Selling on Amazon For Dummies book cover

Selling on Amazon For Dummies

By: Deniz Olmez and Joseph Kraynak Published: 07-15-2020

Sell on Amazon and Make Them Do the Heavy Lifting

Selling on Amazon has become one of the most popular ways to earn income online. In fact, there are over 2 million people selling on Amazon worldwide. Amazon allows any business, no matter how small, to get their products in front of millions of customers and take advantage of the largest fulfillment network in the world. It also allows businesses to leverage their first-class customer service and storage capabilities.

Selling on Amazon For Dummies walks owners through the process of building a business on Amazon—a business that can be built almost anywhere in the world, as long as you have access to a computer and the internet.

  • The basics of selling on Amazon
  • Using FBA
  • Getting started
  • Deciding what to sell
  • Conducting product research
  • Finding your way around Seller Central
  • Product sourcing, shipping and returns, Amazon subscription, fees, sales tax, and more
  • How to earn ROIs (Returns on Your Investments)

Selling on Amazon For Dummies provides the strategies, tools, and education you need, including turnkey solutions focused on sales, marketing, branding, and marketplace development to analyze and maximize opportunities.

Articles From Selling on Amazon For Dummies

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Selling on Amazon For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-22-2022

Selling on Amazon is a broad topic that covers everything from researching products to sell and sourcing products to listing products for sale, fulfilling orders, and serving customers after a sale. This Cheat Sheet highlights a few key topics.

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How to Add Your Trademark to the Amazon Brand Registry

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

If you have an approved trademark, as an Amazon seller you can create an Amazon Brand Registry account and add your trademark to the Brand Registry, assuming you meet the following program requirements: You have an active trademark that appears on your products and packaging. You can verify that you’re the owner of the trademark. (You have a trademark registration certificate from the USPTO or you applied for trademark registration through Amazon’s IP Accelerator.) You have an Amazon Brand Registry account, which you can create using your existing Seller Central credentials. In the following discussion, we list the benefits of having your brand registered on Amazon and provide instructions on how to add your brand to Amazon’s Brand Registry. The benefits of Amazon Brand Registry Amazon’s Brand Registry delivers several benefits to brand owners, including the following: Accurate brand representation: The listings you create for your branded products are the listings shoppers see. You’re the only seller who can change the content of your branded product listings. Brand protection: Amazon prohibits other sellers from using your brand and provides you with search and report tools to identify potential infringements and report them to Amazon. In addition, Amazon’s predictive protection mechanisms identify and remove any content that’s suspected of infringing on your brand or providing inaccurate content about your branded products. 24/7/365 support: As a registered brand owner, you have access to Amazon support teams 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days of the year to answer questions and address concerns. Brand-building tools: Registered brands have access to Amazon’s brand building tools including A+ Pages, Sponsored Brands, Stores and the Brand Dashboard. Adding your brand to Amazon’s Brand Registry When you’re ready to add your brand/trademark to Amazon’s Brand Registry, take the following steps: 1. Go to Brand Services and press the Get Started button. 2. Review the eligibility requirements and press the Enroll Now button. 3. Select the country-specific marketplace where you want to enroll your brand. 4. After the Tell Us About Your Business page appears, enter the requested details about your business and press the Create Account button. 5. From the Amazon Brand Registry page, press the Enroll a New Brand button. Amazon asks you to confirm your brand eligibility, as shown. 6. Answer the following questions and press the Next button: Do your products and packaging have a permanently affixed brand name and logo? Do you intend to enroll more than ten brands in the Brand Registry? Do you have a brand name to be registered? After you click the Next button, the Intellectual Property page appears, as shown. 7. Enter the requested information, as follows, and press the Next button: Trademark type: Open the list and select Word Mark or Design Mark. Mark name: Click in the box and type the mark name as it appears on your trademark registration certificate. Trademark number: Click in the box and type the trademark number that appears on your trademark registration certificate. Trademark office: Open the list and select the country or region from which the trademark registration certificate was issued. After you click the Next button, the Tell Us More About page appears, as shown. 8. Answer the following questions about your trademark, products, seller and vendor accounts, and manufacturing and licensing: Do you products have UPCs, ISBNs, EANs, or other GTINs? If you sell your products online, let us know where (optional). Does your brand have an existing relationship with Amazon? If it does, specify your role: Seller, Vendor, or Both. Otherwise, choose No, my brand doesn’t have an existing seller or vendor relationship with Amazon. Does your brand manufacture products? Does your brand license the trademarks to others who manufacture products associated with your intellectual property? Where are your brand’s products manufactured? Select your answers from the lists provided. Where are your brand’s products distributed? Select your answers from the lists provided. 9. Press the Submit Application button. Amazon sends an email message with the case ID and another with a verification code to the contact you specified on your trademark application (you or your attorney). If you don’t receive these messages, ask your attorney to forward them to you. 10. Log in to Seller Central and scroll down to the Manage Your Case Log section. 11. Open the case message that applies to your adding your brand to the Brand Registry and choose the option to reply to the message. 12. Type or paste the verification code into your reply and choose the option to send the message. The Amazon Brand Registry support team completes the brand registration process and notifies you of its completion within one or two days.

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Manage Your Amazon Seller Account with the Mobile App

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

Success as an Amazon seller relies on providing superior customer service 24/7/365. It requires being responsive to customer questions and complaints whether the customer tries to contact you during or outside business hours and even when you’re on vacation with your family. To stay in close contact with Amazon and your Amazon customers, consider downloading and installing the Amazon Seller app on your smartphone. With this free app, you can do the following: Receive Amazon notifications and address critical issues when you’re away from your office Snap, edit, and save product photos using your mobile device Scan products with or without a barcode using visual search, so you can easily create product listings for new products Conduct sale analysis and track your sales growth Manage orders, inventory, and advertising and promotional campaigns Contact Amazon Seller support when you need help Share the app with your team to become even more responsive to customers and have more eyes on opportunities and critical issues Where to get the Amazon Seller Mobile App The Amazon Seller Mobile App is currently available for iOS (Apple) and Android devices, and it’s free to install and use. To get the app, go to the app store for your device, search for “amazon seller,” and, when the Amazon Seller app appears, press the Install button. You can find the Amazon Seller app at any of the following App Stores: Apple’s App Store Google Play Amazon App Store After installing the app, press the button to run it and then select your primary marketplace (country). When prompted to log on, enter your login credentials (username and password), just as you would do to log on to your Amazon seller account from a computer. How to navigate the Amazon Seller Mobile App The Amazon Seller Mobile App has many of the same features and functionality as are built into the version you access via your computer’s web browser; everything is just presented a little differently. Most of the opening screen is dedicated to displaying your recent sales performance over the past seven days. Just above the main area is a bar you can swipe left or right to view key information, such as today’s total sales (in dollars and units), your current Amazon balance, when you can expect your next payment from Amazon, and your customer feedback rating. In the upper left corner of the screen is a menu button you can tap to view a list of options for returning to the Home page, managing inventory, viewing orders, communicating with customers or Amazon staff, getting help, signing out, and more. Near the bottom of the opening screen is another menu with options for performing common tasks, such as adding a product listing, managing orders, and checking your Amazon account health. Tap the camera icon in the upper right corner of the screen to scan a product, using its barcode or just a snapshot of the product, and create a product listing from it. This technique is a great way to add listings for specific products when you encounter a product anywhere that you want to start selling.

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How to Track Your Amazon Seller Account’s Health and Performance

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

To a certain degree, Amazon’s success hinges on the performance of its third-party sellers. To ensure consistent product quality and customer satisfaction across all sellers, Amazon sets performance targets and policies and provides sellers with tools for evaluating and improving their own performance. You can access the tools from Seller Central via the Performance menu to provide guidance. How to check your Account Health Open the Performance menu and choose Account Health to access an overview of how well you’re doing in terms of complying with Amazon’s performance targets and policies (see the following figure). Overall account health is reflected by three metrics: customer service performance, product policy compliance, and shipping performance. Customer service performance Customer service performance is measured in terms of Order Defect Rate (ODR) — the percentage of total orders that result in negative seller feedback, an A-to-Z Guarantee claim that’s not denied, or a chargeback. (A chargeback is a reversal of a credit card payment initiated by the bank that issued the card.) Amazon sets a target order defect rate for all sellers of less than 1 percent. Here you can view your order defect rate broken down by Seller Fulfilled versus Fulfilled by Amazon orders and by the three metrics: negative feedback, A-to-Z Guarantee claims, and chargeback claims. Product policy compliance Amazon has a long list of policies it expects its sellers to comply with. Even a single violation of one of Amazon’s policies places your seller account at risk of suspension. To determine whether you have a clean record, check the Product Policy Compliance section of the Account Health page. Product compliance complaints include the following: Suspected intellectual property violations Received intellectual property complaints Product authenticity customer complaints Product condition customer complaints Product safety customer complaints Listing policy violations Restricted product policy violations Customer product reviews policy violations Amazon sets a target of zero product policy complaints or violations. If you receive a performance notification from Amazon indicating that you’re guilty of a violation or that someone has filed a complaint against you, respond immediately to address the issue. Shipping performance Amazon gauges shipping performance by late shipment rate (with a target of under 4 percent), a pre-fulfillment cancellation rate (with a target of under 2.5 percent), and a valid tracking rate (with a target above 95 percent). You’re responsible only for orders you fulfill. Amazon is responsible for Fulfillment by Amazon performance. When filling orders yourself, underpromise and overdeliver. Promise a deliver window you’re fairly certain you can beat by a day or two and try to get your products delivered a day or two early to impress your customers. How to review Amazon customer feedback The Account Health page includes a section for negative customer feedback, but if you’re looking for additional customer feedback metrics, open the Performance menu and choose Feedback. The Feedback Manager page appears (refer to the following figure), displaying your overall customer feedback rating and breaking it down into periods of 30, 90, 365, and Lifetime. Metrics are broken down into percentages of positive (four or five stars), neutral (three stars), and negative (one or two stars). This page also includes all the feedback you received along with a set of actions (on the far right) for responding publicly to the feedback or requesting its removal if you think it violates Amazon’s feedback policy. The Feedback Manager page also has an option to download your feedback report. Monitor and manage your A-to-Z Guarantee claims Amazon’s A-to-Z Guarantee ensures customer satisfaction when they buy from third-party sellers by guaranteeing that products are delivered on time and in good condition. If a customer contacts you about a problem with a product or its timely delivery, and the two of you are unable to resolve the issue, the customer can file an A-to-Z Guarantee claim to seek resolution from Amazon. Amazon requires that customers contact the seller prior to filing an A-to-Z Guarantee claim, either via Buyer-Seller messaging or by submitting a return request. If the customer isn’t satisfied within 48 hours of filing the request, she can file an A-to-Z Guarantee claim. Amazon notifies you upon receipt of the claim, and you have 72 hours to respond. If you don’t respond, Amazon grants the claim, refunds the customer’s payment, and takes the money out of your account. Worse yet, because A-to-Z Guarantee claims are a key component of your order defect rate (ODR), which needs to be below 1 percent, not handling a claim increases your ODR, jeopardizing your account. To monitor and manage your A-to-Z Guarantee claims, open the Performance menu and choose A-to-Z Guarantee claims. The resulting page includes four tabs for filtering your A-to-Z Guarantee claims: Action Required, Under Review, Option to Appeal, and All. You can also search for a claim by order number. When a customer contacts you about an order, respond promptly and do your best to resolve any issues, even if you must take a loss on a transaction. You certainly shouldn’t give into scammers who just want free products, but be open to resolving any issue that seems remotely legitimate. Depending on the A-to-Z Guarantee claim and how it’s resolved, it may or may not add to your ODR. Monitor and manage your chargeback claims A chargeback typically occurs when a disgruntled customer is unable to resolve a dispute with a seller or service provider and turns to her credit card company for help. If the credit card company investigates the transaction, can’t resolve the issue with the seller/service provider, and determines that the customer is right, the company may reverse the charge. As seller on Amazon, you want to avoid chargebacks, because they negatively impact your ODR and overall customer service performance rating. To check whether you have any chargebacks and to manage any chargeback disputes, open the Performance menu and choose Chargeback Claims. The Chargebacks page appears, showing any chargeback claims that customers have filed against you. You can click the Action Required tab to view only active chargeback claims or the All tab to view a list of all chargeback claims. Access Amazon’s performance notifications If Amazon’s performance metrics indicate any issues that may negatively impact your account health or ability to sell, Amazon sends you a performance notification via email and stores a copy of it for reference. To access your performance notifications, open the Performance menu and choose Performance Notifications. To view the contents of a performance notification, click its subject line. To avoid having your account suspended, read all performance notifications and reply to any that indicate a response is expected. Gain additional insight via the Voice of the Customer feature Voice of the Customer is a customer experience (CX) dashboard that uses statistical analysis to identify potential issues with product listings. Behind the scenes, Voice of the Customer analyzes your product listings and product and listing feedback from customers and uses the results to rank your listings as very poor, poor, fair, good, or excellent. You can then dig down to review issues with specific listings and address them to improve the customer experience. To access Voice of the Customer, open the Performance menu and choose Voice of the Customer. The following figure shows a sample of the opening Voice of the Customer dashboard. Near the top of the dashboard is a CX Health breakdown of your listings, showing the total number of very poor, poor, fair, good, and excellent ratings. Below that is a table that shows CX details for each product you’ve listed. Pay special attention to the details in the following columns: NCX Rate is a percentage of orders that received negative feedback out of the total number of orders. CX health is an indication of the average customer experience ranked from very poor to excellent. Last updated is the most recent date a sale was made or an NCX was received. If you just listed a product and haven’t sold any yet, the product won’t have an NCX or CX rating. Improve your performance via Seller University The one item on the Performance menu that seems to be out of place is Seller University, which would seem better suited for a Help menu. However, its placement on the Performance menu reflects how valuable Amazon believes Seller University can be in helping sellers quickly optimize their performance. Seller University is a collection of brief video clips designed to bring sellers quickly up to speed on the process of selling on Amazon and using Amazon tools and applications to their advantage.

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Selling on Amazon: Manage Inventory

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

Use Amazon’s Manage Inventory page to search, view, and update the inventory records for products you sell on Amazon. To access the Manage Inventory page, log in to Seller Central, open the Inventory menu, and select Manage Inventory. The Manage Inventory page appears, as shown in the figure, where you can do the following: Search for a product: To search for a specific product, click in the Search box, near the top of the page, type the product’s SKU, Title, ISBN, or other attribute, and press the Search button. Filter inventory: Use the options above the table to view all products in inventory or only active or inactive inventory or to view all products or only FBA or only Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) products. You may also see filters for displaying only those products with suppressed listings, quality issues, or price alerts — product listings that have specific problems you need to address before those products will appear in searches. One of the most common uses of the Manage Inventory page is to quickly identify suppressed listings and make corrections to those listings. Click Suppressed near the top left of the Manage Inventory page to display a complete list of suppressed listings. In the table of suppressed listings, check the Issue(s) to Fix box to find out why the listing is suppressed. Press the Edit button next to the listing, choose the option for correcting the issue, and follow the onscreen cues to complete the task. Click Save All to save your changes. Sort inventory: Select an inventory header attribute such as SKU or product name at the top of the inventory table to sort product listings according to that attribute. Customize the inventory table: Press the Preferences button, above and to the right of the inventory table, use the resulting options to specify the columns you want included in the table and other display options, and press the Save Changes button. Update the quantity available: In the Qty field next to a product, type the quantity currently in stock and press the Save Change the price: In the Price field next to an item, type the price of the item and press the Save Edit a product: Open the Edit drop-down list (to the right of a product listing) to access additional actions, including changing the product’s image, matching to the lowest price, or closing or deleting the product listing. (Closing a listing deactivates it, making it unavailable to shoppers. Deleting a listing removes the SKU, which is best if you plan never to list the product again.) If you sell on channels other than Amazon, look for a third-party inventory management utility that supports Amazon and your other sales channels, such as eBay, Shopify, and your own ecommerce store. Maintain sufficient stock As long as you have products listed for sale, you never want to run out, so you need to have a system in place to replenish inventory before you get to the point at which you don’t have enough to fill an order. Having enough inventory comes down to math; you need to crunch the numbers to forecast total sales over a given period of time and then place an order to replenish inventory early enough for your supplier to deliver the goods before supplies run out. In the following discussion, we lead you through the calculations and provide additional guidance on how to automate the inventory replenishment process. Forecasting sales To avoid running out of stock, you first need to know the quantity of an item you sell over a given period of time. Calculating your average daily sales volume provides you with a number you can use to forecast sales for the coming weeks, months, quarter, and even year. Use the following equation to calculate average daily sales volume for a product: Quantity Sold divided by Number of Days = Average Daily Sales Volume For example, if I sold 450 items in three months or 90 days: 450 divided by 90 = 5 Knowing the average daily sales volume simplifies the process of forecasting sales for any given period of time — a week, a month, a quarter, or a year. Just multiply the average daily sales volume by the number of days in the period, as shown in the table: Forecasting Your Sales Period Multiply Days in Period By Average Daily Sales Volume Equal Total Sales Week 7 5 35 Month 30 5 150 Quarter 90 5 450 Year 365 5 1,825 After forecasting your total sales for a given period, add 25 to 30 percent to the quantity as a buffer. Also, be sure to consider the fact that sales volume of some products is likely to increase during certain periods of the year, such as Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day. Analyze your sales reports (accessible via Seller Central’s Reports menu) to identify and better understand demand fluctuations for specific products. Accounting for lead times Suppliers need time to manufacture, pack, and ship products. Be sure to account for the time required, and place your order earlier enough so the products reach you or arrive at Amazon fulfillment centers before you run out of stock. Communicate with your suppliers to identify any potential supplier downtimes or other factors that may impact lead time, such as the following: Holiday seasons: Holidays can impact lead times in two ways. First, if a number of employees take time off, the supplier may not have the workforce required to fill orders. For example, most Chinese suppliers slow down or shut down for at least seven days (and some for several weeks) in late January and early February, in honor of Chinese New Year. Second, suppliers often are busier in the days leading up to holiday seasons, during which period they may need more time to fill orders. Order sizes: Suppliers can typically fill small orders faster than large orders, so find out from your supplier how order quantity impacts fulfillment and then plan for these variations in lead times. Shipping/delivery: Delivery times vary according to the location of the supplier and how the items are shipped, such as via air, land, or sea. Customs inspections: If products need to cross borders, expect delays due to customs inspections. Inventory processing: Whether items are shipped to you or to Amazon or other third-party fulfillment centers, they need to be logged in to inventory. With inventory planning, you need to think months in advance, not merely days or weeks. From the time you place an order with a supplier until the product is ready to be shipped (from you or an Amazon fulfillment center) generally requires at least 30 days and often longer. Replenishing FBA inventory If you use FBA, you can start the process of replenishing inventory from Amazon’s Manage Inventory page: In Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and select Manage FBA Inventory. The Inventory Amazon Fulfills page appears, as shown in the following figure. Scroll down the product list to the product you want to replenish and click the check box to the left of that product. Open the Actions menu and select Send/Replenish Inventory. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process. Setting up replenishment alerts Replenishment alerts notify you via email when the quantity of a product in inventory dips below the threshold you specify. With replenishment alerts, you don’t have to constantly monitor your product listings via Amazon’s Manage Inventory page. You simply set up an alert and then take action when you receive a replenishment notification. Replenishment alerts are available only for FBA products. For FBM products check the low stock alerts on your Seller Central homepage. These alerts are generated automatically based on sales over the past 30 days and the number of items in stock you entered when you first listed the product or most recently updated your quantity in stock. When creating a replenishment alert for an FBA product, Amazon allows you to specify your replenishment threshold in terms of units or weeks-of-cover (the number of weeks’ worth of inventory you have on hand based on sales over the past 30 days): Units: To figure out when to replenish based on number of units in stock, multiply your lead time by your daily sales volume and add a buffer to ensure you don’t run out of stock. For example, if your lead time is 45 days and you sell an average of five units per day, should set a replenishment alert for when you have a minimum of 225 items in stock. You would be wise to add a buffer of say 50 to 75 units to be sure you don’t run short, such as 225 + 75 = 300 units. Weeks-of-cover: To set a replenishment alert based on weeks-of-cover, start with your lead time in weeks and add a buffer of a couple weeks. For example, if your lead time is 75 days, that’s about 11 weeks, plus two weeks equal 13 weeks. Every 13 weeks, you need to order enough items to cover the next 13 weeks. Revisit your alerts regularly and make adjustments when necessary. You don’t want to run out of inventory, but inventory can build up over time leading to overstock conditions that increase your storage costs and your risk of getting stuck with products you can’t sell. To set a replenishment alert, take the following steps: In Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and select Manage Inventory. After the Manage Inventory page appears, check the box next to each product for which you want to set a replenishment alert in the table of product listings. Open the Action menu, select Set Replenishment Alerts, and press the Go button. The Set Inventory Replenishment Alerts page appears. In the When do you want to be alerted column, open the Apply to All list and select When Fulfillable Quantity Reaches (Units) or When Weeks-of-Cover Reaches (Weeks) to set the same replenishment level for all products listed or select the desired unit for each individual product. Enter the desired alert threshold quantity in the Alert Threshold box at the top of the column to use the same threshold for all items in the list or enter the desired quantity in the Alert Threshold box for each product individually. Press the Save button to save the alert. Use Amazon’s Restock Inventory tool to obtain recommendations on products to restock, replenishment quantities, and ship dates. To access the Restock Inventory tool, open the Inventory menu, select Inventory Planning, and select the Restock Inventory tab. Although Amazon will notify you via email when your fulfillment threshold is reached, you can check for alerts on Seller Central. Open the Inventory menu and select Manage FBA Inventory. A gold bell appears in the Available column next to the quantity when an alert has been set but not yet reached. A red bell indicates that the threshold has been reached. Avoiding FBA’s long-term storage fees Inventory that has been in an Amazon fulfillment center is subject to long-term storage fees charged per item or per cubic foot, whichever is greater. To help sellers avoid these fees, Amazon features an inventory planner that enables you to monitor how long your products have been stored in Amazon fulfillment centers. To access the inventory planner from Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and select Inventory Planning. The inventory planner appears with the Inventory Age tab selected, as shown. For each product stored in FBA inventory, the inventory planner displays its name, sales rank, sales (units shipped in the last 90 days), FBA sell-through (in the last 90 days), inventory age, estimated long-term storage fees, your price, and the buy box price. Use these details to make informed decisions about each product; for example, you may want to avoid long-term storage fees by dropping a product’s price to quickly sell any remaining units or have FBA ship any remaining items back to you and then close or delete the listing.

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Selling on Amazon: Choose an Order Fulfillment Method

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

Order fulfillment plays a big role in ecommerce success, especially on Amazon where more than one million Prime customers expect free two-day delivery or faster, and Amazon rewards sellers with higher product placement for satisfying its customers’ delivery expectations. One of your first decisions as an Amazon Seller is how to fulfill customer orders. You have four options (not mutually exclusive), as we explain in the following. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) With FBA, you send your products or arrange to have them sent from your suppliers to Amazon fulfillment centers in various locations in your marketplace(s) — the United States, Canada, Mexico, wherever. Your customers order from you on Amazon, and Amazon picks, packs, labels, and ships your products from their fulfillment centers to your customers and provides them with tracking information. Amazon’s customer-service team manages customer inquiries and processes returns and refunds. When considering FBA, weigh the pros and cons. Here are the pros: All FBA products receive two-day shipping to Prime customers, which improves your chances of closing sales. About half of Amazon’s customers (101 million in the United States alone) are Prime, with each spending on average about $1,400 annually in products on Amazon. Using FBA is hassle-free. All you need to do is get your products to Amazon fulfillment centers, and Amazon handles the rest. You get reduced shipping rates to Amazon fulfillment centers and from those centers to your customers: Amazon negotiates high-volume shipping contracts with carriers, and you reap the benefits of lower shipping costs. An FBA product has a greater chance than a Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) product of winning the buy box (being the featured offer). Buy box placement accounts for more than 80 percent of all Amazon sales. FBA can also be integrated into your other sales channels, so if customers purchase a product on your own ecommerce site (outside Amazon), FBA can fulfill the order (subject to a higher FBA fee). Offsite product storage is much more convenient. If you’re running your ecommerce business out of your home or garage, you avoid the clutter of having to store inventory onsite. Meanwhile, here are the cons: Amazon charges FBA fees to cover storage, fulfillment, and customer service, plus you pay for shipping products to fulfillment centers. You may also incur a high-volume listing fee on some items and long-term storage fees if products don’t sell through within a year’s time. Preparing and shipping products to Amazon fulfillment centers requires some work. Each unit must be labeled with a bar code, so it can be picked and packed easily with outgoing orders. Access to your inventory is limited because it’s stored in Amazon fulfillment centers. We strongly encourage you to use FBA as your primary fulfillment method, especially for high-volume, high-margin products, leveraging Amazon’s industry-leading logistics and customer service to cater most effectively to Amazon customers and simplify the process of scaling your business. Reserve other fulfillment methods for specialty items, such as custom-made furniture that requires special packing or a more personal touch. To compare the costs of FBA and FBM, use the Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator: Go to the Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator. In the Find Your Product on Amazon.com text box, type the product name, UPC, EAN, ISBN, or ASIN and select Search. Amazon presents a collection of products that match your search term or phrase. Below the product you’re interested in, click Select. In the Your Fulfillment column, type your fulfillment costs in the Item Price, Shipping, Cost of Seller Fulfillment, and Cost of Product fields. In the Amazon Fulfillment Current column, enter your numbers for Item Price, the per-item cost to ship the product to an Amazon fulfillment center, and the cost of the product. Press the Calculate button. The calculator crunches the numbers and displays a comparison of your net profit and margin percentage for your fulfillment costs versus Amazon fulfillment costs. Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) If you’re testing a product or selling low-volume, low-margin products, FBM may be the better choice. For comparison, check out the pros and cons of FBM. Here are the pros: Avoiding FBA fees may help to lower your costs, which can boost profit margins. Crunch the numbers, though, to determine whether Amazon’s lower shipping fees offset other FBA fees. Fulfilling orders yourself gives you greater control over inventory, packing, and shipping, which can be beneficial when selling custom products or adding a personal touch to outgoing packages. And the cons: With FBM, you spend more time and effort to pick, pack, label, and ship products and process customer service requests, returns, and refunds. FBM products aren’t automatically eligible for Prime. You may be able to qualify for Seller Fulfilled Prime. You have less opportunity to win the buy box (and be the featured offer). Although profit margins may be higher with FBM, sales volume is likely to be lower. You need to store products in your home or garage or procure warehouse storage. Overhead costs, including shipping fees, are generally higher. Seller Fulfilled Prime With Seller Fulfilled Prime, you store and ship products from your own warehouses, while committing to delivering products to Prime customers within Amazon’s required two-day delivery window. If approved for Seller Fulfilled Prime, you’re allowed to display the Prime badge for products shipped from your warehouses. In addition to other benefits, Amazon provides access to discounted transportation solutions to help meet the two-day Prime delivery promise. During the time of this writing, Amazon wasn’t accepting new registrations for Seller Fulfilled Prime, but you can join the waitlist. Recognizing the benefits of Seller Fulfilled Prime Seller Fulfilled Prime offers several benefits, including the following: You pick, pack, and ship products from your warehouses, so you have greater control over your own inventory and operations. You can list products as Prime, which is very appealing to Amazon’s most loyal customers. Prime customers often filter product listings so as to display only Prime products. To have a chance to win this business, your products must qualify as Prime offerings. Prime listings have a greater chance of winning the buy box. By offering free two-day guaranteed shipping, you improve your chances of repeat and multiple orders. Seller Fulfilled Prime is generally best suited for high value items, seasonal products with unpredictable demand, slow moving goods, items with variations, and inventory that requires special handling or preparation. Meeting Seller Fulfilled Prime requirements Being able to deliver products from your warehouse(s) to Prime customers within Amazon’s two-day window is only one of several Seller Fulfilled Prime requirements. To qualify for and maintain good standing in this program, you must meet the following requirements: Offer premium shipping options. Ship more than 99 percent of the orders on time (the same day you receive the orders). Maintain order cancellation rate of less than 0.5 percent. Buy Amazon shipping services for at least 98.5 percent of Amazon orders; for the most part, you buy shipping labels from Amazon-approved carriers, who deliver orders to customers. Allow Amazon to handle customer service queries. Agree to and comply with Amazon Returns Policy. Successfully navigating the trial period To participate in Seller Fulfilled Prime, you must successfully complete a trial period, which traditionally consists of filling a certain number of orders within a set period of time — for example, 50 orders in 90 days or fewer. Products aren’t listed with the Prime badge during this time, and all orders must be processed with a zero-day handling time. Assuming you successfully complete the trial period, you’re enrolled in the program, and the Prime badge is displayed for participating ASINs. Participating in Seller Fulfilled Prime To meet your Seller Fulfilled Prime obligations, take the following steps: Maintain sufficient inventory in your warehouse(s) to fill customer orders. Buy shipping labels from Amazon-approved carriers. In Seller Central, select Orders and then Manage Orders and press the Buy Shipping button for the order you want to ship. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process. Pick, pack, and ship the orders the same day they’re received, typically by 4 p.m. Orders will be delivered within two days by Amazon-approved carriers. Inspect shipping costs closely prior to deciding whether to “Buy Shipping” from Amazon-approved carriers. Seller Fulfilled Prime free shipping options may be cost-prohibitive for certain products or product categories. For questions about Seller Fulfilled Prime, email [email protected] Managing Seller Fulfilled Prime orders To manage Seller Fulfilled Prime SKUs, log on to Seller Central, open the Inventory menu, and select Manage Seller Fulfilled Prime. The Manage Seller Fulfilled Prime dashboard appears providing the tools you need to manage orders. Drop-shipping Drop-shipping is the ultimate in look-ma-no-hands order fulfillment and low-cost, low-risk startups and product testing! You build a store and list products that the drop-ship supplier has available. Customers order products through your store, and the order goes to the drop-shipper, which fulfills the order for you. (Most drop-shippers merely act as a conduit between sellers and numerous suppliers that offer their own drop-shipping services.) Because you don’t have to stock up on inventory, you can start selling without having to buy any products up front. Although drop-shipping may strike you as the ideal option, consider a couple potential (and significant) drawbacks: Although drop-shipping is a low-cost, low-risk approach to testing the waters with customers, as your sales and business grow, the costs eat into your profit margins. If you’re selling high-volume or low-margin items, drop-shipping may not be the best choice for selling any product long term. If the drop-shipper drops the ball on an order, you suffer the consequences of disappointing a customer. You’re at the mercy of the drop-shipper regarding inventory. If your drop-shipper runs out of stock or discontinues a product, you’re out of luck. Even though Amazon generally accepts drop-shipping to its customers, it enforces certain criteria to maintain a high-quality shopping experience. All the sellers who intend to fulfill the orders through drop-shipping must meet the following criteria: Be the seller on record Identify as the seller of the products on all the packaging material, invoices, and any other documentation Remove any mention of the drop-shipper from invoices, packaging, products, and anything else sent to customers Be responsible for all the product returns Comply with all other seller policies and Amazon policies Drop-shipping is a great way to test the market for any new, unproven products. You can list the product without investing in inventory. If the product takes off, you can switch to FBA or FBM. To find out more about drop-shipping, check out some of the top drop-shipping suppliers: AliExpress Doba Oberlo SaleHoo Sprocket

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Selling on Amazon: How to Source Products from Alibaba

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

Alibaba is a Chinese ecommerce behemoth serving both consumers and businesses. It has revolutionized product sourcing, enabling hundreds of thousands of businesses across the globe to access millions of products at prices previously available only to big-box retailers. To optimize your success as an Amazon Seller, we strongly encourage you to become familiar with Alibaba, where you’ll often find the best deals. Start by conducting some basic product research to answer the following questions: What kind of products do you want to sell — clothing, tools, toys, household products? Which products have the greatest sales and profit potential? What price are consumers willing to pay for each product? How much will it cost me to sell each product? Consider the product’s cost, Amazon selling fees, and any FBA fees. When you have a pretty good idea of a product you want to sell, visit Alibaba.com, open the drop-down list to the left of the Search box, and choose Suppliers (see the following figure). Click in the Search box, type a brief description of the product, and press the Search button. (The Search box also has a camera icon you can tap to search for a product by uploading an image of it.) Alibaba displays a long list of suppliers that sell products like the one you searched for. Use the filters above the list of suppliers and those on the left side of the page to narrow your search. You can narrow your search by product category, supplier type and location, company size (by revenue or number of employees), and more. As shown in the figure, for each supplier in the list, Alibaba displays its name, how long it has been in business, and other details to help you make an informed choice of supplier. Details about each supplier include the following: Badges: A supplier may have one or more of the following badges to indicate its credentials: Trade Assurance indicates the supplier supports Alibaba’s Trade Assurance service, which protects your order from payment to delivery. Gold Supplier indicates the supplier supports Trade Assurance and has passed one or more onsite checks to verify the business type and commercial or industrial capabilities. The Gold Supplier badge gives the supplier more credibility, but it doesn’t guarantee product quality or authenticity. Verified Supplier indicates the supplier has been assessed and certified by independent third-party entities via online or offline methods. Again, this badge gives suppliers more credibility but doesn’t guarantee product quality or authenticity. Transaction Level: The more diamonds a supplier has the greater the number of transactions it has on the Alibaba platform. Response Rate: This metric indicates the percentage of buyers who have received a response within 24 hours of contacting the supplier. Transactions: This metric indicates the number of transactions and their total dollar value over the past six months. If you need additional information from a supplier, press the Contact Supplier button for the chosen supplier and use the resulting form to compose and send your question. To obtain quotes from a number of suppliers, submit a request for quote (RFQ). Return to Alibaba’s home page, open the Services menu, select Submit RFQ, and use the resulting form to enter the details of your RFQ, including the product name and category, quantity, and terms. Within hours and over the course of the coming days, you’ll receive quotes from suppliers. You can manage your RFQs by going to My Alibaba and choosing Manage RFQ. As you evaluate prospective suppliers, follow these best practices: Arrange a phone call or videoconference with the supplier before placing an order, so you can get a feel for how trustworthy the supplier is. Ask questions to obtain all the details you need to make a well-informed choice. Legitimate suppliers won’t hesitate to provide the requested details. Visit the supplier’s warehouse, if possible. If an in-person visit isn’t possible, request a video tour of the facility. Big suppliers may have warehouses in multiple countries to avoid the hassles and headaches of dealing with customs and taxes. Ask the supplier if it has a warehouse in your country that would be more convenient for you to visit. Search the warehouse and business location online to verify their existence. Beware of fraudsters, even on Alibaba: Compare the supplier’s name and address on its website and any correspondence you receive from the supplier with the name and address on Alibaba. Verify the supplier’s email address and website. Reputable suppliers often have email addresses associate with the domain instead of “google.com” or “yahoo.com.” Think twice before moving forward on any offer that seems to be too good to be true; it probably is. Avoid suppliers who ask for early payment, because fraudsters often want to grab the money and disappear. Legitimate suppliers won’t ask for payment prior to signing an agreement. Also, before contracting with a supplier, order product samples. Getting your hands on actual products is a great quality assurance precaution. After deciding on a supplier, you’re ready to start negotiations and work out the logistics, such as agreeing to payment terms and methods, customs and import process, and any arrangements to ship products to Amazon fulfillment centers.

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Selling on Amazon: How to Master Retail Arbitrage

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

Retail arbitrage involves buying products at local retail stores, marking up the price, and selling them for a profit. For example, you head to local department store that has a bin of DVDs on clearance. You dig through the bin and find ten copies of a movie that’s popular on Amazon, and you buy them for $3 each. You list them on Amazon for $19. After subtracting the cost of the item, shipping fees, and Amazon’s selling fees, which come to a total of about $9, you earn a profit of $10 per disc or $100 total. Retail arbitrage is one of the best ways for beginners to start selling on Amazon, because it provides a low-cost, low-risk entry point. We encourage you to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of retail arbitrage, provide guidance on how to engage in retail arbitrage with brick-and-mortar and ecommerce retailers, and explain the importance of obtaining purchase orders or receipts for all products you buy. For any product you plan to resell on Amazon, be sure to have a receipt or purchase order proving you bought the product from another party. Amazon may request a purchase order to help resolve any buyer-seller disputes about the product or questions about its source. To succeed in retail arbitrage, be prepared to diversify your product portfolio with many categories rather than sticking to a single product category. A diversified portfolio helps you manage the risks more effectively and balances your profit margins across product categories. Buying from brick-and-mortar retailers to sell on Amazon Large brick-and-mortar retailers (often referred to as big-box stores) are the obvious first choice for those seeking to engage in retail arbitrage. These stores are locally accessible and often have a large number of a variety of products on sale or clearance. Some of the larger and more popular brick-and-mortar retailers are Big Lots Costco CVS Dollar General GameStop Home Depot Lowes Marshalls Meijer Menards Office Depot Ross Sears Holdings Staples Target TJ Maxx Walgreens Walmart Visit any big box store and comb through the aisles looking for deeply discounted products, such as discontinued items. Some stores relegate these items to clearance shelves or racks, which makes your job easier. You can then purchase the items at a deep discount and sell them for close-to-regular price, especially if those items are popular but scarce in other parts of the country. If you find a product that looks like a great deal, use the Amazon Seller Mobile App on your smartphone to scan the item’s barcode. The Mobile App displays any product that matches the barcode and is being sold on Amazon. If you see the matching product, tap the arrow to the right of it to display additional information about the item, including the following very useful details: Sales rank in its product category Product rating The lowest price the item is currently listed at Estimated Amazon selling fees Gross proceeds (estimated profit; tap the arrow to the right of Gross Proceeds for additional details) Seller eligibility, which indicates whether you’re permitted to list the product for sale This information helps you determine the sales and profit potential of the product. If the product doesn’t have a current listing on Amazon, you’ll be the only seller listing this product, in which case you have zero competition. Having no competition doesn’t guarantee sales, but if you think you can sell the product for a price that will earn you a decent profit, you may be able to corner the market for a time. Buying from online retailers to sell on Amazon Online arbitrage involves buying products in one online marketplace at a low price and selling them in another marketplace for a profit. The most common forms of online arbitrage are Amazon-to-eBay, eBay-to-Amazon, and Amazon-to-other-marketplaces. The process is similar to that of buying products from brick-and-mortar stores and selling them on Amazon. The only difference is that you can’t simply scan a barcode to get most of the information needed to gauge a product’s profitability. Instead, you need to do some research on your own to estimate the potential salability and profitability of a product. Prior to engaging in online arbitrage, check the policies that govern the source and target markets to ensure that the method you have in mind is permitted. Here are a couple examples of policies that restrict online arbitrage: Amazon prohibits its Prime members from purchasing products on Amazon for the purpose of reselling them anywhere. However, if you’re buying products on Amazon as a regular (not Prime) shopper, you’re permitted to resell the items you buy. eBay prohibits its sellers from taking orders on eBay and then buying the product in another marketplace and having that seller ship the product directly to the customer. Be prepared to encounter challenges with online arbitrage that aren’t likely to arise when you’re using more traditional product sourcing methods, such as the following: Refund delays: When a customer requests a refund, processing it may take four to six weeks due to variations in payment cycles across marketplaces. Delays may lead to dissatisfied customers, who leave negative customer feedback about you. One way to work around this problem is to issue the customer a refund immediately and wait for reimbursement (for example, from the eBay seller who sold you the item and shipped it to your customer). Uncertain inventory levels: When you source products through retailers in other marketplaces, keeping your inventory levels updated on the target marketplace is difficult and often results in cancellations/refunds. You can avoid cancelling an order by getting the product from a different seller at a higher price, but that option will negatively impact your profits and may even result in a loss. Inconsistent packaging: If you’re having eBay sellers ship products to your Amazon customers, your customers may receive products packed in eBay boxes, which can be confusing for your customers and embarrassing to you and result in a breach of Amazon’s policies. Evolving marketplace policies: To improve the customer satisfaction on their platforms, Amazon and eBay (the main platforms for online arbitrage) regularly revise their policies. If you fail to keep abreast of and comply with current policies on either platform, you could have one or both of your accounts suspended. The importance of having a purchase order (PO) or receipt A purchase order (PO) is an official document prepared and sent by a buyer to a seller indicating the types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services. Whenever you’re buying products to resell on Amazon, be sure to obtain a purchase order or receipt and save it as proof of purchase. Having proof of purchase is essential for the following purposes: Category approvals: New sellers may not be permitted to sell products in certain categories until providing proof that the products have been sourced through approved channels. A PO or receipt provides that proof. Legal protection: If a dispute arises over where a product was manufactured or whether the product is authentic, Amazon requests a copy of the PO or receipt to help verify the claims made in your product listing. Beyond arbitrage, POs are essential for the following: Inventory tracking and price protection: Amazon wants to know that its third-party sellers can fill orders and provide some price stability to customers, which also impacts your success. Having a PO, complete with pricing information and quantities, serves as proof that you have a relationship with a supplier that can ensure adequate stock at affordable prices. Inventory management: POs provide insight into product demand based on dates and frequencies of orders, enabling you to make more accurate sales projections and prevent overstocking and understocking. Accurate transaction history: POs provide you with a transaction history that’s useful whenever you audit your inventory. With your POs and inventory reports in hand, you can identify the source of any discrepancies in your inventory records.

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How to Navigate Amazon Seller Central

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

At first glance, Amazon Seller Central is deceptively simple. Across the top is a header that contains the Amazon Seller Central logo; a notifications flag; the Marketplace Switcher; the search bar; options for accessing messages, help, and settings; and a menu bar for everything else. In this article, we explain how to use these navigational tools to access key features and functions within Seller Central. Consider this article Seller Central orientation day. How to switch marketplaces on Amazon In the upper right of the opening Amazon Seller Central screen is a double-headed arrow button (or a drop-down menu). Hover over the button or drop-down menu, and a toolbar tip indicates that it’s the Marketplace Switcher. If you sell in more than one market (for example, the United States and Canada), you can use the Marketplace Switcher to check your account information for each marketplace. The flag shown in the Marketplace Switcher indicates the selected Marketplace. If you sell on Amazon in one or more marketplaces, be sure to change marketplaces before accessing any of your account information via Seller Central; otherwise, you may be looking at the wrong information. Navigating the Seller Central menu bar Just below the Amazon Seller Central logo (upper left) is the primary menu bar, which serves as the jumping-off point for every seller activity — from adding products to your catalog to managing inventory and orders to accessing reports and monitoring your performance. Menu options may differ depending on your account type — Individual or Professional. For example, Professional Sellers have more options on their Advertising menu than do Individual Sellers. Catalog Head to the Catalog menu when you’re ready to list products for sale. Hover over Catalog and choose the desired option: Add Products: To list a product that’s already in Amazon’s catalog or create a new listing for a product that’s not yet in Amazon’s catalog. Complete Your Drafts: If you started to list a product and had to stop because you were missing information Amazon requested, your listing is saved as a draft. Select this option to access drafts and complete any product listings that were in progress. View Selling Applications: If you need Amazon approval to sell certain products, choose this option to apply for approval and to check the status of your applications. Clicking certain menus, such as Catalog and Inventory, instead of an option on the menu starts an on-screen tour of the resulting page, highlighting key features. Inventory The Inventory menu provides several options for managing and planning your inventory, adding products, and managing FBA shipping options: Manage Inventory: Selecting this option opens the Manage Inventory page, displaying all your Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) product listings. To the right of each listing is an Edit button you can click to access commands to close the listing or delete the product and listing. Manage FBA Inventory: If you’re using FBA to fulfill orders, you can monitor and manage all products in your FBA inventory here. The Manage FBA Inventory page displays detailed information regarding your available and inbound inventory. You can also choose to replenish inventory when supplies are low. Inventory Planning: Choosing this option displays a dashboard that enables you to monitor and plan your inventory. Near the top of the dashboard are three tabs — Inventory Age, Fix Stranded Inventory, and Manage FBA Returns. On the far right is an Inventory Settings link that enables you specify values for Cost of Purchase, Recovery Rate, and Supplier Lead Time, so Amazon can recommend actions to optimize your inventory performance. Add a Product: This option takes you to the same place as the Add Products option on the Catalog menu, where you can list a product that’s already in Amazon’s catalog or create a new listing for a product that’s not in Amazon’s catalog. Add Products via Upload: If you’re signed up as a Professional Seller, this option appears on your Inventory menu, enabling you to list multiple products at once by downloading, completing, and uploading category-specific templates. You can also download processing reports to check for any errors in posting product listings in bulk. Inventory Reports: Select this option to display a page where you can download a variety of inventory reports, from active listings reports to FBA inventory reports and listing quality reports. Sell Globally: This option takes you to a page where you can begin to explore opportunities in selling globally. Here, you can choose to list certain eligible products across the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and North Africa regions where Amazon operates. Manage FBA Shipments: This option takes you to the Shipping Queue page, where you can monitor your FBA shipments, manage your shipping plans, and view the Received Inventory Report. Upload & Manage Videos: Registered brand owners can use this option to upload and manage all their product videos from one central location. Pricing Some sellers have a Pricing menu that simplifies the process of monitoring and changing prices. This menu features four options: View Pricing Dashboard: The Pricing Dashboard provides metrics to help inform your pricing decisions. It provides options to view the dashboard, manage pricing, automate pricing, and more. Manage Pricing: Choose this option to view current prices for all of your products and quickly adjust prices. Fix Price Alerts: If you set any price alerts for products, such as potentially high price or low price, you can access and adjust them by selecting this option. Automatic Pricing: Automatic pricing enables you to specify rules for adjusting your products’ prices automatically to avoid spending excessive time manually adjusting prices in response to ever-changing market conditions. Be very careful with automatic pricing. You could end up selling a large volume of product at a loss if you set the wrong repricing rules. Orders Options on the Orders menu enable you to monitor and manage orders, returns, and SAFE-T claims and download order reports: Manage Orders: Choose this option to view all pending, unshipped, cancelled, and shipped orders and take relevant actions on those orders, if desired. Order Reports: Click this option to access a page where you can download various order reports organized by date. Upload Order Related Files: Professional Sellers can make changes such as shipment confirmation, adjustments, or cancellations to orders in bulk by downloading specific templates, filling them out, and uploading them. Manage Returns: If any of your customers have returned products, you can find information about those returns by clicking this option. You can also search for returns by Order ID, Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number, Tracking ID, or Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). Manage SAFE-T Claims: Choose this option to appeal Amazon’s decision to issue a refund to a customer. Amazon may reverse the refund decision if it determines you weren’t at fault. Advertising The Advertising menu provides access to all the tools you need to manage the advertising and promotions options available to you as an Individual or Professional Seller: Early Reviewer Program: Choose this option if you want to enroll products in Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program. You can get up to five reviews for a new product by offering customers a small reward (a $3 gift card) for posting a review. Prime Exclusive Discounts: If you’re an FBA Seller, you can use this option to offer discounts to Amazon Prime customers for selected products. The product offer will display the discounted price with the regular price crossed out and a message about how much the customer will save; for example, “You Save: $10 (10%) as a Prime Member.” Campaign Manager: Choosing this option displays a page where you can create and manage Amazon pay-per-click advertisements and check each ad’s performance. A+ Content Manager: If you’re a brand owner, you can choose this option to access an area where you can create and manage A+ Content — robust advertising content that contains product descriptions, rich images, charts, narrative copy, and other content and formatting beyond what’s typically available in standard product listings. Deals: Choose this option if you want to offer special seasonal deals; for example, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Labor Day, and so on. Coupons: To offer coupons to shoppers, click this option and create your coupon, specifying details, such as which products the coupon applies to, whether the customer receives a dollar or percentage discount, the start and expiration dates, and so on. Manage Promotions: Choose this option to create and manage all promotions. Stores The Stores menu has only one option — Manage Stores. When you first select this option, you’re taken to the Stores page where Amazon enables you to create your own multi-page store on Amazon for free to promote your brands and products. Only registered brands are allowed to create and manage their own Amazon store. If you’re a brand owner, click the Amazon Brand Registry link and follow the onscreen instructions to register your brand. You can then return to the Stores page to create your store. Programs The Programs menu contains a list of Amazon Seller Central programs you can enroll in. Hover over Programs to view your options. Options vary among sellers; for example, most sellers have a choice of fulfillment programs, but only some sellers may qualify for Amazon’s Lending program (an invitation-only program designed to help qualified sellers to apply for short term loans to meet the working capital requirements). You can click Fulfillment Programs to check out what’s available, enroll in any available fulfillment programs, and manage any fulfillment programs you’re enrolled in. Reports The Reports menu contains several options for accessing non-inventory reports: Payments: The payments report details all payments Amazon has remitted to you. Business Reports: If you’ve sold anything, you’ll see this option, which you can choose to view the Amazon Sales Report dashboard and view and download various business reports based on the criteria you specify, including the start and end dates and the type of data to include in the report. Fulfillment: This option displays a page that provides access to all reports related to Amazon Fulfillment regarding inventory, sales, shipping, and so on. Return Reports: If your customers have returned any products, choose this option to view seller fulfilled return reports. If you use FBA to fulfill orders, you can click View FBA Reports to access reports about returns processed by FBA. Tax Document Library: At the end of each quarter (when estimated tax payments are due) and at the end of the year, be sure to visit the Tax Document Library to access tax information related to your Amazon sales. Performance When you’re wondering how well you’re performing as a seller, you need go no further than the Performance menu for answers. Here, you find several options for displaying different performance metrics: Account Health: Account Health is divided into two sections: Customer Service Performance: Where you can check your order defect rate, which is a composite of negative feedback, A-to-z Guarantee claims, and chargeback claims Product Policy Compliance: Where you can check on any policies you’ve violated or complaints you’ve received Feedback: Choosing this option displays the Feedback Manager, where you can check your percentage of positive, negative, and neutral feedback for different periods — 30 days, 90 days, 365 days, and Lifetime. A-to-Z Guarantee claims: When you handle both sales and fulfillment, customers can file an A-to-Z Guarantee claim against you with Amazon if they feel that you’ve treated them unfairly, and you can file an appeal. Click this option to check the number of A-to-Z Guarantee claims that have been filed against you (if any) and to check their status. Chargeback Claims: A chargeback occurs when a buyer contacts her bank or credit card company to dispute a charge. Click this option to find out whether your account has any chargebacks, to check their status, and to find out whether you’re required to take any action. Performance Notifications: Click this option to access any and all account related alerts that may impact the your seller performance or account health. Don’t ignore any performance notifications instructing you to take action. Failure to address issues on a timely basis may result in account suspension. Voice of the Customer: For additional feedback on how your products and product listings have impacted the customer experience (CX) and to fix any issues, click this option. CX Health listings are broken down into several categories, ranking your listings from Very Poor to Excellent. CX health doesn’t impact your overall account health. (Voice of the Customer was still in Beta during the time of this writing, so it may have changed by the time you read this.) Seller University: Choose Seller University to access a multimedia library of instruction and guidance on how to succeed as an Amazon Seller. App Store Visit the Amazon App Store to find Amazon and third-party apps to automate business operations and to manage and grow your business. Select an app category and browse that category for solutions. How to use the Seller Central search bar Near the upper right corner of Seller Central is the search bar — the easiest, quickest tool for finding specific instruction and information in Seller Central. Type any key word or phrase in the search bar to describe what you’re looking for, and press Enter. A search panel appears with all the relevant links to the content that matches your keyword search followed by links to additional resources. Just click the link to the item that interests you. (Note that on smaller screens, a magnifying glass icon appears in place of the search bar; click the magnifying glass icon to display the search bar.) At the bottom of the panel are links to navigate to discussion forums, Amazon’s help section, and your case log — any tech support issues you may be discussing with Amazon support staff. View your payments summary in Seller Central As you rack up sales on Amazon, Amazon handles your accounting for you, recording your total sales, deducting fees, and then paying you your share of the profits. To keep track of payments from Amazon, open the Reports menu and click Payments. The Payments page appears providing access to four payment summary tabs: Statement View, Transaction View, All Statements, and Date Range Reports. The following discussion describes what’s on each of these tabs. Statement View Statements View displays a weekly summary of your Amazon account broken down into seven sections: Beginning balance: The amount owed to you or the amount you owed Amazon at the end of the previous period. Paid to Amazon: The charge made to your credit card or bank account to cover a previous balance owed to Amazon. Orders: Order totals since the end of the previous period. Refunds: Refund totals since the end of the previous period. Closing balance: The amount owed to you or the amount you owe Amazon at the end of this period. Transfer amount scheduled to initiate on [date]: This indicates the date on which the closing balance will be transferred to or from your account. Balance available for transfer now: If you have a balance available to be transferred at this time, you can click the Request Transfer button to request that the amount be transferred now instead of waiting until the next scheduled transfer date. Open the “Your Statement for” list just above the statement, and select the desired period. You can also click Previous or Next below the list to switch statement periods. Transaction View Transaction View displays a list of transactions in any given statement period. This page also contains a “Find a Transaction” box you can use to search for a transaction by its order number; a Filter View by list that lets you focus on specific types of transactions, such as order payments, refunds, or service fees; and options to specify the desired statement period. All Statements The All Statements page displays all of your account statements between the specified From and To dates. By default, statements available for the most recent two months are displayed. To view a statement for a specific period, simply click its link in the Settlement Period column. You can view statements either as a summary form in Seller Central or by downloading a plain text file. Click the desired file type in the Actions column to the right of the desired statement. Date Range Reports To generate your own custom payment report, click the Date Range Reports tab, specify the desired date range and the information to be included in the report, and click Generate Report. Take advantage of Amazon business reports As soon as you rack up some sales on Amazon, you can access Amazon’s business reports to monitor your sales performance, traffic, and conversion rates to obtain insight and guidance on how to improve sales. To access business reports, hover over Reports (in the menu near the top of Seller Central) and click Business Reports. (If you don’t see Business Reports, this feature is disabled in your account.) Assuming you do see and select Business Reports, a navigation bar appears on the left divided into three sections: Sales Dashboard Business Reports Amazon Selling Coach Sales Dashboard The Sales Dashboard is an interactive tool that enables you to filter data by date, product category, and fulfillment channel by specifying one or more filters near the top of the dashboard. You can choose to display data in graph or table view by clicking the desired option (just above and to the right of the graph or table). You can also hover over different points in time on the graph or table to compare data from different dates, as selected below the graph or table. Business Reports The Business Reports section (in the navigation bar on the left) presents a list of available reports grouped by report type: By Date: Sales and Traffic report: Shows number of units ordered, average sales per order, average sales per order item, average selling fee, number of user sessions, and so on. Detail Page Sales and Traffic report: Contains all the data included in the Sales and Traffic report along with page views and additional details. Sales and traffic reports by date give very valuable insights into the shopper’s relative activity in respect to your product pages during specific periods such as holidays, Cyber Monday, or shopping seasons. Seller Performance report: Contains all the essential data on seller performance metrics including refund rate, feedbacks received, negative feedbacks received, claims amount, received negative feedback rate, A-to-z Guarantee claims granted, claims amount, and so on. Details on this report help you track your overall account performance. By ASIN: Detail Page Sales Report: This report contains sales and traffic data along with Child ASIN, Parent ASIN, product title, and SKU. Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Parent Item: Contains the same data as above report but grouped by parent ASIN. Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Child Item: Contains the same data as above report but grouped by Child ASIN and without the SKU data. Sales and traffic reports by ASIN give valuable insights into the shopper’s relative activity with respect to your product pages during events such as new product launches and discounts you’re offering on specific products. Other: Sales and Orders by Month: This report contains monthly sales and orders data. This reports gives the quick overview of sales over a long period of time up to two years and provide the sense of the direction to the business is heading. You can choose to display the data in each of these reports by different date ranges of up to 7 Days, 1 Month, 3 Months, 6 Months, 1 Year, and 2 Years from the custom date range selection except reports by ASIN, which can be displayed only by custom date range.

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Amazon Shipping and Return Settings

Article / Updated 07-02-2020

Before you start listing products for sale on Amazon, be sure to check your shipping and return settings to ensure they match what you want to offer to your customers. Shipping settings on Amazon Your shipping settings establish the default shipping service levels for orders you ship to buyers (Fulfillment by Merchant, not Fulfillment by Amazon). Amazon requires standard shipping for all sellers but allows you to offer other shipping level options such as expedited and two-day. To check and (optionally) change your shipping levels from Seller Central, go to Settings, Shipping Settings. The Shipping Settings page appears, as the figure shows. Check the default shipping address at the top. If you’ll be shipping from a different location, press the Edit button, enter the location’s name and address, and press Save. Under Default Shipping are the available shipping service levels. Initially, the only level you’re set up to offer to shoppers is Standard. Next to this option is “Normal,” indicating a standard transit time of four to 14 days. All the other service levels have “No” next to them, indicating that you don’t offer these shipping service levels. To the right of each shipping service level is “view rate table,” which you can select to find out how much Amazon charges buyers for various items at that particular shipping service level and how much will be credited to your account. Note that your shipping cost may be more or less than what Amazon charges the buyer and credits to your account, so you may gain or lose on shipping. To offer additional shipping service levels or change the transit time for different levels, press the Edit button, enter your preferences, and press the Submit button. You can override your default shipping settings for individual products by entering your shipping preferences when you list products for sale. Amazon return settings Your return settings enable you to specify, for each market (country), where you want buyers to send product returns, the conditions under which you want to allow returnless refunds, whether you want to receive return request emails, how requests are authorized, and how return merchandise authorization (RMA) numbers are generated. To access your return settings from Seller Central, go to Settings, Return Settings. The Returns Settings page appears, as the figure shows. Check the settings on all three tabs of the Returns Settings page to be sure they reflect your preferences: General Settings: On this tab, you have three options: Email Format: You can choose to receive return request email messages from buyers with links to Authorize, Close, or Reply to the request. Default Automated Return Rules: You may want to authorize each request when you’re getting started to stay on the safe side. Later, to save yourself valuable time, consider selecting I Want Amazon to Automatically Authorize All Requests That Meet Amazon Policy. The third option, to have Amazon automatically authorize all requests is risky; you could end up having Amazon authorize illegitimate return requests — for example, buyers consuming nearly an entire container of supplements and returning it. Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) Number Settings: You can have Amazon generate a unique RMA for you or supply it yourself. Unless you have a good reason to use your own RMA numbers to track returns, save time by letting Amazon generate RMA numbers for you. Returnless Refund: The Returnless Refund tab contains an Add New Rule button you can click to display a form that enables you to add a rule that sets the conditions for a returnless refund (the customer keeps the product and is refunded her money). Enter a name for the rule, a price range, choose one or more product categories the rule applies to, choose one or more return reasons, and specify a return window (number of days from the estimated order delivery date). Click Save to save the rule. The rule is added to your Returnless Refund tab with buttons next to it to Edit or Delete it. Return Address Settings: Unless you specify otherwise, items you ship to customers are returned to the business address you entered when you enrolled as an Amazon Seller. You can press the Set the Address button on this tab to enter a return address that overrides the business address. To the right of the three tabs is the Return Attribute Overrides button that enables you to download a template you can use to enter return attributes that override the default return settings for specified products. You’ll find a button for downloading the template and instructions in the template for filling it out.

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