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Walmart Ramps Up Pressure on Amazon Prime

Hey there, Amazon Sellers!

Welcome back to another edition of the Amazon Seller School newsletter. I am thrilled to bring you the latest updates and insights from the dynamic world of e-commerce. Let’s dive right in:

1. Walmart Ramps Up Pressure on Amazon Prime

Walmart is intensifying its competition against Amazon Prime by launching various initiatives and services. This includes improvements to its subscription-based program, likely aiming to provide a more attractive alternative to Amazon’s premium offering. While specific details regarding these initiatives remain undisclosed, Walmart’s actions indicate its determination to claim a larger share of the e-commerce market and challenge Amazon’s dominance.

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2. Amazon Adds a New Fee for Sellers Who Ship Their Own Packages

Amazon has introduced a new fee targeting sellers who opt to handle their own package shipments instead of using Amazon’s fulfillment services. This decision, which may increase costs for numerous merchants on the platform, has been met with significant backlash from the seller community. Amazon defends the move by highlighting the need for maintaining the quality and consistency of the customer experience, suggesting that the fee will ensure better compliance with delivery standards.

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3. Amazon’s New Five-Star Ratings System Hard to Read

Amazon has rolled out a new five-star ratings system, which has garnered criticism for its perceived lack of clarity and difficulty in interpretation. Users and sellers alike have expressed concerns that the new design, which departs from the previous straightforward representation, might confuse customers and affect purchasing decisions. Despite the widespread feedback, Amazon has yet to respond to the critiques or indicate any plans for revisions.

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4. Five Amazon Marketplace Sellers and Four Amazon Marketplace Companies Sentenced for Price Fixing

The Department of Justice announced that five Amazon Marketplace sellers and four Amazon Marketplace companies have been sentenced for their involvement in price-fixing schemes. These entities colluded to fix prices on certain products sold on Amazon’s platform, leading to distorted competition and harming consumers. The department has taken a firm stance on ensuring a fair e-commerce environment, emphasizing the importance of protecting consumers from anticompetitive practices.

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5. Amazon Copies Etsy and eBay with Offsite Ads Program

Amazon is expanding its Sponsored Products ads to include visibility on other apps and websites. These cost-per-click ads will be featured on premium platforms such as Pinterest, BuzzFeed, Lifehacker, and Mashable, and will always link back to the product page on Amazon. Sellers need not take any additional actions; their ads will be automatically displayed where Amazon perceives potential customer interest. While this move mirrors Etsy and eBay’s offsite ad strategies, there’s some concern among sellers about increased competition and potentially higher costs for ad space.

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6. Amazon Improves Customer Reviews with Generative AI

Amazon has incorporated generative AI to enhance the quality of its customer reviews. The new technology aids in generating more detailed and informative reviews, enabling customers to make better-informed purchasing decisions. The AI system understands the context of the products and produces comprehensive feedback while maintaining the authenticity of the original review.

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7. Mastering Holiday Pricing Strategies: Tips for Amazon Sellers

The holiday season presents a pivotal opportunity for Amazon sellers, but navigating pricing strategies is intricate. To maximize profits, sellers should categorize their products into three groups: those where they compete for the Buy Box, those they already own the Buy Box for, and products with limited demand. Effective tactics include utilizing a domination strategy for Buy Box competition if a seller has a unique advantage, focusing on profit or revenue optimization when in control of the Buy Box, and contemplating the liquidation strategy for underperforming products. Central to achieving success is prioritizing items with proven demand and profitability while eschewing non-performers.

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8. Walmart Fulfills 50% of Online Orders from Stores

Walmart is increasingly using its physical stores as fulfillment centers, with half of its online orders now being processed from these locations. This approach leverages Walmart’s vast retail footprint, allowing the company to quickly and efficiently deliver products to online shoppers. The strategy also underscores Walmart’s intent to integrate its online and offline operations, positioning itself as a robust competitor in the e-commerce sector.

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9. New Product Listing Attributes Required for New Listings After September 12, 2023

Starting September 12, 2023, Amazon will require 206 attributes for 199 product types for all new product listings. This initiative aims to enhance the customer’s search experience by providing them with relevant product information to aid in their purchase decisions. Amazon emphasizes that these requirements will only apply to new listings, not active ones. However, for sellers with inactive listings who wish to activate them, updating these attributes will be necessary.

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That’s a wrap on this month’s newsletter! I hope you’re as excited as I am about these insightful articles. Remember, knowledge is power in the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce.

Happy Selling!

Todd Welch

Amazon Seller School