Online shopping continues to grow, now more than ever, shaping the entire retail environment and future function of economies. Keeping up with these changes, especially with e-commerce titan Amazon, is vital for businesses. Navazon keeps at the forefront of these changes to keep you informed.
Ongoing COVID-19 Impacts on Amazon and the Retail Environment
COVID continues to impact the economies all over the country and the world, and Amazon remains one of the only reliable options for shopping in this environment.
Amazon’s investment into COVID has come to include testing employees every two weeks, creating free masks for medical professionals and customers, $500 million in “Thank You” bonuses to employees, and a “Distance Assistant” that can provide real-time social distancing feedback.
More companies are going bankrupt, including Brooks Brothers, Ascena Retail, and more than 1,200 other smaller stores in July alone.
Though economic growth is likely to slow overall because of all these closures and reduced spending capabilities, Amazon continues to grow.
Amazon has resumed in-home delivery for large and bulky products, and home services, and its physical stores are beginning to open with reduced hours where possible.
E-Retail Environment Moving Forward
The general trend of shopping is on an upward curve as of May after the initial major impacts of the pandemic in March and April.
The current online growth is projected to continue for Amazon as the number of shoppers in online retail has increased, including 12% growth for those 65 and older.
Growth in the e-retail sector encourages businesses to move more marketing investments into online channels like Amazon that have a larger and growing audience.
Amazon International Updates
Internationally, the Born-to-Run program is up and running behind schedule, but it is by invite only. You can request it from vendor managers and it is sometimes available during negotiations. Amazon has started to manage annual negotiations via web link and has included new requests like PICS and overstock allowance.
Amazon is asking for compliance documents for importing and selling goods in Canada.
Amazon Operations with Vendors
Working on Vendor Central is returning to normal. This includes PO levels, drop ship, forecasting, and self-service programs. There are some slight changes to the Contact Us interface.
Amazon has expanded its efforts to fight counterfeiters as of June 26. This crime unit includes prosecutors and has more than 8,000 employees fighting fraud. Part of the effort is requiring 3P sellers to properly identify themselves in order to sell on Amazon.
Shipping goods to Amazon has changed in that there are new small parcel labels for small shipments to help optimize the process, and Amazon Freight is expanding to more zip codes, making that program more available.
For chargebacks, the PO on-time noncompliance grace period is now 3 days until the end of July 2020. Down-confirming shipments is back to pre-COVID operations. As of January 1, 2021, new changes to the SIOC dimensions on non-sortable products will be enforced.
Prime Day has been announced to take place for 48 hours in the third week of October, so it is time to make sure your products are ready. POs for products with deals will be coming in September and early October.
The Amazon Frontier – New Tools and Programs
Amazon offers many tools for vendors to engage with shoppers, such as A+ detail pages, Mobile Product Pages, and your Amazon store.
Amazon Posts is a tool in its beta stages that allows vendors and sellers to promote their brand and drive traffic to their detail pages at no cost. Once created, the post will show up in the mobile browsing feeds of shoppers Amazon determines are likely to be interested in the product.
One vendor has created about 50 posts that have received 386K impressions, 20K clicks with a 5% CTR, and all for free.
Creating posts is quick and easy. Once your brand logo is uploaded to the account, an ideal lifestyle image is paired with a link to the product and a short description.
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