Here is your midweek jetpack of Amazon seller news, updates, and other useful clicks for your e-commerce business…
What if the FTC breaks up Amazon?
(Pros and Cons for Third-Party Sellers)
The looming potential of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) breaking up Amazon has sent ripples through the e-commerce industry. While the primary objective is to promote competition and curb any monopolistic tendencies, such a monumental move will inevitably have both positive and negative repercussions for consumers and third-party sellers.
Let’s delve into the pros and cons for third-party sellers in the wake of a possible Amazon split.
- Greater Independent Potential: Without Amazon’s restrictive policies, sellers could adopt diverse new strategies. With over 2.5 million active sellers on Amazon, the potential for unique, seller-specific innovations is vast. (Think custom subscription models, instant flash-sales, etc that you have full control of.)
- Reduced Fees and Costs: Without the obligation to use Amazon’s strict platform policies and fulfillment services, there may be a mass reduction in associated fees, freeing up funds to reinvest in your businesses.
- Enhanced Bargaining Power: With Amazon possibly vying to retain third-party sellers post-breakup, is it too dreamy to think that us third-party sellers may find ourselves in a stronger negotiating position? This could lead to more favorable terms and conditions or even promotional perks.
- Sales Growth Disruption: Amazon’s cohesive ecosystem has historically facilitated significant growth for third-party sellers. A fragmentation might hinder this smooth growth trajectory, posing challenges in maintaining momentum.
- Logistics Challenges: Sellers have long relied on Amazon’s robust delivery network, which, in 2021, accounted for 38% of all U.S. warehouse automation spending. A breakup could disrupt this efficient system, potentially raising operational costs or causing delivery delays.
- Challenges with Prime Deliveries: The Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program, despite its flaws, was a bridge for third-party sellers to reach Prime customers. Disruptions might make it challenging to meet Prime delivery standards, potentially affecting sales across the board.
- Decreased Platform Value: The collective strength of third-party sellers contributes significantly to Amazon’s value proposition. A potential decrease in this synergy might affect the platform’s overall appeal, possibly impacting customer trust and sales.
Bottom line: Amazon and the FTC might be headed to e-commerce couples therapy, and third-party sellers are caught in the middle. Strap in, keep your hands inside the ride at all times, and brace for what’s next. Cowabunga!
Pinterest, Buzzfeed, and Other Sites to Show Sponsored Amazon Ads
Amazon recently announced that it is expanding Sponsored Product Ads to other apps and websites. Ads appearing in other apps and websites will link back to the Amazon product page.
Early partners to the expanded Sponsored Products offsite ads program include notables such as Pinterest, Buzzfeed, Hearst Newspapers, Raptive, and Ziff Davis brands like Lifehacker and Mashable.
If you advertise your products or brands through sponsored products, this is huge news. You now have the power to capture new shoppers on external platforms.
Amazon Relaunches Ground Shipping Services
After pausing operations in 2020, Amazon has relaunched Amazon Shipping, a ground shipping service which enables sellers to deliver orders made through Amazon and other ecommerce sites within two to five days, seven days a week.
It was originally launched to a small group of sellers, but it now being extended to more.
Amazon Shipping covers domestic shipments within the contiguous U.S., and according to Amazon’s website, “taps into the U.S. Postal Service to fully cover all delivery destinations”.
So far, there’s no mention of rates for this service on Amazon’s website. Check out the features here.
Amazon Will Charge an Additional 2% Fee for SFP Orders
Starting October 1, 2023, Amazon will charge an additional 2% fee on all Seller-Fulfilled Prime orders. This 2% fee comes on top of Amazon’s existing listing fee of up to 15% for selling via the platform.
FTC to Amazon:
Amazon says that the additional fee is needed to recoup program investment costs, as well as to develop and run the SFP program.
Totally not a nudge towards Amazon FBA, right?
Read the full story here.
AI Caramba! This Week in AI + Ecomm
- AI Power Boost: a recent study by the IHL Group, an analyst firm, suggests that AI-driven transformations in the retail sector will benefit Amazon and Walmart to the tune of $580 billion by 2029. This substantial gain is projected to come from boosted sales, enhanced profit margins, and reductions in administrative and selling expenses.
- AI Review Management: Recently, Amazon rolled out the use of generative AI tech to summarize customer product reviews on its website. While the benefits for shoppers are clear, sellers must be aware of the pros and cons and its impact on seller reputation and conversion rates.
Important Amazon Updates for Yo’ Bad Seller Self
Early Amazon Reminder: 2023 Holiday Peak Fulfillment Fee for FBA
Amazon has already issued an early reminder for its annual Holiday Peak Fulfillment Fee for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) that will apply from October 15, 2023 to January 14, 2024.
The Holiday Peak Fulfillment Fee, which is basically the normal fee + .20-cent surcharge, will apply to US FBA, Canada FBA, Remote Fulfillment with FBA, and Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) items except for US FBA items priced under $10.
FBA Fulfillment Fee Changes (Excluding Apparel)
FBA Fulfillment Fee Changes for Apparel
Read the full announcement here.
Amazon Beta Testing “Disable Evaluation of Customer-Returned Items” Tool
According to this Reddit thread, Amazon is currently beta testing a feature which will allow sellers to disable evaluation of customer-returned items. By default, customer-returned items are evaluated by Amazon to determine if they’re still in sellable condition. If they are, they are returned to the seller’s available inventory. If this is disabled, customer-returned items are marked “unfulfillable”.
If you are a retail or online arbitrage seller, this may be a great feature for you. It could prevent problematic customer-returned products from being returned to the seller’s fulfillable inventory, preventing customer complaints and listing/account suspensions.
To disable returns evaluation, follow these steps:
- Go to “FBA inventory evaluation settings.”
- Select “Disable returns evaluation for all ASINs” or “Disable returns evaluation for select ASINs.”
- Click “Update.”
For more information, go to the following help pages:
– FBA inventory evaluation settings:
– Terms and conditions for disabling returns evaluation:
The feature though, is still in Beta mode as mentioned, and the use of the feature is by invite-only.
This Week in Seller School
Here is a roundup of learning resources for this week:
- The Real Impact of Returns by ecommerceChris
- What Is Frustration-Free Packaging on Amazon & Why Does It Matter by Seller Interactive
- The Mobile Conundrum: Optimizing Amazon Listings for Smartphone Shoppers by AMZ One Step
- Amazon Advertising Reports: The Marketer’s Guide to Growth by sellerapp
- How to Source a “Going-Out-of-Business Sale Successfully by Full-Time FBA
- Amazon PPC Optimization Strategies to Improve Your Conversion Rates by Helium 10
- Navigating GS1 Standards to Safeguard Your Brand and Conquer Marketplace Challenges by Seller Performance Solutions
- Amazon FBA 2023 Beginners Guide with Chris Grant by Buy Box Bandits
Upcoming Seller Events📍
Here are a few upcoming industry events that you might be interested in. Slick that hair back and start mingling, playa!
White Label World Expo NYC (August 29-30, 2023) – New York City, NY
“Boost your product line into an industry leading brand.”
AWS Innovate – Data Edition (August 30, 2023)
“Unlock the value of your data with an end-to-end strategy.”
Amazon August Webinars (August 31, 2023) – Virtual
Learn how to use self-service advertising products such as Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display, and Stores to build your brand on Amazon.
AMZ United (August 31, 2023) – Newark, New Jersey
The premiere wholesale-focused Amazon conference.
Chicago eCommerce Summit (September 6, 2023) – Chicago, IL
“A one-day gathering of Chicago’s eCommerce experts and decision-makers across retailers, brands, merchants, and solution providers.”
Amazon Accelerate (September 13-14, 2023) – Seattle, Washington
Amazon’s premiere annual seller conference.
RISE Amazon Sellers Conference (October 9-11, 2023) – Miami, FL
RISE will bring you the latest insights, trends, and tactics that will help you stay ahead of the Amazon curve.
Seller Velocity Conference (October 11-12, 2023) – New York City, NY
2 days focused on optimizing performance to drive brand growth
Amazon Ads Unboxed (October 24-26, 2023) – New York City, NY
Learn about Amazon’s newest solutions and innovations to help brands connect with their customers, expand their business, and prepare for the future.
Other Quick Clicks
- TikTok continues Amazon-like push into commerce with fulfillment services in the UK
- Amazon expands BNPL offering to other retailers’ sites
- INFORM Consumers Act: Challenges faced by Amazon sellers
- Amazon’s shipping push deepens last-mile battle vs UPS, FedEx, and platforms
- Hardware holdouts: Why Amazon is winning the hardware store wars
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, comments or violent reactions, let us know below!
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