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Instruction

What is Amazon Brand Registry – and How to Set It Up

Amazon is the largest online marketplace today. With over 398 million products listed and more than 26 million transactions per day, it’s no wonder more and more business owners are selling their products on Amazon.

However, all is not rosy. Selling on Amazon has become increasingly difficult in recent years, with competition from cheap, low-quality counterfeits and unscrupulous resellers trying to make a profit from the arbitrage made selling your products.

For potential buyers of Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) businesses, there is a real concern about buying a business that could easily be hijacked and copied, potentially losing the “buy box” and associated revenue. If you want to sell your private label business in the future, this concern can directly impact your ability to sell.

If you are a seller who makes and sells your own private label products on Amazon, you will need to sign up for Amazon’s updated trademark registry.

What does Amazon consider a “brand” and why should you care about Amazon’s brand registry?

To quote Amazon:

“The Amazon Brand Registry is available to sellers who make or sell their own branded products. Manufacturers can add their brand to the Amazon Brand Registry and register themselves as a brand owner. The goal of Amazon Brand Registry is to make it easier for sellers to manage their own brands and list their products on Amazon.”

Registering your brand proves that you own the products you sell; once approved, you get the added protection Amazon gives brands.

If you sell (or ever want to sell) your private label FBA business, registering your brand can help increase its value. When you buy, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re buying an established and trusted brand that’s protected from hijackers and copycats.

To better understand the changes to Amazon’s brand registry and how it can benefit you as a seller, we need to take a closer look at the first version of the brand registry and some of the challenges sellers faced when using it.

Amazon Brand Registry 1.0 and its problems

Prior to the Amazon Brand Registry updates, a seller could register their private label relatively easily. Sellers simply had to prove ownership of the domain name for the brand and provide images of the product and packaging with the brand name. The idea was that trademark registration would help sellers protect their offerings and prevent copyright infringement by counterfeiters and resellers.

However, the first version of the registry did not provide the protection that sellers expected. The registry offered limited protection, and reporting infringements was a tedious and slow process.

To improve the customer experience and make it easier to find products, Amazon allows the same listing to be used by multiple sellers. Unscrupulous sellers would “hijack” listings and sell similar or counterfeit goods as if they were real by piggybacking on a legitimate product listing. Customers would buy products from an offer thinking it was the original brand and receive a non-genuine product.

In many cases, customers didn’t even realize the product was a fake until they tried to make a warranty claim. When they received poor customer service from the fake seller, they left a bad review for the original offering. Such reviews resulted in damage to the original brand’s reputation and goodwill with customers that the brand owner had invested time and money in building, and also negatively impacted Amazon’s trusted status as a platform that provides a great customer experience.

To make matters worse, the seller bore the burden of proof in reporting the infringement. It was up to the seller to prove that their branding and copyright had been infringed.

Another problem with these hijackers was that even if they got caught, it was too easy for them to open a new account and start over. They sold as many products as they could, and when they got “burned” (flagged and shut down by Amazon), they simply opened a new Amazon account and started over.

As a seller, you are also Amazon’s customer. If you can’t trust Amazon to protect your brand, the company knows you will churn. Fewer sellers hurt Amazon by impacting market share and opening the door for a competitor to throw their hat in the ring.

The updated brand registry system goes a long way toward fixing these issues and aims to improve the customer experience for sellers and consumers alike.

Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 Improvements

The updated brand registry – Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 – is a way for Amazon to show that it is focused on people who are serious about their brands and not selling junk products.

Amazon has made some significant improvements to the brand registry program since May 2017. While there will be ongoing updates, here are the major improvements to Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 so far:

  • The Amazon Brand Registry program now has its own user interface and login, separate from Seller Account Central.
  • The new interface has improved reporting tools to deal with counterfeit products and hijacked listings.
  • Sellers can access powerful new search tools to help them find products that infringe their copyright.
  • Amazon has a dedicated team to deal with reported infringements.

Amazon made these changes to meet its original business goals. As stated by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:

“We have three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”

Amazon’s primary goal is to put the customer experience first. Counterfeit products, hijacked offers and unauthorized resellers create a negative experience for customers. These negative experiences directly impact Amazon’s bottom line.

Let’s take a look at what these changes mean and how they improve both the customer and seller experience.

Dedicated user interface

The new brand registration has its own user interface and login that is separate from Amazon Seller Central. This new dashboard makes it much easier to track which brands you’ve registered, while also giving you a clean and dedicated interface to manage any copyright or trademark infringements.

Powerful search tools

Until now, you could only detect trademark infringement if someone managed to hijack your listing’s buy box or if you had a bad review from a customer who bought a counterfeit item.

With the new search tool, you can search for trademark infringement:

  • Product name
  • ASIN
  • Brand name
  • Even keywords and images!

With these tools, you can find potential trademark infringement directly from your trademark registration dashboard, reducing potential lost revenue from would-be hijackers.

A+ Content

Formerly known as enhanced branded content, A+ content gives sellers greater control over their storefront. You can create better product descriptions, titles, and product images to set your product detail page apart from the competition.

Improved reporting tools

In the past, you had to report a violation via a form buried deep in the bowels of Amazon Help documentation. Sellers now have the ability to report a violation directly from their brand registration dashboard, making it quick and easy to deal with counterfeit products and listing hijackers.

Dedicated team to handle reported violations.

Before the updates, you had to deal with hijackers and counterfeiters on Amazon Marketplace yourself. You had to send a takedown notification directly to the hijacker/counterfeiter or purchase the counterfeit product to register a complaint. Once you notified Amazon, it usually took a few days for the company to remove the offending listing.

This cumbersome process led to many sellers complaining that Amazon didn’t care about its sellers. Now Amazon is taking a more proactive approach and wants to help sellers deal with counterfeits more efficiently.

Amazon claims that complaints can be handled in as little as four hours by a dedicated team of 300 employees who handle all claims related to violations.

This should speed up and improve the process for reporting counterfeit products and make it harder for counterfeiters to hijack your offering.

What about abuse – what keeps a competitor or counterfeiter from reporting you to negatively impact your ranking? Well, there are a few safeguards that are required of reporters:

  • The complaint must be filed by the person/company filing the complaint and must include the following information: ASIN, email, name, rights asserted, etc.
  • The complainant must provide a statement confirming that he/she is duly authorized to act on behalf of the trademark that has been infringed.

If you are registered as a trademark, all of this information is already on file and it is easy to report infringement through your trademark registration dashboard. If a counterfeiter tries to play games to remove your listing, they should be able to present information they don’t have access to.

This new process is good news for sellers. Previously, complaints could take days or even weeks to process, resulting in lost sales and damage to the legitimate seller’s reputation.

Ongoing improvements and updates

There are many more “rumored” improvements. These include:

  • Unique Amazon URLs for your brand (e.g. amazon.com/my-brand).
  • Customizable product detail pages with more features and a new design
  • Ability to upload custom videos to your product page

All of these changes result in greater control for Amazon sellers over their private label and give them some of the much-needed protections sellers have been asking for, while improving the overall customer experience.

What you need to know to apply for Amazon’s brand registration program

Before you start registering your brand with Amazon, here’s a list of eligibility requirements. These have been taken directly from Amazon’s brand registration page for your convenience:

  • Registered Trademark.
    • This is your brand name that has a registered trademark ®. It can no longer be a pending trademark ™. Also, it must be a word mark and NOT a stylized, illustrated or design mark.
    • For USPTO marks, the drawing type of the mark must be the same as “4 – STANDARD CHARACTER MARK” or “1 – TYPESET WORD(S)/LETTER(S)/NUMBER(S)”.
    • If you would like to know more about the basics of trademark registration, here are a series of videos on the USPTO.GOV website.
  • Your “Government Registered Principal Trademark Registration” or serial number.
  • Images of the trademark’s logo.
  • Images of products and packaging that bear the trademarked brand name. If the product is not trademarked, the packaging must be trademarked.
  • A list of product categories (e.g., apparel, sporting goods, electronics) in which the brand will be listed.
  • A list of countries where the brand’s products are manufactured and distributed.

Once you have all the information in the list above, go to Amazon’s trademark registration page.

While many of the eligibility requirements are unchanged, there is one really important change to the Amazon Trademark Registry that will impact you as a private label seller.

Registered trademark Requirement

The biggest change to the trademark registry requirements is that private label sellers must now have a registered trademark for their brand in order to qualify. Because of this, if you were registered prior to April 30, 2017, you will need to re-enrol in the program, as your previously registered trademarks will not automatically transfer to the new system.

In the past, you could have a pending trademark and still register by using the Pending Trademarks ™ icon on your branding; however, this is no longer allowed. To be eligible for registration in Brand Registry 2.0, you must have an “Active Registered Trademark” ®. This requirement means that your trademark application must have already been approved and is currently listed as “active” before you submit your application to the Amazon Brand Registry.

If you have not filed a trademark application before attempting to register your trademark, there may be a delay of six to ten months before you can properly register your products on Amazon while you wait for your trademark to be approved.

Helpful tips for registering your brand’s trademark

When you submit your trademark registration application to Amazon, the trademark information you provide must exactly match what is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trade Office database, including capitalization. Any discrepancies will result in rejection of your trademark registration application and further delay your access to the protection that trademark registration with Amazon provides.

When applying for your trademark, you will be asked to provide a copy of the product being used in commerce (a picture of your product is fine). If you cannot provide a picture, your application for this class could be denied.

Trademark registration costs money, and the cost varies depending on how you go about it. Trademark application fees can range from $225 to $400, plus additional fees for additional classes you want to protect. If you use a trademark attorney or a service like Trademark Engine, prices may be higher.

If you have multiple trademarks, the trademark registration process can get very expensive very quickly. Depending on your circumstances, registering a single “all-inclusive” trademark may be a better option than registering multiple independent trademarks.

Although Amazon does not charge to register your brand, they do require a trademark; the cost of trademark registration is a barrier to entry for some sellers.

Where you sell your products, either now or in the future, is a consideration when registering your trademark. If you only do business in the U.S., the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will suffice. However, if you currently sell or intend to sell in Europe or internationally, then registration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which uses the “Madrid System,” may be more appropriate.

In either case, it is important to seek legal advice on what is right for you and your business. Enforcing trademark rights internationally is a much more complicated issue and is beyond the scope of what is covered here.

Improve the value of your brand through Amazon’s trademark registry.

Amazon’s brand registry updates are a step in the right direction. They improve the shopping experience for customers by making it harder for counterfeit products to be sold on the Amazon platform, thereby restoring buyer confidence.

Amazon has listened to sellers’ concerns and made changes to improve the overall selling experience. By creating a team to handle complaints and make it easier for sellers to report infringing listings as well as decide who can sell their product, Amazon is giving power back to sellers.

While requiring a registered trademark is a pain and additional cost for many sellers, it should be viewed as a positive. Brand protection is important, and Amazon’s requirement serves to reinforce the need to brand your products. However, if you are testing a product or bootstrapping, it may not make sense to brand individual products due to the cost.

So if you want to protect your private label on Amazon, legitimize it in the eyes of consumers, and give yourself an edge over the competition, Amazon’s updated brand registry is the way to go.

Add to these changes all the exciting new features on the horizon for registered brands, and the future looks bright for sellers on Amazon.

If you’re planning to buy a private label FBA business, then you’ll have the peace of mind that brand registration will protect your new business from counterfeiters and imitators.
If you are an existing seller, brand registration can increase the value of your business if you plan to sell. Build your own online selling empire and protect it with Amazon brand registration.

Brands Inside Zonmaster

With Zonmaster’s powerful autoresponder and auto-review requestor tools, you can target emails and Amazon review requests to specific brands. In the case of emails, you can also include branding images and brand-specific information inside the emails.

Check out Zonmaster today for more details and start your 15-day free trial now.

 

Categories
Instruction

Selling on Amazon Renewed

How to Sell Certified Refurbished Products on Amazon Renewed

This guide will walk you through what Amazon Renewed is, how to get started, what is required of you as a seller, and how to successfully sell certified refurbished products.

What is Amazon Renewed?

There are three different types of products that you can sell on Amazon Renewed:

Refurbished: Products that are probably used and that the customer has either returned because they were defective or because they no longer wanted.

Preserved: Products that are likely used, but were in better condition than a refurbished product when they were returned.

Open packaging: products whose packaging has been opened but the actual product has not been used.

Qualified Amazon Renewed sellers have these devices professionally inspected, tested, and cleaned to keep them looking and working like new before repackaging and reselling them.

And with the program’s guarantee, buyers can rest assured that products purchased through Amazon Renewed will work like new – as promised.

What Certified Refurbished Products can you sell online through Amazon Renewed?

Amazon Renewed is a program that enables products that cannot be sold as “new” (but are in good enough condition to meet Amazon and consumer standards) to reach the Amazon marketplace.

Sellers can sell reconditioned, used, and open products in these categories:

  • Auto parts
  • Cameras
  • Headphones & audio
  • domestic appliances
  • Tools for household and industry
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Laptops and computers
  • Musical instruments
  • Outdoor & sport
  • Office equipment
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Televisions
  • Video game consoles
  • Clocks

How to Sell Refurbished Products on Amazon Renewed

1. Register to become an Amazon seller

In order to sell certified refurbished, used and open products on Amazon Renewed, you must first be a registered seller on Amazon.

If this is your first time selling on Amazon, you can sign up as a seller by going to Amazon Seller Central and creating a new account.

2. Find product opportunities

Since you need to prove to Amazon that you have enough inventory before you can sell on Amazon Renewed, it is important that you first find the item that you want to sell.

Of course, you don’t want to just buy anything. Similar to any other method of selling on Amazon, you need to know what is actually in demand and what kind of competition to expect.

Look for products that meet the following criteria:

High demand and little competition. The product should sell hundreds – if not thousands – of units per month without many other sellers in the niche active.

It is not sold by Amazon or a private label seller. Make sure the product you are interested in is not competing directly with Amazon. Also, avoid items that are sold under a third-party private label. You will also not be able to sell through these listings.

Make sure you can make the price of the product competitive. Your price should be within 2% of the current buy box price of the product. Anything on top makes it a lot harder to sell your product.

3. Procure products

Once you know which products are in high demand and have little competition, you need to source those products.

Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can get hold of such products:

Liquidation Companies: Some third-party companies buy excess goods from manufacturers, do the remanufacturing themselves, and then sell those goods to distributors and retailers like you.

Manufacturers: Some manufacturers sell remanufactured goods directly to third-party suppliers and retailers.

Alibaba: If you’re already a fan of the private label process, then you probably won’t be surprised to find that Alibaba certified refurbished merchandise is also available for wholesale.

4. Apply and qualify to sell on Amazon Renewed

Now that you know what you will be selling and where you will be getting these products from, you must apply and qualify to sell on Amazon Renewed.

These are the requirements you must meet in order to sell on Amazon Renewed:

  1. You must be able to provide invoices showing that you have met Amazon’s minimum order quantity: you must either purchase $ 50,000 in qualifying remanufactured products or at least 500 remanufactured units within 90 days of submitting your claim. Additionally, items with a retail price of $ 15 or less will not count towards the 500 remanufactured devices. However, the program allows you to blank out either the required quantity or the required dollar amount on your bills. That means you can include low priced products. However, this only applies if you choose to submit invoices with dollar amounts instead of quantities.
  2. If you are an existing seller on Amazon, you must maintain an order error rate (ODR) of 0.8% or less in the last 90 days.
  3. Your company must provide a minimum 90-day warranty on all of its Certified Refurbished products.
    1. If you want to list remanufactured products with no manufacturer warranty, you will need to obtain approval. To do this, you must submit at least eight images of a sample device so that Amazon can perform a product and packaging review. You need to show them the box the product came in, the inner packaging and padding, a top and bottom view of the product, and pictures of all four sides of the item.
  4. If you’ve decided to sell remanufactured Apple products, you’ll need to get approval first. And to get approval, you’ll need to submit invoices to Amazon for a total of $ 2.5 million for refurbished Apple products dated to the past 90 days.
5. Start selling and grow your business

Once you are through the application process, you can start listing all of your certified reconditioned, used and open products, as well as adding offers to existing pages.

Why should you sell refurbished products on Amazon Renewed?

Selling certified, refurbished products on Amazon Renewed offers a number of benefits.

Take part in an exclusive program and avoid competition

Not everyone can sell certified refurbished products on Amazon. Only sellers who meet Amazon’s criteria and are able to consistently sell as good as new products are allowed to sell on Amazon Renewed. That means that there is a huge chance of success for the few who are accepted.

Sell ​​to millions of loyal Amazon customers

Enjoy a high level of customer trust due to the strict customer satisfaction targets that Amazon has set for measuring seller performance. Not to mention that Amazon’s US marketplace alone has more than 2 billion visitors each month, with conversion rates in the double digits.

Use the proven e-commerce solutions from Amazon

Amazon’s sales tools and fulfilment capabilities enable you to sell as-new products to customers in Amazon’s global marketplaces.

Just grow your business

This sales method complements practices that you may already be using in your company, such as wholesale and private label. By adding Amazon Renewed to your current business model, you can increase both your overall sales and your brand.

Tips for increasing sales with Amazon Renewed

In addition, these tips will help you succeed with the Amazon Renewed program:

  • Price your products at least 20% lower than the “new” price and within 2% of the “used” Buy Box price.
  • Add at least 15 stock keeping units (SKUs) to get started.
  • Offer “Best Deals” for your refurbished, used and open products.
  • Use Amazon’s Sponsored Products advertising program to direct traffic to your newly created certified refurbished ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers).
  • Amazon recommends that you consider both manual and automatic campaigns. However, for manual campaigns, it is best to use broad keywords to drive initial traffic to an ASIN.

How Zonmaster Can Help

If you do opt to try Amazon Renewed don’t forget that Zonmaster can offer you the same exciting tools – autoresponders, auto review requestors, sales statistics and more – for Amazon Renewed as well as your usual Amazon FBA/FBM sales!

Get started with Amazon Renewed today!

So, if you’re looking to start selling on Amazon or expand your existing Amazon business, Amazon Renewed is a great opportunity.

 

Categories
Instruction

[Amazon Basics] What is an ASIN number?

Amazon ASIN: What is an ASIN number?

Amazon uses ASINs to manage its ever-growing catalog of products. These unique product identifiers are an important part of Amazon’s sales policies because they help buyers find the items they want. If they are not used correctly, Amazon sellers can violate the terms of sale and even lose their eligibility for the marketplace.

To make sure you can list and sell your items on Amazon, learn what Amazon ASIN numbers are, why they’re important, and how to use them to find and identify your product listings in this article.

What is an ASIN number?

ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is a 10-digit alphanumeric unique identifier assigned by Amazon.com and its partners. It is primarily used for product identification within the product catalog. For books, the ASIN is identical to the ISBN number.

ASINs are only guaranteed to be unique within a marketplace. Thus, different national Amazon sites may use different ASINs for the same product.

Why the Amazon ASIN is important for Amazon and its sellers

An Amazon ASIN is important to both Amazon and its sellers because an ASIN is used to reference catalog data, track inventory for products, and index catalog pages for searching and browsing.

The ASIN number is the basis for Amazon’s product catalog structure, which in turn provides buyers with advanced search options, such as browsing multiple categories. Buyers can even enter a product description or the ASIN number in the search box to find the exact item they are looking for. Using a product’s ASIN, Amazon delivers accurate and relevant product searches every time.

It is therefore important that sellers identify and use the correct ASIN identifier for their products. Otherwise, Amazon will not be able to organize and search your products for customers. So if you want to list a product on Amazon, you need to match your product to an existing ASIN number or create a new one.

How to find your Amazon ASIN number

You can find an Amazon ASIN number for your product in several places: in the product’s web address, in the product details, or using an ASIN search software tool.

The fastest way is to search for the product you want to sell in your browser’s address bar. The Amazon ASIN will be after the product name and “dp” as highlighted below.

The second place you can find the ASIN is in the product details on Amazon.com, near the bottom of the product page.

Sellers can also use software tools like Synccentric to look up ASIN numbers. If you have thousands of products, you don’t want to look up web addresses for each item individually. Instead, you can use an online tool to do a bulk upload of your product identifiers that will return each ASIN number.

Of course, these types of tools cost something. Whether you need one depends on how many items you have and how often you list new products on Amazon.

Note that it is illegal to create a new ASIN for a product that already exists on Amazon. This may result in your selling privileges being temporarily suspended or permanently removed. It is important to check if your item already exists on Amazon!

Product Variations Policy

When searching and adding ASIN numbers, Amazon sellers often deal with product variations or parent-child relationships. Variations allow buyers to compare and purchase products based on different attributes such as size, color, or other features. Here’s what variations might look like for an Amazon shopper:

There will be a parent ASIN number for these products. However, Amazon has several rules about how variations should be listed. There are also several prohibited practices to prevent sellers from abusing variations and fundamentally altering children’s products and their relationship to their parent ASIN number.

Read more about the Amazon Variation Relationships policy.

Adding unique Amazon ASINs: Using GTINs, UPCs, ISBNS, and EANs

When you add a new item to Amazon, sellers must create a new ASIN to add it to the Amazon catalog. Manufacturers often need to add new ASINs for their products.

To create a new ASIN, Amazon provides an “Add Product” tool. Once your product page is set up, you can sell your items. (Note that other sellers can also use this ASIN number to sell the same items.)

When creating a new ASIN, you will need to know the GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) of your products. The most commonly used GTINs are UPCs, ISBNs, and EANs. These types of product codes are usually located near the barcode on your product’s packaging. Amazon uses these universal product identifiers to create and customize its own unique ASIN codes.

  • ISBN (International Standard Book Number): 10 digits or 13 digits.
  • UPC (Universal Product Code): 12 digits
  • EAN (European Article Number): 13 digits
  • GTIN-14 (Global Trade Item Number): 14 digits

If you don’t know your GTIN yet, you can ask the manufacturer of your product for it. However, if you manufactured the item yourself, you will need to register your product through GS1 US for UPCs or the US ISBN Agency for ISBNs (for US sellers).

Limit for creating an ASIN

Amazon limits the number of new listings sellers can create based on sales history, listing creation history, and other factors. As you increase your sales, your capacity to create new listings also increases. Amazon suggests prioritizing the products you list to quickly increase your sales.

Read more about Amazon’s limits on ASIN creation.

Creating a new Amazon ASIN indicates low competition.

Amazon continues to expand its extensive product catalog into hundreds of categories. However, this also means that Amazon has become an extremely competitive marketplace for sales.

If you need to create a new Amazon ASIN for your product, this is an indication that you are the only seller for that product. You then don’t have to compete with other direct sellers. This is a great strategy to help you win the Amazon Buy Box, which is a sure way to increase sales.

If you want to offer new products on Amazon, you should pay attention to how competitive this item is. Are there already several sellers offering it, or are you creating a new ASIN for it?

What to do next

Identifying your Amazon ASIN number is the first step in listing your products on Amazon. It’s important that you understand the process for customizing or creating your ASIN so that your items are searchable by customers.

Categories
News

New Marketplaces Added

Just a quick update to let you know that we have added full support for Amazon Sweden and Amazon Turkey to Zonmaster!

Our Supported Marketplaces

Categories
Updates

Enhanced Conditions for Auto Review Requests

We’ve updated our ground-breaking Auto Review Request feature to now allow you to hone down those review requests, if you so wish.

To be clear: All of this described here is OPTIONAL. By default, when you turn on ‘Auto Review Requests’ inside Zonmaster for an Amazon seller account we automatically

  1. Issue Review Requests using Amazon’s own built-in review request process. This will ask for reviews in the buyer’s native language, so you don’t need to worry about that!
  2. Not issue Review Requests for refunded and/or returned orders
  3. Only issue Review Requests for orders delivered between 4 and 30 days ago (per Amazon’s instructions).

You can use the new settings screen (see below) to set the following:

Date Range

  • Change the date range. If you want to wait (for example) until the order has been delivered for 15 days you can set that here.

Things to Note: 

The maximum is 30 days and the minimum is 4 days.

SKU selection

  • Choose which SKUs will receive Review Requests

Things to Note:

Zonmaster (like Amazon!) actually runs on SKUs, not ASINs. If you have multiple SKUs on a single ASIN remember to select them all

You can choose which SKUs to EXCLUDE (i.e. NOT send review requests to) or which ones to INCLUDE (i.e. send review requests to). Make sure you pick it the right way round.

We do not recommend limiting SKUs (or dates) unless you have a really good reason. Like most things with Amazon, the defaults work best!

We hope this helps you. Using Auto Review Requests is a PROVEN way to maximise your reviews.

Categories
News Updates

Staying Compliant with Buyer-Seller Messaging – Zonmaster Releases ‘Compliance Checker’ Tool!

On September 8, 2020, Amazon posted an announcement in Seller Central that they would be making changes to the Buyer-Seller Messaging Guidelines, effective November 3, 2020. Failure to become or remain compliant with these new guidelines could result in a 30-day or lifetime restriction of your ability to send Buyer-Seller Messages.

For more information on these changes, be sure to check out Amazon Communications Policy Updates.

What is Zonmaster doing?

Zonmaster has ALWAYS automatically included the Order ID in emails – so you don’t need to worry about that new requirement from Amazon.

Compliance Checker

We’ve just released our new tool that will AUTOMATICALLY check the compliance of your emails in several areas:

  • Product Images
  • Emojis
  • Non-secure URLs
  • Email addresses in the body
  • Images that are not secure
  • Use of the word “coupon” or “promotion”

This tool should be live NOW in your account on Zonmaster.

You will see notifications about potentially non-compliant email templates in a few places.

On Your Dashboard

If any emails are failing the compliance checker you’ll see something like this at the top of your dashboard

On The Email Template Listing Page

A small warning will show up underneath the trigger details

On The Email Template Details Page

A warning block will display near the top of the page, underneath the sending chart.

An Important Note

While we have taken measures to help you remain compliant in your Buyer-Seller Messages, there are certain things for which we cannot screen, such as:

  • Intent of a message
  • Grammar or spelling errors
  • Logos with URLs
  • Content and style of attachments

In a nutshell, while we will keep Zonmaster compliant and do our best to keep your messages compliant, you are still in control of and responsible for the content of your messages.

Categories
News

Amazon Communication Policy Updates

A lot of you have been getting in touch with regards to Amazon’s changes in policy that they announced back in September and which come into effect November 6th (assuming the world hasn’t ended by then!)

With every rule change from Amazon, sellers struggle to understand and comply with the new information. What’s okay to do? What’s not okay? What could lead to suspension?

First things to know: the update clarifies two things:

  1. Amazon has made it clear that you can ask buyers for reviews. We’ve always understood this to be true, but the latest update explicitly says it. Once again: YES, YOU CAN ASK A BUYER FOR A REVIEW.
  2. Amazon has made it clear that you can use ZonMaster, to communicate with buyers. The new rules state that you can use an approved third-party application listed in the Marketplace Appstore. ZonMaster is absolutely approved (and listed in the Marketplace Appstore)
  3. You can continue to use ZonMaster’s UNIQUE Auto Review Request Tool to automatically use Amazon’s ‘Request a Review’ feature. This means you do NOT need to ask for a review in an email.

Other things to note (before we get into the specifics):

  • The Amazon customer communications policy, including Buyer-Seller Messaging, changed on September 8, 2020. Sellers have until November 6, 2020, to adopt the policy changes.
  • The changes primarily affect the language and formatting of customer communications.
  • The changes are fairly small and in keeping with both common sense and good customer service.
  • Yes, Amazon sellers can still ask for product reviews and seller feedback! But the new policy makes it clear that you may ask a buyer for a product review or seller feedback ONCE per purchase.
  • Yes, you can still use third-party software such as ZonMaster in order to help you best comply with the new guidelines while garnering more feedback and reviews and cultivating positive relationships with buyers.

What ZonMaster does for you, and what you need to check.

At ZonMaster we will cover all aspects of the new policies that we can. That means our emails automatically include the order number, do not have margins or multiple line breaks and images are properly sized.

But content within the email is your responsibility.

  • DO NOT use emojis or GIFs.
  • Do not use a crazy number of fonts and sizes.
  • Do not use language that could be interpreted as asking only for positive reviews (eg ‘If you’re happy, leave a review’)
  • Do not include an email address or phone number.

Compliance with the New Amazon Communications Policy

What will enforcement look like? According to the new policy, beginning on Friday, November 6, 2020, Amazon will begin applying temporary restrictions, followed by permanent restrictions from sending free-form proactive messages, to sellers in violation of the new communication policies.

Purpose of the Policy Updates

The introduced changes aim to: 

  1. Limit proactive messages to those concerning order completion.
  2. Improve both the quality and content of the proactive messages that sellers send to buyers.
  3. Protect buyers from fraud and abuse, and to protect sellers from unscrupulous actions from competitors. Raising the bar for all communications to buyers benefits all our selling partners, resulting in a stronger Marketplace.

The Updated Amazon Messaging Policy: What IS NOT Allowed

Non-Permitted Messages: Do not send the following messages as standalone messages or as included in other messages:

  • Order or shipping confirmations
  • Messages that say only “Thank you” or that you are here to help if buyers have any problems
  • Marketing or promotional messaging, including coupons
  • A repeat request (per order) for a product review or seller feedback
  • Any promotion for additional products or references to third-party products or promotions.

The Updated Amazon Messaging Policy: What IS Allowed

Permitted Messages

Amazon divides these into two types: Necessary Permitted Messages and Proactive Permitted Messages. Here’s what you need to know about both and where they overlap and differ.

Necessary Permitted Messages

Proactive Permitted Messages

What are Necessary Permitted Messages?

Amazon defines Permitted Messages as those communications necessary to complete an order or to respond to a customer service inquiry.

What are Proactive Permitted Messages?

Proactive Permitted Messages are messages you initiate that are not responses to a buyer’s question.

How are they sent?

Necessary Permitted Messages are order specific and thus can only be sent via your seller account in Amazon’s Seller Central.

How are they sent?

Proactive Permitted Messages can be sent using Amazon’s templates via the Contact Buyer or Request a Review page in Seller Central or by using third-party applications in the Applications Store or the API.

Messages deemed Necessary Permitted:

  • Problem with Order messages: Sellers must communicate with buyers if a product ordered is not available to be shipped. Sellers should adjust the full order amount using the Manage Orders feature in Seller Central followed using the “Problem with Order” option to communicate with the buyer about the inability to fulfil the order.
  • Return-related messages: Sellers must process refunds for the order amount (minus any charges) using the Manage Orders feature in Seller Central. Sellers may communicate with buyers about their returns only when sellers need additional information to complete the return or offer a partial refund.
Messages deemed Proactive Permitted:

  • Resolving an issue with order fulfilment
  • Requesting additional information required to complete the order
  • Asking a return-related question
  • Sending an invoice
  • Requesting product review and/or seller feedback
  • Scheduling delivery for a heavy or bulky item
  • Scheduling a Home Services appointment
  • Verifying a custom design
  • Any other reason where the contact is required for the buyer to receive the purchase.
To whom can a seller send Necessary Permitted Messages and Proactive Permitted Messages?

You may only send Necessary Permitted Messages and Proactive Permitted Messages to customers who have contacted you about purchasing a product or who have already purchased a product from you on the Amazon store.

Necessary Permitted Messages and Proactive Permitted Messages  Must: 

  • Be sent within 30 days of order
  • Include the 17-digit order ID and be in the buyer’s language of preference

Major Amazon Communications Policy Update: Amazon Has Now Explicitly Stated What Is Not Okay and What Violates Messaging Rules

Within All Permitted Messages, Necessary and Proactive, DO NOT Include the Following Content:

  • Language that either incentivizes or persuades the buyer to submit positive product reviews or seller feedback, including by offering compensation, money, gift cards, free or discounted products, refunds, rebates or reimbursements, or future benefits
  • Language that requests removal or an update of an existing product review
  • Language that requests a product review only if they have had a positive experience with the product
  • External links unless they are secure working links (https, not http) necessary for order completion or links to Amazon
  • Attachments except for product instructions, warranty information, or invoices
  • Logos, if they contain or display a link to your website
  • Link to opt-out of messaging
  • Sensitive content in images or text (e.g. bare skin, violence/gore, adult/offensive language)
  • Tracking pixels or images
  • Email addresses or telephone numbers
  • Images of purchased product(s) as Amazon includes those on your behalf
  • Images that do not relate to your brand or company
  • Spelling errors or grammar issues

Within All Permitted Messages DO NOT Include Any of These Styling Elements:

  • Known accessibility issues as specified in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from the Web Accessibility Initiative
  • Emojis 🙁
  • GIFs
  • Message margins over 20% maximum width
  • Image or graphic sizes larger than 80% maximum width
  • Overrides of Amazon’s default line height, font family, or font color
  • Fonts in more than three sizes
  • Message bodies that are centered or otherwise override default text alignment settings
  • More than two line-breaks (spacing between paragraphs) in a row
  • Unsecure images (http instead of https)

What Happens If You Break the New Amazon Messaging Rules?

Failure to comply with these Communication Guidelines may result in Amazon limiting Permitted Messages to Amazon’s templates or a suspension of selling privileges in Amazon stores. Amazon has the authority to block any message at its discretion.

September 2020 Update to Amazon Messaging Policy: More Items of Interest

Communication Types

  • Direct Communication is defined as emails sent to buyers.
  • Indirect Communication is defined as order-related information to buyers through their “Your Account” updates.

Subject Lines

Amazon has the authority to modify message subject lines in order to protect the buyer experience.

Where Do Critical Messages Fall in the New Amazon Communications Policy?

The following messages are considered critical to complete a buyer’s order:

  • Product customization questions
  • Delivery scheduling
  • Issues with a shipping address

The following messages are not critical to complete an order:

  • Requests for seller feedback or buyer reviews
  • Order, shipment, delivery, or refund confirmations. Amazon already sends these emails
  • Proactive customer service, for example: product manuals, tips for using the product, answers to frequently asked questions, suggestions if something goes wrong
  • Out-of-stock or delay notifications, or offers of alternative products (please cancel the order instead).

Sending Critical Messages

  • If you send a critical message via Seller Central, you will not be able to edit the subject line of the emails sent from Seller Central. Amazon will deliver the messages related to completing an order.
  • If you send a critical message using your own email client, include the word [Important], with brackets as shown, anywhere in the subject line. The email will not be blocked and you won’t receive a bounceback message.

Compliance Reminder (Some Things Never Change)

In any communication you have with buyers (including shipping box inserts), you cannot ask them to leave a positive customer review for your product, or to leave a review only if they had a positive experience with your product. Similarly, you cannot ask only customers who had a positive experience with your product to leave a review. It is also prohibited to offer them any compensation for a review, including money or gift cards, free or discounted products, refunds or reimbursements, or any other future benefits.

How to Make Your Communications with Buyers Compliant and Effective

The best ways to ensure that you are reaching buyers in keeping with Amazon’s guidelines (and not risking messaging suspension or account suspension) are simple:

  1. Know the rules and stay up to date with policy changes. Buyer-Seller Messaging is not a set-it-and-forget-it process, you need to review your messages.
  2. Follow those rules whether you use Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging service or third-party software. Amazon has made it clear that you, Amazon sellers, are responsible for your actions even when using third-party software.
  3. Work with a trusted third-party software provider who is constantly updating software and services to be in keeping with Amazon’s ever-changing rules and requirements.
  4. Remember that Amazon calls the shots and that if Amazon restricts your messaging capabilities for an infraction, you’re not likely to have that overturned. Don’t give Amazon any reason to restrict your messaging privileges.
  5. If you’re worried about Buyer-Seller Messaging compliance, find peace of mind by using ZonMaster’s Auto Review Request tool.

You should have all received an email from Amazon detailing this, but, just in case, here is a link to Amazon’s Official Document about the changes.

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News

Latest From Amazon UK about VAT and Brexit

This just in from Amazon UK:

Starting January 1, 2021, as part of Brexit, a new set of VAT rules will apply in the UK.

If you are delivering goods to UK customers from outside of the UK:
– The current VAT exemption for sales of goods under £15 will be removed. All of your sales of goods will now be subject to VAT.
– If the shipment value of these goods does not exceed £135, Amazon will be required to collect and remit the applicable VAT.
– If the shipment value exceeds £135, you will still have to remit VAT and any import duties yourself, as you are currently doing.

If you are delivering goods to UK customers from inventory stored in the UK, and your place of establishment is outside of the UK, Amazon will be required to collect and remit the applicable VAT. This will affect both sellers who use FBA in the UK and those who use third-party fulfilment methods.

If you are delivering goods to UK customers from outside the UK, and the customer is VAT-registered in the UK (B2B customer), Amazon will not be required to collect and remit VAT.  The VAT-registered customer will self-report UK VAT through their VAT return.

In preparation for these changes, please ensure that your Seller Central account details are up-to-date and that you continue to provide list prices that are inclusive of VAT for the marketplaces you list on.

The UK government is expected to publish the finalized legislation for these changes during Q4 of 2020. We are here to help you prepare for these changes, and we’ll keep you updated on any changes to current expectations. Refer to our Help page for the latest information: https://sellercentral.amazon.ca/gp/help/external/GSF678GXLDTTTETZ.

Please also note that the above changes do not alter your VAT registration obligations. If you need help with VAT registration and filing in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic, visit VAT Services on Amazon to sign up: https://sellercentral-europe.amazon.com/vat-registration/v2/index.html/vat-services?ref=eu_DR_VISALP#/welcome.

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News

Amazon FBA Free Shipping to Germany, Poland, and Czech Republic

With Amazon’s planned closure of the EFN and the pan-European UK-EU FBA from January 1, 2021, it is clear that they want merchants to get into the habit of shipping their stocks directly to their European FBA warehouse. For starters, there is an Amazon FBA Free Shipping promotion for sending goods from the UK to FBA warehouses in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Free shipping means that you send the goods and Amazon takes care of the bill, although there are some restrictions – you must use the Amazon Partnered Carrier (PCP) program and it only covers small packages, with Amazon specifically excluding pallets from the promotion.

Naturally, you will need to be aware of certain issues, such as whether you are required to pay VAT in the countries where your goods are sold and stored. Please be aware that VAT obligations may change from 1 January 2021.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Amazon FBA Free Shipping promotion details

The criteria to qualify for Amazon FBA promotion for free shipping are:

  • Shipment is sent from an address in the UK.
  • Shipment is sent to an Amazon warehouse in Germany (DE), Poland (PL), or Czech Republic (CZ) for FBA.
  • Shipment is created in Seller Central after 11 August 2020 and before 4 September 2020.
  • Shipment is received at an Amazon warehouse in DE, PL, or CZ after 11 August 2020 and before 18 September 2020.
  • Small-parcel shipments only (pallets not eligible).
  • Shipment is sent with the UPS Partnered Carrier Programme (PCP).

Key Amazon Partnered Carrier Programme features

The Amazon Partnered Carrier Programme (PCP)is designed to enable you to ship small parcels to Amazon fulfilment centres across Europe at deeply discounted rates. You can get an estimate of shipping charges, make payments, and track PCP shipments directly from within Seller Central.

  • Faster processing

With an Amazon-experienced carrier, your orders are processed faster at our fulfilment centres, making your inventory available to customers sooner

  • Save on shipping costs

Lower your shipping costs with discounted shipping from the UK to any fulfilment centre in Europe

  • £2,000 per unit coverage

With a PCP carrier, Amazon assumes responsibility for lost or damaged inventory up to £2,000 per unit, according to FBA policy

  • Easier payment and better visibility

Estimate rates, make payments and track your shipment from Seller Central

  • No sign-up or minimum commitment

No sign-up required. Use PCP on a per-shipment basis with no minimum commitment

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News

[Amazon] Amazon FBA Europe – Coronavirus-related changes for Winter

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon has had to make rapid adjustments, initially including the interruption of incoming FBA deliveries, the extension of delivery dates for inventories already in the FBA and the interruption of relocation orders. Things are returning to normal, but the first coronavirus winter is just around the corner and Amazon is only too aware of the impact of the restrictions on your business. All the smart money is, unfortunately, betting that the virus will spread again at a second peak, so a coronavirus winter is a very likely scenario – although the government is against a second national lockdown, local lockdowns will become the norm.

Amazon has already hired more employees and invested billions of dollars in COVID-related initiatives to meet increased customer demand and to protect the health and well-being of employees when selecting, packaging and shipping your products to customers.

Although it’s July, Amazon is preparing early for the holiday season to meet the continued growth in demand across Europe. They say they have already reduced their own orders of retail products to accommodate more of your products and help you continue to grow sales.

To ensure that Amazon is prepared for a coronavirus winter, the following changes will affect your business:

Amazon Coronavirus Winter Preparations

  • Change in the threshold values of the Inventory Performance Index (IPI)

    To ensure that all products have space during peak periods, Amazon is changing the minimum IPI requirement to 500, with the limits applicable from September 1, 2020 until the end of the year for providers under 500.

    It was only in May that Amazon raised the minimum requirement for the IPI threshold to 400 (previously 350), so you should be aware of this change.

    Amazon says that most providers will not be affected by this change. They add that most providers with IPI values below 500 will have more storage than they used last year.

    You can improve your IPI by following the instructions displayed on the Inventory Performance Board to improve sales by or reducing your excess and stranded inventory.

  • Quantity limits

    To maximize customer choice during peak periods, Amazon is introducing ASIN-level quantity limits on products at the FBA. For most products, there will be enough space available for more than three months of sales.

    This is an issue for many retailers because it means you have to check line by line how much stock you can send to Amazon. The days are over when you received a shipment from your manufacturer and handed the entire lot over to FBA. This restriction will be even more critical for overseas sellers or those who routinely ship directly from the manufacturer to Amazon stores.

    You can view your product quantity limits on the Replenishment Stock page and on the Replenishment Report. We will continually review this and, if possible, make adjustments to allow for more of your products.

  • Free removals promotion

    To help you avoid the cost of storing unsold products and make room for more productive inventory, Amazon offers a free disposal cost promotion for a limited time. Amazon waives its fee for all disposal orders submitted to the FBA for inventory. This promotion is not live, although they have not specified an end date.

    To create a disposal order, visit the inventory age page and select “Create Removal Order” from the menu next to each FBA item in your inventory. For more information, see the frequently asked questions on this help page.