How to increase sales on Amazon in Fall 2014

Order Management

As of November 18, Amazon will be implementing restrictions that prevent some retailers from selling products in the online store’s toys and games category. This limitation is implemented as a means of ensuring quality service during the busy holiday season – Amazon does not want fly-by-night sellers tarnishing consumers’ confidence of the marketplace’s brand.

Amazon does not want fly-by-night sellers tarnishing consumers’ confidence of the marketplace’s brand.

In order to qualify to sell products after November 18 on Amazon, marketplace owners must have met the following conditions:

  • Their first Amazon.com sale must have taken place before September 18, 2014. Category does not matter in this instance, it can be a toy or anything else.
  • Retailers must have processed and shipped 25 orders between September 1 and October 31 of this year. Once again, this condition is category agnostic – purchases can come from any department.
  • Pre-fulfillment cancel rates on purchases between October 1 and October 31, 2014, can be no more than 1.75 percent. Late shipment rates during the same time frame can be no higher than 4 percent.
  • Order defect rates can be no greater than 1 percent as of November 1, 2014. As Amazon explained, an order has a defect if it “incurs a negative feedback, an A-to-Z Guarantee claim or a service credit card chargeback. Your order defect rate is defined as the number of orders with a defect divided by the number of orders in the time period of interest.”
Enterprises using Fulfillment by Amazon will not be subject to the annual holiday season restriction, provided their accounts are in good standing.

The big caveat to all this is that enterprises using Fulfillment by Amazon will not be subject to the annual holiday season restriction, provided their accounts are in good standing. Most of these conditions are put into place to ensure customers get their purchases from sellers in a timely fashion and that all orders live up to the level of quality that Amazon has become known for, so using FBA ensures those standards are met.

Capitalizing on Amazon to generate more sales

Merchants selling on Amazon during this time frame need to use Amazon deftly to maximize their sales. Because there are limitations on selling toys and games, there will be less competition. This can present a huge window of opportunity for merchants looking to generate some big sales figures during the holidays.

Make no mistake, this is a huge advantage. Amazon has one of the biggest customer bases of any eCommerce seller, and being able to tap that audience during a peak period such as the holiday season can be a significant boon for any merchant. The Motley Fool reported earlier this year that Amazon had added 30 million new customers last year to bring the number of total active users up to 244 million – that is a significant pool of prospective buyers.

Complying with Amazon’s requirements throughout the holiday season

Of course, simply qualifying to sell toys and games, from November 18 to January, is only the first step. Merchants need to work to stay in good standing throughout the holiday season by monitoring customer metrics, taking corrective action if necessary, minimizing order cancelations, shipping products as quickly as possible and generally just staying on top of their game.

If buyers are permitted to sell toys and games post-November 18, they need to do their best to remain within Amazon’s good graces.

Dropping out shortly after the deadline due to poor order fulfillment and inventory management may result in a significant drop in potential sales that could be generated via the marketplace. This is particularly important for retailers that may not have much brand recognition on their own and rely on third-party marketplaces.

As Amazon suggested, one of the best ways of doing so is simply using FBA to process all orders through the site. This will require merchants to organize, manage and coordinate multiple distribution points, much like they would any drop shipping service provider.

While FBA is a great service, there is also no denying that it is an additional cost and many merchants simply do not want to eat that cost. However, that means they will need to be able to pick, pack and ship orders quickly, accurately and satisfactory to avoid late shipments, negative feedback and pre-fulfillment cancelations. This will require merchants to make adequate use of eCommerce solutions that can aid with everything from inventory management to order fulfillment.

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