The Great Amazon Outage of Tuesday, February 28, 2017
AWS Amazon’s Web Services S3 Storage infrastructure went down last week due to a simple keying error, a mere typo. It stopped a lot of internet traffic globally and it also inhibited the ability a lot of Amazon sellers to access their seller accounts, mostly if they pulled from the east coast. Sellers could not list new products, and could not see new orders.
Changes in Amazon Affiliate Commissions Structure
It used to be when you sold items on your blog or web site through Amazon as an Amazon Affiliate (AKA “Associate”), you were rewarded for volume. The more you sold, the higher your Amazon affiliate commissions. That structure was known as the Variable Standard Fee. Amazon this week did away with that Variable Standard Fee and replaced it with a flat commission structure that differs by product category. Now Amazon affiliate commissions are no longer rewarded on a sliding scale that pays out more for volume sales. Amazon affiliate commissions are now based on a flat fee and that flat fee is different for each category.
Side note: think of the Amazon affiliate commissions as a hedge against the 15% referral fees Amazon charges you as a seller. Regardless of the changes in their structure, the Amazon affiliate commissions are still worth setting up and receiving. You can even make Amazon affiliate commissions off your own products.
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Let's "Hit the Boards"...
Wherein we take a quick look at some of this issues for which Amazon sellers are seeking help...
GS1 Bar Codes
Amazon prefers them. Third party identifier (AKA “UPC”) systems like “Speedy” are accepted, but may cause delays.
Opened a New Seller Account and Payments are Being Held in Reserve
Delays in payments for new sellers. Someone opened a new account and noticed that there were payments being held in reserve. Payments held by Amazon went well past merchandise delivery dates. For new sellers it can up to 90 days for your first payment to come through, especially if you are a “self-fulfiller.” Going FBA, if you can, is one way to avoid this. FBA is always a good option and although it may seem to take a slightly bigger chuck out of your profit, it is worth it, so go FBA and work it into your margins. Side note: longevity is also one of many factors that influence whether you are awarded the buy box.
Patience and Persistence When Attempting to Resolve Issues with Amazon
Seller says around half of their shipments sent to fulfillment center have gone missing or have to be reconciled, and the reconciliation dates keep moving. Tim recommends patience and persistence in dealing with Amazon to get things straightened out. Most times, they do eventually get them streamlined for you in the FBA program.
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New Seller Account Suspended
This seems to be Amazon’s modus operandi of late. They immediately suspend the account and then undertake a verification process to make sure everything is in order. If this happens to you, don’t panic, it’s just a time period wherein Amazon cross checks everything.
Why Was My Brand Registry Application Denied?
Inactive Listings due to brand registry denial. It was denied because Amazon found that someone else owned that brand name. Use the U.S. Patent and Trade web site to make sure the brand you register with Amazon is not owned already. You don’t have your own brand legally until it is registered with a trademark.
I'm Angry Over a Customer Return!
Circumstances for processing refunds – if the customer meets all requirements in the policy, issue them the refund. It is advisable, as well, to consider offering them a refund even if they don’t meet all the requirements of the refund policy. Don’t get too close to individual transactions. This is a cost of doing business. Be “customercentric” because that customer’s happiness is critical because Amazon customers have a powerful system for recourse: the Amazon review and feedback systems. If your unhappy customer chooses to leave you a negative review, it can be hard to recover from.