As the world turns, it’s important to stay aware. What affects the economy affects Amazon affects you as a wholesale seller. On this episode of Amazon Seller School, we’re skimming the top headlines so you don’t have to. From new competitors to the delay of Amazon Prime Day, here’s everything you need to know and how it’s impacting your wallet.
Return Window Extension
As a result of COVID-19, Amazon has issued a temporary extension for returns to combat delayed shipping. Users who purchased products between March 1st and April 30th will now have until May 31st to return.
How Does This Impact Me? Overall, it’s a positive move. Amazon is making the experience better for users which in turn helps us out. However, it may mean more users will be returning products who wouldn’t have with a shorter window.
Walmart Surpasses Amazon
How Does This Impact Me? More people are shopping online than ever before. Not to mention, new competition for Amazon means new places for sellers to diversify platforms. Adding new platforms will always lower your risk.
New Tracking Website for Multi-Tracking Fulfillment Orders
How Does This Impact Me? This site is just another way to help us sellers diversify selling channels and gain a better understanding of where our products are.
“Don’t Touch Shipments for 24 Hours”
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has hit Amazon warehouses hard. One in particular saw 21 confirmed cases. According to Bloomberg, when another warehouse received a shipment from the unlucky one, a staff member instructed employees not to touch the packages for 24 hours. Amazon has since responded saying there’s no evidence that COVID spreads through packages.
How Does This Impact Me? Take precautions however you see fit, but don’t worry about spreading the virus through shipments.
Amazon Delays Prime Day
How Does This Impact Me? Prime Day is an incredible day for sales. As we prepare for the new date, make sure your inventory levels are high enough to meet demand. Also, if you listened to Scott Needham in a previous episode, you’ll know coupons are a great way to discount products, especially during Prime Day and especially if you’ve got slow selling products.
Amazon Sellers Protest FBA Shipment Freeze
Due to Coronavirus, sellers can’t really ship anything to Amazon that’s not an essential item.
What Can I Do About It? Look into FBM (fulfilled by merchant) and check Amazon daily for updates on restrictions. They’ve released a few restrictions without going out of their way to disclose it to sellers.
Sponsored Display Product Targeting
Amazon now allows sellers to target their ads at specific products or product categories. You can also make an ad show up on a competitor’s product page, target companion pieces, and target markets more likely to purchase.
How Does This Impact Me? If you’ve got exclusive agreements or products with enough profit margin to run advertisements, this is a great option to control who’s seeing your ads.
Hopefully this helped you digest this week’s e-commerce news. For more help jumpstarting your Amazon business, sign up for Todd’s small group coaching class. The first to sign up receive a heavy discount! Remember, only sign up if you have experience selling on Amazon.
Resources From This Episode
- Amazon Extends its US Return Window to May 31st
- Walmart Grocery App Sees Record Downloads Amid COVID-19, Surpasses Amazon by 20%
- Swiship Amazon MCF Parcel Tracking Site
- Amazon Warehouse Warned Staff Not to Touch Shipments for 24 Hours
- Amazon’s Delaying Prime Day, and It’ll Cost It $100 Million
- EA15: Building A $60 Million Amazon Wholesale Business with Scott Needham
- Sign up for Todd’s small group coaching class
- JoeLister – Sell On eBay from Amazon
- Jungle Scout How to FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant)
- Leave a comment or contact Todd on Facebook!
Outline Of This Episode
[00:30] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[01:25] All about the return window extension
[03:40] Why Walmart beat Amazon
[11:06] Can packages spread COVID-19?
[15:34] Amazon delays Prime Day
[20:05] How to get around the FBA shipment freeze
[24:40] How to use sponsored display product targeting
[28:58] Join the waitlist for Todd’s small group coaching class
[30:30] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode
Walmart surpassing Amazon. Amazon, pushing back prime day, new types of display ads that we can use and more in this episode. Stay tuned,
welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the Amazon Seller School podcast where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an eCommerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between and now your host, Todd Welch.
Welcome to episode number 19 of the Amazon Seller School podcast and today we’re going to do something a little bit different today. I’m going to go through some of the latest news related to Amazon and give you my thoughts on how it relates to us as sellers in the eCommerce in Amazon wholesale world. So let me know what you think about this. If I should keep doing this or if I shouldn’t. Down in the comments, say yes, go ahead, keep doing this or no, I don’t like it. Stick to the how to stuff. Let me know what you think of this episode. I really want to hear it in the comments or shoot me an email. If you’re listening to this and there’s no place to comment. Entrepreneur, adventure.com/contact and you can let me know there as well. But let’s go ahead and dive into some of the latest Amazon news.
All right, so this first bit of news relates to returns on Amazon. So Amazon just to put out a few days ago, a temporary return window extension. So basically anybody who purchase anything on Amazon between March 1st and April 30th will now be able to return it all the way through May 31st so normally we have that 30 day window, but this is going to give them up to a two month window. So almost like the Christmas shopping season where we get extra time to return a gift after Christmas if they decide to do that. So Amazon is extending it out. And my guess the reason they’re doing this is because the shipping times are a lot longer. So they could potentially make an order on March 1st but it might not ship out till later that month. So the order date is going to be March 1st but they’re going to need to be able to return it for a longer period.
And plus it’s just the way that Amazon can make it easier on people. So this will definitely hurt us a little bit because people might return things that the other wise wouldn’t have been able to return. But all in all, I think this is a positive, you know, helping out the customer and making the Amazon shopping experience better. Most of the stuff, people are probably not going to return more than what they would have previously. They’re extending out that window for the customers so that they can return it if they choose. So some relatively big news there that I don’t think in the long run will affect us a whole lot though. But it’s good to know that people can extend or can return it out, especially if you’re doing any kind of merchant fulfilled option. Right now a lot of people are doing FBM fulfilled by merchant, so basically shipping out of their own warehouse or their own house.
You’re going to need to know this because those purchases as well, people will be able to return them all the way through April 30th so definitely keep that in mind. Alright. Now this next, the news story was over on tech crunch and it’s basically says Walmart grocery app sees a record downloads a mid coven 19 surpasses Amazon by 20% so when I first read that article, I thought maybe, wow, Walmart has 20% more users than Amazon, but that’s not the case. So it’s a little bit of a sensational headline. But what actually happened is Walmart surpassed Amazon for at least a couple days of downloads for their Walmart grocery app. So more people downloaded the Walmart grocery app, then download the Amazon seller app. Now there’s a little bit too that they have a graph here, which I’ll display on the screen so you can see it, but it’s basically showing the daily downloads.
And Walmart was quite a ways below Amazon all the way up until March 11th and then they started spiking up and just recently about April 4th they actually surpassed Amazon’s downloads. So it’s, it’s really interesting. It says here, 460% increase versus January. So really interesting. And what how it relates to us is that what’s happening here with the coronavirus and coven 19 is more people are shopping online than ever before. Right now. That’s why Amazon is having a hard time keeping up. Shipping and delivery times are stretched way out and Amazon’s hiring 100,000 people to staff their warehouses to keep up with all the demand and to see this spike from Walmart as well is really encouraging because after all this is said and done, all of these new people who are starting to shop online maybe for the first time, a lot of them are going to continue shopping online.
So previously before all this online shopping was about 10% of all retail that was out there and after this it’s going to be even higher. It’s hard to say how much higher. Maybe it’ll go to 12% or 15% or 20% it’s really hard to say, but I can guarantee that it’s going to be higher in the future than it is before all of this happened because of all these new people that are coming online, new people who are probably joining prime, Amazon prime new people who are shopping online on walmart.com and having a competitor to Amazon that can go toe to toe. And Walmart is still a ways behind. So I’m not trying to say that they’re anywhere close to Amazon yet, but the more we can have competition with Amazon, it’s going to be beneficial for us sellers because Amazon is not only going to have to cater to their customers, they’re also going to have to cater more to us sellers because they may start losing sellers like us to go and sell on Walmart.
Now, more likely we’re going to sell on both platforms, right? But there’s going to be that competition. Amazon and Walmart are going to start competing to get sellers to their platforms. So the more people on Walmart, the more it helps us over on Amazon as well. So this is really cool data that I’m seeing here. I’m glad to see that Walmart is spiking up, even if it’s just in downloads, it’s going to mean more buyers on their platform as well. So another place for us to potentially sell down the road. Now Amazon is still the golden goose, so to speak, and where you’re going to want to be in the beginning especially. But you want to diversify your platforms as you start to grow because if you’re going to be living off of this business, you don’t want Amazon to be your only platform. So I sell on eBay as well right now, a little bit using woo commerce on my own websites and I’m looking to start selling on walmart.com to add that additional platform and have a little bit lower of a risk if something was to happen to my Amazon account.
So really cool news there. And if you want links to any of these news stories that I am talking about in this episode, I’ll put them in the show notes. So click that link down below and jump over to the show notes if you want to read any of these articles yourself. All right, so this next story is another one back from Amazon directly and they basically are introducing a new tracking website for multichannel fulfillment orders. So I just said mentioned that I sell on eBay. I actually use a program or a website called Joe Lister, and if you’re interested in that, I’ll put a link down below. You can check that out. That’ll be an affiliate link, so check that out if you’re interested in signing up for that. But when I use that for is it will take my listing on Amazon in almost with one click.
It will list it over on eBay for me and it will adjust the price and everything for the different fees so that I make the same amount of profit or I can increase it. But when I get a sale over on eBay, it will automatically fulfill that through Amazon’s backend using the multichannel fulfillment order that is available to us. And this is available for any everything. So I do this also for one of my woo commerce websites. When an order happens there, the plugin that I use in WooCommerce automatically fulfills the order through Amazon for me. So what’s really nice about this is in the past it was, it could be kind of difficult to track those shipments because Amazon uses lots of different shipping methods from ups, FedEx, USBs to some of their own fulfillment vehicles and other ones that you’ve may have never even heard of.
They have lots of delivery partners and so it wasn’t always easy to track and the information was not always up to date, but they released a new website called asset w I ship that is going to allow for tracking those orders and those, that information will be sent to the customer automatically if you enter an email address and when you fulfill the order and it will also be sent to us sellers so we can track that information. So if we get a call from an order on eBay or an email or maybe we’ll commerce or Shopify or something like that, we can check this website and see where that product is. So really helpful if you’re doing any third party stuff on other platforms outside of Amazon, but fulfilling it with Amazon and that is a really big thing that another way to diversify our channels, as I mentioned earlier.
So some kind of cool news there to make it a little bit easier for us to track those shipments and know where products are a little bit better. All right, so this next article, Amazon warehouse warned a staff not to touch shipments for 24 hours and this is from bloomberg.com now you probably or may have heard already that some of the Amazon warehouses, some of their employees have come down with the coronavirus and one that’s been here more hard than others is AVP one. So every warehouse that Amazon has has a four character code for it. And this one AVP one which is in Eastern Pennsylvania, has 21 confirmed cases of the Corona virus in their warehouse of employees that worked there. And so what happened is a manager at another plant, they got a shipment of boxes from AVP, one to their warehouse because Amazon will move our products throughout their warehouses to where they think customers are going to buy them.
So they have them closer and the manager actually told all employees not to touch any of the boxes for 24 hours so that they don’t get Corona virus basically and scared a lot of the employees at the facility. And now what’s interesting about this is that Amazon has been relatively good about keeping the Corona virus out of their facilities so far, but it is starting to get worse for them. They’ve actually implemented different policies where people have to wear mass and have to stay at least six feet away from each other and they’re also taking temperature at some of their facilities where they’re getting hit harder. Now some of the employees are disputing that saying that’s not actually happening. Hopefully they are doing that kind of stuff and keeping their warehouses safe. You would think it’d be in their best interest to be doing everything possible to keep the coronavirus out of their warehouses because of it starts going crazy.
It’s going to make it that much more difficult for them to keep up with fulfilling the orders and Amazon says, here, I’m just going to read this part. Their reply was this was an error in communication made locally with positive intentions but was misinformed. It has since been corrected. Christine quiche, an Amazon spokeswoman said in an email statement based on guidance from the CDC, the who and the surgeon general. There is currently no evidence that Covin 19 is being spread through packages. It’s a belief within the infectious disease community that if there was transmission through packages, there would have been immediate global spread early in the outbreak. That did not happen and it confirms the risk as incredibly low, so you could take that for what it’s worth. Hopefully that is accurate. I tend to have to kind of agree with that, that it’s probably not spreading very well through packages because I would think it would have spread a lot faster, especially in today’s world where everyone’s getting packages all the time in the mail and everything, so hopefully that is the case and this was just a miscommunication and overzealous manager saying not to touch the boxes because if that becomes a thing where they can’t touch boxes that came from a facility that had a case of coronavirus that’s going to delay shipments of our packages even further and delay receiving in of our packages because Amazon would have to implementing policies where when we ship our products into Amazon, they are not going to be able to touch them for longer than what they currently are.
So it’s already taken a long time. If this ends up being true, then that can make it take even longer. But thankfully so far, at least according to Amazon, it doesn’t sound like that is accurate and hopefully that’s the case. Now I would probably still take precautions, maybe spray down your packages that you receive on your doorstep just in case, but everyone has to take their own precautions and gauge their own level of risk on that. So definitely an interesting story. Again, I’ll put that link down below if you want to check that out. All right. And this big news from the Motley fool, Amazon’s delaying prime day and it’ll cost it $100 million. So Amazon is getting hit hard right now with orders, tons of orders right now, sales velocity, if you’re in categories of essential products, even some nonessential product. It’s almost like we’re in Christmas time right now in a lot of categories and for a lot of products and things are going crazy.
Now normally Amazon has prime day, which is their big Amazon holiday, basically. Kind of like black Friday, but Amazon’s own invention of that. And usually that takes place in July every single year and it’s sounding like it’s likely to get pushed back to August. So about a month delay. But Amazon RD has a lot of products stocked, so all of their Amazon devices like Kindles, EcoSmart speakers, fire TV devices and things like that. They’ve got those all stocked for prime day and basically where the hundred million dollar loss could come in is if they have to clearance out that inventory to try to get rid of it, make room for everything else that’s coming into their warehouses. Because Amazon right now is having a hard time receiving all the product in getting all the product shipped out so they could lose potentially up to $100 million on that. Now it could be good for us.
If you’re looking to get one of those devices, you might get a really good deal from it because Amazon is trying to clear that inventory out to make room for that extra month that they’re going to have to delay it. But more importantly for us, sellers prime day is a really big sales day. It’s basically just like black Friday on terms of levels and it also gets a lot of people, new people to sign up for Amazon to try to get those really good deals. Signing up for prime, Amazon prime. So not having that extra influx is gonna delay those sales. So we’re going to have to make sure we keep this in mind and if it does become official that they’re pushing it back, you’re gonna have to delay your purchases. But also you want to keep in mind that when prime day does come, if you’ve never had prime day before sales, like quadruple on Amazon, sometimes even higher than that.
So you’re going to want to make sure that you’re stocked up on your products for that day. Regardless of if you’re going to run a special or anything, you’re going to want to have extra stock because everything sells more including stuff that is not discounted. And you could also utilize that day to discount products that maybe are selling slowly throw on a coupon or knock the price down. I highly recommend coupons more than discounts because when we were talking with Scott need him over at by boxer in previous episode and that was episode 15 he mentioned how they are utilizing coupons to discount their slow selling products and how that has really worked well for them because you get more visibility, you get a little like green badge that says coupon in the search results so it makes you stand out and it drives more traffic to your listing.
People clip that coupon and buy it. Some people don’t even clip the coupon, they just buy it at the full price. So it really works well to move some inventory. And I’ve used that myself since that interview with Scott and it’s worked for me as well to start moving some inventory. So think about that for prime day and utilizing that for some discounts. But according to this article it’s going to get pushed back possibly from July to August. So we’re definitely gonna want to keep that in mind for inventory stock levels going into that time period. And if you want to check out that episode with Scott, need him over a buy box or a highly recommended, it was a great episode, had an over to entrepreneur venture.com four slash 15 that’ll take you right there and you can take a listen to it. All right, so this next news article is from tech radar and this one is Amazon sellers protests, FBA shipment freeze.
So if you’re selling on Amazon already, you may already know or probably already know that you can’t send a lot of products in right now. Anything that’s not in as a sensual item. So basically stuff like in the grocery category or home and kitchen category, you’re not able to send a lot of stuff in. So I have a lot of products in the sporting goods category and I’m not able to send any of that stuff in. Now, Amazon announced this awhile back, the middle of March, I believe it was and said the end date was April 5th well, as of the recording of this right now, April 5th has come and gone and you still cannot send a lot of products in. Amazon opened up some new categories. I was able to send in some products but I still can’t send in anything in the sporting category and I’m starting to run out of product which is starting to hurt sales.
So. So let me just read a little bit of this really quick. It says Amazon sellers across the U S and EU have protested after the company continues at stance of no longer receiving nonessential shipments of fulfilled by Amazon inventory. First announced last month, the freeze for these marketplaces was originally set to end on April 5th however, in its FAQ Amazon States, given that the impact of Kobe 19 is still developing, we do not have an exact date when operations will be fully restored. Instead, whenever possible we will allow more products to be received while still ensuring our fulfillment centers are able to process high priority products. And then it goes on to say, according to jungle scout, approximately 53% of Amazon sellers are affected by this freeze. I’m definitely affected. A lot of people are affected. So what can we do about it? You can possibly do merchant fulfilled. As I mentioned, I’m doing a little bit of that and if this freeze doesn’t get lifted soon, I’m going to have to start doing more of that as well.
Now jungle scout has a really good article on how to do merchant fulfillment, so I’ll put that link in the show notes. So definitely check that out. This episode firstname.lastname@example.org four slash 19 but otherwise, if you have products that you can send in currently, you’re going to want to be checking those daily because Amazon is lifting the restrictions without really saying anything about it. So I found out that I could send some products in just by trying to create a shipment and I’m like, Oh well I can send this stuff in now and there’s no news about it from Amazon. So if you’re affected, be checking that every single day, maybe multiple times a day if it’s really critical for you and you might be able to send that product in and Amazon won’t have an announcement about that, but if it’s really affecting you hard, then you’re going to have to start doing merchant fulfilled.
So you can either do it out of your own garage, your own warehouse, or you can get a merchant fulfilled warehouse that can handle that for you. And there’s lots of them out there. I don’t really have any off the top of my head because I haven’t used any, but I will probably be researching them for, if anything like this ever happens in the future. Now I doubt Corona virus or a big virus like this will happen again in our lifetime at least I hope not. But I want to be prepared if anything happens like this again, so I’m going to do some research and find some, so I’ll put that in the show notes as well. If I do find anything, you can check that out. But it’s just really big news that right now us sellers, we can’t send our stuff in Amazon.
They’re supposed to be our fulfillment channel. We can’t send it in. I understand what’s going on. They’re overloaded. They have to prioritize and that’s a good thing getting the products that people really need to the people that need them. So I can’t be too angry about this, but I do hope it opens up soon because while my sales are up right now, I’m starting to run out of a lot of products that I can send back in and that is going to start hitting my sales. So I’m going to have to start doing merchant fulfilled and pick up the Slack of those products that I’m unable to send in if this continues on for very much longer. All right, and the last news story of the day, introducing the sponsored display product targeting. So Amazon has rolled out for everyone now sponsored display ads and I already went ahead and set one of these up for one of the products that I have exclusive agreements for.
What’s really cool about this is that you can specifically target your ad at specific products or specific product categories. So what this means is that if you have competition out there for your product and you want to target an ad specifically at that competition, you can make your ad show up on their product page. Or what I actually did with my listing is, so I sell some high end stuff in the sporting goods market and it is a companion product with another electronic. So what I am doing, I set the ad for the product category that those products are sold in and then I set the minimum price to $450 because this is a high end product that goes along with other high end products. So I am going to target and have my ads for those products show up on those high end electronics that are over $450 in that specific category in sporting goods.
So it is highly targeted towards the market that is going to want to buy that product. Now, I just started it so I don’t have any results from that ad, but I can only imagine that it’s should be quite, well if not, I’m going to play with it. There’s lots of different tweaks so you can actually do it specifically by price, by brand, by star rating, by prime status and a lot more. You can specifically target your ads. So this is the first time that Amazon has really opened this up to allow us as sellers to target. So specifically like this, previously this was only available to vendors, so like brands who had a vendor account and were selling to Amazon, they could run these types of ads, but now this is opened up to all of the sellers on Amazon. So this is really big news in wholesale.
We don’t do a ton of advertising unless we have exclusives. I have exclusives for several products where I am the only seller on those products and I treat them like my own brands, like a private label product because I get additional discounts that other people are not. I’m able to set my pricing to make sure I’m getting enough profit out of the product. So I have room to run advertisements. So if you’re in that boat where you have exclusives or you have products that have enough margin to run advertisements, this is really cool and I’m going to be playing around with this a lot to dive into it and figure out exactly how it’s going to work and what kind of a cost I can get. A cost is your advertising cost of sale, so how much it costs you an ads to get one sale.
And if you can keep that percentage really low, then it’s worth it to run those ads. And with this highly detailed targeting, it’s going to make it even easier to keep that a cost way down and make it more profitable to run ads even in the wholesale world. So I thought that was really cool. I wanted to mention that in here as the last story as I think it’s really big news. And maybe I’ll do a episode down the road here after I get some results of running ads. I can do an episode talking about advertising as a wholesale person and maybe I’ll even try to bring on a specialist in ads and that would be a really good episode to look for that. I will work on setting that up here in the coming months so that we can get more information. I can give you guys more information on selling wholesale and we’re getting closer to releasing announcements about the small group coaching that I am setting up.
It’s going to be a three month program it looks like and it’s going to be a higher level program. So I’m looking for people who are familiar with Amazon selling on Amazon but are just getting started in Amazon wholesale. I don’t want to have to be teaching people how to sign up for their account and things like that. So this is going to be for people one step ahead of that who have the least sold one or two things on Amazon and know the ropes. But what we’re going to do over the course of three months, it’s basically going to be like a college level class where I, with the small group of sellers, walk you through building your Amazon wholesale business. Now, I haven’t finalized like a price or anything like that, but it’s going to be high level, so maybe around four or $500 per month.
But if that’s something that would interest you at all, head on over to entrepreneur, adventure.com forward slash group and get on that wait list, you’ll be one of the first to know and you’ll get an exclusive discount on this first round. So the first round of people that are going to be in this are going to get a big discount of what it’s going to cost in the future. So definitely get on that wait list, entrepreneur, adventure.com forward slash group and check that out. All right, so that wraps up the news for today. I hope that you liked this. Again, let me know. Leave a comment down below. Say that you loved it, you hated it, whatever the case, let me know. So I know if you want me to keep doing this kind of podcast episode every once in awhile in the future, maybe like once a month, I’ll do like a news podcast episode like this once a month, do a Q and a and just kind of rotate it.
So let me know. I want to hear your thoughts. Shoot me an email. If you don’t have a place to comment, entrepreneur, venture.com for slash contact or go to our Facebook page, entrepreneur, adventure.com forward slash Facebook or search for Amazon Seller School on Facebook and you’ll find it. Let me know one way or another what you thought of this. I want to know your thoughts. Get the show notes for everything that we talked about on this email@example.com forward slash 19 since this is episode 19 and with that, that wraps up this show. Without further ado, this is Todd Welch with Amazon Seller School signing off. Happy selling everybody.
This has been another episode of the Amazon Seller School podcast. Thanks for listening, fellow entrepreneur and always remember success is yours if you take it.