Top Amazon News & Updates For Sellers (February 2022)

Posted by Jimi Patel | March 2, 2022

Amazon is ever-changing. From introducing new metrics in Sponsored Brand Video ads to re-launching the European Fulfillment Network for UK sellers, the eCommerce behemoth has constantly been making tweaks to make it easier for the sellers to sell and the shoppers to buy. Sometimes amidst the chaos and the hustle, it can be difficult to keep up, which is why we have brought our monthly updates blog. Read on and stay updated.

#1: Amazon brings back European Fulfillment Network

Amazon brings back European Fulfillment Network

Post Brexit, Amazon sellers have been faced with a myriad of fulfillment challenges, including new additional charges, logistical difficulties, fees, customs, limited market reach and more. But these struggles are soon coming to an end. Amazon is reintroducing cross-border fulfillment between UK and EU marketplaces.

Their official announcement read:

“Starting March 2022, fulfillment between the UK and the EU will reopen via the European Fulfillment Network, subject to European Fulfillment Network Fees. Eligible offers will become live in phases until May 2022.”

The European Fulfillment Network (EFN) allows sellers with an EU store account who are also registered in the FBA program to store their inventory in one of Amazon’s local Fulfillment Centers across Europe and fulfill their orders from other European stores.

Now that Amazon has re-enabled the EFN, UK sellers can again sell into European markets through UK fulfillment centers.

To be eligible, you must:

  1. Enroll in the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, if not already
  2. Enable export settings
  3. Store inventory in UK fulfillment centers. The same stock-keeping unit (SKU) must be provided for both your UK and EU listings
  4. Have access to both the UK and the EU Seller Central accounts
  5. Ensure that the price of an eligible item does not exceed €135

Schedule a meeting with your Amazon account management expert to discuss the next steps.

Related post: Optimize your Sponsored Brand Video Ads in 6 simple steps

#2: Amazon introduces themed templates in the ‘Customer Engagement’ (beta) tool

Manage Your Customer Engagement tool was launched last year to give brand registered sellers an opportunity to engage and retarget their existing customers. Brands can send engaging emails to shoppers who opt to “follow” them. The follow+ button is featured in areas such as Amazon Seller Storefront & Amazon Live. Until now, only new product announcements and product spotlight templates were available, but recently, Amazon has introduced new holiday-themed templates that’ll allow you to create more diverse and attractive content for your followers.

Amazon introduces themed templates in the ‘Customer Engagement’ (beta) tool

The official announcement read:

“You can now create themed email campaigns within the Customer Engagement tool. Multiple holiday banners are available, with new templates being launched monthly. With these themed templates, you can suggest gifts for upcoming holidays, New Year resolutions, travel adventures, game day, and other occasions.”

It is recommended to have at least 1000 followers before starting email campaigns. You can see how many followers you have by going to Manage Stores > Store Insights.

Your email campaigns will be as effective as your content. To ensure more and more customers engage with your emails, hire Amazon photo editing services and let them create custom banners for your template.

Related post: Amazon Manage Your Customer Engagement tool – How to use & make the most of it

#3: New changes to buyer-initiated order cancellations

New changes to buyer-initiated order cancellations

Keeping in mind seller’s feedback, Amazon has introduced a better way to cancel orders without searching for buyer canceling requests in the Buyer-Seller messaging tool. It was easy to miss cancellation requests as they can be lost among multiple buyer-seller messages. Effective April 27, 2022, Amazon is making changes to the process of managing buyer canceling requests to make it more efficient and hassle-free.

  • Cancelation requests will appear in a banner on the Manage orders page.
  • Notifications will no longer be sent through Buyer-Seller messaging.
  • Cancelation requests can be seen in order reports. You will have to enable the Buyer-Requested Cancel field for visibility.

Sellers and Amazon seller consultants can still use the buyer-seller messaging tool to communicate with and contact the customers. If a customer cancels an order through the buyer-seller messaging tool, you can instruct them to cancel their orders on their Your orders page.

For more information regarding this update, please click here.

#4: Amazon helps non-US sellers simplify returns

Amazon helps non-US sellers simplify returns

Amazon recently announced a new program that’ll help foreign sellers simplify returns. Amazon’s return policy states that “Third-party sellers must either provide a return address within the United States, provide a prepaid return label, or offer a full refund without requesting the item be returned. If a seller does not offer these methods to return your items, you may file an A-to-z Guarantee claim to seek help with your return.”

With the new Returns Provider program, non-US sellers who don’t have a US return address can connect with the service providers and manage returns.

As the cost of sending returned items to international addresses is not viable, Amazon has introduced this new program that introduces sellers to a service provider who can process returns for them. However, it is still unclear if hiring a service provider will be a cheaper alternative or not.

The official announcement read:

“Using the program simplifies domestic returns, allows you to recoup return costs, and ensures a seamless customer returns experience. Once enrolled in the program, you can receive Prepaid returns for seller-fulfilled orders with the provider’s domestic warehouse address, enabling you to further streamline customer returns.”

The program was open for a selected group of international sellers on 22nd Feb 2022 and will be open to all sellers by March 2022.

#5: Key video metrics introduced in Sponsored Brand Video Ads

Key video metrics introduced in Sponsored Brand Video Ads

Sponsored Brand Video Ads are one the most impactful forms of advertising. Boasting a high click-through rate, these scroll-stopping wonders help engage shoppers at high intent stages of their buying journey. The recent addition of new metrics has made it easy for the advertisers and Amazon PPC optimization experts to make data-driven decisions and improve the performance of their video ad campaigns. The new metrics include:

  • Viewable Impressions: Shows each time 50% of the video ad’s screen size is visible for 2 seconds straight while it is playing.
  • View-Through Rate (VTR): Shows how many times a shopper has seen an ad from start to finish.
  • Viewable Click-Through Rate (CTR): Shows you the number of people that have clicked on your ad once it became viewable.
  • 5-Second Views: Shows the number of impressions where a shopper has viewed the video for at least 5 seconds or more.
  • 5-Second View Rate: The percentage of impressions where a shopper has viewed the video for at least 5 seconds or more.
  • Video First Quartile: Shows the number of impressions where a shopper has stayed and watched until the end of the first quarter of the video’s total length.
  • Video Midpoint: Shows the number of impressions where a shopper has stayed and watched until 50% of the video’s total length.
  • Unmutes: Shows the number of impressions where a shopper unmutes a video ad to play the sound.
  • Video Third Quartile: Shows the number of impressions where a shopper has stayed and watched until 75% of the video’s total length.
  • Video Completes: Shows the number of impressions where a shopper has stayed and watched the video till the end.

Where is the feature available?
North America: United States, Canada, Mexico
South America: Brazil
Europe: Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Netherland, United Kingdom
Middle East: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Asia Pacific: Australia, India, Japan

Read the official announcement here.

#6: Sponsored Display enables portfolio functionality

Sponsored Display enables portfolio functionality

Amazon has enabled portfolio where advertisers can organize their CPC-based Sponsored Display campaigns with their Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands campaigns and categorize them by brand, product category, product line, organizational structure, or season. This allows brands to control spend and review campaigns performance across a collection of campaigns they’ve organized. Once your portfolio budget is exhausted, all campaigns in that portfolio will automatically pause until you choose to reactivate them by increasing your portfolio budget.

Where is the feature available?

North America: United States, Canada, Mexico
Europe: Spain, Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands
Middle East: United Arab Emirates
Asia Pacific: India, Japan, Australia

#7: Sponsored Display budget rules now available globally

Sponsored Display budget rules now available globally

Similar to Sponsored Product ads, advertisers can now set campaign budget in advance using two types of budget rules. Budget rules greatly eliminate manual efforts to adjust the budget and ensure your campaigns don’t go out of budget. There are two types of budget rules:

  • Schedule-based rules allow you to set a budget on peak shopping days like Prime Day or Black Friday. With this rule, you can increase the campaign budget during the date range you set in the rule or during the special event selected.
  • Performance-based rules allow you to set rules to increase your sponsored products campaign budgets only when your campaigns meet performance thresholds. You can set performance thresholds using metrics like advertising cost of sales (ACOS), click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate (CVR).

Benefits of Sponsored Display budget rules

  • Helps ensure high-performance campaigns don’t run out of budget
  • Helps prevent missed opportunities
  • Improves the chances of receiving additional clicks and sales
  • Lets you plan budget in advance for holiday and sales events
  • Reduces manual effort

#8: Launch new campaigns using bulksheets

Launch new campaigns using bulksheets

Advertisers can use bulksheets to create and optimize Sponsored Display ad campaigns at scale. The bulksheets include performance metrics, including cost per click (CPC), return on ad spend (ROAS), and conversion rate to support better optimization down to keyword level. This new feature is designed to reduce manual effort and save time. Advertisers can create campaigns in bulk, create multiple ad groups in a campaign and manage thousands of keywords at once. Amazon recommends using bulk sheets for campaign optimizations, campaign creation, and reporting.

Where is the feature available?

North America: United States, Canada, Mexico
South America: Brazil
Europe: Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom
Middle East: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia
Asia Pacific: Australia, India, Japan, Singapore

#9: Amazon files a lawsuit against sellers for posting fake reviews

Last week, Amazon filed a lawsuit against two brokers who are accused of posting incentivized misleading reviews in exchange for money or free products. These two major fake review brokers, AppSally and Rebatest mislead shoppers by having their members try to post fake reviews in stores such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Etsy.

Dharmesh Mehta, VP of WW Customer Trust & Partner Support, Amazon, said, “Fake review brokers attempt to profit by deceiving unknowing consumers and creating an unfair competitive advantage that harms our selling partners. We know how valuable, trustworthy reviews are to our customers. That is why we are holding these review fraudsters accountable. While we prevent millions of suspicious reviews from ever appearing in our store, these lawsuits target the source.”

To ensure a safe and trustworthy shopping experience, Amazon uses machine learning technology, skilled investigators and more than 10,000 employees to protect its store from frauds, which also include fake reviews. In 2020, the retail giant removed more than 200 million suspected fake reviews before they were ever seen by a customer.

It’s still beyond our understanding why sellers opt to incentivize reviews rather than playing it safe by increasing reviews through white hat techniques.

Related blog post: Five white hat tricks to get reviews on Amazon

#10: Amazon’s reminder to sellers regarding price gouging

In order to protect its customers and ensure fair pricing, Amazon has reminded sellers to set fair prices for all their products, especially COVID-related products like masks and test kits.

In 2020, the retail giant removed hundreds of thousands of “high-priced offers” and suspended thousands of sellers who were engaged in price gouging activities. In the same year, sellers were fined for charging exorbitant prices on hand sanitizer and other cleansing products.

Amazon’s Marketplace Fair Pricing policy protects customers from unfair, excessive, and misleading prices. Sellers who don’t comply with this policy may face offer removal or account suspension.

This is a reminder to sellers to check their Pricing Health page and restore any listings that may have been deactivated in accordance with Amazon’s Fair Pricing policy.

#11: FBA shipment policy updates

To streamline their shipment operations, Amazon has introduced a new set of rules. Effective April 1, 2022, if sellers send canceled or deleted shipments to Amazon, their shipment may be rejected, and the ability to send additional shipments may also be suspended.

Amazon has suggested sellers to follow the below guidelines:

  • When creating a shipping plan, specify the quantity, content, and other information that might affect the distribution of the shipments.
  • After approving the shipping plan, be sure to send the shipment to the assigned fulfillment center with the quantity and content specified in the plan.
  • After approving a multi-destination shipping plan, do not delete any part of the shipment or send the shipment along a different route. Make sure that all of the shipments in the multi-destination plan arrive at our fulfillment center within 30 days of our receipt of the first shipment.
  • Make sure your FBA box ID label is clearly visible.

Staying updated is as easy as reading our blogs

There are so many updates every day; it’s hard to keep up. But with our monthly updates blog, you can stay on top of all Amazon developments and changes. Every month we round up the most essential and need-to-know updates for and relating to Amazon sellers. Check in here every month and catch up on what’s making news on Amazon lately.

There’s more. Amazon consultants at eStore Factory collect all the need-to-know updates that affect you as a seller and we post them on our Amazon Seller News page. Bookmark this page and stay on top of everything.

Published by Jimi Patel

Jimi Patel, is a Co-founder and CEO at eStore Factory, an Amazon SPN certified agency that serves as a one-stop solution for all your Amazon business needs. Having helped countless brands increase sales and grow their footprint on Amazon, Jimi provides the most practical and effective solutions for your business. He is highly skilled in developing and executing plans that align with your specific business goals and objectives. When not working, Jimi enjoys practicing yoga and traveling to new places. He is an avid reader and enjoys staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the e-commerce industry.

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