As the big-sale days are coming nearer, a lot has been happening on Amazon that you should be aware of. Staying up to date with these policy changes and updates will make your selling journey easier and sometimes risk-free. But amongst the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to miss a few of them. Our team at eStore Factory has made a comprehensive list of need-to-know updates going on within Amazon. Read on and stay updated.
1) Amazon launches in Sweden
After years of rumours, the world’s largest online retailer is all set to launch in Sweden. The company announced to the sellers via mail on 11th August 2020. Amazon said that it will open new opportunities for the country’s large and small businesses to reach new customers. Alex Ootes, the VP of EU Expansion at Amazon said that, “Amazon has been supporting Swedish customers and selling partners across our different European stores for many years, but the next step is to bring a full retail offering to Sweden and we are making those plans now,” We are pretty excited to see how amazon.se brings new opportunities for sellers around the globe.
2) Amazon Still has demand it can’t handle
Although Amazon is rapidly expanding its Fulfilment network, it is still facing capacity issues. It’s been two months since Amazon recovered from “essentials-only,” but the shoppers are still seeing delayed deliveries and out-of-stock issues. Not as much as they were in March or April, but the problems are still there. “We’ve run out of space,” this is what Amazon.com CFO Brian Olsavsky said during the second-quarter earnings call. The demand is still going to ramp up in the upcoming holidays and if Amazon fails to build capacity ahead of time, it might miss out on valuable sales during the fourth quarter. But that’s not going to be the case. The e-commerce mogul has already started to prep for the uptick in sales and the updates below are a few of them.
3) Shipment quality restrictions ahead of the holiday rush
To prepare for the upcoming high-sales days, Amazon is placing limits on the number of units sellers can send to the FBA warehouses. According to the retail giant, even with new restrictions, sellers can stock enough inventory to last three months. Moreover, if the seller sells all their stock, they will be able to send in new inventory anytime. In a note to sellers, the company said, “Given the unprecedented challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on all of us, we are preparing early to deliver a great holiday season for our customers and selling partners — building out capacity as quickly as we can so we can deliver products customers need and want directly to their doorsteps and help you continue to grow your business,”
4) IPI threshold increased to 500
The change in IPI was a tough pill to swallow for the sellers. As we are only a few months away from Prime Day and Q4, sellers were striving really hard to stay on the right side of the bar. With the limit increased, the sellers on edge are left aghast as to what should be doing now. Amazon, in its mail to sellers, said that “We are working to manage inventory performance to ensure all products have space available during peak. To enable this, we are changing the IPI minimum threshold requirement to 500. Sellers below 500 will be subject to limits effective August 16, 2020, through the end of the year.” Your IPI score is calculated on the basis of excess inventory, sell-through inventory, in-stock inventory and stranded inventory. Before July 2020, the limit for IPI was 350, which is now increased to 500. A score above 550 means you will be rewarded with unlimited storage space and a score below 500 means you will be subject to storage limits.
5) Long-term storage fee inventory cleanup
Amazon’s long term storage fee inventory cleanup is scheduled on August 15, 2020. Any inventory that has been in the U.S. Fulfilment center for more than a year will incur a storage fee of USD 6.90 per cubic foot or a USD 0.15 per-unit long-term storage fee, whichever is greater. This fee will be calculated in addition to the inventory storage fees. The inventory age in FBA is calculated on a first-in-first-out basis, so the products sold or removed are removed from the inventory that has been there for the longest in the FBA centers. Your Recommended Removal Report will automatically calculate on an ASIN-by-ASIN basis the number of inventory you will have to remove to avoid any long term storage fees. Sellers can also use the Inventory age and Inventory health report to determine the age of the inventory of an ASIN.
6) Amazon “goes offensive” against the fake sellers by launching a ‘Counterfeit Crimes Unit’
Amazon’s next move in this endless battle against the vogue sellers is launching a Counterfeit Crimes Unit. According to the retail giant, the new team is made of data analysts, experienced investigators and former federal prosecutors who will proactively work to go offensive against the counterfeits. The introduction of this global fraud-fighting team will make it easier for the company to file lawsuits and help brands identify and fight with the forgeries. This is a welcoming news for both the shoppers as well as the brands and it’s a clear warning to the bogus sellers dwelling on the marketplace. It isn’t a coincidence that the launch of this unit was just after the Trump government flagged Amazon marketplaces in Canada, India, France, Germany and the U.K. as “notorious markets for counterfeiting and piracy” in one of the reports released in Aprils. Nevertheless, it is good that Amazon is taking the counterfeits seriously and now brands can take a sigh of relief, knowing the retail giant has got their back.
7) Introduction of Listing Quality Dashboard to help you improve the listings
Want to know which of your Amazon listings aren’t performing as they should? With the launch of Listing Quality Dashboard, any seller can know how well their listing is. Amazon Listing Quality Dashboard is a newly-launched tool in Seller Central that helps you identify the information customers need for purchase. It can be anything from material details to weight and dimensions or the function. Fill in the missing information in the fields and your listing will be up-to-date and customer friendly in no time. According to the retail giant, Listing Quality Dashboard can help sellers:
- Improve discovery: Shoppers usually filter their search based on specific features. If you add those features in your listing, you can get your products in front of them more easily.
- Enable the Product Overview experience (beta): It is a new experience that will highlight all the essential features above the bullet points in the product detail page. This experience is available only to a limited number of ASINs but will be rolled out to different product types very soon.
- Reduce potential returns: How many times has a customer returned the product just because it was too large or too small? By adding crucial information, you can dramatically reduce the number of returns.
- Take time-sensitive actions: Using this tool, sellers can highlight information that needs to be filled within a specific date to prevent any potential suppressions.
8) Amazon recommends programs to sellers for better growth
Amazon is introducing more and more tools that can help sellers grow more on Amazon. One of the more recently launched tools is Recommended Programs. Launched just before the hustle and bustle of Prime Day, this program can help sellers “prioritize the right tasks to build and grow your business on Amazon.” The recommendations can be anything from creating coupons, Product Listing Optimization and Amazon PPC optimization to creating Amazon Enhanced Brand Content and getting more reviews. As the recommendations are directly coming from the retail giant itself, sellers can completely trust and move forward. However, we will suggest taking the advice of your Amazon Account Management Expert before taking any further action.
9) Buy box completely stopped rotating for the past few weeks
Hundreds of Amazon sellers had reported a drop-off in sales in the month of July. If you are one of them, don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with your product. The all of a sudden decline in sales is because your product has lost rotation in the Buy Box. Sellers reported that the problem began on July 1 and a technical glitch might be the reason for it. “This is crazy,” an Amazon seller in one of the 400 comments in the thread. Upon contacting Amazon, they gave a recorded reply saying that the buy box isn’t guaranteed and depends on a lot of factors blah, blah blah. While this glitch is expected to be fixed soon, Amazon sellers would have lost thousands of dollars of sales till then.
10) Amazon adds 33 new U.S. fulfillment centers in 2020
Amazon’s another effort to prep for the holiday rush is increasing its fulfillment capacity. In the above updates, we saw how Amazon is trying to cut down on any slow-moving or dead inventory and now it announced that it is going to buy 33 new fulfillment centers in the U.S. which will increase the standard-sized product storage capacity by nearly 35 million cubic feet more than last year. It is also said that compared to 2019, the retail giant has invested $30 billion more in building capacity, services, tools, and programs for sellers. The company also announced that it would open an 820,000 square-foot FBA center in Pflugerville, Texas, next year and the center will be equipped with Amazon robotics. It will be used to fulfill small items like toys, electronics, books, etc.
11) New lower fees for Amazon Currency Converter
Great news for the sellers! The company’s official payment solution, Amazon Currency Converter, has now lowered the fees by 1.5% for 21 currencies and 12 Amazon stores. If you are an Amazon seller, it is most likely that your sales are taking place in a foreign country. Bringing home that money requires you to pay fees. Amazon Currency Converter allows sellers to receive their global revenue directly in their home country bank account. But up until now, it was charging hefty fees for it. With a 1.5% decrease in the fees, the sellers will soon be relieved.
12) Apparently, adding “Perfect Gift” in the title can jeopardize your listing
Not formally announced, but recently our Amazon SEO experts have had such instances where the product has been inactive or blocked because of the presence of the words “perfect gift.” Here’s what Amazon said when we questioned them for unexpectedly blocking one of our listings, “Upon checking the internal tool, I can confirm that the ASIN XYZ is suppressed as the product title has prohibited phrase Perfect Gift which is against Amazon policy and should be removed.” This seems bizarre because perfect gift was one of the major keywords used by listing optimization experts. If you want to know why, try searching for its volume in Merchant Words. However, because Amazon’s policies have changed now, we would recommend checking your titles for any such phrase and removing them before Amazon blocks your listing too.
Some important and some interesting, that’s how the updates were. Anyways, I hope this blog post was informative enough. We have tried to cover all the latest and important updates and will come up with yet another post in September. Till then, keep following our blogs for other useful tips and information for selling on Amazon. And yes, if you want to stay updated, subscribe now and receive a newsletter every Tuesday. If you need Amazon Consultants to take your sales to the next level, Contact Us now!