From Vendor Central to Seller Central: Part 2

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The latest rumor is that Amazon is gearing itself for a vendor purge. To find out how you can shift from Vendor Central to Seller Central and make it a smooth transition, read on and heed our advice.

Back in March, wholesale orders from Amazon came to a sudden stop. The standstill lasted several days, and it was a wake-up call for vendors. To justify it, Amazon said it was trying to get rid of counterfeiters. But not everyone was convinced.

To help merchants cope with a potential vendor purge, we wrote a post titled From Vendor Central to Seller Central. In it, we talked about the fact that vendors need a fallback plan. And we urged everyone to start switching to Seller Central. Now it looks like that purge is imminent.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon hired fewer vendor managers this season. It asked existing ones to make a case for keeping their clients. It renegotiated with far fewer vendors this spring. And it set a minimum threshold of $10 million in yearly sales. Why? A storm is brewing.

Amazon denies there’s going to be a supplier shakeup. And it says Amazon One Vendor doesn’t exist. But it needs to compete with the likes of Walmart in an increasingly inhospitable market. It’s only a matter of time before it gives into this urge to purge. When it does, small suppliers will be sidelined.

Let’s face it, it’s only logical. A purge means fewer vendor managers to pay, less inventory, fewer problem sellers, happier buyers, and more FBA fees contributing to its bottom line. Will it put an end to counterfeiting, though? Probably not.

Ecommercetimes claims the top 10 influencer channels on YouTube drive a fifth of all purchases on Amazon. That’s not likely to stop if a purge happens. In fact, as more vendors switch to Seller Central and learn to market their products themselves, they’ll probably invest more in social media ads.

Also, if vendors choose to go to eBay or focus on their own websites rather than switch to Seller Central, product variety will be affected. Over time, buyers will have fewer options and they may need to pay more.

But there are some positives here. If Amazon kicks vendors out and it stops selling their products, there’s going to be a more level playing field. Sellers won’t be competing with Amazon for the Buy Box anymore.  

Unfortunately, as vendor managers stop safeguarding some brands, sellers could start to apply more aggressive selling tactics. As an ex-vendor, you will need to take extra measures to protect your sales. To minimize the disruption and keep sales steady, you should:

  • Sign up to Brand Registry or transfer your listings with your existing credential.
  • Use Brand Analytics to understand your customer base.
  • Check customer demographics data for orders from your competition.
  • Monitor your listings on Amazon and report unauthorized sellers.
  • Read up on the first-sale doctrine and how foreign sellers could abuse it.
  • Develop your reseller policy with the help of a specialized attorney.
  • Outsource your day-to-day tasks to Amazon experts, if needed.
  • Beat sellers at their own game with a real-time repricer like Sellery.
  • If all else fails, give a seasoned seller exclusive rights to sell your product on Amazon.

Even with a top brand team and the best technology at your disposal, switching from Vendor Central to Seller Central takes time. It may not take 120 days, like Bloomberg says.  But you’ll need at least a few weeks for Amazon to lift all the listing and storage limits for new sellers.

Hopefully, there won’t be any vendor purges before Prime Day 2019. And Amazon One Vendor is nothing but a rumor. But if you want a fallback plan, your seller account should be up and running before Q3. So, now’s the time to get the ball rolling.

Our Business Coaching team can help you sort out every aspect of selling on Amazon. They can help you with Brand Registry, real-time repricing, and everything in between. Our Account Monitoring can take over the tedious tasks for you. And we even have a dedicated team to help you switch to Seller Central. Get in touch and let’s get started.

Seller Central Help

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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From Vendor Central to Seller Central

Vendor Central

Amazon never ceases to amaze. If you were one of the thousands of vendors caught off guard by the request to shift from Vendor Central to Seller Central, you may find some helpful pointers here.

 
 
 
 

Vendors Confused About Curtail

Purchase orders came to a standstill last week. In their place, Amazon sent a series of emails to vendors. Some blamed technical issues. Others suggested to vendors that they sign up for Brand Registry or switch to Seller Central.

But some vendors received another email from Amazon soon after. In it, Amazon claimed the PO interruption was only temporary. It also warned brand owners of a 60-day window to sign up for Brand Registry. All other vendors should switch to Seller Central immediately, DigiDay claims.  

For people who don’t know the first thing about Seller Central, this must have come as a shock. And seasoned sellers using a successful hybrid model were probably just as stunned. Nobody saw this coming, especially since Vendor Express was recently phased out, leaving private label retailers and small manufacturers in limbo.

No Veto for Vendors

There are rumors that Amazon is testing a universal hub called ‘One Vendor’. But Amazon claims no such platform is in the works. Other sources claim this whole thing a clamp down on counterfeiting. Either way, Amazon is just trying to cut its losses. It was bound to happen sooner or later, under whatever pretense, because of legal pressures.

So, what now? Amazon used strict rules to weed out sellers. Now those rules may simply cross over to Vendor Central. According to DigiDay, large vendors with cheap to ship merchandise and an assigned Vendor Manager have been spared. What about the others and what about the future?

A seller would normally try to appeal a shutdown, but vendors have no such option and never will. Also, Amazon is the legal owner of the products, and the termination rights are streamlined. So, if you’ve been asked to switch to the marketplace, there’s no reason to beat yourself up about this or to try to fight it. Right now, it’s best to look to the future: switching to Seller Central.

The Future of Retail on Amazon

The fact of the matter is Amazon is growing. It can afford to be picky with its 1P club members. And it knows vendors have Seller Central to fall back on, with all the self-service marketing tools they need.

As for demoted vendors, It’s not all doom and gloom. There are a few benefits to using Seller Central. Here are some of the perks:

  • Lower fees. For vendors, it’s Market Development Fund, Freight allowance, Damage allowance, Marketing, Remittance, Packaging, Prepayment, and Chargeback fees totaling 30% to 50%. But sellers who fulfill their own orders usually pay Amazon 15%;
  • Lower costs. You could have lower packaging and marketing costs and higher margins;
  • Price control. With a smart real-time repricer like Sellery, you can set it and forget it;
  • Inventory. You select the products you want to produce or source;
  • Quantity. You decide how much of your inventory is available to sell and where;
  • Timing. You’re free to time your listings and your downtime as you please;
  • Free & fresh reports. You have access to free sales snapshots updated every few minutes;
  • Instant campaigns. As soon as you launch a campaign, it’s up and running.

Getting Started with Seller Central

It doesn’t take much to sign up for a Professional selling account on Amazon. If you have your contact, payment, and tax information ready, then setting up a Seller Central account is a matter of minutes. You’ll find all the information you need to get started on this blog.

But it takes a few weeks before Amazon lifts certain listing and storage limits for new sellers. If you have a brand of your own, then signing up for Brand Registry can help protect your listings in the meantime. If you’re already registered, it’s best to ask Amazon if you can keep your credentials and transfer your listings.

Ultimately, all you need is a bit of research and some first-hand insights to save you time and minimize your losses. But bear in mind that most people make these 10 common Amazon seller mistakes anyway. Finding out just how much you can invest in this entirely new business model will be a case of trial and error.

Ultimately, Amazon’s decision to pause POs without warning puts things into perspective. Everyone on Amazon needs a fallback plan. If you need a helping hand, get in touch. After working with Amazon sellers for over two decades now, there’s literally nothing that gets past us.

So, get in touch and let’s make it a smooth and efficient transition to Seller Central with SellerEngine! We’re happy to share what we know, and we can even take over your Account Monitoring duties, including all the tedious tasks of selling on Amazon.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.

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Amazon Seller Central Reports

Seller Central Reports

Just caught your first glimpse of the Seller Central dashboard? If it’s giving you a headache, don’t worry. It can make even seasoned sellers freeze like a deer in the headlights. Join us as we look at some of the most important Amazon Seller Central reports to see what they do and why they matter.

People with an individual seller account don’t have much visibility over their orders on Amazon. However, sellers who sign up for the Professional selling plan on Amazon have access to a dashboard packed with business tools. These include stats and reports to help them make informed pricing decisions and boost sales.

Available for download in .csv format, these reports show important data less than 2 years old. But back in 2015, the dashboard was crammed full of reports. Remember this beginner’s guide? So, some of the reports were moved to the Amazon Selling Coach. Others became part of the Sales Dashboard section. A few more were grouped in the Business Reports section.

You’ll find Business Reports in the Reports tab on Seller Central. Clicking it takes you to a new page. The Sales Dashboard is the default view. Simply click on one of the options on the left-hand side to access the business report you need. Also, don’t forget to check sales trends. This Seller University tutorial shows you how.

Back in 2015, Elena shared some tips on business reports. The Detail Page Sales and Traffic report is an example. Her tips are still relevant and insightful. So, when you budget for the new season or set up your pricing strategy, be sure to focus on the columns she mentioned:

  • Buy Box Percentage
  • Unit Session Percentage
  • Order Item Session Percentage

The Sales Dashboard is a nice way for those with a Pro Amazon account to visualize sales. It features a Sales Snapshot for the day. You’re also shown sales bar charts sorted by category. On top of that, there’s a year-on-year sales comparison graph with a custom date range and a toggle switch for table versus graph view.

Being able to compare this week’s sales with similar values from the previous year will reveal the effect of your current pricing strategies, inventory practices, and advertising efforts. Depending on the type of inventory you have, the dashboard could also help you single out your best performing brands and categories.

On most venues, the Amazon Selling Coach can feature recommendations directly on the Seller Central homepage. Otherwise, you may need to access it via the Reports tab. If you sell on Amazon JP, for instance, you may prefer to view your Selling Coach reports on your phone via email.

Whichever way you access your recommendations, they’ll always refer to one of these five topics: Inventory, Pricing, Products, Fulfillment, and Advertising. Here’s a quick run-through of how each type of recommendation can help you:

  • Inventory recommendations are there so you never run out of stock.
  • Product opportunities feature popular items that would sell well on other venues.
  • Pricing suggestions show you products you may be able to sell for the lowest price.
  • Fulfillment opportunities show items you could convert to FBA.
  • Advertising suggestions highlight items eligible for paid campaigns.

Free shipping is a major incentive for Prime members, so many professional sellers sign up for FBA. If you fulfill all or part of your Amazon orders via FBA, then you need to check your FBA Business Reports often.

These reports are designed to help sellers track their performance on Amazon. Unfortunately, Amazon FBA Business Reports don’t come in a standalone section in Seller Central. Instead, they’re scattered across the website.

You’ll find FBA inventory, stranded inventory, bulk fix inventory, sales tax, and removal reports in various subsections of the Inventory tab, for instance. But the FBA Sales Lift tool, shown in the second tutorial above, is displayed on the Sales Dashboard. It compares sales before and after conversion to FBA.

FBA Sales LiftWhether you’re an experienced seller or you’re just starting out on Amazon, it wouldn’t hurt to read up on your Seller Central reports. You can check the help pages or watch some of the many Seller University or Seller Education tutorials.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments, and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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Skip Hop Grand Central Diaper Bag in Black and White Stripe

Introducing the the Grand Central! High on style and superb in storage, the Grand Central diaper bag that holds it all (and more) in one sleek, organized tote! Grand central represents the highly complex relationship moms have with their diaper bags. Lik

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The grab-and-go blanket that goes everywhere you do. Wherever you roam, our Central Park Blanket is ready for the beach, park or playtime at home! Once you reach your destination, it unfolds into a spacious water-resistant blanket, keeping everyone’s picn

Pokkadots & ModernNursery

The grab-and-go blanket that goes everywhere you do. Wherever you roam, our Central Park Blanket is ready for the beach, park or playtime at home! Once you reach your destination, it unfolds into a spacious water-resistant blanket, keeping everyone’s picnic clean and dry. This versatile blanket features an insulated cooler bag to chill snacks and drinks; there’s even room for parent essentials. Detach the cooler bag and it becomes a compact messenger for quick trips to the ice cream stand! Wherever you roam, our Central Park Blanket is ready for the beach, park or playtime at home! Once you reach your destination, it unfolds into a spacious water-resistant blanket, keeping everyone’s picnic clean and dry. This versatile blanket features an insulated cooler bag to chill snacks and drinks; there’s even room for parent essentials. Detach the cooler bag and it becomes a compact messenger for quick trips to the ice cream stand! Spacious, lightweight 5′ x 5′ blanket Easy to fold & compact; see instructions on how to fold BPA-free, Phthalate-free Insulated cooler bag holds food & drinks Add an ice pack for a full day out Unzip cooler bag and convert to a compact messenger/cooler bag; see instructions on how to convert Carry blanket on the shoulder or convert to a backpack; see instructions on how to convert Cushy surface wipes clean; Machine washable Durable, water-resistant canvas backing

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Domain Road Vineyard 2014 Central Otago Duffers Creek Riesling

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The California Wine Club

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