An Amazon Vendor Blackout.
That’s what the term the media has widely used when referring to the recent high volume of vendors who did not receive their regular vendor account (POs) purchase orders.
The resulting reports of a widespread Vendor account shut down for accounts not doing significant volume were enough to scare many, especially those counting on Amazon as their primary retail channel.
While we’ve already seen the reinstatement of some accounts and are still investigating it’s clear there’s a seeming push by Amazon to self-service.
This is good news for those of you willing to diversify within Amazon both with an Amazon Seller Account and Amazon Vendor Account
The bottom line is that a calculated hybrid approach to Amazon Seller Central and Amazon Vendor Central can accelerate your success.
There are many advantages to going direct to consumer with Seller Central. So if you find business slowing down, here’s how to make that shift successfully.
ACCESS FREE ANALYTICS AND USE 3RD PARTY APPS
Get yourself brand registered as a third-party marketplace seller and you suddenly have access to a variety of tools you’re used to paying for that are now FREE.
This includes vital information like the three most clicked on ASINs affiliated with a keyword and the related percentages, a search by customer feature for keywords, and insight into how popular a keyword is in comparison to others.
This is a feature that can cost upwards of $30,000 annually.
It’s not all roses though because many of the advanced analytics you were used to are gone. Top-sellers, cross-selling, category, and other profitable data isn’t available through the free plan.
Fortunately, some third-party apps are filling in the gap.
AMZInsight offers everything from best-selling keywords and insight into competitor’s strategies with a ‘Spy Tool’ tracking sales to vital tools like price tracking and revenue projections.
Sonar by Sellics offers reverse ASIN searches as well as keyword searches that you can use to cross-check your keyword research for FREE, so there’s no additional cost to your business.
SEO Chat can help you handle keyword optimization simultaneously between multiple platforms, including Google, Amazon, YouTube, and Bing, an awesome multi-tasker.
Helium10 offers all-in-one tools perfect for Vendors turned Sellers, from inventory protection to account alerts against hijackers and multiple different ways to conduct keyword research and countless other priceless analytical data (including competitor info) at a fraction of the price.
SET YOUR OWN PRICE WITH CONFIDENCE
Okay, the bad news first. You now have new costs associated with referral fees, a monthly subscription fee, high volume fees, and selling fees, and FBA fulfillment, storage and other fees.
But the upfront costs can sting a lot less if you’ve had to cut the price of your products due to competitor prices threatening POs in the past. With new freedom, you can base your prices on your own market research and make price changes whenever needed to move inventory.
Calculating and creating a price that reflects your new costs while remaining competitive can give you an advantage you would not have had with Amazon dictating your pricing structure. Take the freedom and run to bigger profit margins.
CREATE A STREAMLINED PLAN FOR CUSTOMER RETURNS & QUESTIONS
Yes, now you are the point of contact with product-related questions and concerns over returns.
You also are expected to perform at certain Seller performance targets for every product. Read more about that here, but here’s the list:
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
Negative reviews are also counted against you more harshly.
But instead of getting scared about the potential ramifications of not meeting these standards, you can see it as a chance to have more direct control over the customer service process.
By creating a proactive plan to respond to customer questions, returns concerns, and other related issues with products, your account’s reputation is likely to improve. A little bit of preparation can create a big opportunity for a buying experience that will make them more likely to return.
MAKE INVENTORY DECISIONS BASED ON YOUR FORECASTS
Waiting for purchase orders proved to be a major source of stress for many Vendors recently, and as a seller, this reliance on a PO just doesn’t exist.
This can be stressful, in that you are not guaranteed any measure of sales. But it can also give you the freedom to forecast according to your own business’s needs (and profit margins).
Without POs to worry about, you get to decide whether taking a risk on a new or returning product (or boosting inventory levels on current best-sellers) is going to pay off.
Keeping track of KPIs like gross profit margin, inventory turnover, cash flow forecast, among many other operational considerations will help keep you on the right track.
Making this transition requires an extensive strategy that typically only comes with experience.
MAKE THE SWITCH AND VELOCIFY YOUR SUCCESS
So it makes complete sense that switching from a Vendor to a Seller account to sell your products, even partially, is a daunting process that can make you feel overwhelmed.
Fortunately, our Amazon specialists can help you shift your focus to the continued (and increased) success you can enjoy with Velocity’s tried-and-true systems for a hybrid vendor/seller central approach that has delivered dependable results time and again.
Schedule a free consultation session here for no-obligation advice from our professional Amazon experts.
Because there are many benefits to be had for your bottom line by proactively embracing change. Let’s reach your full potential on Amazon together.
To your success!