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8 posts from August 2009

August 27, 2009

Missed Yesterday's Webinar? Watch it Here.

If you happened to miss yesterday's webinar on an Introduction to Product Ads, you can view it here.

Get a great overview of what Product Ads is, the benefits, how it works and what you need to get started today. We were able to answer quite a lot of questions (some quite tough) which had us navigating through Seller Central, Amazon.com and Amazonservices.com.  Look out for the question which almost stumped the experts!
 
Happy Viewing!
 
-Michelle

Preparing for Success on Amazon.com

Ready. Set. Sell!

If you’re new to Selling on Amazon, welcome. You're about to embark on a venture that can put your products in front of tens of millions of customers. Be prepared to enter a selling channel focused on world-class customer service, fast and efficient fulfillment, and great products at great prices.

At Amazon, customer experience is always our top priority. When you become an Amazon Seller, we ask that you, too, put the customer first. Present your products according to our approved format. Ship products on time. Give customers the experience that Amazon (and all Amazon Sellers) must provide to maintain a safe and trusted online retail environment. Be "customer-obsessed." We think you'll find that it's not only good for customers, it's good for business.

Selling on Amazon - Dos and Don'ts

To help you get started, we're sharing a few tips and best practices-and a few rules-so you can hit the ground running.

When you sell on Amazon be prepared to:

Provide an Amazon-tailored Seller Profile
Customers want to buy from a business they know and trust. So when you put together your Selling on Amazon profile, don't simply cut-and-paste information from other locations. Create specific business practices and customer-facing information related to Selling on Amazon.

Make Sure Your Listings Meet Amazon Requirements
Our successful sellers have found that listing products in the right categories and with the correct information is the best start for good customer service and strong sales. Correct listings and maintaining inventory to be able to fulfill orders is critical. Amazon customers expect to receive the product they selected, packaged well, and shipped quickly. Set up shipping charges, sale pricing, and promotions with Amazon tools; don't include any of this information in your product listings.

Align Your Shipping and Fulfillment Policies
The best way to avoid disappointing customers, is to set expectations and then meet them. When you set up your account, you'll find information about shipping expectations that you will integrate into your existing systems. You'll also find that you're required to confirm product shipments to keep customers informed about the progress of their orders.

Handle Returns and Refunds Gracefully
No one looks forward to taking returns and making refunds, but it is part of retailing and a requirement of the Amazon sales process. Taking returns gracefully can lead to better feedback about your customer service.

Communicate with Amazon Customers Appropriately
Selling on Amazon requires less communication with customers than most other channels. Establish a communications plan that meets Amazon guidelines. (Note that e-mail communications-other than as necessary for order fulfillment and related customer service-are handled by Amazon.) Of course, all communications must be courteous, relevant, and appropriate.

Monitor Performance and Metrics
Amazon will measure your performance on the platform. We'll look at customer service, feedback, A-to-z claims, chargebacks, order cancellations and refunds, late shipping and policy compliance. Great sellers find these metrics help them manage and monitor their business on Amazon and beyond.

When you Sell on Amazon you must not...

Register for Multiple Seller Accounts
When registering, you will be creating a single selling account for your company. Operating and maintaining multiple seller accounts is prohibited.

Divert Amazon Customers
Do not include URLs on any listings, images or supporting information, and do not hyperlink to your site from any part of the Amazon process.

Market to Amazon Customers
Your company must not market or advertise to Amazon customers, nor divert them in any way from the Amazon sales processes-not even in otherwise permitted communications. Make sure everyone on your team, from marketing to fulfillment, is aware of these requirements.

Bribe Customers for Positive Feedback
Bribing customers to leave positive feedback or to remove negative feedback is not permitted.

  

Help Along the Way

Ready to get started? Once you register, you'll get access to Seller Central, our web-based seller tool. There you'll find lots of additional information-tutorials, webinars, FAQs and other resources-to help you make the most of your Selling on Amazon business.

For more information and links to register, go to AmazonServices.com

August 24, 2009

Attending this year’s Shop.org?

In a few weeks, we will be in Sin City at Shop.org's Annual Summit from September 21-23, 2009. Shop.org Summit09

Here's your chance to meet with representatives from different Amazon.com programs and let us know how selling with Product Ads has worked for you.


Stop by Booth #313 and pick up an invitation to our cocktail party we're hosting after the opening reception.  We look forward to seeing you there!


-Michelle S. and Kevin

August 21, 2009

Upcoming webinars you shouldn't miss

August 25th - 10:00am
Checkout by Amazon: Making it easy for millions of Amazon customers to buy on your site
In this webinar we will introduce you to Checkout by Amazon from Amazon Payments. Amazon Payments offers a set of payment and checkout solutions enabling tens of millions of Amazon customers to complete purchases on your website using the information stored in their Amazon.com accounts. If you are a merchant, a solution provider or a developer working with merchants, this webinar is for you. This live webinar will wrap up with a Q&A session where will answer your questions. 
Sign up Free Webinar

August 26th - 10am
Product Ads on Amazon - A new way to drive traffic to your website 
What is Product Ads? Product Ads gives you access to Amazon.com customers by driving traffic to your website where you control the brand and buying experience.  This program is an excellent compliment to WebStore by Amazon, Checkout by Amazon and Selling on Amazon. If you have a WebStore or your own website that offers Checkout by Amazon, Products Ads can drive additional traffic to your website (where customers can use their Amazon account credentials to checkout).  If you are Selling on Amazon, consider using Product Ads to sell your personalized or customized product or products which can only be made available on your website.  
Sign up - Free Webinar

Keeping Your Account Active on Amazon.com

With the holidays approaching rapidly, this might be a good time to do a review of your business on Amazon.com to be sure you know how to manage to the performance metrics. Falling short on these can lead to suspension of sales, and it is much easier to stay ahead of that than to dig out later. For more information about the basics, see Putting it All Together

T

 he number one customer metric is, of course, feedback. Keep your business on Amazon.com active and vital by ensuring that the Amazon.com buyers experience the same great customer service no matter who is selling. That means the product is as advertised, it arrives on time and in great shape, and if there are any questions about the transaction the service is fast, fair and friendly. The path to trouble is when part of that fails. Feedback is the ultimate measure of the experience for each individual buyer, but our systems also measure other aspects of your business practices on Amazon that are indicators of problems along the sale-order-fulfillment-adjustment lifecycle.

To avoid performance actions – warning, suspension and block – manage your business in a way that includes “reading” the cues from the Customer Metrics in Seller Central. Go to that report page as often as you do the inventory and orders page, which should be often. You’ll be maintaining current inventory, updating product details, managing orders, shipping, responding to buyers, confirming fulfillment and making adjustments when necessary – a daily minimum check is advised. Add to this reading feedback, responding to claims and chargebacks, reviewing stats for other customer metrics, and checking for performance notifications to monitor the health of your business; this will better prepare you to make fast business adjustments as needed.

Do not wait for those warnings from Amazon Seller Performance. For example, our audit might find that you have a high rate of refunds occurring on your orders. Reading feedback regularly can help you fine-tune your business practices. Although we encourage buyers to do product reviews separately, repeated comments in buyer feedback about the quality of the product and having to return it for a refund may be about the product, but they also reflect poorly on your business choices. Perhaps you want to find a different supplier for that product. Or if you find that you are making too many refunds because the product wasn’t what was expected, check to make sure you’ve listed your product correctly.

For late shipping, the same type of process applies. Don’t wait for a warning or suspension that says you have too many orders shipping late. Check for orders daily, be aware of the service level requested (standard or expedited), ship to those service levels, and confirm your fulfillment quickly. Late shipping and high pre-fulfillment cancellation rates indicate that your company is not providing the customer service Amazon.com buyers expect. It may be due to problems in your shipping systems, running out of inventory, or problems with your fulfillment upload. Notice these before buyers and Amazon systems do to avoid problems.

Beyond the measures on the Customer Metrics page, understand the policies for doing business on Amazon.com found in your seller Help Pages. Even if you’ve been selling a while, take a moment for a refresher. More importantly, make sure everyone on your team knows the policies. You don’t want someone on your customer service team saying that a buyer can only refund 10 days after the sale when you’ve agreed to take refunds up to 30 days. And you don’t want someone in the marketing group sending emails about your website when such diverting of customers is prohibited.

S

tuff happens. You’re a great seller, but something has happened that has triggered a performance notice. Don’t Panic! Read the notification with the Customer Metrics and policies in mind. Be proactive, not defensive. The point of the warnings is to alert you to needed corrections and first suspensions are a “time out” so your company can get back to green.

Always respond to the notifications professionally and with information related to the business at hand. This helps the investigator at the other end of that email queue evaluate the situation. They do not know everything about every business, so the more precise you can be, the more smoothly the process works. Got a suspension and didn’t see warnings? Check your settings in Seller Central and your email processes at your end to be sure there is nothing interrupting the flow of communication.

If a Plan of Action is required, fairly evaluate your business on Amazon and determine where you can improve to avoid the same issue in the future. Not just a band-aid, but a real change that means it won’t happen again. This will improve your chances of staying active and being successful in the future.

Remember: the goal is a great buying experience. We all need buyers to trust buying online to increase business for everyone. Look at this as a way to improve your business or find process gaps you may not have noticed before. Staying on top of ALL the business metrics, including customer metrics, knowing the policies, and handling issues proactively are the keys to staying active on Amazon.com – whether at the holidays or all year round. Be prepared!

August 20, 2009

Be in the Know with Product Ads Newsletters

Interested in reading about the latest Amazon Product Ads news? 

You can opt in to receive our monthly newsletters to learn about our newest product releases and tips to help drive traffic to your website. Simply provide your email address and confirm your subscription to our newsletters.

Sign up today by clicking here.

-Michelle S.

August 11, 2009

Fulfillment by Amazon Holiday Webinar Tomorrow! Sign Up Now

Don't miss the Plan for a Successful Holiday Season with Fulfillment by Amazon webinar

 

Learn how to leverage one of the most advanced fulfillment networks in the world while getting your business Holiday-ready. You sell it, we ship it and provide customer service support. In this webinar you will hear from Fulfillment by Amazon experts on:

• Scaling for Holiday Peak – Manage Your Costs

• Delivery Promise – Your Items Qualify to Ship Closer to Holiday Cut Off Dates on Amazon.com

• Inventory Alerts: How to use Them So You Don’t Run Out of Inventory During Peak

• Using Amazon Customer Service that Scales – Top Rated Customer Support to Handle Peak Season


In this webinar learn how your business can now benefit from Amazon's 10+ years of expertise in shipping millions of orders to millions of customers.

Reserve your seat now

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