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10 posts from December 2011

December 27, 2011

Are you taking some time off for the holidays?

Whenever you take time off, you can set your listings to inactive until you are ready to fulfill orders again.

This prevents customers from placing orders that might not be fulfilled right away. Not only is this the right customer experience, it can also help you relax and enjoy your time off.

When you are ready to sell again, just set your listings back to active. Within an hour your listings will again be available for sale on Amazon.com.

To learn more, search "vacation" in Seller Help.

Happy selling (and resting up) as the year comes to a close!

December 19, 2011

Winter weather and shipping complications

Snowstorm6

Severe winter weather
can suddenly complicate
shipping and delivery.

 

If you think you can't reliably meet your current delivery promises due to severe weather, consider following one or more of these 4 tips:

  1. Check your shippers' websites frequently and keep buyers informed about possible delivery delays. Informed buyers are less likely to leave negative feedback about their orders.
  2. Temporarily remove the option to have orders shipped internationally. For more information, search on "shipping settings" in seller Help.
  3. Temporarily remove your products from the website by setting all of your listings to "Inactive" status. See Taking a break after Christmas?
  4. If your power goes out and you can't ship orders, telephone buyers at your first opportunity.

 Snowstorm4

 

December 15, 2011

Handling Post-Order Problems

Snowman The majority of holiday sales on Amazon.com go well, but occasionally you may encounter a problem. Let’s look at some of the most common things that could go wrong with an order and the ways to handle them.

I:  The buyer has made a mistake with an order and wants to fix it.

Below are the most common things buyers may ask you to do to fix an order and how you can respond:

Cancel the order

  • If you have not yet shipped the order, you can cancel it. Buyers only have a 30-minute window to cancel their own orders, but you can cancel them up until the time you ship them.
  • If you have already shipped the order, you can't cancel it, but you can ask the buyer to return it for a refund. It's best to wait until you have the item in hand again before you return funds to the buyer.

Upgrade the shipping

  • If you have not yet shipped the order, it is up to you to decide whether to upgrade the shipping at the buyer’s request. Sellers aren't obligated to provide a service that a buyer hasn't paid for or to accept promises of future reimbursement from buyers (sellers can't invoice buyers for extra costs, including postage).
  • If you have already shipped the order, provide the buyer with information about the shipping method you used, give them a realistic timeframe for delivery, and ask them to be patient. Here's the information Amazon provides to buyers about delivery expectations: Marketplace Shipping Times.

Ship the order to a different address

  • If you have not yet shipped the order, and the buyer says they cannot receive the order at the address they provided originally, you should cancel the order. The buyer can then return to Amazon.com to place a new order using the correct address. Amazon policy requires sellers to ship only to the address provided in their Seller Account.
  • If you have already shipped the order and the buyer states that they won't receive the package at the address they provided, you can’t cancel the order but it may still be possible for the buyer to get the package re-routed if they know the recipients. Packages should be routed back to you and you can then refund the buyer.

II:  The buyer hasn't received the item they ordered.

As you might expect, buyers are often anxious to receive their holiday orders and will contact you to check on the shipment status.

  • In many cases, the shipment isn't late but may not have arrived as early as the buyer hoped. It's possible that the package didn't arrive at the earliest estimated date. In the case of "slow" packages, you will often need to explain the delivery time frames.
  • If the outside delivery date has passed, the best solution is to refund the buyer. Compensating buyers for lost shipments is simply a cost of doing business.
  • In the case of a "lost" item arriving in an empty box, you should contact the shipper to report the issue and ask about the options available to you. For a "late" item that may be lost, you may want to engage your carrier for assistance in locating the package and moving it along.
  • For an item that never arrives and is truly lost, you may be still able to recover your costs if you purchased insurance originally. You will need to determine your own level of acceptable loss when deciding to insure packages.

III: The buyer has received the order but wants to return it.

Here are the basics on handling returns:

  • As per your selling agreement, you have to accept returns within the guidelines spelled out in the the current Amazon refund policies, even if the item was exactly as described and the buyer simply no longer wants it.
  • Returns of new items are different from returns of damaged/defective/materially different items.
  • Buyer returns should be postmarked within 30 days of the original shipment sent by the seller.
  • Returns should be posted to the address included on the outside of each package. It's a good idea to also include your return address inside the package and to confirm it with the buyer before a return is shipped.
  • In cases where there is nothing wrong with an item, buyers should cover the cost of return shipping.
  • In cases where an item is damaged or defective, or when it is materially different than the item described on the product detail page, sellers should cover the costs of return shipping. You can do this by issuing a concession to the buyer in advance of the return.
  • Sellers can charge restocking fees (up to 20%) for returned items that are not damaged, defective or materially different. These fees are meant to cover the extra handling costs to take the item back into inventory and relist it for sale.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions about how to deal with order issues, please see our Seller Help pages.

December 13, 2011

Taking a break after Christmas?

If you take a few days off from processing orders after the busy holiday season, remember: you can set your listings to "Inactive" until you are ready to fulfill orders again. This prevents buyers from placing orders that might not be fulfilled right away.

When you are ready to sell again, just set your listings back to "Active." Within an hour your listings will again be available for sale on Amazon.com.

It's easy to set your Listings Status to "Inactive" in the account information page under Settings in your seller account. To learn more, search on "vacation" in seller Help.

December 08, 2011

Amazon Product Ads featured in Reuters News Article

While we’re heads-down focused on serving our customers, we’re always excited when our programs garner praise from industry analysts and experts. Yesterday, Reuters published an article about Amazon’s advertising businesses titled “Amazon's advertising push gains steam”. The article highlights the strong performance many retailers are seeing with Amazon Product Ads.

To learn more about Product Ads or create an account to advertise your products on Amazon, check out the Product Ads Homepage.

Manage Your Inventory Proactively

Holly Managing your inventory proactively is one of the smartest things you can do during the holidays. Here are some tried-and-true suggestions from experienced sellers:

  • Determine which of your products may be most popular during the holidays and make sure you have enough stock available at all times.
  • Match your items by ISBN/UPC to the correct product detail pages. For example, if you list a book, your copy must be listed against the ASIN for the product with the exact same title, author, binding, edition, year of publication, publisher, and ISBN. Mismatched listings can result in poor customer experiences which can lower your Customer Metrics.
  • Keep your listing details up to date. When you need to, use the tools in your Seller Account to edit the item description, item price, or the shipping methods you offer. Up-to-date listing details mean fewer potential order problems.
  • If you use inventory uploads, remember that all items in a feed must be processed before any of the changes appear on Amazon.com. If you have time-sensitive changes, upload those first in a separate feed, and upload changes that are not time-sensitive in a later feed.

Learn more about managing and relisting your items.

December 06, 2011

Returns, A-to-z Guarantee Claims and Chargebacks

Snowman For most sellers, A-to-z Guarantee claims and service chargebacks are a rare occurrence. However, when they do occur, be sure to take action to resolve them promptly. You may also occasionally need to issue refunds, accept a return, or cancel an order.

Here are some examples of when you may need to refund, accept returns, or cancel orders:

  • You can't fulfill an order or part of an order.
  • The customer doesn't receive your order.
  • The customer returns an item.
  • The customer files a credit card chargeback or an A-to-z Guarantee Claim.
  • The customer requests you cancel an order.
  • The buyer is unable to receive the order at the address provided.

It's a good idea to check your seller account daily during the holidays so you can proactively take action on any order issues.

For lots of information on returns, refunds, canceling orders, A-to-z Guarantee claims and chargebacks, see our Help pages, which are available to you 24 hours a day.

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