Amazon is ever-changing. From the termination of the Early reviewer program to the introduction of a new tool to improve account health, 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. Continue reading for more Amazon news and happenings.
#1: Amazon announces Prime Day Lightning Deal submissions & other information
Unlike last year’s event, which fell at the beginning of Q4, Prime Day 2021 is going to take place somewhere around July. Despite being exclusive to “prime members,” Amazon Prime Day is a huge opportunity to attract millions of shoppers who are looking to snag themselves a deal. With the event getting nearer, Amazon has shared some information that can help sellers prep ahead. Here’s the message sellers received:
With Prime Day approaching, please be aware that we will be issuing U.S. purchase orders (POs) in the beginning of May for approved Prime Day deals. You will continue to receive regular, non-Prime-Day POs throughout May and June. Please fulfill these regular, non-Prime Day POs as usual.
Immediately following Prime Day, you should expect to receive out-of-stock (OOS) replenishment orders. Confirm those POs as soon as possible with your available inventory.
All Prime Day deal inventory should be ready to ship by mid-May to reduce the risk of OOS during the event. For collect vendors, please remember to route early, accurately, and completely, and be ready to ship by 8 a.m. on your freight ready date (FRD).
To ensure a smooth supply chain and flow of shipments, please make sure to review the following important notes:
Ship/delivery windows will be extended +8 days on deal POs to allow for more prep time due to the increase in order volume.
We require all Less than truckload (LTL) freight to be palletized. Small Parcel shipments should not be palletized.
- Submit deals by Friday, April 16Ensure your catalog is accurate.
- Update Vendor Central with correct operating hours and night/weekend availability
- Confirm your purchase orders within 24 hours
- Tell us as soon as possible about products you will not be able to supply
- Proactively manage against auto-cancellations
- Actively manage transportation and enable your carrier to request the earliest possible appointment
- Cut a case on Vendor Central to escalate transportation-related issues and pickup delays. Carriers can request a callback via the Click 2 Call (C2C) functionality in Relay 4 Drivers or Carrier Central for appointment delays/reschedules.
Lightning deal submissions will open on March 8th and will close on April 16th. To submit a lightning deal, go to Merchandizing > Promotion. Click on Lightning Deal and select the I want Amazon to consider my deal for Prime Day checkbox. You will be charged a merchandising fee of $500 per deal and lightning deals that run during the Prime Day week and not on Prime Day will charge $300.
Related posts: Prepping For Prime Day Q4 2020
#2: Check HTML tags on your listings
It seems that Amazon is tweaking the product detail pages yet again. With the goal of offering the best shopping experience, the retail giant always comes up with new changes. Sometimes, the search algorithm is updated, or a whole package of new guidelines is introduced. However, sellers are rarely informed beforehand. Most of the time, sellers notice when there is a dip in ranking or when their products are suspended. This time, thankfully, Amazon decided to inform the sellers proactively. The retail giant is prohibiting the use of HTML in product descriptions. Amazon said,
“To provide security and versatility to customers to list products on non-HTML devices, after 26 May 2021, Amazon will not support the use of HTML tags on detail pages and discourages any use of HTML content on detail pages as outlined in Product detail page rules.
Any detail page (product description) feature containing HTML tags that are not supported after 26 May 2021 will stop showing HTML formatting on the detail page. 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.
Submit ASIN listing updates ahead of this change for any of your listings that have an HTML tag, through Seller Central or your usual channel for updating details of an ASIN.
For more information, go to the Product detail page rules.”
Here are some of the HTML tags you should immediately remove from your descriptions:
This change demands much better optimization of content. It is therefore always recommended to hire Amazon listing optimization service in order to avoid any surprises or suspensions.
#3: Termination of Early Review Program
On March 5th, Amazon terminated its Early Review Program and will stop offering the service to sellers currently enrolled in the program on April 20, 2021. Launched in 2018, this initiative was intended to help newly launched products acquire early reviews. In the program, Amazon encouraged customers who have already bought a product to share their honest opinion. It was a win-win situation for both the seller and the customer as sellers can easily get initial reviews needed to get even a modicum of sales and shoppers get a reward for sharing their opinion.
According to Jungle Scout, about 17% of the sellers used the Early Reviewer Program. But Amazon will no longer accept any new enrollment and the program will be completely phased out by April 25. Instead, the retail giant is pushing sellers to its existing review programs such as Amazon Vine & Request A Review Button. The main reason for the demise of this program can be because it never was as successful as other initiatives like Amazon Vine. Vine was superior in many ways – for starters, it’s free. Sellers had to pay $60 as a fee for the Early Reviewer Program and the review count was restricted to 5. On the other hand, Vine reviews are expected to appear on your detail page in as little as within a few days, while in the Early Reviewer Program, reviews took a couple of months to appear on site.
Related posts: Five White Hat Tricks To Get Reviews On Amazon
#4: Amazon’s New Manage Your Customer Engagement Tool Helps Increase Retention via Email
In the early weeks of March 2021, Amazon announced the launch of a new tool called “Manage Your Customer Engagement.” This tool allows sellers to:
- Drive engagement with their existing shoppers
- Increase customer retention with the help of emails
- Build a loyal relationship with your shoppers
- Improve visibility of your products
- Announce new product launches
Manage Your Customer Engagement Tool is available to brand registered sellers that have Amazon seller storefront pages with followers. To set up Manage Your Customer Engagement, create a post that features quality content and increases your followers. To get started, upload your brand logo in white background (JPG) or transparent background (PNG). Add your recently-launched products (must-have been available on Amazon in the last 6 months). Upload lifestyle images that showcase the benefits of the product. Select the time range – this can be a five-day period from Monday to Friday. You can now send your email campaign.
#5: New tool to improve account health and self-fulfilled experience
Amazon has recently introduced Customer Experience Feature Guide to find tools that will protect your account health, improve the metrics of your self-fulfilled orders, and provide customers with a great shopping experience. The guide includes several tips to create more compelling offers, best practices for order processing, and levers to simplify your post-order service. You can also use the guide to access webinars to help you set up your business for success.
Sellers can easily access the Customer Experience Feature Guide in Seller Central.
#6: Amazon has introduced a creative asset library in A+ Content Builder
Now you can create Amazon Enhanced Brand Content design more efficiently and quickly! Amazon has rolled out a new feature in the A+ content builder called the ‘Creative Assets’ library.
You can access the creative library while you’re uploading A+ Content. When you click on the module to upload a new image, a library of your previously used images will pop up along with their exact dimensions, which is really useful for finding the perfect fit. You can also edit the Alt Text of the images, which is used for screen reader applications.
You can use this tool to find all the images you’ve used in A+ Content, making it easier to locate and access it. This feature works great if you have several assets that are the same. This also ensures that all of your assets are available to all the users and your Amazon agency within your Amazon account!
#7: Amazon FBA Fees in 2021 Are Going Up From June 2021
Just live every year, Amazon has announced its fee updates for 2021. Here is a summary of fee changes:
- Standard Size Amazon FBA fee increases for 2021 have a median increase of 4.4%.
- The retail giant has eliminated the 1 lbs packaging weight for oversize items
- No increment in the storage rates. This is a great relief as Amazon’s last storage fees increase was of 8.7%
- Removal fees have increased by 28%
These changes will take effect June 1, 2021, except where otherwise noted. For more information, see here.
#8: Sponsored ads and Stores launches in Singapore
Amazon Sponsored Ads and Storefront is now launched in Singapore. Whether you are launching a new product or want to scale your existing product, sellers and vendors can now launch and begin leveraging Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Stores on Amazon.sg. Sponsored Product Ads appear amongst the search result pages and on product detail pages and are an effective way to increase product visibility. Sponsored Brand ads appear on the top and side of the search result pages and can help generate awareness and consideration for your business in Singapore. Storefront, on the other hand, helps raise your brand profile in the marketplace.
If you are expanding to Singapore or want to improve your marketplace presence in Amazon.sg, you should immediately sit with your Amazon marketing consultants and plan a strategy.
#9: Probably everything you see on detail page an ad
Apparently, your battle doesn’t end after bringing a shopper to your detail page. Advertisements are quickly replacing Amazon’s personalized product recommendations. Exactly below the product images and add to cart section and above the description and review section, you will find multiple rows of products similar to yours. That’s not all; you’ll see “sponsored” product recommendations on the top of the page and right below the “Add To Cart” button.
Amazon’s customer-centric approach is the gold standard in the online retail world and it has been used as an example by all the competitors. To give its customer the best experience possible, it never used to temper with the organic results. The search result positions were based on paid advertisement + editorial recommendation. But nowadays, it seems to be fading. Instead of relying on factors like relevancy, it’s prioritizing products based on ad spend.
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.