Amazon

Amazon FBA Toy Sellers are Exempt from 2010 Holiday Selling Requirements

Posted on July 28, 2010. Filed under: Amazon | Tags: , , , |

Every year Amazon comes out with their Toy & Games Holiday Selling Guidelines.  These rules require third party vendors to meet performance targets before the holiday season in order to be eligible to sell on Amazon during the holidays.  Basically, Amazon says that sellers must have sufficient number of sales and must have a good customer satisfaction rating.  Therefore, only experienced Toy sellers are welcome to sell on Amazon during the holiday season.  No newbies allowed.  Sloppy sellers not welcome.   

This year, however, Amazon is making a slight exception to the rule.  Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) sellers do not have to meet the same requirements as third party toy vendors who are not FBA sellers.  Amazon’s 2010 holiday guidelines:

Effective September 20, 2010, we will stop accepting new non-FBA sellers in Toys
& Games.*  Effective November 15, 2010, only those sellers who meet the
following performance criteria will be eligible to sell in Toys & Games from
November 15, 2010 through the first week in January 2011:

– Seller’s first sale on Amazon.com must be prior to 09/20/2010 (sale does not
need to be Toy-specific).
– Seller must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders (do not need to be
Toy-specific) during the 60 consecutive days preceding 11/1/2010.
– No greater than 1% short term order defect rate as of 11/1/2010,
– No greater than 2.5% pre-fulfillment cancel rate for the trailing 30-days
preceding 11/1/2010.
– No greater than 5% late shipment rate for the trailing 30-days preceding
11/1/2010.

*Orders fulfilled by Amazon will not be subject to the holiday season
restrictions provided your account is in good standing.

Given that toy sellers have to start “making the grade” beginning September 1st and continuing for 60 days, I imagine there will be a lot of strategic planning going on this year.  Toy Sellers who have been shut out in previous years for not meeting the sales requirement and/or performance requirement have the option of using FBA to participate in this year’s holiday sales.  And toy sellers who have been successful in the past may see a lot more competition on the Amazon platform this year. 

It’s July… the time of year to once again put our holiday hats on and get to work so we are prepared for the fourth quarter of the year.  But this new twist from Amazon regarding 2010 holiday selling guidelines is certainly going to give us lots more to talk about now.

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Amazon Plans to Add New Toy Categories

Posted on July 26, 2010. Filed under: Amazon | Tags: , , |

We received an email today directly from Amazon with a link to a survey where the results will be used for a major category refresh next year.

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The survey asks only a few questions like What categories should be added and What examples do we have of toys that do not fit in the current toy classification structure.

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Amazon Changes “Sold, Ship Now” Email Notifications Sent to Sellers

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Amazon | Tags: , , , |

Amazon will make changes to the “Sold, Ship Now” email notifications on July 6, 2010.  The “Sold, Ship Now” emails are the communications Amazon uses to alert sellers to new orders.   While the email notifications will include the same order details and will be organized in the same general way, Amazon is adding more order-processing and payment information to the email notification.  The new Email Notifications will appear as follows (information comes from the Amazon website):

“Sold, ship now” E-mail Notification for Sellers

 

Here’s an example of the “Sold, ship now” e-mail notification Amazon sends to alert you to a new order (if you have “order notifications” enabled in your seller account settings). 

From: Marketplace Payments by Amazon (payments-messages@amazon.com)
Subject: Sold, ship now: [Item Title or “# Items Sold” if more than one]

Dear seller@domain.com,

Your Amazon order is official!

This e-mail includes all steps required for shipping and confirming your order.

Order ID: [17-digit order ID, ###-#######-#######]

Please ship this product using [buyer’s selected shipping speed] shipping.

Item:
Condition:
Condition note:
Listing ID:
SKU:
Quantity:
Order date:
Buyer’s price:
Gift wrap:
Shipping:
Promotions:
Amazon commission:
Your earnings:

Keep in mind that you are responsible for the item until it reaches the buyer at the address provided within your Seller Central account.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

SHIPPING INFORMATION FOR THIS ORDER

You can see the order details, print an address label and packing slip, and confirm shipment in the “Manage Orders” section of Seller Central:

1. Log in to Seller Central.

2. From the Orders tab, click “Manage Orders” and find order ID [###-#######-#######].

3. Click the Order ID link to display the Order Details page. You will see the shipping address, the shipping speed, and a “Contact Buyer” link. You can print an address label and packing slip.

4. After you ship the order, be sure to confirm the shipment. We will then charge the buyer, credit your Marketplace Payments account, and notify the buyer that the order has been shipped. See instructions below.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AFTER YOU SHIP THE ORDER, CONFIRM THE SHIPMENT

You can confirm shipments easily in Manage Orders:

1. From the Orders tab in Seller Central, click “Manage Orders” to find the order you want to confirm.

2. Click the “Confirm shipment” button next to the order (or below the order if you are looking at an Order Details page).

3. Select the Ship Date and Carrier (such as USPS) from the drop-down lists.

4. Enter the Shipping Service (such as Ground) and the Tracking ID, if any (supplied by the carrier).

5. Click the “Confirm shipment” button.

For information on confirming shipment of multiple orders at once, search on “confirm ship” in Seller Central Help.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

HOW TO CANCEL ORDERS

Sellers should have sufficient inventory on hand to fulfill all orders on time. However, in those rare cases when ordered items are not available, please cancel the order promptly. After you cancel the order, Amazon will send the buyer an order cancellation e-mail.

You can cancel orders easily in Manage Orders:

1. From the Orders tab in Seller Central, click “Manage Orders” to find the order you want to cancel.

2. Click the “Cancel order” button next to the order (or below the order if you are looking at an Order Details page).

3. Select the appropriate reason, and then click Submit.

For information on cancelling orders using a feed, search on “cancel multiple orders” in Seller Central Help.

Note that if you have already confirmed shipment of the order, you will no longer be able to cancel it. In that case, you would issue a refund and work with the buyer to arrange a return. For information about refunds, search on “refund orders” in Seller Central Help.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ABOUT YOUR PAYMENT

This transaction will be posted to your Marketplace Payments account after you confirm shipment. Funds in your Marketplace Payments account are automatically disbursed to your bank account every 14 days. After funds are disbursed from your Marketplace Payments account, it can take up to 5 business days for your bank to make the funds available in your checking account.

Please make sure your bank account information is always up to date so there are no delays in disbursements to your bank account. To do so:

1. From the Settings tab in Seller Central, click “Account Info.”

2. In the Bank Account section, click the Add or Edit button to update your checking account information. 

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Amazon Buyer-Seller Communication Email Changes Are Now Complete

Posted on June 10, 2010. Filed under: Amazon | Tags: , , |

Sometimes I receive emails from Amazon customers who need assistance with the delivery of their package or who have questions about the items they received and how to make them work properly.  Most of the time it takes only one or two emails or a quick phone call.  However, there are times when the Amazon customer and I email back and forth more than a few times. 

Unlike in the past, whenever I communicate with Amazon customers now the full email traffic is included in each correspondence.  Also, at the bottom of the emails is the following message (warning) from Amazon.  The message is provided both in a text only format and then a bluish-grey box with the same warning right below the text.

For Your Information: To help arbitrate disputes and preserve trust and safety,  
we retain all messages buyers and sellers send through Amazon.com for two years.   
This includes your response to the message above.  Amazon.com uses filtering  
technology to protect buyers and sellers from possible fraud.  Messages that  
fail this filtering will not be transmitted. 
  
We want you to buy with confidence anytime you purchase products on Amazon.com.  
Learn more about Safe Online Shopping (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=10412241)  
and our safe buying guarantee (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=537868). 

It was back in February of this year that the announcement was made notifying users that Amazon was changing up the way buyer-seller communications were conducted.  The appearance of this warning message may cause some sellers to question whether their responses to customers are “within policy”.  Below is a portion of Amazon’s Communication Guidelines (Directly from the Amazon website:)

 In general, you may contact a customer who has purchased from you on Amazon.com (Amazon.com customers) only to complete an order or to respond to a customer service inquiry. You may not contact customers in any way for marketing or promotional purposes (including via e-mail, physical mail, telephone, or otherwise).

 If you send a permitted e-mail to an Amazon.com customer, your e-mail may not include any of the following: 

  • Links to any website
  • Seller logos if they contain or display a link to the seller’s website
  • Any marketing message or promotion
  • Any promotion for additional products or referral to third-party products or promotions

Merchants must include the Amazon order ID in customer communications about orders and on the packing slips included in shipments. If you have questions on Amazon.com’s policies regarding communicating with customers, you can contact us by clicking the “Contact Seller Support” link found at the bottom of most Seller Central pages.

 

As an Amazon seller, I actually appreciate having access to the email communications for 2 years.  For any seller who has not yet accessed it yet, all emails can be found by clicking on the MESSAGES link at the top right hand corner after you have signed into your Seller Central Account.  Our messages go back only as far as April 2010, the time it appears that Amazon began capturing and saving these buyer-seller communications.  Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any way to sort or search through the messages other than by date.

 

 

 

One important tip: whenever we call a customer to assist them we always follow up with an email summarizing our conversation and making note of the fact that we called.  That helps us later should we need to recall what it is that we discussed and/or agreed to over the phone.

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Amazon Return Policy Changing for Baby and Clothing

Posted on May 12, 2010. Filed under: Amazon | Tags: , , , |

Amazon’s Return Policy is Changing for Baby and Clothing Items

 

Posted on Amazon.com:

Starting this month, customers will be able to return qualifying Amazon-fulfilled items in the baby, clothing, sports apparel, kids’ costumes, and handbags/sunglasses categories without paying for return shipping. This policy will also apply to FBA-fulfilled items in these categories ordered on Amazon.com. Amazon will pay for the return shipping for FBA-fulfilled items with no additional cost to FBA sellers. This policy will not apply to Multi-Channel Fulfillment orders. We expect this change to go into effect on May 11, 2010, or shortly afterward.

Learn more about the current customer returns policy:
http://www.amazon.com/help/returns

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Amazon Sends Email to 2009 Top Holiday Sellers

Posted on February 3, 2010. Filed under: Amazon | Tags: , , |

I received an email signed by Amazon VP & GM Peter Faricy congratulating me on being an Amazon Top Holiday Seller for 2009.  Specifically the email says: 

“On behalf of the Amazon Services team, I want to congratulate you for outstanding performance on Amazon.com over the 2009 holiday season. You provided an exceptional shopping experience for Amazon customers, and we would like to thank you for the hard work and dedication that made these results possible.

You ranked among the top of all Amazon sellers over the 2009 holiday season on the basis of net sales, and your customer satisfaction metrics also received the highest marks (in other words, A+) over this period.

On behalf of Amazon Services and our customers, I wish you a happy and successful 2010.”

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