Amazon Marketplace Sets Record Growth in Q1 2021

After a record-breaking 2020, the Amazon marketplace shows no signs of slowing down. In Amazon’s quarterly earnings report for Q1 2021, the results show the marketplace is only growing larger and third-party sellers remain the backbone of Amazon’s signature retail platform.

It’s estimated that third-party Amazon sellers were responsible for 55% of all products sold on the Amazon marketplace, matching Q4 2020 and up from 52% from a year earlier. Even more encouraging for Amazon sellers, that percentage hasn’t budged even as the amount of products sold has risen.

Overall, Amazon reports $52.9 billion in retail sales in Q1 2021. For comparison, that number represents 44% year-over-year growth from 2020.

Emphatically, the record-breaking numbers are encouraging in any context. However, the sales data becomes even more impressive when taking the events of the past year into context.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic caused lockdowns that pushed customers online, it goes without saying Amazon sales would dramatically increase. If there were any doubts on if customers would ditch digital shopping once restrictions loosened up, this quarter serves as the first indicator of e-commerce’s staying power.

While the year-over-year results may be partially skewed due to the pandemic only impacting the last month or so, the numbers represent a significant increase from Q2 and Q3 2020, when the pandemic and its subsequent restrictions were more prevalent.

Regarding what’s ahead for Amazon, the company projects year-over-year growth between 24% and 30% for Q2 2021. This projection is company-wide and not solely for the marketplace. With this in mind, the Amazon marketplace continues to thrive and appears poised for continued growth for the foreseeable future.

Without a doubt, there’s never been more opportunity to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true on Amazon.

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FBA Storage Update: No More ASIN-Level Restock Limits

Effective April 22, 2021, FBA restock limits are now set at the storage-type level instead of at the ASIN-level.

You may remember in July 2020, Amazon introduced ASIN-level quantity limits on FBA products amidst supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that announcement, Amazon notes changes in preparation for the peak towards the end of the year.

According to the official announcement, the change is a result of seller feedback and designed to allow more inventory flexibility. “We’ve heard your feedback and are continuously improving our policies and programs to better receive and store your products.”

As always, we’re here to help make sense of the change, help you navigate through the important questions, and monitor the situation. For more personalized information, be sure to review your restock limits and maximum shipment quantity within Inventory performance or Shipping Queue.

How are restock limits any different from storage limits?

Storage limits are based on volume, measured in cubic feet, and determine the fulfillment center capacity you can use. Restock limits are based on units and determine how much inventory you can send to fulfillment centers. Restock limits apply regardless of your IPI score.

Amazon limits by storage type FAQ

To sum up, this can be interpreted as your inventory limits being based on space, not units.

Amazon Inventory Management: What You Need to Know

Letting your products go out of stock can spell disaster for your listing. And on the other hand, overstocking can lead to costly storage fees that damage your bottom line. How do tiptoe the line of optimal inventory management? We look at into what to consider and what it takes to find the balance for FBA storage.

How are the restock limits decided?

Restock limits are determined based on past and forecasted sales. Subsequently, this would mean your restock limitations are never too little or too much, which should be a sigh of relief for sellers.

Regarding shipment orders, the maximum shipment quantity is calculated by the maximum inventory level allowed minus utilization. To avoid confusion, utilization counts include the inventory and all incoming shipments, including shipments with a Working, In transit, or Receiving status.

Therefore, as you grow your business or encounter seasonality, the changes should be reflected in some sort to your personalized limits.

Are my restock limits going to remain the same?

No. Amazon claims they will continually assess its network capacity to adjust restock limits to best support your business. You can view your restock limits by storage type and maximum shipment quantity from Inventory performance or Shipping Queue, by expanding your restock limits monitor at the bottom of the page.

Especially early on, you may consider monitoring your restock limits over time to gain a better understanding of how frequently it updates and how volatile the limits change with each update.

If you believe your restock and inventory information isn’t correct at any point, reach out to Seller Central support to solve or better understand the issue.

Will pending shipments be affected?

According to Amazon moderators, there should be no issue as long the shipment was created before the change went into effect.

“Shipments created under the previous ASIN Quantity Limits policy, including shipments which are already on the way, will continue to be received as normal and will not be canceled.”

Amazon Forums Moderator

Wrapping Things Up

Based on the early reaction in the seller community, there are certainly mixed feelings about the recent change.

For many sellers unsatisfied with the July update, the change comes as a breath of fresh air and appears to suit their needs better.

To all sellers, try not to panic. As longtime sellers know, Amazon continually tweaks policies in attempts to optimize the seller and customer experience. Although change can be scary and impact your success, flexibility remains essential for successful sellers.

Unquestionably, those who optimize their business with the evolution of Amazon are best served to come out on top.

Whether or not this positively or negatively impacts your business, it’s undoubtedly a change worth monitoring. Since the changes were made due to seller feedback, be sure to make your voice heard regarding the new FBA storage limits.

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Can Amazon Be a $3 Trillion Company in 2024? This Analyst Thinks So, Citing Marketplace, Advertising Health

Is Amazon stock (Ticker: AMZN) headed #ToTheMoon? One notable analyst thinks so, citing the strength of its marketplace, advertising, and AWS.

Are you on the fence about starting your own Amazon business? Concerned you may be late to the FBA party? According to one of the most notable stock analysts in tech, Amazon has plenty of room left to run, powered partly by its massive marketplace.

Brent Thill, a Wall Street Analyst at Jefferies, presented the case for Amazon’s stock price rising to $5,700 over the next three years. In April 2019, Thill speculated that Amazon stock could skyrocket from its then-price of just above $1,800 to more than $3,000 within two years. Amazon stock would reach $3,000 comfortably within Thill’s forecast, doing so in July 2020.

Currently trading at $3,399.44 a share, this would mark a 70% uptick for a company that already owns the third-largest market cap in the S&P 500.

Unless you’re an Amazon stockholder, the gaudy valuation may seem unimportant for the typical third-party Amazon sellers. However, the reasons for Thill’s $3 trillion figure should cause sellers’ ears to perk up.

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While Amazon is renowned for its far-reaching services, three Amazon pillars stand out as a cause for optimism for the foreseeable future: Amazon Web Services (AWS), its advertising platform, and of course, the marketplace.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Perhaps just as eye-popping as the $3 trillion valuation, Thill believes AWS alone could be worth $1.2 trillion in three years. Since its inception in 2006, AWS has shown accelerated growth as cloud computing gains popularity.

The growth of AWS was brought to the forefront months ago when Andy Jassy, the CEO of AWS, was tapped to replace Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO.

Already boasting an impressive portfolio of clients, AWS appears perfectly primed for scalability as the need for computing, web security, and data storage grows.

Certainly, Amazon’s bet on AWS is paying off in spades and serves as a landmark achievement for Amazon diversifying its revenue streams at a massive scale.

The Amazon Marketplace

While other retail chains stumbled at the onset of the pandemic, Amazon’s retail marketplace soared to new heights.

If there were any concerns about these new heights being a peak before shoppers return to brick-and-mortar retail, Thill’s analysis doesn’t see it that way.

“Prime adoption and a broader shift to e-commerce have driven an acceleration in growth,” Thill wrote. “We believe the length of the pandemic has served to ingrain consumers’ increased reliance on e-commerce.”

Thill estimates the value of the marketplace in three years at $1 trillion. Better news for third-party sellers, $700 billion of that is forecasted for them.

The healthy market conditions for third-party sellers fuel an entire industry built on buying Amazon businesses, with hopes of positioning themselves for the continued booming business. Over the past 12 months, more than $3.5 billion in capital has been used to aid Amazon business acquisitions.

Even as e-commerce boomed in 2020 and into 2021, the analysis of the marketplace’s strength over the long run should be plenty of reassurance for sellers.

Amazon Advertising

Overshadowed by the announcement of Jeff Bezos departure from Amazon CEO but not overlooked by Thill, Amazon’s most recent quarterly report revealed a shocking amount of revenue generated from advertising.

Per MarketingDive, ad revenue growth rate of 64% outpaced growth for third-party seller services (54%), subscription services (34%), AWS (28%), and its online store (43%, which reported record revenue.

The ramped-up growth tells the story of an emerging asset for the company, and more importantly for sellers, which will become a much larger tool for sellers in the near future.

As the marketplace grows, it only makes sense that the value for visibility for sellers increases with it. Amidst the pandemic, e-commerce steadily became a more popular shopping option globally. The pandemic transformed e-commerce from an option to a necessity for many, and customers are unlikely to stop shopping online, with even more projected expansion.

A leading argument for the staying power of Amazon advertising is that it’s an opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship between the marketplace, sellers, and customers. In a system where the marketplace sells valuable retail space, leading to satisfied customers and profits for sellers, everyone wins.

Back to Thill’s valuation, he believes Amazon’s advertising could be worth more than $600 billion in three years, behind only Google and Facebook. Recent updates and new features to the advertising platform are actions that display Amazon’s budding emphasis on advertising.

For third-party sellers, this means advertising should be at the forefront of your growth strategy. In an industry where trends are here one day and gone the next, Amazon advertising isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Closing Thoughts

All in all, the optimistic outlook from a respected analyst has to make Amazon sellers feel good about the future.

Much like following market trends within Amazon can help sellers find winning products, following company trends can give you a great idea of the next big thing in the industry.

Thill’s analysis should be a tremendous sign for the future of the Amazon marketplace and indicate that advertising should be front-and-center in future strategy.

With e-commerce forecasts, Wall Street analysis, and venture capitalists looking to enter the space, the future of the Amazon marketplace remains bright.

If you were on the fence about starting an Amazon business, there likely will not be a better time to start than now.

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Amazon Sends Major Reminder Regarding GTINs

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.

Affected listings will be displayed in the At Risk listings section.

[RELATED: UPC Codes for Amazon: Everything You Need To Know]

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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The Amazon Product Documents Program Explained

Amazon’s latest seller program aims to cut down on returns, increase customer satisfaction, and improve the buyer and seller experience.

Recently, Amazon unveiled its Product Documents Program, a helpful resource for sellers to upload electronic documents for potential customers to view.

Safety information, user guides and manuals, fact sheets, and instructions for use are just a few of the vital documents that eligible sellers can upload to improve their customer experience.

Previously, sellers needed to include these documents as inserts with their purchase, making them only available to customers who had already made a purchase. Now, this information can visible to customers as they shop.

Amazon describes the program below.

These are customer-facing documents that will be shown on your product detail pages. They are intended to provide pre-purchase information and post-purchase support content to customers. Adding product documents to your product detail pages can result in higher conversion rates, lower customer support costs, increased sales, and fewer returns when used effectively.

Amazon’s About Product Documents

Of course, with any new program, there are questions. Below, we’ll answer a few of the initial questions to help you get familiar with the new program.

Why does this program exist? Who does it benefit?

Customers and all eligible sellers who utilize the program benefit by increasing the quality of seller-to-buyer communication.

Before purchasing, customers can see important information about the product they’re purchasing. For instance, a customer may purchase a product that is more difficult to assemble than they anticipated, contains materials they don’t approve of, or be sized differently than anticipated. Typically, these transactions end with some combination of an unsatisfied customer, a return, or a poor review.

Amazon Product Documents allow sellers to be more transparent with customers regarding crucial product information. As a result, a more informed customer is more likely to be a satisfied customer. Additionally, a seller that is more transparent about product information is more likely to make a sale, avoid a negative review, and generate brand loyalty.

All in all, the program is mutually beneficial for the seller and the buyer.

Who Can Participate?

Registered brand owners in the Amazon Brand Registry program.

The Product Documents Program is the latest perk of being brand registered. While purely speculation, we’d imagine this is unlikely to become available for non-brand registered sellers any time soon.

[RELEVANT: A Guide to Amazon Brand Registry]

How much does it cost to join?

That’s right! There is no fee to join the Amazon Product Documents Program.

What types of documents can be uploaded?

At the moment, this is a complete list of the types of documents and formats allowed as a part of the Amazon Product Documents Program:

  • Safety Information (PDF)
  • Certificate of Analysis (PDF)
  • Certificate of Compliance (PDF)
  • User Guide (PDF)
  • User Manual (PDF)
  • Specification Sheet (PDF)
  • Comparison Chart (PDF)
  • Product Documentation (PDF)
  • 2D CAD (PDF, DWG, DXF)
  • 3D CAD (PDF, EDRW, EPRT, IGS, SLDPRT, STP)
  • Application Guide (PDF)
  • Brochure (PDF)
  • Compatibility Guide (PDF)
  • Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) (PDF)
  • EUA Amendment(s) (PDF)
  • FAQ (PDF)
  • Instructions for Use (IFU) (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet (Patient) (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet (Provider) (PDF)
  • Safety Information (PDF)
  • Size Guide (PDF)
  • Troubleshooting Guide (PDF)

How do I get started?

Amazon provides the following instructions for uploading documents from start-to-finish!

To upload documents for your product in Seller Central:

  1. Go to Inventory > Manage Product Documents.
  2. Click Upload New Documents.
  3. Choose a name for the document you are uploading. This is only for your reference. Customers will not see this name.
  4. Select a document type from the list of allowed document types.
  5. Choose the language or languages that are present in the document you are uploading.
  6. Choose a file to upload. Files must be:
    • Less than 10MB
    • PDF format except for CAD drawings
    • CAD drawings may be in PDF, dwg, dxf, igs, eprt, edrw, sidprt, or stp format
  7. Search by ASIN or product name and follow the on-screen prompts to associate one or more ASINs with the document you are uploading. At least one ASIN must be applied to the document for it to be uploaded.

Once submitted, your content may take seven business days to be reviewed for adherence to below mentioned Amazon guidelines for product documents. It may take longer during peak times. Documents that do not adhere to these guidelines will be rejected.

Once approved, it can take up to seven business days to publish on the detail page of the ASINs to which it applies. If the document status is “Not approved,” view the rejection reasons by clicking Edit for a specific document and make the changes.”

Conclusion

Above all, the Amazon Product Documents Program appears to be a great option to improve customer experience. For eligible sellers with applicable documents, we highly recommend joining this program as soon as possible!

As always, any opportunity to stand out from the competition on Amazon is an edge worth exploring. Uploading product documents with important information may boost consumer confidence and increase the likelihood of turning a click into a conversion.

Even more likely, these document uploads are likely to be an incredibly helpful resource for customers that will decrease the probability of a return and/or negative review. Recently, Amazon has taken much of the onus of customer satisfaction out of the seller’s hands. While this creates less work for sellers, it also takes away control for sellers.

Furthermore, by uploading your own documents and making them easily accessible to potential sellers, you have the chance to gain control back. As a result, you can turn would-be 1-star reviews into 5-star reviews by giving the customer everything they need for a happy transaction.

Amazon News & Updates: Amazon Launches Marketplace in Poland

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

[Relevant: 5 Reasons To Start Selling on Amazon Europe]

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.

The Amazon.pl home page.

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.

[Recommended: Find International Products with Product Discovery!]

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Amazon FBA Updates: Say Goodbye To This Customer Feedback Feature

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:

Dear seller,

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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Amazon’s Special Summer Sale: 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 takes 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.”

Currently, 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 begins Monday, June 22, and lasts 7–10 days.

The extended duration of the sale in comparison to traditional Amazon promotions certainly should be monitored as more information is revealed.

Why is this event happening?

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

The Summer Sale drives up excitement and sales for a situation where sellers, consumers, and the company all win. This promotion gives sellers an increased opportunity to boost sales and unload seasonal inventory squandered by the pandemic-related postponements.

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 opportunities for sellers to crash the party by running 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!

4 Notable Amazon Updates & What They Mean for Sellers

Jeff Bezos is obsessed with providing the best customer experience possible. In fact, he was recently quoted saying, “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.” 

As a shopper on Amazon, this means an overall better experience. We can all appreciate a seamless shopping experience and super-speedy shipping. But as an Amazon seller, every update to the algorithm, every policy change, and every feature roll-out can directly impact your bottom line. In order to adapt, maintain sales, and grow your business, you should always understand how recent changes are affecting you.

Here at Viral Launch, we live and breathe Amazon. And right when they make a change, we set out to help you understand what it means for you. In today’s news roundup, we’ll go through 4 updates you should know about. And if you want to keep an even closer eye on changes, follow along on social media where we share the latest news and success tactics in real-time.

1. Product Inserts Policy Mixup

The news: Many sellers were shocked and frustrated after receiving an email on 10/31 reminding sellers that product inserts may not ask for a review of any kind. This email contradicted the official policy on their site that only prohibits product inserts that ask for a positive review. Amazon quickly corrected the error with a follow-up message reading: We want to remind you that Amazon policies prohibit box inserts and product packaging that direct consumers to write a positive review, even if no incentive is offered for a review. 

The email that caused confusion, neglecting to clarify that you cannot ask for positive reviews.

What it means for you: Because Amazon corrected the error, there is no change in policy here. However, it’s a good opportunity to ensure you’re in line with Amazon’s terms when it comes to product inserts and reviews. Your product inserts cannot ask customers to take an action based on a positive or negative experience, which means you can’t ask them to contact you instead of leaving a negative review. And remember, you cannot review your own product, incentivize reviews in any way, or use third party services that offer free or discounted products tied to a review. If you have any products already in fulfillment centers and are in violation of the policies, you’ll want to create a removal order to proactively remove your inventory and avoid any trouble.

2. Communication Guidelines Simplified

The news: Effective on December 3rd, Amazon has updated its Customer Communication Guidelines. The company says they’re not changing the policies but are refreshing the language to make it clearer after hearing complaints from many sellers. In summary, the guidelines state that you may contact a buyer who has purchased from you on Amazon only to complete an order or to respond to a customer service inquiry. You may not contact buyers in any way for marketing or promotional purposes, including via email, physical mail, telephone, or otherwise. Read the full policy.

What this means for you: This is another scenario where Amazon is making it crystal clear that it is not allowed to contact buyers for anything other than support. While no drastic action is needed, you’ll want to review the policy to make sure you’re not in violation. Historically, Amazon has made small changes that lead to suspension sweeps, so if you’re currently promoting your brand to past Amazon customers, take this as an opportunity to make changes that align with TOS.

3. Request a Review Button

The news: In Seller Central, you may have noticed a new button on the “Order Details” page labeled “Request a Review.” When you click it, you’ll see the following message: 

And after clicking Yes, you’ll see a popup that says, “A review will be requested for this order. (Note: We will suppress this request if a review has already been requested for this order).” For now, it seems Amazon is testing this button on the Amazon US marketplace, and it’s only available once per sale.

What this means for you: Amazon has also recently removed sections of a customer’s contact information, such as last name and shipping address. The “Request a Review” button falls in this same effort to keep buyer-seller messaging in-house. It’s definitely worth requesting reviews from your buyers to see if you’re able to generate reviews quickly. With the ask coming from Amazon, customers may be more inclined to act. However, as more and more sellers become aware and abuse this button, it could mean that Amazon pivots again or simply that the button will lose effectiveness. Either way, we’ll keep a close eye on how the market is responding and will update via our social media channels. 

4. “Posts” in Beta

The news: Under the Amazon Advertising umbrella, Posts let Amazon sellers use curated photos to inspire shoppers to engage with their brands and products on Amazon. Focused on a brand-shopping experience, Posts help shoppers discover new products and see what’s new from brands by browsing feeds of brand-curated content. They’re currently US only, free to participate in, and include engagement metrics, including views, clicks, and clickthrough rates. Learn more.

What this means for you: Amazon understands the power of social selling and branding. They’re putting resources behind it, so as a seller on their platform you should too. You’re probably no stranger to the value of growing a following early on a social media platform. Of course, Posts may not explode the way Instagram did or TikTok is (in fact, they just shut down Spark, a discovery shopping feature launched in 2017). But, if you’re running social media for your brand anyways, it may be worth testing whether or not Posts will pay off for your brand. They show up on your own detail pages, detail pages for related brands, feeds for related posts, and category-based feeds… all of which are prime real estate. 

Make Small Changes for Big Results

By being the first to know about Amazon updates, you can stay ahead of other Amazon sellers and ensure your products are positioned for success. But you’ll also want to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered when it comes to the basics. For example, are your Amazon advertising campaigns adding to your bottom line, or are you confused about how to make them work? We understand how important it is to get the basics right, so we recently launched two free Amazon courses. Yep, they’re free! 

From Employee to Entrepreneur: How to Sell on Amazon: Follow this step-by-step process to learn the basics of Amazon, confidently build an online business, and unlock your full potential as an entrepreneur. Enroll for free! 

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Stay in-the-Know

As Amazon continues to make changes, the Viral Launch team will be the first to make sure you’re aware. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates.

Follow us on Twitter for real-time Amazon updates!

And if you have any comments or questions about the most recent updates, let us know in the comments below!

Amazon Referral and FBA Fee Changes – How Does It Impact Your Business?

Keeping up with the incredible variety of rule changes, success tactics, and competitor strategies as an Amazon seller is a full-time job in and of itself.  To add to your list of items to keep up on, Amazon has just announced upcoming changes to their fee schedules in three critical areas.

Their goal each year is to take a look at the current fee structures and assess if they are an accurate reflection of the ever-changing dynamics within the industry. Amazon has just announced several changes to their referral fees, FBA fulfillment fees, and Long-Term Storage fees which will inevitably impact every seller, the question is how big of an impact will it have on yours!

Lower Referral Fees for Specific Categories

Amazon’s referral fee is the amount charged for each item sold on their 3rd party marketplace.

Beginning on February 19th, 2019 Amazon is implementing reductions in the referral fees for several categories. This is likely being done with the intent of expanding the products sellers are offering on the marketplace by creating more opportunity for greater margin.

Let’s highlight some of the most impactful changes in the reduction of fees:

  • For items in the furniture category (excluding mattresses), the fee percentage will decrease from 15% to 10% on any portion of your total sales price above $200.  Example, for a couch priced at $350, you would be charged a 15% fee for the first $200 and 10% on the remaining $150. That’s a savings of $7.50 per unit. Imagine if you are selling 500 units per month of that product, that’s an extra $3,750 per month in profit with no additional effort!
  • Amazon is lowering the per item minimum fees from $1.00 to $.30 across all categories where fees apply.  However, the minimum fee for Jewelry and watches have a more significant decrease, from $2.00 down to $.30.
  • For products $10 or under in the Baby (except baby apparel), Beauty, and Health & Personal Care categories, the referral fee will be reduced from 15% to 8%. This reduction does not apply to products with a total sales price that exceeds $10.00. We are very interested to see if Amazon is taking into account the listed price, or the purchase price in the $10 threshold. This could give a slight break to those that run external promotions that price their product under the $10 limit.

(Important to note that the total sales price includes the item price PLUS any shipping and gift wrap charges.)

This was new to us, but Amazon is offering potential referral fee reductions:

  • Temporary referral fee discounts of up to 70% for lowering your product price.
  • 60% referral fee discount when a non-Prime ASIN is added to Seller Fulfilled Prime.

You can get full details on all referral fees here. For the Referral fees with discount opportunities,  click here.

Annual Increase In FBA Fulfillment Fees

On par with previous years, Amazon has announced increases to their FBA fulfillment fees. If your products fall in the small standard or large standard-size category and are under 10 oz, then you get a free pass on fee increases (enjoy!) . All changes, are highlighted in the image below, including fulfillment cost changes.  

You can get full details on all changes to fulfillment fees here.

Amazon Long-Term Storage Fee Change

One of the biggest changes Amazon has made is with their sneaky long-term storage fees.  Effective February 15, 2019, Amazon will no longer charge long-term storage fees for items in storage 181 to 365 days. However, long-term storage fees will still apply for items in storage over a year, at a rate of $6.90 per cubic foot, billed the 15th of every month.

You can get full details on all changes to long-term storage fees here.

If you’ve had a hard time moving inventory or have been using Amazon as an inventory storage option for the last six months, this is a major break! If you’re struggling to rank, we’d be happy to talk through our 2019 ranking strategies.   To get notified when we release our brand new 2019 Amazon ranking strategies, text “RANK2019” to 44222! If you’re using Amazon as a storage facility, there are many cheaper alternatives that we’d love to bring to your attention! Shoot us a text with “STORAGE” to 44222 and we will send you more information.

In all, it’s important to stay connected to sources that are keeping you abreast of the changes within the Amazon industry as they come fast and often.

Viral Launch’s Take On These Amazon Fee Changes

If you sell higher end furniture products this could be a game changer for your margin, however, it could also be a quick race to a new bottom now that sellers have more room for margin. 

The interest in reducing fees in furniture is also likely a play to steal business away from sites like Wayfair and Walmart which have more traditional businesses in the furniture vertical. It will be interesting to see how this impacts those other retailers. In general this type of competition is great for sellers! 

I absolutely expect to see sellers looking to game these new price thresholds by bundling items together to see an aggregated discount on the referral fee (not to mention the savings on shipping).

One trend we continue to see picking up steam among our Amazon customers selling $10m+/year is a move to Seller Fulfilled Prime through the use of 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) providers. This is a topic we will be covering more and more in the new year as we see it as an inevitable next step for many sellers. Seller Fulfilled Prime offers incredible flexibility, opportunity to fulfill to other marketplaces such as Walmart, and in a lot of cases reduced costs while still being able to support same day and two day Prime shipping.

Summary

Changes are inevitable and pervasive in the world of selling on Amazon. These fee changes should come as no real surprise as they have become a staple to the start of each new year. Amazon is simply passing along the general fees of operating their massive logistics empire, which makes complete sense. If these minor fulfilment fee increases are any cause for major concern, then you likely have bigger issues around your unit economics than anything.

Staying up to date on Amazon’s latest changes is imperative to making smart informed business decisions. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to make sure we can help you stay ahead of such a dynamic and ever changing market! And if you’re determined to make 2019 your best sales year yet, you can pre-register for our free event, “How to Rank in 2019” by texting “RANK2019” to 44222!

Best of luck in your Amazon endeavors!