is the latest in a series of moves to increase accountability and deter the sales of counterfeit or unsafe goods on their platform.

For third-party sellers, this is significant as many don’t operate from a traditional office location. Seller Central requires an address when registering for an account, and it’s common for third-party sellers to post their home address.

All sellers, but especially third-party sellers, should take a few minutes to make sure their account is set up to their liking for this impending change.

While this change is new for the US Amazon marketplace, it’s consistent with practices for international markets such as Europe, Japan, and Mexico.


This screenshot, taken from a Seller Profile page on Amazon.co.uk, is an example of what to expect for American sellers beginning September 1st.

The address will be available to be seen by any shoppers, but customers would have to do a bit of digging to find it. Your business name and address will only be displayed on your Seller Profile page, which for most sellers generates sparse traffic.

To find this page, a customer would have to click on the seller name in the Buy Box or under the Additional Sellers if an item has more than one seller available.


At the point of purchase, customers can view Seller Profiles by selecting their name in the Buy Box, or by selecting a seller’s name after viewing other sellers for that listing.

If you sell from home but don’t want your home address listed, you may be interested in registering for a PO Box or setting up an alternative such as a UPS Mailbox to maintain personal privacy.

Seller Central added in the advance notice that customers remain advised to use Buyer-Seller Messaging to communicate electronically, so an influx of mail to your business address is extremely unlikely. Still, it would only make sense that sellers may be interested in establishing a line of demarcation from public and private information such as a home address to avoid any potential complications.

To ensure your information is up to date and what you want publicly displayed, Amazon recommends taking the following steps:

1. Login to your Amazon seller account.

2. In the Settings menu at the top right corner of Seller Central, click Account Info to view the Seller Account Information page.

3. In the Business Information section, click the links for the information that you want to view.

4. To change your business name, click Display Name and to change the address, click Business Address. Enter the new information or edit the current information.

5. Once completed, click Submit to save.

Be sure to stay posted on the latest Amazon updates by monitoring the Announcements section of Seller Central and checking our blog for those updates and how they affect you!

Amazon’s Special Summer Sale Event: What You Need To Know

According to multiple reports, Amazon is planning a special “Summer Sale” slated to begin toward the end of the month. Along with this news, it appears that their signature Prime Day sale will be postponed

The spontaneous sales event signals that a return to normal is imminent, and presents an excellent opportunity for sellers to make up for lost sales at the onset of the pandemic.

There has been no formal announcement, so more details are sure to emerge in the coming days. Until then, here‘s what we know about the upcoming sales event:

What is it?

Unlike Prime Day, which features site-wide deals, this special sales event appears to be exclusive to fashion brands. Amazon has requested that sellers submit deals for items with a discount of at least 30% to jumpstart interest and sales.

“The Big Style Sale is slated to take place later this month and will include seasonally-relevant deals from both established and smaller fashion brands,” confirmed an Amazon spokesperson to CNBC. “We are delighted to help brands connect with our vast global customer base for this event.”

It’s unclear if this sale will be exclusive to Amazon Prime users, but with over 150 million Prime subscribers, massive traffic is inevitable.

When is the Summer Sale?

According to the same CNBC report, the seasonal sale will begin Monday, June 22, and is expected to run 7–10 days.

The extended length of the sale compared to traditional Amazon promotions is certainly something to monitor in the coming days as more information is revealed.

Why is this event happening?

While Amazon was better positioned to handle the pandemic compared to brick-and-mortar retail, they were not without COVID-related complications.

The Summer Sale makes plenty of sense to drive up excitement and sales for a situation where sellers, consumers, and the company all win. This promotion gives sellers increased opportunity to boost sales and unload seasonal inventory squandered by the pandemic and Prime Day’s postponement.

Which retailers are participating?

This event appears to be invitation-only, with Amazon having sent invites to select sellers. If you’re a seller who didn’t receive an invite, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely left out!

If Prime Day is any indicator, it’s highly likely that the sale will bring an influx of shoppers looking for a deal, so there’s plenty of opportunity for sellers to crash the party by running their promotions.

Be sure to stay posted on the details of the event, as more information is sure to come!

Did you receive an invitation to the Summer Sales event? How do you plan on preparing for the sale? Let us know in the comments!

Back in Business: Amazon Sellers Can Ship Nonessential Products into FBA

If you’re an Amazon seller with nonessential products ready to ship into FBA, we’ve got some good news for you. This week, Amazon will start accepting shipments of nonessential items into their warehouses once again

In fact, some sellers reported that they have been able to create new shipping orders as early as last week (the freeze started on March 17 and was supposed to end on April 5). Like most changes, Amazon seems to be gradually rolling out this ability. 

Here’s what a company spokeswoman shared, “Later this week, we will allow more products into our fulfillment centers. Products will be limited by quantity to enable us to continue prioritizing products and protecting employees, while also ensuring most selling partners can ship goods into our facilities.”

Amazon is taking these steps so that we can move forward with our businesses, even amidst the uncertainty and frustration. It’s time to buckle down, take action, and ensure your business endures (and hopefully even gets stronger) during this season. Luckily, there are some small steps you can take to set your business up for success now and in the future. Let’s get into exactly what you can do.  

How to Check if Your Products are Eligible

You’ll first want to see if your products can be shipped into Amazon. To do this, you will create a standard FBA Inbound Shipment in Seller Central. As you’re selecting your Shipping Plan options, you may see the following message: 

The alert reads: We are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers. For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.

Through our testing, we were still able to create an inbound shipment even while this message was present. If you can complete each of the steps below without getting an error message, your product is once again eligible for inbound shipments to FBA.

7 Steps to Creating an Inbound FBA Shipment

  1. Go to the Manage Inventory Tab
  2. Select Send/Replenish Inventory for the chosen product
  3. Create a new shipping plan
  4. Set the quantity of units
  5. Select who will prep the goods: you or Amazon
  6. Print labels, if needed
  7. Review the assigned Amazon warehouse

If you do get an error message, try lowering the number of inbound units. Due to the increased demand from Stay-and-Home orders during COVID-19, Amazon is placing limits on how much inventory can be shipped in. 

We recommend testing this every day until you’re able to successfully create a shipment, especially if you have inventory waiting to be sent into FBA. You never know when the company will flip the switch for your specific products, though you should have the ability within the coming days (if you don’t already).

Other Notable COVID-19 Updates for Amazon Sellers

COVID-19 has rapidly changed the way we live and operate as a country… and as a world. Sometimes it feels hard to keep up with the news, the changes, and the best practices moving forward. 

Here at Viral Launch, we’re dedicated to helping third-party sellers navigate the Amazon seller journey, no matter how messy it may get. Here is a condensed list of the most important Amazon updates you should be aware of. 

  • Keeping Up with Demand: You may have noticed that Prime delivery dates have been pushed back by up to one month. Amazon is slowly gaining control and reinstating 2-day delivery as they’ve filled 100,000 new jobs since March are adding 75,000 more to keep up with demand.
  • Waived Fees: In March, Amazon announced they would waive the April 15 long-term storage fees plus two weeks of inventory fees for products stored in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, Amazon Lending direct loan repayments are on pause until at least April 30.
  • Account Suspension Pause: Earlier this month, Amazon temporarily paused suspensions related to supply chain and fulfillment issues. This is in effect until at least May 15. 
  • Delayed Prime Day: Amazon normally hosts its annual sales extravaganza in mid-July, but this year Prime Day will be delayed (likely until August 2020 at the earliest). 

Major updates are typically added to the “COVID-19 Related Announcements” News thread in Seller Central, and we will be sure to update the community frequently with pressing information.

How to Move Forward

If you’re a little bit uneasy about the state of the market right now, don’t worry. You’re not alone. COVID-19 has put all of us in uncharted territory, and so moving forward, all you can do is your best. As always, the team here at Viral Launch is here for you with the latest news and advice on which steps you should take to ultimately see success. In the wake of this pandemic, here are three ways you can make the best use of your time: 

1. Study the process. 

While some things have changed, the principles of success have remained. Think about it… there are more people than ever shopping online right now. And Amazon is doing everything it can to support the infrastructure that allows you to meet that demand. As an Amazon seller, you should familiarize yourself with the strategy behind a successful Amazon operation. This may look like brushing up on your skills with a free A-to-Z Amazon Course, or it may look like networking with like-minded people in an Amazon seller Facebook group. There is always something to learn, and like Oprah says… when you know better, you do better. 

2. Research the impacts. 

Essential items are obviously seeing a dramatic increase in sales. But there are other products that are seeing positive movement, too. This includes home workout equipment, homeschooling activities, gardening products, and more. Now is the time to analyze which markets are being positively affected and which are hurting. A research tool like Market Intelligence shows you graphs of sales movement for individual products and across entire markets, so that you can make predictions about the future to determine which markets you may want to enter and which markets you want to steer clear of moving forward. Start your free trial to begin researching. 

3. Add to your product line.

Lots of countries are completely shut down, but many Chinese manufacturers are back up-and-running. And as Amazon gets a better grip on the magnitude of orders coming through, now actually isn’t a bad time to add to your storefront. It’s also more important than ever that you understand exactly what to expect in a market, so you’re not selling out in the first week or left with hundreds of products left sitting in a warehouse. With a reliable product finder and a robust market research tool, you can pinpoint markets that are ripe with opportunity now and make the most out of an otherwise crummy situation. Start researching for free now. 

How has COVID-19 affected your business? And what are your plans moving forward? We’d love to hear from you in the comments. Remember… we’re all in this together.


How E-Commerce Brands Can Best Bounce Back In the Wake of the Coronavirus

While coronavirus has impacted nearly every aspect of the global economy over the past few weeks, e-commerce brands have been hit especially hard. Retailers with major ties to China have struggled to deal with significant interruptions to the supply chain as well as travel limitations between countries. 

The good news for e-commerce brands is that the spread of coronavirus in China has been slowing down, allowing factories to reopen. The bad news is that coronavirus is still a major concern worldwide and it is difficult to predict how its spread throughout the world will affect business. 

Because of the continued concern for the world population’s health, it’s imperative that e-commerce brands take careful steps to navigate this global issue, minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities. Here’s how you can revitalize your brand, despite any recent effects of this recent disease.

Increased Customer Communication

With the frequent shipping delays, inventory shortages, and unknown an unknown timeline for the end of the coronavirus, some businesses have been worried about dealing with upset customers. But even the best brands can’t control for unexpected events like global disease. Customers will understand this as long as you keep them in the loop. 

It’s true that upset customers can wreak havoc on your brand. Fifty-two percent of customers tell others to avoid a brand after a bad experience, and 47 percent of customers have switched to a different brand due to bad customer service. It’s essential to take care of your customer, so when circumstances are out of your control, the best thing to is update customers as the situation evolves.

You’ll earn the trust and loyalty of many people simply by being honest and showing you care. Share your estimated timeline for progress with customers and be clear that you will continue to update that timeline as you receive more information. When your operations are back to normal, you’ll have an even more solid customer base than before.

The Online Advantage

Rising anxiety about coronavirus is causing many customers to stay at home. This means e-commerce brands have a major advantage over brick-and-mortar. This is an excellent moment for online retailers to reach out to customers who need products, but don’t want to expose themselves to germs in public spaces.

In fact, e-commerce has helped the economy during disease outbreaks in the past. During the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003, Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, took off. Cell phone and Internet companies also thrived at the time. Due to the lack of reliable information about the disease provided by broadcast news, many people turned to their phones and computers to learn how to protect themselves. 

The SARS epidemic was tragic, causing numerous deaths throughout Asia. While millions of people were confined to their homes, however, the e-commerce sector worked to allow life to go on by offering services online. 

E-commerce has the chance to help the world economy during the current coronavirus outbreak in the same way that it helped during the SARS epidemic. It’s important to capitalize on this moment in order to keep your business alive as well as help those people who need your products.

Allowing Remote Business

The spread of a global disease is one of the many reasons to be grateful we have 21st century technology to work with. While there are plenty of aspects of business that must be conducted in person, administrative work, client meetings, and company-wide communication is possible to be conducted remotely. 

Especially if you are located in a region with a growing number of coronavirus cases, the more people who stay home, the easier it will be to contain the disease. The worst thing for your company would be for an outbreak to spread through the ranks of your entire company, completely immobilizing business. 

For those positions that require in-person work, be sure to emphasize the importance of employees watching for symptoms of sickness and staying home if they suspect they may not be fully healthy.  

Diversify Fulfillment Centers

Many e-commerce retailers have seen benefits of having fulfillment centers in a variety of geographic regions. It leads to faster shipping times and the ability to hold greater inventory, avoiding products being on back-order.

Diversifying your location for this centers is best practice in business at all times, not just during a global disease. But the rise of coronavirus has shown that if you are following this diversified location model already, the disease’s impact on your company will not be quite as harsh.  

Although multiple regions in China were hit by the coronavirus, some experienced more severe outbreaks than others. If you have fulfillment centers and warehouses in multiple locations, you increase your chances of being able to keep some of your company’s operations running during an outbreak. 

You’ll also benefit from using multiple fulfillment centers during a disease epidemic because you’ll be able to hold greater amounts of inventory in order to make up for a potential slowing of production in factories. Many businesses are currently seeing products run out without the ability to replace them due to the interruptions to the supply chain caused by the coronavirus. If you can inventory shortages, you’ll be able to win over the customers from other businesses that were not able to meet customer demands. Strong inventory management during a time like this is one of the biggest things that will set you apart as a brand.