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S Gonzales

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  1. @Kevin Rogers Have a look at the documentation posted by Iain - I believe the process is going through an AWS IAM account and linking it to a VC account
  2. Following the delay of their annual Prime Day sale until September, Amazon has decided to host a smaller sale on June 22nd (tentatively titled "the Biggest Sale in the Sky"). The goal of this sale is to help its sellers unload some of the excess inventory they may have accumulated during the pandemic-related disruptions to Amazon’s usual shipping services. The sale will be centered around fashion items and will feature discounts of at least 30% on eligible products. A notice sent to sellers on June 2nd indicated that the sale will run for 7 to 10 days and will be invitation-only, although it is unclear if this means that only Prime members will have access to it.
  3. Alibaba has just introduced Alibaba Cross-Border Payment Terms, a financing solution for American SMEs that will allow smaller sellers to order items in bulk without having to pay for them for up to 60 days. This marks the first time a B2B ecommerce website has offered international financing directly through the platform itself. The company says that they developed this feature to provide more options for SMEs who might struggle to secure the same favourable financing terms as large businesses. Despite being a major competitor to Alibaba in the e-commerce industry, Amazon currently lacks such a feature.
  4. Amazon has extended the fashion promotion it launched for European sellers on March 1st; while originally set to end on February 28th, 2021, the promotion will now run until April 30th, 2021. During this time, European sellers with FBA or SFP products in the Clothing, Shoes and Bags categories are eligible to cut their referral fee to just 7% of the portion of the sale price of items that sell for more than £40 or €45. This extension is being offered in response to Amazon’s decision to limit shipments to essential items only during the COVID-19 pandemic, a move which temporarily lowered the value of its fulfillment programs for sellers in the fashion niche.
  5. All four of Amazon’s remaining Premier League fixtures will be available for UK sports fans to stream on Amazon Prime Video without a Prime membership when matches resume. These four fixtures are part of the set of 33 games that are currently slated to be aired for free by certain broadcasters, including Amazon Prime, Sky Sports, BBC Sport, and BT Sport. The remainder of the 92 matches left overall in the top-flight campaign will be broadcast live only to paying customers.
  6. Amazon has just announced that it has acquired $10 billion in new debts to be used for general corporate expenditures. This debt consists of six tranches ranging from $1 billion to $2.5 billion each, with maturities lasting up to 50 years. One of the $1 billion tranches was oversubscribed and was thus able to be sold at an unprecedented 0.4% interest rate. The rest sold at rates between 0.8% and 2.5%, which is still relatively little interest for a company to pay at this time. Analysts credit Amazon’s excellent performance in the past few months for this record-breaking financing opportunity; the company’s stocks are currently worth $2,476.30 each and have risen nearly 40% so far this year.
  7. Amazon has experienced an unusual surge of negative reviews in the past 30 days. While last year saw 95% of customers leaving positive reviews, that number dipped slightly to 93% in mid-March and has now dropped even further to just 83%. The number of negative reviews now totals 945,000, and the majority of the new additions cite problems with shipping delays and packages that never arrived. This spike in dissatisfied customers has not been confined to any individual product categories or even to specific countries, so sellers of all types of wares all around the world have been affected. This is likely due to the disruption of the global shipping industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted Amazon to prioritize essential items in their own shipments and forced sellers who had previously relied on the 'Fulfilled by Amazon' program to handle shipments on their own.
  8. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is currently in late-stage talks to buy the self-driving car company Zoox. It is not yet clear how much Amazon will pay to acquire the company, but it will reportedly be less than the $3.2 billion in funding that the start-up received in 2018. This new deal would be one among Amazon's many investments in self-driving car companies, including its 2019 funding contribution to Aurora Innovations Inc; it is commonly speculated that Amazon seeks to use self-driving technology to further improve its already world-class shipping standards. However, the Wall Street Journal affirms that Zoox's acquisition has not yet been finalized and the deal may still fall through
  9. Amazon's Jeff Bezos was one of several contributors who recently participated in British digital freight forwarder Beacon's Series A fundraising. Other past investors include Uber founders Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick as well as Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Beacon raised a total of $15 million from various sources during this round of funding; the money is currently earmarked for hiring new talent, developing new technology and expanding the startup's market reach. The company believes that this moment in time is critical for their development due to increasing global digitalisation that will soon make traditional freight forwarding procedures obsolete.
  10. Presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized Amazon on Friday for paying what he believes is too little in taxes. While the current US corporate tax rate is 21% before deductions are subtracted, Amazon paid just 1.2% in tax on their $13 billion in profits in 2019 and was owed a refund on $11 billion in profits in 2018. In ordinary years, Amazon primarily relies on tax breaks for capital depreciation, research and development spending, and stock-based compensation for employees to achieve its low tax bills. This year, the company is expected to take advantage of new tax deductions available under the CARES Act for pandemic-related spending to further minimize their effective corporate tax rate.
  11. In a recent interview with Eric Bandholz from Practical Ecommerce, Jungle Scout founder Greg Mercer spoke about the origins of his company and how the business of selling on Amazon has changed over the years. His conclusions indicate that while Amazon has grown and changed considerably since he first started selling on it himself, there is still plenty of room for new entrants into the market if they use data to guide their decision-making. What is Jungle Scout? Jungle Scout began in 2015 as productivity endeavor for Mercer, who was then running a business reselling Chinese white-label products on Amazon as a way to fund his ongoing travels. He needed to optimize his sales and kept a spreadsheet to do so, but soon shifted to developing a Google Chrome extension that could analyze sales for him. That extension was one of the first tools available to help sellers track sales of specific products in their Amazon storefront, and it was popular enough to grow into a fully-fledged company. Jungle Scout is now best known for providing detailed keyword search volume metrics and high-accuracy estimations of Amazon sales, proving that they understand what the road to success on the platform looks like. The company currently serves over 250,000 customers all over the world. Key Takeaways Although some industry analysts have speculated that Amazon’s sales numbers might begin to fall, Mercer isn’t worried. He predicts that the platform will continue to enjoy robust growth for at least another decade, remaining a popular e-commerce website that allows any interested person to sell goods online. Mercer also feels that fake reviews on Amazon are largely under control, citing their innovative data analysis methods for fraud detection and the estimated 1000 staff members who are employed in Amazon’s fraud review department - though he does admit that they were a significant problem as late as last year. If he is correct, the platform should suffer no permanent loss in reputation as a result of those temporary troubles. Mercer also claims that many opportunities remain on the platform for sellers who know how to strategize properly when listing and marketing their products. He particularly stresses the importance of using the Fulfilled by Amazon option, claiming that it is the cheapest way to get Prime shipping on your items and that only sellers who do participate in the Amazon Prime program usually reach the highest sales numbers. He also strongly recommends that sellers pay attention to search metrics and other demand indicators when figuring out what niche they want to sell in or what new products to add to their existing assortment. Looking on the Bright Side Mercer’s interview illuminates the often-overlooked positive side of the current state of the Amazon marketplace. Not only is there still money to be made by selling through Amazon, but there is a much better understanding of how to do that than ever before. A seller who wants to maximize their profits has many tools at their disposal and should have no trouble improving the sales performance of their products. Source : Practical Ecommerce
  12. Armin Alisphaic, a project manager at Bobsled Marketing, recently shared some insights about his experiences as a frequent user of Amazon’s relatively new Amazon Live feature. He positions it as a powerful tool for brand awareness and customer acquisition for sellers hoping to stand out from the crowd in the marketplace. Feature Overview and Selling Points Amazon Live is currently only available to US Professional Sellers with Amazon Brand Registry and US Vendors, though this may change in the future. Streams done through this feature are meant to showcase the features and functions of a particular product, so they may only focus on one product at a time. If you choose to start a livestream, customers who are visiting the corresponding product page at that time will see it and be able to watch. Users who have chosen to follow your brand will receive a notification to let them know you are broadcasting live. By selecting the appropriate budget and CPM bid, you can also have your video appear on pages for similar products available from your competitors. Alisphaic points out that this is an excellent way to boost the reach of your video and may draw sales away from other sellers in your niche. Alisphaic also notes the importance of Amazon Live, a video curation site similar to Youtube but restricted to videos made by Amazon and its sellers. This site hosts all livestreams as well as replays of previous streams, so any broadcast you make can be archived there for future use once it has served its initial purpose. Alisphaic believes this feature has a lot to recommend it over standard video content marketing. In contrast to the usual static videos, livestreams provide novelty, allow for interaction between the presenter and the audience in an engaging way, and present would-be customers with an easy way to buy the product being shown if they’re impressed with it. Guidelines for Effective Use Alisphaic recommends that those who are skittish about the difficulties of live recording use a livestream encoder to broadcast pre-recorded video instead. He also encourages new users to try some free streams first to get used to the format and learn how best to leverage it before making an investment into it. All users, he says, should use offer a special discount code to viewers to give them more incentive to buy - and as always, you also want to encourage viewers to subscribe to your videos by ‘Following’ your brand. Once the broadcast is over, you can track its impact using the tools provided within the Amazon Live app. This software provides data about views, engagement, and sales, and this information is further divided into organic reach and paid reach for easy insight into your ROI. Alisphaic notes that sales attribution is tracked for up to 14 days, so sellers should expect to wait at least that long to find out exactly what impact their stream has had on their product sales. A Promising New Medium for Content Marketing Overall, Alisphaic indicates that Amazon Live is a user-friendly service that can help sellers connect to clients in a whole new way. If used correctly, it can provide leads with interesting and informational content that could help clinch their decision when they decide to buy. Source : Bobsled Marketing Blog
  13. Premium men’s skin care brand Oars and Alps is in the process of perfecting their Amazon marketing techniques, finding a way to adapt to the retail stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic while also building a foundation for the future. Their experiences can tell sellers a lot about how to weather uncertain times on Amazon as well as how to get their business established as a well-known brand. Handling Immediate Problems Oars and Alps is a rising brand that was enjoying steady growth before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, causing turmoil in the global marketplace – and Amazon in particular – that forced them to reconsider their usual marketing tactics. While the company only makes 15% of their total sales through Amazon, they experienced a steep 50% drop in conversions for marketing spending at the beginning of April and saw 4-week delays imposed on many of the remaining orders that were placed at that time. The company is currently re-examining its marketing ROI every few days to keep on top of the many sudden shifts the market is undergoing; if something isn’t working, that approach is either tweaked or scrapped altogether. That aspect continues to modified until satisfactory results are achieved, then continues to be monitored over those regular check-ins in case more changes are needed. This constant re-evaluation allows them to keep pushing their revenue up when it starts to dip and gives them some stability to ride out market shocks like the ones the pandemic continues to create. Strengthening the Brand This ongoing work happens alongside the company’s longer-term marketing strategies. As a relatively young but promising brand, they have chosen to invest 30% of their budget into brand awareness. Because they consider Amazon to be their most important digital commerce channel in the long term, their goal is to stay visible on the platform among so many other competing brands. To that end, one of the key metrics they track is share of voice, a measure of how much influence a brand holds in comparison to its competitors. They also place heavy emphasis on the performance of branded keywords on both Amazon and Google. They have even modified the names of some of their products to better reflect the keywords that Amazon customers are searching for, marrying the desire to remain distinct as a brand with the practical utility of conforming to what customers want. Oars and Alps’ optimization choices also highlight the importance of choosing the right Amazon program for your business. The brand plans to leave Amazon’s Premium Beauty section (which charges sellers 15% of every sale made through the platform) for the vendor central program. Because the charges for this program are determined on an individual basis, Oars and Alps believes they will be able to lower the costs associated with selling on the platform while retaining control over key elements like product pages and advertising. Achieving Balance Between Short- and Long-Term Marketing There are several things sellers can learn from the marketing strategies Oars and Alps are employing right now. One timely point is that agility is critical, particularly in times of great instability like the ones we are currently living through: when a seller takes the time to adapt to ongoing changes, they can mitigate some of the effects of overall market volatility. More generally, though, Oars and Alps’ approach provides excellent insight into how a brand can transition from the basic survival tactics of pure conversion to something more long-lasting. Any seller trying to establish a brand on Amazon (particularly if they also sell outside of it) should consider making a similar shift when sales are robust enough to justify it. Source : Glossy
  14. Amazon is reportedly rescheduling its annual Prime Day sale event (usually held in July) for sometime in September. This new rumored sale date comes from the Wall Street Journal and follows earlier reports from Reuters that the sale would take place in August instead; Amazon itself has not confirmed either date. The company is also reportedly restarting shipments of non-essential items to their warehouses after having paused them in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision suggests that the company has devised methods to cope with the increased demand and may be able to offer a greater variety of products to customers in the near future.
  15. Amazon to Introduce Selling Partners Vendors API Automating the exchange of data with Amazon VendorCentral has long been a particularly difficult challenge for vendors. Creating accurate orders has required intensive workaround methods like manual file import and export procedures and data scraping techniques. Software solutions based on EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) are also common, but as this is an outdated and highly regulated technology that has been around for over 40 years with relatively little change, these tools lack the efficiency that many vendors are looking for. Using an API (Automated Protocol Interface) is the simplest way to process orders; APIs allow near-instantaneous automatic communication between different pieces of software, allowing users to quickly and easily link their own order processing software to Amazon’s system. However, vendors have never had the option to use API available to them, despite sellers and affiliates having both had access to APIs on Amazon for several years. As of May 2020, this is now set to change. Amazon is currently in the process of deploying an API for their VendorCentral hub. According to job postings, the company has been recruiting engineers to work on a VendorCentral API. Further, a new API category has appeared on the Case Log in VendorCentral, and AMZ Group has also uncovered several internal documents from April 2020 (including an API reference guide and an implementation roadmap calendar) indicating that this development is on its way. Key Benefits of Using an API for Retail Procurement Having an API available for use will greatly improve the efficiency and profitability of many Amazon vendors. APIs provide many benefits to retail procurement businesses, including: Reduced costs Using an API greatly reduces the need for manual data input while managing purchase orders, leading to lower overall labor costs. Fewer process errors While manual input processes are notoriously fallible, an API processes orders based on the exact information provided by Amazon. This allows it to maintain near-perfect order accuracy regarding both product type and quantity. Improved vendor performance An API provides swift feedback that can improve a vendor’s lead times as well as their confirmation and fill rates, allowing them to process more orders and potentially win more business. Timely automated billing Vendors can use an API to quickly submit highly accurate software-generated invoices and get paid on time for each order they process. Fewer chargebacks Amazon’s chargeback fees are charged if a vendor fails to comply with the company’s guidelines regarding shipping and fulfillment. Automated systems like an API follow precise rules and work in real time on a 24/7 basis, so using one will eliminate many of the timing and accuracy issues that incur chargeback fees. Excellent scalability In contrast to labor costs (which grow along with a company), the cost of software like an API remains constant regardless of business size, providing a scalable solution for vendors hoping to quickly expand their reach in Amazon Retail. Why Use an API Over EDI? Even once the API has launched, EDI will remain available to vendors and existing EDI processes can be used in conjunction with the new API capabilities.Many of the benefits mentioned above are also available to users of existing EDI systems, but there are several compelling reasons for vendors who are currently experiencing success with that technology to consider using the API as well. These include: Easy access EDI is intentionally multi-layered and complex for the purposes of security, and it can be difficult for the average user to fully grasp its capabilities and requirements as a result. APIs are much simpler in comparison and are therefore easier to implement and use effectively. Simple infrastructure There is no need to host services when using an API as you would if you were relying on EDI transactions; client applications can instead interface with the partner API directly. Lower costs and more available talent Creating specialized tools for complex technology like EDI requires vendors to invest in costly developers who have expert-level knowledge of that system. APIs only require general software development skills, so any developer can produce tools for one. This makes high-efficiency custom solutions more accessible to small vendors with limited budgets and helps them establish the infrastructure they need to grow. Lightning-fast connectivity Because of the many layers of security it employs, EDI operates relatively slowly and can easily cause vendors to fall behind when trying to keep up with sudden market developments. An API is far more responsive and can be used to process changes and requests in near-real time, allowing vendors to keep on top of every shift in demand in Amazon’s ever-changing market. Low software costs Software licenses are generally not required to run APIs, so vendors can keep their ongoing software costs to a minimum and only cover any initial development or purchase costs. Extended features As an older technology, EDI only allows for a limited set of functions – for instance, it cannot produce shipping labels. An API solution has the flexibility to perform the most common features used by a typical vendor. Initial and Upcoming Features Amazon has already outlined some of the initial features that will be included in the initial release of this API. Users will be able to manage most aspects of their purchase orders, including accepting orders, confirming shipments, and sending invoices. Some upcoming features have also been disclosed. In Q4 2020 and 2021, vendors will be able to use Amazon APIs for product listing, item cost updates, and purchase order changes and cancellations. Other features are sure to be added as the API matures, but Amazon has not yet definitively named any others at this time. Phasing and Next Steps Amazon vendor API capability has currently only been deployed for select vendors, but the company has laid out a trajectory for rollout to help users understand what features are coming and when they are expected to arrive. The first functions to be released will focus solely on order data, including purchase order changes, cancellations, and status; users can expect these functions in Q3 of 2020. Packing labels and shipping labels for small shipments will then follow in the same quarter. Product listings and invoice status reports are currently slated for Q3 or Q4 of 2020 and will therefore be the last functions to arrive. Nevertheless, current plans indicate that Amazon intends to have this new system fully operational by the end of the year, and vital functions will likely be available to vendors before the critical 2020 holiday season. Third-Party Apps Amazon has also laid out guidelines regarding the implementation of third-party apps within the coming API system. If a vendor has already integrated a third-party app, they need only authorize it within their account to continue using it as usual. Developers of any new third-party apps will be required to share their service provider details with Amazon before that app can be used by any vendor. Amazon will then review and approve the app and allow vendors to access it through their API platform. Each vendor who chooses to use it must then authorize the third-party app as usual. This set of steps should make it relatively easy for vendors to access the add-ons they require without compromising security standards. Final Thoughts While EDI has served its purpose well over the years and still has the benefit of excellent security, the addition of a new API for Amazon vendors opens up a realm of possibilities in terms of function, customization and responsiveness. Due to the dynamic nature of doing business on Amazon, it is likely that most vendors will enjoy the lower cost and flexibility of an API, making the addition of this option an extremely important consideration for many vendors’ strategies in the upcoming months.
  16. Even as the novel COVID-19 pushes customers to a more reserved lifestyle, some beauty brands report a surge in sales on Amazon. Brands like Alps+Oars and Wunder2 have been the biggest winners. In addition to leveraging Amazon's marketing power, they are channeling more investment and media spend on the platform. Meanwhile, most brands have had to deal with a bulk of supply chain problems- delays, warehousing, and shipping. They are drawing blanks these uncertain times. Only those brands that believed in Amazon's strategy- to hold off grey market sellers- have reaped indeed. For brands like Wunder2 to cut it, they've hard to craft impressive product descriptions and elevate their level of content marketing on Amazon.
  17. Facebook has announced a new e-commerce product called Shops, which will allow users to purchase products from online storefronts hosted by Facebook themselves. Users will be able to access these storefronts from a company’s profile or advertisements on any of Facebook’s platforms, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram as well as the Facebook site itself. While a similar feature has existed for some time already, this version is expected to be more comprehensive and widely used due to Mark Zuckerberg’s personal involvement in the project. The company is hoping to secure additional revenue by taking a small percentage of sales made through Shops; this puts them in direct competition with Amazon and may have negative implications for the viability of Facebook advertising for Amazon sellers.
  18. Walmart’s e-commerce sales have grown 74% during the current quarter, knocking eBay out of its spot as the second most popular online retailer and positioning Walmart as a potential rival to reigning king Amazon if it continues its current trajectory. This increase was mainly due to high online grocery sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even with this likely temporary boost, Walmart only accounts for 5% of online sales in the US compared to Amazon’s 39%; Amazon is not in any real danger of losing its top status. Walmart has also faced additional costs due to the pandemic that have made this period of growth slightly less profitable than it would have been in normal conditions – the company’s net profit increase is just under 4%, or $4 billion.
  19. Amazon Care (a pilot virtual medicine program formerly available only to office workers in the company’s Seattle headquarters) is now also available to Seattle's Amazon warehouse workers. The service is accessed via the Amazon Care app, which connects each user to a health professional through live chat or video. Home visits are also offered to those who require follow-up care. Using the app is free for all eligible workers until May 31st and sessions will be subsidized by Amazon after that time. The company hopes that this previously planned program expansion will help their employees to cope with COVID-19 as well as any other health concerns they have.
  20. Walmart is discontinuing the e-commerce site Jet.com after buying it nearly four years ago for $3 billion. This decision was made in response to the $2 billion loss incurred by Walmart’s e-commerce division in 2019. Going forward, the company plans to pivot away from the warehouse fulfillment business model and focus instead on building its own internal e-commerce presence through the use of giant stores. These stores will serve a dual purpose by operating as brick-and-mortar businesses while also providing central hubs from which products may be shipped to online buyers. This transition means that while Amazon sellers will still have Walmart itself to contend with, they should face less competition in the third-party seller space.
  21. Abdul, maybe, even if you are the only seller, another previous seller could have the attribution of content. The best way would be to go through the update a listing case and ask support to update with content from your catalog.
  22. On the night of May 10th, "60 minutes" tweeted about Amazon's newest invention- mobile ultraviolet sanitation. Although only a prototype, the video showed a robot roaming in a grocery store disinfecting surfaces as part of a move by the giant tech company to curb the spread of COVID-19. But the news didn't go down well with all of Amazon's staff. Some want the firm to shut down distribution outlets for disinfectants and cleaning when staff test positive. However, Amazon is yet to disclose the number of workers who have tested positive for the contagion. Multiple reports estimate the figure to be 600 or more. Meanwhile, in a recent Amazon's earnings report, CEO Jeff Bezos said that the company aims to spend $4 Billion on its coronavirus response this quarter. He reiterated his commitment to helping Amazon's fraternity to survive the pandemic unscathed
  23. On the week beginning May 11th, Amazon announced a raft of new features in regards to product customization. Sellers can now charge an extra fee for chosen customization options under the Amazon Custom Program. Additional features on the new rollout include a chance to: Preview client experience before the listing goes live. Pick a color of choice for every text field. Choose from more than 100 preloaded fonts or upload up to 20 custom fonts. Custom-make up to 5 surfaces on a single product. Allow customers to upload more than one image folders to any location on the product. Manage the type of characters clients can enter, from capital letters to emojis.
  24. Tim Bray, former Vice President of Amazon Web Services, resigned his position on May 4th in support of the Amazon workers who claim they are facing unsafe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic that has won the company $30 billion in business so far. Over one hundred workers at Amazon's various warehouses and distribution centers have contracted the virus to date, and several have died as a result. These events have led to several protests and attempts at collective organization throughout the US, many of which have resulted in the firing of the workers responsible for them. In this interview, Bray says that this issue is endemic to the technology sector overall, calling the situation a "21st- century capitalism problem" rather than anything unique to Amazon. To illustrate, he points to the general inequality of wealth and power that have arisen as tech companies rose to prominence after widespread adoption of the internet. In his view, the company values the labour it can extract from its workers more than the rights of the workers themselves. He claims that while he does believe Amazon is taking reasonable precautions to protect their workers from the virus, it is unethical to ignore or fire those who still express concern for their safety.
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