Ensuring that your Amazon business is operating at peak performance is essential for any business operating online. Keep up with the latest developments, technologies, and techniques surrounding Amazon with the experts at Navazon.
- Fulfillment Center capacity constraints may limit operations during Q4.
- COVID responses, Prime Day, and approaching holidays create both challenges and opportunities.
- Ideal use of Brand Store pages increases brand image and return on ad spend.
- Updated capabilities of Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display advertising offer more marketing opportunities.
- Boost your reach to shoppers with Amazon Live and Attribution increase engagement and communication.
Amazon Updates and COVID Response
Workers Testing Positive
Amazon disclosed 19,816, or 1.44%, of U.S. its frontline workforce has been infected by the COVID-19 virus. An estimate from John Hopkins University would have put that number at 33,952 if it followed the trend of the general population, showing that Amazon is taking effective measures to protect its workers as well as the customers they deliver packages to. These infections, and lack thereof, have led to some interesting results.
Negative: Disruptions in supply chain as protesting employees push for higher benefits and safety processes
Positive: Still 1,372,000 front-line employees across both Amazon and Whole Foods that have continued working throughout the pandemic, keeping economic levels as stable as possible
Amazon Prime Day Oct 13-14
Amazon’s Prime Day attracts millions of customers and provides unique deals on all kinds of products as well as special discounts on Amazon-branded products. This is a unique opportunity for sellers and vendors to reach an even larger audience.
There are over 1 million deals worldwide available for its 150 million Prime members, offering deals by category even $50 in Prime Day credits for many shoppers.
However, negative media has brought attention to Amazon’s operations, claiming Amazon’s complete focus on customer satisfaction’ may cost the health of its employees.
Many contracts are set to auto–renew on the first of January. Notification must be provided to Amazon 60 days or more in advance of contract end dates if you do not wish your contract to auto-renew. File a Contact Us case to end a contract before then end of October. Make sure you know what you want in your new contracts.
Several contract options to consider or be aware of before renewal:
- COOP / DA / FA – Can help with rejected cost increases
- Volume Incentive Rebates (VIR)
- SVS, VS, or other optional contracts that you may not want to auto-renew
3P Seller Information
In response to an increasing number of counterfeit products and overall bad actors on the marketplace, Amazon is now requiring 3P sellers to provide a business name and address. The information is then displayed on the seller’s storefront. This provides transparency for Amazon, customers, and manufacturers who need to know the identity of who these 3P sellers are.
Amazon Attribute Auditing
To achieve sales growth, profitability, and brand excellence on Amazon, you need to make sure your products are orderable by Amazon, available to purchase by shoppers, indexed in search, and retail ready.
But to get all those aspects going, each product has a lot of attributes that need to function correctly, like having detail page content, costs, list prices, availability, replenishment codes, backend attributes, and more.
Attribute auditing is a way to ensure that those inputs are correct. Checking this information one by one is an extremely time-consuming task, as it requires pulling several reports from vender central, combined with manually viewing each detail.
Navazon has created products and processes that smooth out this task and speed it up so that vendors can keep a constant eye on their products profitability.
Ease of use with Tiles
Instead of entering titles, descriptions, and images individually onto a store page, product tiles pull the information directly from the detail page. This saves a lot of time on the vendor’s end and provides a better, more consistent brand experience for the customer.
Using these tiles with the “Hiding out of stock products” option makes it so that your store only shows products that are in stock and available to customers. Once the products come back in stock, they will be automatically reinserted them into the product grid.
Data helps optimize store
Amazon provides data on Brand Store pages that can provide your needed feedback on the results of your actions. Source tags help you see the outcome of your off-amazon marketing. You can run a social media campaign that drives traffic to your amazon store, and then track the sales and traffic that result from it. This allows more visibility into the ROI of marketing campaigns. So that vendors can plan for effective future advertising strategies.
Marketing Campaigns with Brand Store
The default option for Sponsored Brand Ad (SBA) is to drive traffic to an auto–generated page that displays the products included in the ad. An alternative method is to direct the SBA ad to a page in your Amazon store that has the products listed. Amazon showed that this second method produced a 23% increase in Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) compared to the default method.
Store page versions allow you to publish different versions of your store for specific time periods. Versions can be used to highlight deals through various promotional periods like Black Friday, Halloween, and even Prime Day.
Another way this can be used is for vendors with seasonal products, you can have a separate layout for spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Yet another way versions can be used is to A/B test different layouts. You can schedule two layouts to run for the same duration of time and then compare which resulted in more sales.
Check if products are suppressed due to image issues. When uploading image files, they are checked to confirm that they meet technical file requirements. Additionally, if the images on your Amazon product listings are found to be non-compliant with Amazon’s content requirements, the product listings will be suppressed from search and browse. This report will show if either issue is applicable to the products.
SIOC Measurement Updates
An update to the SIOC program is decreasing the minimum dimensions a product must have to be exempt from the SIOC program.
The original SIOC requirements are remaining the same. Products are considered non-sort and need SIOC certification or will be subject to SIOC chargeback if any of the following is applicable:
- Longest side > 18″
- Median side > 14″
- Shortest side > 8″
However, the new exemptions measurements have changed. A product will be excluded from SIOC requirements if it is non-sort but meets any of the following measurements:
- Largest side < 6″
- Median side < 4″
- Smallest side < 0.375″
FC Capacity Constraints During Q4
Many fulfillment centers are currently above 100% capacity due to adjusted operations for COVID-19 and they are expected to remain above until after Q4. The priority for storage is for vendors with promotions.
Because of this, along with Prime Day inventory constraints, many vendors are experiencing a drop in purchase orders, getting late pick-ups from carriers, and even pushed out delivery appointments.
To help ease the constraints of their fulfillment centers, Amazon has reduced weeks of cover in purchase orders, reduced purchasing of new products, and restricted Vendor Central capabilities that impact inventory (such as Born-to-Run).
To help mitigate possible declines in sales because of this, there are several measures vendors can take.
- Ensure drop-ship inventory is available and sufficient
- Born-to-Run, if possible, can increase inventory on ASINs with low weeks of cover
- Bulk buy offers can also help increase inventory
- Request through VM to be added to program or reach out through email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Any ASIN receiving POs is eligible
- You pick the start of the ship/delivery window
- Use promotions to cause lift in Amazon’s forecast
- Use tickets and call NOC when carriers are unresponsive to emails about missed pick-ups; 1-866-203-8372
Climate Pledge Friendly Program
Amazon is launching a program to make it easier for customers to shop sustainable products. Climate Pledge Friendly products make efforts to meet various requirements of efficiency that help reduce carbon footprints.
Amazon has their own certification called Compact by Design, mostly for consumable products. To qualify for this category, products need to meet thresholds for categories measured this formula: Volume x Weight = Unit efficiency. With less packaging, less volume, and less weight, these items serve the customers in small packages that put less strain on the environment.
Vendors can also show their dedication to sustainability by contacting a third–party certification body. There are currently 19 Climate Pledge Certifications recognized by the Climate Pledge program including reducing a carbon footprint, production made with environmentally friendly materials, energy efficiency, ethical farming standards, responsible forestry, and recycled material.
New video campaign capabilities for Sponsored Brands allow you to engage and communicate more with customers to bring them to detail pages and brand stores. These videos appear on search pages and utilize the same cost-per-click cost structure as other self-serve sponsored advertising
Sponsored Brands also offers new creative customization options that allow advertisers to integrate engaging lifestyle images to their ads. These images are not like the individual product images on detail page listings but should also not include logos.
Sponsored Displays now allow advertisers to create customized headlines and logos to match their individual branding and more effectively target their shopping audience. These adds can be found alongside product descriptions, customer reviews, shopping results, or under featured offers.
While this option has been available in the U.S. for a while, it is now expanding to vendors and seller brand owners in UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, CA, JP, and AU.
Amazon Frontier – New Tools and Programs
Creating Amazon Live videos gives an opportunity to connect directly with shoppers, answering questions and showcasing your products in action. Doing this, you can grow a following on Amazon, drive urgency for purchases, and increase product sales.
There are two ways to get your products on Amazon Live videos, each with their own pros and cons.
- Amazon Produced – Places your product among others on a video created and presented by Amazon itself
- Worry free way to get your product on videos during high traffic periods
- Limited control over how items are presented
- Placed among multiple other products from other sellers
- Brand Produced – Vendors or sellers create a live presentation to promote their products
- High focus on products that the brand is selling to customers
- Cross sell items that work well together
- Great degree of control over presentation of products
- Interact with shoppers
- Technical needs for ideal live videos that are aesthetically pleasing
- Amazon Produced – Places your product among others on a video created and presented by Amazon itself
Amazon Attribution API
Amazon Attribution can allow you precisely measure the impact and ROI from your external marketing campaigns. The API allows you to create applications that optimize your marketing workflow and performance. This tool processes Amazon data on impressions, clicks, views, “add to cart” clicks, overall sales, and individual purchases to see the performance of adds outside of Amazon.
Amazon is constantly changing, updating, and finding new ways to provide great customer experiences, and keeping up with all these changes is pivotal in attaining and maintaining the best growth and profitability possible. If you have any questions about these topics, or anything else about finding success on Amazon, contact a Navazon representative today.