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8718530860?profile=RESIZE_710xThis webinar was held on Friday March 26th at 10AM EST.  Recording: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3365335026661275137

You thought Amazon was tough in 2020? Welcome to 2021. This year Amazon is shaping up to be one of the most challenging environments brands have ever faced. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling via a merchant account (3P) or wholesaling to Amazon (1P), it’s all changing and brands need to rethink their strategy to selling on Amazon. This is a must-attend webinar that will cover all aspects of a brands’ sales challenges on Amazon:

  1. Wholesale Environment Changes: Less access to buyers, more reliance on automated POs, as well as the expansion of Born-to-Run and Drop-ship programs
  2. Merchant Direct Sales: Continued FBA restrictions, New Seller Fulfilled Prime Rules, and stricter adherence to performance metrics
  3. 3rd Party Sellers: The FBA/SFP changes are also impacting the retailers who you often compete against. While you may think that’s a good thing, it can ofte
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7516322280?profile=RESIZE_400xUpdate: The long-standing quesiton about whether or not Amazon will be happy collecting taxes on behalf of 3rd party sellers is officially over. On January 1st, Amazon started collecting in 4 more states (HI, IL, MI, and WI). Last October they added 9 (AZ, CA, CO, ME, MD, MA, NV, ND, TX, UT)  Georgia and Alaska were added as of April 1st. Mississippi , Tennessee, and Louisiana were added in Q4 of 2020.

That brings the total to 44 states (including DC) that Amazon collects and remits taxes for 3rd party sellers (plus there are 4 states that don't charge sales tax). That leaves only Florida, Kansas, and Missouri. The bulk of the other Marketplaces like Walmart and eBay have also complied with most of the rules, but not as fast as Amazon. For Amazon, the logic is easy.

  • They have a physical nexus in all 50 states already (so they pay taxes on items they sell direct)
  • They already have an enterprise level merchant collection system that's been running for year
  • Walmart, EBay and other compet
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8490339270?profile=RESIZE_400xLast August, Amazon announced some major changes to their Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program.  SFP is a great option that let's large brands offer 'Prime' shipping to Amazon customers and ship directly from their own warehouses.  The program was very well received by many brands, especially brands that had large, perishible, or high value goods.  Brands could set their Prime area by region; helping to avoid 'lost sales' for cross country shipments.

The program has been around for 2+ years and has always had very strict rules; 99% on time shipment, 99% on time delivery and less than a 0.5% cancellation rate.   Amazon raised the bar in August, requiring the following as of February 1st:

  1. Nationwide delivery coverage for all standard-size products (any item that is less than 20lbs and is classified as 'standard size' by Amazon..
  2. Ship methods that support weekend delivery and pick up (Saturday or Sunday) .
  3. A new requirement that a certain percentage of page views (not orders) but show as
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8480508055?profile=RESIZE_400xWalmart's recent online growth has gotten brands of all size rethinking their marketplace strategy on Amazon.  In general Walmart marketplace sales are 2-4% of what comparable item sales are on Amazon (based upons Yeoman's exclusive cross platform brand analysis over the last 5 years.

However, the pandemic has brought a surge in volume on Walmart, especially in groceries and consumables.

 

So is Walmart worth it?  Commissions and fees are comparable to Amazon (10-15% range) but there are several differences brands should be aware of.  The first is shipping and perfomance.

Remember, Walmart really doesn't have a mature, active program like FBA. They do have a program through their partner Delivrr, but this is fairly new and not a large % of their shipments yet.

If you're doing the fulfillment, Walmart’s standard metrics are slightly tougher than Amazon in terms of late shipments and tracking but they tend to be more forgiving if you have performance issues.

  

 

Amazon Fulfilled by

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8480366066?profile=RESIZE_400xWe all saw it coming.  A surge in online demand, Covid workplace restrictions, and an unwillingness for the USPS to ramp up capacity during the pandemic.    Fedex and UPS were all over customers confirming schedules, max deliveries, and raising rates for the holidays.  USPS did raise rates, but is clearly overwhelmed at this point and its getting uglier by the day.

This does not just impact USPS shipments.  The Post Office is the “last mile” for some packages for every major carrier including UPS (Surepost), Fedex (Smartpost), and many Amazon orders.

How bad is it?  Yeoman estimates that 20-30% of USPS packages that were shipped from businesses last week are not even scanned into USPS system.  Worse, it appears that USPS is not scanning items as they move through the system.  We have confirmed multiple reports of items not showing as scanned, but arriving at the end customer address.

We recommend that you take the following steps immediately

  1. Stop shipping packages via USPS including o
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7540772076?profile=RESIZE_400xWhat if, as a manufacturer, publisher or IT company, you could predict the future? You’d probably start off by predicting how much inventory you need to carry, followed closely by predicting the next products your customers are going to want to buy, so you can have them ready and waiting the next time they hit “search.”

 

Magic? Not really. Impossible? No. Mining the data you already have access to about your customers and web visitors can give you amazing insight into their future behavior and preferences – but only if you capture it and use it.

 

Case in point: Netflix cashes in on their own crystal ball

When Netflix went looking to produce its own TV show to compete with cable, they – like any other business – wanted to be as sure as possible it would be a big hit. But unlike a lot of other businesses, Netflix captures and mines enormously detailed data on their customers. That’s how they predicted that their new series “House of Cards” would be a huge success before they even taped

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8042018063?profile=RESIZE_400xTired of hearing that the 2020 holiday season is “unprecedented,” “uncharted” and “uncertain”? We are too. The new reality of selling is here — and many businesses are playing catchup. We know there’s a shift to customer engagement through digital channels, but few have had bandwidth to improve their performance in that area. Rather, the majority of B2B and B2C businesses are just happy to see any growth at all.

That’s a mistake: There are at least five initiatives that, undertaken now, will put you in a strong position to wrap up the year. These are short-fuse, get-it-done today tasks that can make or break Q4. B2B or B2C, in doesn’t matter. Chances are, you’re leaving money on the table.

Join NetSuite and Mike Healey, president of Yeoman Technology Group, for practical advice on optimizing your digital sales strategies in Q4 — and what that means for fulfillment and logistics. We’ll also share new Brainyard insights on what to expect from the 2020 holiday season.  The webinar is part o

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Blog Update:  Amazon officially confirmed 10/13 and 10/14 for Prime Day on Sunday September 27th. Frustration among brands continues to grow as Amazon remains oddly silent and cryptic even to its biggest partners regarding Prime Day. The latest hints come from multiple sources including the Verge, CNBC, and even Amazon themselves.

The original October 5th placeholder is less than 12 days away so it's unlikely they'll try and hit that date. It's important to not that as of today, Amazon has not confirmed October 13th.

The most recent evidence that it will be between October 12-15th:

- Amazon has restricted time off at the warehouses beginning the 13th (source CNBC and CNET)
- Lightning deals are blocked off after the 11th. Normally you can select multiple weeks out
- Internal Amazon sources have hinted to Yeoman that it will likely be this week (to avoid hitting Halloween)

So why all the secrecy? It's quite simple, they're not ready yet. Amazon's volume has exploded since the pand

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8480527864?profile=RESIZE_400xThe last few weeks have been bad news for everyone who thought Amazon was going to stabilize after a few months of the pandemic. Not only has Amazon's sales continued to grow, they've launched a flurry of new rules and requirements that are going to impact 100% of brands this holiday.

They likely have good intentions; they're trying to absorb the initial 50-60% growth in order volume that started in March in an environment that's made their operations 10-20% less efficient.  Now they're staring down the barrel of a huge surge during the holidays that requires some hard decisions that go against the core of their marketplace selling model that's made them so successful.

Join us for a detailed discussion of the current landscape and what your brand needs to do to succeed this holiday and into 2021.  Planned topics include:

  1. Traffic and activity trends - March to August
  2. Shifts in Amazon Marketing costs
  3. Amazon price monitoring changes and impact on brands
  4. Catalog restrictions and challenge
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7515554499?profile=RESIZE_584xA recent Yeoman study of over 1,500 items sold on Amazon from a leading US manufacturer found a whopping 70% contained errors or did not follow Amazon’s best practice recommendations for providing product details. This study further showed the same level of inaccuracy on Google and Bing product searches. This is a maddening problem that plagues manufacturers in every industry. Once a product is “out there,” resellers, partners, distributors and reviewers end up shaping and revising the product details that your customers are going to use to make their purchase decision.

 

Products sold by Amazon definitely had better data quality, but less than 4% could be considered 'optimized' with the proven best practices for any item:

  • Descriptive title at least 50 characters long (including brand, purpose, color, and set/quantity info)
  • Multiple images of product
  • Bullet/summary list of product features
  • Complete description that includes product benefits, usage instructions, what's in the box, and
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Brands have a unique challenge with websites. They have to combine sales, operations, marketing, customer service and channel programs into one site. These have to be organized and easy-to-follow for customers as well as partners. Here at Yeoman, we’re rather famous for our website best practices review. In this blog series, we’re going to reveal our carefully honed criteria, so you can make sure your website is engaging and converting customers with the best of them.
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What’s in a Name?

7516247857?profile=RESIZE_400xWhat’s in a Name? In online merchandising just about everything.

Data quality online is one of the biggest problems manufacturers face. How good your product “looks” online (including not just clean photos, but also well-written product descriptions and titles) impacts everything from SEO rankings to customer preference to channel relations – so getting it right is important.

There’s a lot that goes into data quality. One critical element is the title. This is often the first and only information your prospect is going to see before making that all important decision to click or not to click. This snippet of text is also weighted heavily by the search engines, meaning a good title will get you in front of more prospects.

 

The biggest mistake we see manufacturers make is using their 'own' terms for items, assuming that everyone knows what they mean.  It's call the 'Curse of Knowledge' and can plague everyone from industrial manufacturers to beverage Companies that insist on calling the

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Update 4/27:  Amazon has slightly relaxed some of their FBA and PO restrictions, but we are seeing dramatically lower PO volumes for none essential items. In addition Yeoman estimates that 75% of FBA items have a 'limited stock' restriction placded on them. This means that Amazon will be restricting how many items you can send in.  All brands should do the following:

  1. Check vendor central for any new purchase orders (not just the normal Monday/Wednesday )
  2. For FBA sellers, check the 'inventory planning section of seller central' this is where any prioritized items will appear.  Send in inventory if its an option, we are seeing eligible inventory change daily.
  3. All brands should have a plan to fulfill via their own SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime) or FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) programs or work with their existing partners.  

The priority for a brand is to make sure you have stock avaiable on Amazon (either via Amazon, your 3P account, or a partners)

Amazon is seeing unprecendented demand a

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Amazon has dramatically changed its operations in response to the pandemic up ending every single brands Amazon sales model. Every brand needs to review their current Amazon position and take steps to ensure their growth going forward.

Webinar is now available on demand:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7708467521657981441

Not only is Amazon experiencing unprecedented volume and demand related to the pandemic, but they also have to manage this new volume with a newly dispersed workforce and a delivery and supply chain that's breaking under the strain. Their current short-term changes to cope have included some major moves including:

 

  1. Amazon Purchase Orders: Dramatic backs for non-essential products
  2. FBA Sellers: Restriction on all non-essential inbound products
  3. Marketing Programs: Multiple restrictions including ending Coupons and Deals to help control volume
  4. Prime Shipping: 2 Day shipping is unavailable for the majority of products, with the average lead time of 7 days fo
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7516348055?profile=RESIZE_400xHard to believe it's been 4 years since Amazon announced Launchpad a custom program that helps start-ups “launch, market and distribute” new products on Amazon.  The program is really a re-skinned version of Amazon's Vendor Express, but it's goal is to let smaller manufacturers sell directly to Amazon.  The reason for the re-branding?  Simple - it's cooler and let's them position it as an option for business that were funded by Kickstarter, Circle up, or just an old fashion invention.

Their pitch is that you get to tap into Amazon's massive presence to quickly build your brand leveraging their platform to grow. They are correct - Amazon is the largest online retailer with over 1.4 billion sessions last Christmas.  A recent Forrester survey noted that 50% of American's search for product on Amazon regardless of whether or not they're going to buy on the site.

Any Company needs a presence there and Amazon is positioning Launchpad as the way to do it for start-ups. But is it worth it?   H

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7516370859?profile=RESIZE_400xYeoman is often asked by clients to help identify 'gaps' in their teams' abilities to be more digitally focused.  Most companies we work with often have great sales teams, a solid marketing group, and good business analysts but they still struggle with the best way to support their sales and distribution efforts online. 
 
Over the years, Yeoman has found most organizations have gaps in 3 key areas:
 

1. Online Product Merchandising:  The actual creation of product details online is often relegated to a junior buyer, marketing associate, (or worse) an intern. The thought of what product details will be often comes last and is rushed out as the product is shipping.  Big mistake.  Building up your internal content skills is one of the best ways to improve your overall footprint.  This includes everything from best practice titles, product details, images, specifications, categorization, etc.  This isn't a one time task; it needs to become part of someone's role for three reasons:

  • Optimi
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How to Empower Staff with Data

7516389060?profile=RESIZE_400xData, data everywhere, and nary a data scientist in sight. Or at least, not one you can afford. It's a classic Catch-22. To thrive, businesses need to pull financial, sales, predictive, social, and other data into a complete view of the customer. But big data practitioners with fancy degrees who can bring sophisticated analytics chops to bear on that effort start in the six figures, if you can even find one.

Academics and consultants pontificate on the crisis. McKinsey & Co. exclaims that advanced big data analytics, driven partly by the Internet of Things, could increase GDP in retailing and manufacturing by up to $325 billion annually and trim nearly as much from the cost of healthcare and government services by 2020. Too bad most organizations will never be able to hire that expertise. Yep, the world's got big data envy bad, and a data scientist is the silver bullet we all need.

Here's an alternative viewpoint: You don't need them. Instead, bring big data analytics down to earth, tr

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7516855058?profile=RESIZE_400xAccording to a recent report put together by the Baymard Institute, an independent web research company, 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned. That means that 67% of web shoppers looked around your site, picked out one or more things they liked enough to save into a cart, and then just...didn't buy them. Why not?

 

The four main reasons online browsers don't make that online purchase include:

1. Taxes and Shipping. Shipping just bumped a $29.99 purchase up to $41.50. The total price is too much. Bye-bye, customer.

2. Buyer’s Remorse. Shopping around and putting things in your cart is a guilt-free pleasure. But once you see everything you picked out, a sense of regret can outweigh the actual enjoyment of potentially using the product. Customers start to ask themselves: Do I really need this product? 67% of them say "no." 

3. It was fun to pretend. I was just browsing or comparison shopping. I never planned to buy the item, or I went somewhere else and got a better price.

4. Proble

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Amazon Brand Registry - It's Working

In our recent blog post, Amazon Brand Registry: What You Need to Know Right Now, we covered some of the advantages of signing up for the new Amazon Brand Registry. Of course the main benefit of the brand registry is that once you prove your brand belongs to you, Amazon will help you protect it against counterfeiters and unauthorized resellers. Well, it's working.
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