Author - Matt Colvin

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Incoming Textbook Restrictions
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Amazon Buys Whole Foods
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Amazon Transparency Program

Incoming Textbook Restrictions

Several Amazon sellers who sell textbooks just got the following email from seller support today.

 

“Hello,

Please read this email carefully. The listing information described below may affect your ability to sell certain products on Amazon.

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide the best possible customer experience, we are implementing selling qualifications for certain popular products in the Textbook category.

Please reply to this email within 3 weeks with the following:

— Copies of up to 3 invoices or receipts from your primary supplier(s) issued in the last 180 days for your popular Textbook products. These should reflect your sales volume during that time.
— Contact information for your supplier, including name, phone number, address, and website.

You can send .pdf, .jpg, .png, or .gif files. These documents must be authentic and unaltered. We may call your supplier(s) to verify the documents. You may remove pricing information, but the rest of the document must be visible. We will maintain the confidentiality of your supplier contact information.
If we do not hear from you within 3 weeks, or we are unable to confirm the information you provide, we will remove your listings.
To learn more about our policies, search for these topics in Seller Central Help:

— Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions
— Product Detail Page Rules
— Condition Guidelines
Sincerely,
Seller Performance Team”

 

Thankfully this seems like it will be a limited restriction for “certain popular products” but the ambiguity in that statement doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either.

Several book sellers have also reported this morning that they are showing that they are NOT eligible for the buy box on a large amount of the used books that they have listed, I can’t help but feel like the two situations might be related.

Amazon is rolling out more and more restrictions on products, last week it was Nike, this week it’s books. The bottom line I’m seeing in all this is that sourcing inventory in a more “Amazon approved” method like wholesale or private label appear to be VERY wise choices to make moving forward. Arbitrage is far from dead, but it seems that there are going to be more and more roadblocks like this as time goes on. Adapt, improvise and overcome – or be left behind!

UPDATE: It appears that some sellers got a similar message last week and were able to get the restriction lifted simply by opening a ticket with Seller Support. If you have similar success please post a comment to let us know!

Go Ship Some Stuff!

Amazon Buys Whole Foods

The above is totally NOT how things went down but it’s an amusing thought in the midst of the news that broke today about Amazon acquiring Whole Foods for 13.7 Billion dollars.

The news that Amazon is making this big of a move into Brick and Mortar has the grocery and retail world stunned and worried about what the future holds.

“This is an earthquake rattling through the grocery sector as well as the retail world. We can only imagine the technological innovation that Amazon will bring to the purchasing experience for the consumer,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said in an email Friday. “Now, we can see in hindsight that its recent dithering around the brick-and-mortar experience, as an experiment, was only a rumbling of the seismic event in the offing.”

 

Amazon’s “Amazon Fresh” offers delivery in a few key cities, (including Denver now, which makes me super happy) but I have a feeling that after they get Whole foods in the fold the locations that they deliver to are going to increase exponentially. The retail footprint that they just acquired in one fell swoop is rather impressive, especially for a company that so rarely goes out and makes large acquisitions like this.

The stock market shows the immediate reaction of the sector as one of overall fear. Just counting the twenty biggest losers in the retail and food categories from the S&P 500 the market cap loss was $37.7 billion Friday. Meanwhile, Amazon stock went up more than 3% for a market cap gain on the day of 14.5 Billion which has effectively made their purchase profitable already.

As we move forward it’s going to be interesting seeing how Amazon handles this move into Brick and Mortar – but I think it’s going to be even more interesting seeing how other retailers respond to this development.

Go Ship Some Stuff!

 

Amazon Transparency Program

I just got back from the Resonate Conference in Atlanta Georgia and one of the presenters brought up an interesting new program that Amazon is in the process of implementing. It’s aimed at helping Amazon ensure that all inventory that is being sent to their warehouses is authentic.

For a brand to get involved in the program they have to agree to add the Transparency 2-D barcode to the outer packaging of ALL of their inventory, to include any inventory sold via non-Amazon channels. Once they make this change Amazon will refuse to accept any inventory that doesn’t include a valid Transparency barcode. These barcodes are each unique (Think of them as digital serial numbers) and will have to be purchased from Amazon.

This is an interesting change that has a few different implications moving forward, especially for resellers. If this takes off and is implemented by brands resellers like us may find ourselves with older legitimate inventory that Amazon will refuse to accept because it is missing the “Transparency” barcode. While this will create an issue with some inventory it is my understanding that Amazon will be providing some sort of a “grace period”. When a product is added to the program they will be sending an email to anyone that has ever sold the item to alert them that the item will start requiring the 2D barcode for future shipments.

The program is currently free for the rest of 2017, but Amazon will start charging fees for the barcodes starting in 2018. Once they start charging in it looks like pricing will be $0.04-$0.05 per barcode for less than 1 million barcodes, $0.03/code for 1 million to 10 million, and about $0.01 per barcode above 10 million.

This is an interesting option for people who have their own product and are struggling with counterfeiters. I personally am looking into creating some private label products this year and will likely take advantage of this program when I do.

According to the good folks over at the Prosper Conference, if you are interested in implementing Transparency into your products you can reach out to Amazon for more details at transparency-busdev@amazon.com

Go Ship Some Stuff!

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