Many major policy changes have shadowed the threshold of Amazon’s FBA doorwayrecently. From last March’s ASIN restrictions, to Brandgate, to review banning & the new restrictions for new sellers, well you get the picture. Here is a brief outline of the most recent changes Amazon has made to their long list of policies.
For those of you unfamiliar with Amazon-eze , FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon. FBA is Amazon’s warehouse storage program which allows Amazon & non-Amazon sellers to store product. For a fee, Amazon takes care of all shipping, returns & customer service.
Amazon kicked off this round of changes with ‘Brandgate‘. If you thought Amazon already a tight list of gated brands, they’ve honed it down even more. On top of this, Amazon wants hard core proof from the brand that a seller has authorization to market their product. The main reason for this is to eliminate counterfeiting.
As you know Amazon has courted Chinese merchants to hawk their ware on Amazon. This has, not unsurprisingly, led to a massive explosion in counterfeit goods. Amazon now has to slay the dragon they led through the gates. Unfortunately, this throws a monkey wrench into the game for legit sellers. Sellers who want to vend brands like Nike and Hasbro, now have to provide proof of authorization to sell along with a one time fee of up to $1500. Not a simple task for the everyday seller. Here is a great article from CNBC on the topic.
Then Amazon decided to eliminate the practice of soliciting reviews in exchange for free or reduced price items. This is otherwise know as incentivized reviews. Let’s face it, this is a great way for sellers to add a little SEO to their listing. It also make their product appear to be a well liked, hot item … until you get to the reviews. I don’t know about you, but I am not going to trust a reviews that clearly states the only reason it is even there is because the writer got paid. I’ve also read on other forums that this practice is making potential buyers seek out the bad reviews so that they can compare the sincerity level and perhaps get more relevant feedback on the product. This is NOT good. After a conversation with Amazon, TechCrunch says that this ban will apply to all products except for books, as books often have advanced sales periods. They’ve also stated that only Amazon Vine incentivized reviews will be allowed.
In addition to the ASIN ban of last March, and Brandgate, Amazon is now restricting new FBA sellers to the platform for the Q4 selling season. So if you’ve not sold in Amazon before using their FBA program, you will not have that opportunity this year. Many sellers flock in just to take advantage of the holiday selling season. In fact, I know many who ONLY sell during Q4 and take the remainder of the year off. It’s that good. They put in TONS of effort in though and practically work around the clock for the preceding months right through to the end of January. The fruits of their efforts yield an income that most people with high paying positions would drool over. Because of this Amazons’ warehouses are bursting at the seams, so unless you are a huge money maker, or sell throughout the year, you may find yourself out of the game this year. Read more @ Helium.
Adieu for now … Off to see what I can or Cannot ship to Amazon this year 🙂