Expert Q&A: 15 of Your Most Pressing Amazon Questions

August 31, 2016

Marketplaces Anna Torres By Anna Torres

At this point, everyone’s aware of the overwhelming size of Amazon. Selling on the marketplace can quickly turn into a maze of nuances, features and add-ons that can easily be overlooked, but if used correctly can dramatically improve a seller’s experience. The trick is making sense of it all, which we know is no easy task.

Earlier this month, we hosted a webinar with Multichannel Merchant to address the various ways sellers can make the most of their presence on Amazon. Some of you still had quite a few great questions that we didn’t get to, but fear not! We’re answering them all for you right here.

Q: What’s the best time to set a Lightning Deal? They give you so many choices!

A: If you have the opportunity to test different days/times, we recommend taking advantage of it. You may have different success based upon various product types.

Q: How can I erase a negative rating on Amazon?

A: Amazon has set guidelines on removing buyer feedback.

While you can’t force a buyer to remove their feedback or offer incentives to do so, there may be instances where the feedback was incorrect or the negative rating was a misunderstanding. Review the link from Amazon to determine which route you can take.

Q: How do you become a Brand Owner on Amazon? Can this help control outside sellers from selling our product?

A: This link will guide you through the Amazon Brand Registry application process. (Warning: Seller Central login required)

Registering your brand doesn’t necessary mean outside sellers will no longer be eligible from selling the product.But you would be able to determine most of the product detail information for your branded products and/or list the products without a standard product ID.

Q: We have the Buy Box for most of our products, but we’re trying to figure out how to use Sponsored Products to our advantage. We have some products that sell better than others, but we are in a specific niche. Should we just use those keywords and sponsor those products?

A: Focusing your Sponsored Products strategy on your products that are less successful might be better than spending the money on your top-performing products. We suggest starting any campaign with auto-targeting keywords, since Amazon has a better handle on the search terms that are most successful on their platform. From there, you can streamline down to a manually-targeted campaign.

Q: What makes you eligible for the Seller Fulfilled Prime program?

 

A: The Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime program is invitation-only and offered to top-tier sellers who have proven their ability to meet the high bar Amazon has set in fulfilling orders via Prime.  Sellers should meet the following criteria to be eligible:

1. Location: Your business ship-from address is located in the lower 48 states of the US.
2.  Account Type: You are a professional merchant (Silver, Gold, or Platinum), and your account is active and in good standing.
3.  Premium Ship Options: You are enrolled in Premium Ship Options.
4.  Premium Orders: You fulfill at least 30 two-day, one-day or same-day orders per month.
5.  Critical Pull Time: At least one premium carrier must pick up at or after 4 p.m. local time (currently only UPS, USPS, and FEDEX are supported).

If you’re deemed eligible by Amazon, you can contact Amazon. If you’re accepted, Amazon will whitelist your account, and enroll your items into the Seller Fulfilled Prime program.

Q: Can you expand a little more on the Lighting Deals dashboard?

A: Amazon’s Lightning Deals dashboard allows sellers to submit products for Lightning Deal consideration. All proposed Lightning Deals require Amazon’s approval to run on the Amazon Deals page.

To create a Lightning Deal, click Lightning Deals in the Advertising drop-down menu and select the Create option. You can select from “Top Deal Recommendations” directly from the Create page and also see any recommendations from the Lightning Deals dashboard.

Deal recommendations are based on several factors, including sales and customer browsing trends. At this time, only deal recommendations are potentially eligible for Lightning Deals. Please do not contact Seller Support to apply for a Lightning Deal that does not show up on your recommendation list. Amazon updates recommendations on a weekly basis, so if there are no recommendations present, please check back periodically.

Q: If you’re already in the Buy Box, which generates the most revenue, why bother paying for Sponsored Products?

A: Sponsored Products helps get your products in front of shoppers within search results among other competing products, not necessarily the same exact product for which you’ve won the Buy Box.

Q: What strategy would you recommend to use to win the Buy Box for products that have a unilateral pricing policy across all channels and are available through FBA and Prime?

A: If all sellers are limited to the same pricing, and there are FBA sellers, but you are not one, then you need to focus on your Seller Ratings and your shipping time/cost. Focus on the things that you have control over.

Q: Does the Merchant Fulfilled Prime program charge less fees than FBA?

A: MFN Prime does not have the same fees as FBA, because Amazon is not storing or shipping your product for you.

Q: Which repricer tool do your recommend?

A: The ChannelAdvisor Repricer with Pricewatch, of course!

Q: How important is product category on Amazon? If a company is new to Amazon or just trying to update/edit their product listing, what tips can you give to easily help in choosing the appropriate product category?

A: Product category is very important and is required to list. Our recommendation would be to research similar items on Amazon and scroll down the page to see what categories they are selling best in. This will help with the assignment of your products to Amazon’s taxonomy.

Q: Where on Seller Central can we access the Sponsored Products page?

A: Under Advertising, select Campaign Manager. It’s definitely confusing since it doesn’t say “Sponsored Products.”

Q: If you don’t own a brand, can you still use FBA? How does that work?

A: Yes! FBA is open to brand owners and resellers, alike. The process is the same. Details can be found under Seller Central Help: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).

Q: Do my products have to be FBA to be included in a Sponsored Product campaign?

A: No, they just have to own the Buy Box, which in most cases means they are at the lowest total price. You can still throw products into a campaign without owning the Buy Box, and until those products get ownership, you will not spend your budget on them. Amazon only bills you when you’re in the top Buy Box position.

Q: Are there any examples of a manufacturer selling direct on Amazon, allowing Amazon to sell the manufacturer’s products, but then also allowing third party sellers? Is this a good strategy?

A: There are definitely examples of this. We have several customers that use this strategy and do well. They generally get sales on items or size runs that Amazon doesn’t stock or they get sales when they backfill Amazon’s stock when they sell through.

Did you miss our webinar? Still have some questions about all of the options Amazon has to offer? Watch it on-demand here.