Amazon’s Latest Changes: A Seller’s Guide to the Marketplace

Amazon latest changes

The world of Amazon is constantly changing and in order to maximize your potential on this marketplace giant as a seller, you have to be in the know. We know it can be frustrating, but we’re here to help!

In the past year we’ve seen Amazon decrease the search terms field on the back end of listings from 5,000 characters to 250 characters, open up incredible features such as Headline Search Ads to Seller Central users, and launch the new Stores page, which allows brands to showcase their products and brand story all on one beautifully designed page.

As the Amazon branch of your business, Velocity Sellers is going to let you in on all the recently released changes, as well as what to expect in the future.

Vendor Central Terms Negotiations

In March, Vendor Central users saw the release of new terms, to which many noticed a big hike in percentage on Amazon’s side. Many Vendors are still in the process of negotiating these terms. Some have been successful in bringing these fees down and others are still waiting to hear back from Amazon, despite a proposed deadline of March 31st.

The most important thing we’ve seen occur is Vendors staying true to themselves by focusing on profitability, as well as providing evidence to Vendor Account Managers why the suggested increases aren’t feasible.In some cases, moving to Seller Central may be the best option. While this process can be time consuming, we ultimately believe that you have to do what’s best for your business. If that means relocating to Seller Central from Vendor Central, then we support you. We’re here to make that transition easier and quicker.

FBA Fee Hikes and How You are Affected

The Small and Light pricing system has changed it’s charging model. Originally charging a flat rate for Order Handling and then a per oz. price of $0.09/oz, Amazon has now changed the Order Handling fee to be based around sale price of the item, with items over $5.00 and under $15.00 seeing $1.00 charge, an increased Pick & Pack fee of $0.75 per unit, and a per oz. price of $0.11/oz up to 15 oz. More information can be found here.

Monthly inventory storage fees have increased $0.05/cubic ft., Long Term Storage Fees will be assessed monthly instead of semi-annually with a minimum charge of $0.50/unit per month for any items over 365 days in storage, and the Inventory Performance Index is now going to play an important role in inventory storage limits. All these changes are active as of April 1, 2018. For more information, take a look at Amazon’s release information here.

The Crackdown of Seller-Customer Communication

Everyone seemed to be put on edge regarding news of Amazon trying to limit the number of communications between Sellers and Customers to 1 message only!

After some more digging happened, we found out that it was more of a check on Seller’s current compliance with the existing policy Amazon had in place. The essence of this check is to make sure the language being used by Sellers is appropriate and within Amazon’s guidelines. No requesting of reviews with the placement of conditions or incentives are allowed.

If there is one thing we’ve seen hurt businesses in the long run it’s being short-sighted and looking for short term gain, while being outside of Amazon’s TOS. This will almost always come back to bite you.

So check your third party review emails and make sure your language is clear, concise, and following Amazon’s guidelines.

What Else is New?

Since Amazon is constantly improving and updating their processes, expect to see more changes in the future.

Utilization of Store Pages will be increasing. This will help with brand awareness on Amazon. It will also help brands stay competitive in their space while increasing market share. If we haven’t spoken about Store Pages with you, expect us to be reaching out to regarding this soon.

We’re keeping our ears to the ground and will continue to keep you abreast of all changes as we hear about them. Here’s to a successful 2018!

If you’d like to hear our opinion on how to deal with these changes, contact us.