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US Seller Market Share on Amazon Hits Record Low

Hey, Fellow Amazon Sellers!

Welcome to the most recent edition of the Amazon Seller School newsletter. Stay well informed about the ever-evolving e-commerce world. Let’s dive into this week’s highlights:

1. US Seller Market Share on Amazon Hits Record Low

The market share of US sellers on Amazon has reached an all-time low. This trend showcases the increasing global nature of the platform, with international sellers, particularly from China, expanding their presence. While Amazon started as a predominantly US-based seller platform, the diversification of its marketplace has now made it a truly global e-commerce hub.

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2. Uber Gets in on E-commerce Product Returns

Uber has introduced a “Return a Package” feature to simplify the process of returning items bought online. For a $5 flat fee ($3 for Uber One members), customers can have couriers collect up to five prepaid, sealed packages at once, which are then taken to local post offices, UPS, or FedEx locations. Real-time tracking is available through the Uber app, with couriers providing photo confirmation upon successful drop-offs. This service is now available across over 4,950 US cities.

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3. TikTok’s Aggression vs. Amazon’s Passivity

TikTok is proactively expanding its e-commerce capabilities, contrasting sharply with Amazon’s more passive approach. While Amazon remains dominant, its growth has plateaued, leading to reduced investment in acquiring new sellers and brands. On the other hand, TikTok, recognizing the potential of integrating commerce with its platform, is aggressively courting brands and influencers to sell products directly within the app.

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4. Amazon Reopens Seller Fulfilled Prime Program

Amazon has decided to reopen its Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program. This initiative allows sellers who store and ship their own inventory to access Prime benefits, provided they meet Amazon’s strict delivery standards. Amazon’s decision to relaunch the SFP program reflects the company’s acknowledgment of the significant role third-party sellers play in the platform’s ecosystem and the desire to incentivize high-quality fulfillment services.

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5. Amazon’s Project Nessie Unveils New Algorithm

Amazon introduced a new algorithm under “Project Nessie” aimed at improving its platform’s operational efficiencies. The new system leverages cutting-edge machine learning techniques to optimize various processes, from product recommendations to inventory management. Critics, however, raise concerns about potential biases and transparency in the algorithm. Despite these concerns, Amazon believes that Project Nessie will significantly enhance user experience and streamline backend operations.

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6. USPS Ready to Deliver for America During the Holidays

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has announced its preparedness for the upcoming holiday season, emphasizing its commitment to efficiently handling the surge in packages and mails. The USPS has undertaken various strategic measures, such as expanding its infrastructure and ramping up its workforce, to ensure timely deliveries. The announcement also includes important mailing and shipping deadlines to assist customers in planning their holiday shipments. USPS assures that with these preparations, they are set to meet the high demand and provide reliable services throughout the holiday period.

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7. How FTC’s Historic Monopoly Case vs. Amazon Might Impact Sellers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 17 state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against Amazon over alleged anticompetitive behaviors. Key points of contention include Amazon’s anti-discounting tactics, the secretive algorithm “Project Nessie”, and alleged manipulation of search results to promote its in-house brands. The FTC suggests that structural relief, a term that could hint at a potential breakup of the company, might be required. While some sellers hope the lawsuit will lead to positive changes for Amazon, especially regarding the coveted “Buy Box”, the outcome remains uncertain, and the case, given its magnitude, could take years to resolve.

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8. Sellers Take Heed: Walmart Offers Extended Returns during the Holidays

Walmart is implementing an extended returns policy for the holiday season. Any purchases made between October 1 and December 31, 2023, can be returned up until January 31, 2024, with a few exceptions such as wireless phones, Walmart protection plans, and select luxury items. Walmart has informed its sellers that this change is intended to increase sales and customer loyalty. It’s worth noting that Amazon has also historically offered extended returns during the holiday period, though its specific policy for the 2023 season hasn’t been announced yet.

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9. Report: Thrasio Considers Raising Capital or Filing for Bankruptcy

Thrasio, a major player in the Amazon third-party seller acquisition market, is reportedly contemplating either raising capital or filing for bankruptcy. Facing financial challenges, the company is currently exploring these options to navigate its situation. The specifics of the financial difficulties and the potential impacts on its operations or acquisitions remain undisclosed.

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10. Up to Tenth of Amazon Shoppers in Great Britain Bribed by Sellers to Offer Good Review, Poll Finds

A recent poll discovered that nearly one-tenth of Amazon shoppers in Great Britain have been bribed by sellers to give positive product reviews. This significant number raises concerns about the authenticity of product ratings on the platform, potentially misleading consumers. The survey’s findings emphasize the importance of trustworthiness in online reviews and the challenges marketplaces like Amazon face in ensuring genuine customer feedback.

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That’s all for this week’s newsletter! I hope you’ve found these updates to be valuable resources for your Amazon selling journey.

Happy selling!

Todd Welch
Amazon Seller School