Amazon Advertising: New Budgets Page Feature In Beta

On Tuesday, Amazon announced a new feature for the Advertising console, the Budgets Page (beta). While the new feature hasn’t generated much buzz, it should be on the radar of every Amazon seller utilizing advertising. It comes with some powerful performance insights and actionable steps being added to their Seller Central account.

The value proposition of the new Budgets page is the powerful data points that allow individualized metrics and estimates for your campaign. Within this page, you can see the average time your campaigns were in budget. It covers estimates on missed sales, missed impressions and missed clicks in the time that the campaign was out of budget.

With the data provided on the page, this will also provide a recommended daily budget for each of your campaigns. It covers the goal of optimizing ad spend, and the option to apply those recommendations.

Amazon claims they are able to provide estimated missed sales, missed clicks, and missed impressions through Amazon’s machine learning technology based on historical performance.

The Potential

The potential of these estimates and metrics can go a long way for Amazon sellers looking to get the most advertising bang for their buck. Access to this information (for free) is a huge advantage for savvy sellers looking to maximize advertising efforts. Knowing how many sales you could be racking up in the time your ads are inactive would theoretically answer any questions or concerns about the efficiency of your campaigns.

It’s important to remember that the majority of these metrics are estimates. These estimates could eliminate much of the guesswork when creating and optimizing PPC campaigns. If accurate, you won’t have to wonder how many sales, clicks, or impressions were left on the table while a campaign ran out of budget.

In theory, Amazon is able to monitor your advertising campaigns over time. Plus, be able to create estimates on performance if they were to run in perpetuity.

Additionally, Amazon sellers can see which campaigns are running out the quickest, compare actual budget to recommended budget, and more.

Where can I access the Budgets page?

Sellers can find the brand new Budgets Page (beta) in a few different ways:

  1. Within Campaign Manager, select the Budgets page.
  2. Download the data into a report within the Report Center of Seller Central.
  3. Set up a subscription within Seller Central to have the results emailed to you.

Within the Reports page, information and data will be available beyond the limits of Campaign Manager, which displays information from the last 90 days.

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Summary

The new Budgets page should be something to keep an eye on for any sellers advertising on Amazon. Tracking the campaign estimates for accuracy could greatly benefit sellers in regard to maximizing return on ad spend.

Monitoring estimates and tracking performance when taking suggested actions will certainly be interesting. We’ll be sure to monitor the new page as more information becomes available.

Overall, it becomes the latest addition to the Advertising Console’s busy 2021, which has been a central point of emphasis for Amazon. The amount of time, attention, and energy paid by Amazon into revamping the Advertising Console should speak volumes as to where the future of Amazon is headed.

If you haven’t begun advertising through PPC on Amazon yet, don’t wait too much longer to start creating your campaigns. With plenty of new tools and features, there are many resources to help you get started.

Check out our Amazon PPC Playbook for absolutely free to hit the ground running with Amazon Advertising.

What do you think of the new Budgets page and how do you plan on using it? Feel free to join the conversation and let us know!

Get Rid of HTML Tags In Your Amazon Listing ASAP

On Monday, Amazon announced an upcoming change that will affect plenty of product listings. Starting July 17, 2021, Amazon will no longer support HTML tags in the product description of product detail pages.

You can view the entire statement from Seller Central below:

In order to provide security for our customers as well as versatility to list products on non-HTML devices, after July 17, 2021, we will stop supporting the use of HTML tags in the product description on product detail pages. Please refrain from using HTML content on detail pages as outlined on our Product detail page rules 260 Help page.

We encourage you to update any product detail page for your listings with an HTML tag. You can use Seller Central or your usual channel for such updates.

Any product description containing HTML tags in the product detail page which are not supported after July 17, 2021, will stop showing HTML formatting. For example, if you use HTML tags in one line of a product description, the line might be removed or shown without HTML formatting, depending on the usage of the tag.

Seller Central

The statement reads somewhat confusing, especially as the Product Detail Page guide referenced mentions that line breaks (written as “</br>”) can be included in the description as a special case. HTML line breaks in listings, as they break up text into smaller, more readable text blocks.

How It Appears

Additionally, the inclusion of “non-HTML devices” is a headscratcher, as most devices can read and display HTML markups without issue.

Nonetheless, Amazon sellers should prepare accordingly.

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While product descriptions don’t make a significant impact on keyword indexation, it allows an excellent opportunity to describe your product, explain crucial product details, and close the deal with a customer.

If segments of your product description are removed or displayed in an undesirable manner, it could consequently lead to lower conversions. Making sure your product description answers potential customer questions, highlights differentiating points, and is reader-friendly can certainly go a long way toward giving your product listing an edge over the competition. Any failure to do so invites customers to click off and check out your market rivals.

Of course, we’ll continue to monitor the situation as more information becomes available regarding the update. The announcement serves as the latest update in what’s been a rather busy week for Amazon news. Stay tuned for more regarding HTML tags on Amazon.

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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, your inventory limits is 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 restock limits are 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.

The maximum shipment quantity is calculated by 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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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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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 Updates: Brand New Seller Communication Guidelines

Amazon announced imminent updates to its Buyer-Seller communication guidelines. Does this affect your store?

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. 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.

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 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.

When Is Amazon Prime Day 2020?

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!

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.

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

In this round of Amazon news and updates, the hot topic of seller privacy comes into play.

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 Amazon news and updates to increase accountability and deter the sales of counterfeit or unsafe goods on their platform.

Chiefly, this is significant for third-party sellers 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.

How will my information appear?

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 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. As a result, your business name and address will only be displayed on your Seller Profile page. By and large, this page 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.


As shown above, customers can view Seller Profiles by selecting their name in the Buy Box. Similarly, it’s visible by selecting a seller’s name after viewing other sellers for that listing.

Can I keep my information private?

If you sell from home but don’t want your home address listed, options exist. For example, registering for a PO Box. Additionally, setting up an alternative such as a UPS Mailbox to maintain personal privacy.

Customers remain advised to use Buyer-Seller Messaging to communicate electronically, so an influx of mail to your business address is unlikely. Still, it would only make sense for sellers to establish a line of separation in public and private information.

Lastly, Amazon recommends taking the following steps to ensure your information is current and what you want publicly displayed:

1. First, 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 news and updates!