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 p
A 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
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:
- Check vendor central for any new purchase orders (not just the normal Monday/Wednesday )
- 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.
- 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
Update: The long standing quesiton about whether or not Amazon will be happy collecting taxes on behave 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) Update - Georgia and Alaska have been added as of April 1st.
That brings the total to 41 (including DC) states that Amazon collects and remits taxes for 3rd party sellers. (plus there are 5 states that don't charge sales tax) The leaves Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. 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 competing marketplace
Hard 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
Yeoman 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:
Amazon had 900 million visits Christmas 2014, 1.3 Christmas 2015, and have regularly cracked the 1 billion visitor mark every month this year (as of May 2016). Let that number sink in. That’s 3x the population of the United States. The giant of retail, Wal-Mart only has 240 million visits a month. Target? 140 million. Grainger (for you B2B manufacturers)? 7 million. And Amazon visitors are buying. Amazon holiday sales will likely be up 20-25% over Q4 last year. That’s a decade of double digit YoY holiday sales growth (in case anyone’s counting :) And its not just the US - we see this growth in UK, Europe, and Canada.
What's their secret? They key for any manufacturer or publisher to understand, is that Amazon’s success IS NOT simply due to the products Amazon buys and sells online. That’s only one part of it.
They succeed because Amazon.com is really a system that pits 4 competing divisions against each other to drive overall sales - Amazon Supply, Amazon Merchant, Amazon Marketing
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner, so it’s time for manufacturers to do a prep-double check. Most manufacturers are thinking "my job is done, it's all up to retail and my partners". Think again. Today original manufacturers can make a major impact on holiday sales - regardless of whether you sell direct or not.
It’s not too late! There are still a few key things you can do to help boost holiday sales.
1. Make sure your main website is ready for prime time
A recent study found that 65% of shoppers visit a manufacturer's direct website to research a product prior to purchase. Your website needs to present your products in a clear, salable, format—whether you take sales or not.
This starts with polishing your product details. A full 70% of manufacturer sites we’ve studied have missing or inaccurate product information on the main site. This includes everything from inaccurate specs to missing images and even missing products. The time is NOW to do an audit and g
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, so most manufacturers have 'checked out' on the holiday season. If you walk around a manufacturer's or publisher's office this time of year, you wouldn't think it's the busiest time of the year. Most organizations are focused on 2016 budgets, new product plans, and 2016 forecasts, with the occasional glance at the POS reports.
To quote one manufacturer: "all of our heavy activity is leading up to the holidays; our partners take it from there. We don't sell direct." That may have been true in years, past, but original manufacturers have a major impact on holiday sales - regardless of whether or not you sell direct.
A recent study of 5,000 shoppers found that 65% of have visited a manufacturer's website as part of researching a product over the last year. Not presenting your products in a clear, salable, format is just a mistake. Key things you can do this week to help sales include:
1. Polish the product details on your site: Yeoman f
Google has confirmed it - a Buy Button is “imminent.” The button is expected to be rolled out on mobile devices, and will enable people who click on product ads in search results to buy those products without navigating to a third-party site. The button, following similar moves by Facebook and Twitter, are a significant departure for the search giant, which has built its business based on ads that link to other websites.
"The rationale is to reduce friction for customers'" said Omid Kordestani, Google’s Chief Business Officer, "making it simpler to complete online purchases." Trust us, there's another reason - Google is facing significant competition from Amazon and others when it comes to people searching for products and has been steadily moving to be more "direct." Recent examples include:
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