On Thursday, Amazon Seller Central shared a reminder regarding GTINs that could result in products becoming invalid.
In a recent Seller Central update, Amazon reminded sellers that unique GTINs (Global Trade Item Number) are a requirement for its marketplace in most categories. Amazon warned that listed products without an acceptable GTIN would be removed if corrective actions aren’t taken in time.
As the update states, “GTINs are considered invalid if they are not GS1-vended or not recognized by the brand owner.”
The reminder arrives as Amazon continues to ensure its marketplace is up-to-code and worthy of consumer trust. Above all, GS1 provides standards for industries to allow products, services, and information to move efficiently and securely to benefit of businesses and consumers.
What You Can Do
Sellers can check to see if their products are in danger of being considered invalid due to the GTIN policy by visiting the Fix Your Product tool in Seller Central.
If you don’t have any at-risk listings, no further actions are needed.
To fix any affected ASINs, you can submit a letter of authorization or a licensing agreement that meets the following criteria:
Includes the name and address of the brand’s rights owner
Legible: it is not too blurry and not too light or dark
Displays the manufacturer name and contact information
Includes the seller’s legal business name or the seller name that corresponds to your Account information page in Seller Central
Includes the seller’s physical address
Must be in English
Includes a GS1 certificate Note: We recommend that you obtain your GTINs directly from GS1 (and not from other third parties selling GTIN licenses) to ensure that the appropriate information is reflected in the GS1 database. For more information on licensing EANs or UPCs from GS1, refer to the GS1 website.
Also, it should be noted this is not a change of policy, but a reminder of the rules and guidelines. For the official statement from Amazon, please refer to the Seller Central statement.
Lastly, be sure to check your status within Seller Central immediately to avoid any future complications.
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Amazon announced an upcoming change to their referral and FBA fees for U.S. sellers that will impact their bottom line.
Attention Amazon sellers, upcoming Amazon fee changes may impact your profitability. Last week, Amazon announced tweaks to the common referral and FBA fees that will go into effect on June 1, 2021.
Before you panic, most referral fees will not change and the changes are modest in most instances.
For the uninitiated, the Amazon referral fee is a fee charged by Amazon every time a product is sold. Consider it the cost of doing business on Amazon, or the cost of being visible to the millions of people Amazon brings to its platform.
Typically between 8% and 15% of the price the customer pays, the referral fee plays a significant part of profitability and needs to be accounted for by every seller.
In addition to the updated referral fee, Amazon will be updating FBA fees as well. As defined by Amazon, the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) fee is a per-unit fee, based on the dimensions and weight of the item.
Additionally, not all changes negatively impact profitability. Amazon stated, “We will also reduce certain fees, like the returns processing fee, which reflects feedback we have received from sellers and our continued efforts to reduce costs.”
In case you’re affected by the change, you can utilize an FBA Cost Calculator to discover how it impacts profitability.
Lastly, click here to view the official, complete announcement from Amazon. Check out the links below to dig through the changes and find specifics on how you’re impacted.
The e-commerce giant continues its global expansion in Europe.
On Tuesday, March 2nd, Amazon expanded its reach by launching its Polish marketplace, Amazon.pl.
Upon launching, Amazon.pl boasts more than 100 million products across more than 30 categories, making it one of the company’s most expansive launches yet. As global e-commerce continues growth accelerated by the pandemic, the launch of yet another marketplace signals the world’s largest online retailer is still growing.
“We are thrilled to launch Amazon.pl and to be able to offer Polish customers a selection of more than 100 million products, including tens of thousands of products from local Polish businesses.”
Alex Ootes, VP of EU Expansion at Amazon, to Reuters
While not without competition from e-commerce companies such as Poland-based Allegro, the arrival of Amazon into any marketplace or industry undoubtedly changes its landscape.
For Amazon sellers, it’s worthwhile to monitor Amazon’s steady expansion into new countries, as they often provide an opportunity to get your brand in front of a global audience. In most instances, Amazon’s fulfillment network makes it convenient for existing sellers to be listed in international marketplaces.
Additionally, making your products available sooner on any Amazon marketplace could pay off handsomely if the new market adopts it as the e-commerce marketplace of choice. If you’re a seller looking to grow internationally with Amazon, you can get started here.
The addition of an Amazon marketplace in Poland brings Amazon’s total marketplaces to 19, spanning North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
The 19 Amazon Global Marketplaces as of March 2021
The Amazon Poland Launch comes less than six months after the arrival of Amazon Sweden. While no announcements regarding further expansion have been made, we’ll be monitoring Amazon’s ongoing expansion efforts.
Amazon is removing the feature allowing anyone to comment on a product review, per a Business Insider report. Amazon officially retired the feature on December 16th, 2020.
What relevance does this have for sellers?
Many sellers utilized this feature to respond to customer reviews as a form of customer service.
Furthermore, this likely signals more changes to come, as Amazon noted the development of other opportunities to connect with customers.
Following the update, a few sellers have received emails notifying them of change:
You’re receiving this email because you recently left a comment on a review. While reviews and feedback are important to our customers and sellers, the comments feature on customer reviews was rarely used. As a result, we are retiring this feature on December 16, 2020.
We’re committed to your continued success and will innovate and develop other opportunities for you to connect with customers.
Thank you. Amazon Services
Initially, the removal of this feature has been poorly received by sellers.
“Just like removing customer contact information from the order information page, this makes it harder for good sellers to provide top-notch customer service,” stated one concerned Redditor.
However, the update changes the buyer-seller communication experience, but doesn’t end it. Recently, Amazon FBA updates appear to be centered around the buyer-seller communication process.
Sellers and buyers can directly communicate in the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service. Even so, this service permits direct messages to customers and not visible to prospective customers.
As a result, sellers should continue to monitor Seller Central updates as more information becomes available. As mentioned by Amazon, we’d expect more policy or feature changes concerning buyer-seller communication.
What can you do?
Potentially, your listing copy may be a way to address this obstacle effectively. How so?
Let’s put ourselves in the customer position for a situation. You’re looking to purchase a product, but have reservations due to a recent negative review or stream of bleak reviews with a common theme. In the past, the seller could provide help to quell concerns from prospective customers.
Your listing copy can address these issues without replying directly to the review. If customers are misusing your product in a way that could lead to negative reviews, you might be interested in addressing the issue in the product description.
Of course, making changes to your listing copy results in a temporary decline in ranking. So it may not be worth revising your copy after each negative review. But if a review is affecting your conversions, it might be worth the short-term hit.
Did you ever use this feature? How does this change your selling experience? Drop a comment below and let us know how this affects your selling experience.
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The updated guidelines go into effect on November 3, 2020. Wise sellers will familiarize themselves with these changes to avoid being left behind during this hectic Q4.
Violating Communication Guidelines risks limitations on Permitted Messages or even a suspension of selling privileges. It’s important to remember these guidelines exist to maintain the mutually beneficial relationship between sellers and buyers on Amazon.
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 of the order being placed. Sellers can send 1 message per order placed. After 30 days, 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 not messages that simply say “thank you” without approval.
Sellers can breathe a sigh of relief, as they 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, 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 worth reviewing as a refresher. Amazon continually tweaks its policies, and staying aware of these changes can be a great advantage.
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 no tracking pixels or images, links to opt-out of messaging, or external links for formatting purposes. Additionally, approved message and graphic sizes are specified in the guidelines, so ensure your layout is within Amazon’s recommendations.
For questions regarding your communication methods, it’s best to contact Seller Central Support.
Verify your messaging templates are in line with the updated Communication Guidelines by November 3 to optimize your selling experience! Lastly, be sure to drop your email below to stay informed about the latest Amazon updates and news.
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.
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. All the while 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. 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 will surely 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 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.
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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. 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.
What Does A Q4 Prime Day Mean?
The mid-October start date beats other retailers to the punch on the upcoming holiday season. In an ordinary year, Black Friday unofficially kicks off 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 restrictions and customers opt for online shopping, a hectic holiday season awaits. During these holidays, sellers will face unique challenges with tremendous opportunities.
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.
Follow us on Facebook and YouTube to stay up-to-date as we march toward Amazon Prime Day 2020 like no other. We’ll keep you posted with the latest Amazon news, along with tips and insights to make the most of Q4!
On Friday morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced plans to ban downloads to TikTok and WeChat effective Sunday, September 20th.
Consequently, users who have already downloaded the apps will retain access for the time being. However, they’ll 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 app restrictions 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 maintain the ability to use the platform, US servers carrying data will no longer work. As a result, messages will be sent through servers overseas, which will likely take much longer and complicate communication.
What Can WeChat Users Do?
Affected sellers would be wise to establish another means of communication to exchange messages with manufacturers as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are quite a few WeChat alternatives to choose from:
WhatsApp Perhaps the platform most similar to WeChat, WhatsApp allows quick and easy messaging without pesky SMS charges. Furthermore, WhatsApp is a stripped-down version of WeChat that focuses more on chat and less on social media and search.
Slack As more companies go remote in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slack has become an integral part of businesses in 2020. Commonly at the top of the list for productivity tools, Slack contains seemingly endless integrations for seamless collaboration.
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 secure, Telegram can be used via app or desktop. Additionally, Telegram expects to announce end-to-end encrypted group videos before 2021, and its popularity could skyrocket.
Weibo Usually referred to as the Chinese 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 utilize the 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. For instance, the inability to communicate with your manufacturer could be crippling for inventory management.
Because much of the recent news regarding the availability of TikTok and WeChat remains ongoing, the situation remains fluid. Certainly, affected Amazon sellers should check for updates until a final resolution is reached.
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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.”
Accordingly, sellers can expect to discover insights, strategies, and techniques from experts to help their business thrive.
What is Amazon Accelerate?
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.
Among scheduled events, conversations with successful sellers and educational walkthroughs stick out as great resources. Especially for FBA beginners, the summit provides a tremendous learning experience.
“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.”
Are there any presenters?
Namely, Wilke is one of four featured Amazon Accelerate speakers and will kick off the event with a fireside chat. In addition to Wilke, 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.
As a result, sellers can expect content centered around the latest in online selling tools, programs, and services. Also, prospective sellers anticipate timely information about how to adapt and prepare for a successful holiday season, 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 can be found within 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 cover the event and provide updates on important takeaways. Come back next week as we’ll be summarizing and breaking down all the big happenings from the seller summit!
The annual e-commerce mega-event typically kicks off in mid-July, so the cornoravirus complications causing the postponement comes as no surprise. 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, rumors persist 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 extended to 48 hours, with 18 participating countries. The sales extravaganza spurred over 175 million items purchased, surpassing totals from Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 combined.
Prime Day Over The Years
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 once Amazon announces the new date. 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. Be sure to optimize marketing and inventory planning to get peak value as a result of the additional exposure.
Be sure to stay posted to our blog! We’ll keep you updated and informed on the latest happenings surrounding Prime Day and other aspects of selling on Amazon.
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.