• They’re Being Sued for Antitrust, but Amazon Says They Have It All Backwards
• Amazon Custom Updates to Bulk Listing Tool That Will Save Sellers So Much Time
• Is FBA Liquidation as Great a Solution as Amazon Makes It Out to Be?
THE BIG IDEA
Another day another… Lawsuit? As e-commerce evolves and tech giants continue to grow, the number of cases is increasing as laws struggle to keep up. DC Attorney General sued Amazon claiming that they are in violation of the antitrust laws accusing Amazon of unfairly inflating prices. They state that Amazon is “illegally abusing and maintaining its monopoly power by controlling prices across the online retail market”.
The case focuses on a clause in Amazon’s business solutions agreement called the “price parity provision”. This clause prohibits sellers from selling their products at lower prices on other online marketplaces. In 2019, the provision was removed, likely due to antitrust scrutiny. However, it did pull a “bait and switch” imposing the same clause under a new name, “fair pricing policy”.
Amazon responded back to the allegations and stated the following:
“The DC Attorney General has it exactly backwards — sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store. Amazon takes pride in the fact that we offer low prices across the broadest selection, and like any store, we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers that are not priced competitively. The relief the AG seeks would force Amazon to feature higher prices to customers, oddly going against core objectives of antitrust law.”
How this case is resolved will cultivate not only how Amazon operates but may also impact the third-party sellers who make up so much of their marketplace. Many sellers across the board shared their opinions on the matter in this Reddit thread claiming that Amazon does in fact put them in a tight corner with their selling fees and provides little wiggle room to actually profit. Others share that they've been penalized for lower pricing on other platforms. If Amazon loses this case, it could unravel a new stage for sellers in the e-commerce space and how the future of Amazon is shaped.
THIS WEEK'S BITES
June 1, 2021 -Update to Amazon US referral and FBA fees: Effective June 1, 2021: Amazon US is making their annual changes to their referral and FBA fees June 2021 reflective of the changes, updates, and upgrades made on the seller platform.
June 21, 2021 - Update to Amazon US referral and FBA fees: Amazon is making modest increases (about 2-3% on average) to fulfillment fees, in line with or below industry averages. We will also reduce certain fees, like the returns processing fee.
July 15, 2021 - Disbursements stop for non-approved PSP to sellers using non-participating PSPs until they switch to a participating PSP or use a bank account directly issued by a deposit-taking bank
NEW ON AMAZON
If you’re an Amazon Custom seller, life is going to get a little bit easier for you with this new update. Amazon recently announced that they are releasing a new bulk listing tool that allows customizations to multiple ASINs at once. This is done via a self-generated excel template, a tool that eliminates the need to manually enter each and every individual customization.
With the bulk listing tool you'll be able to:
New to Amazon Custom?
Amazon Custom is a program for sellers with the professional selling plan to be able to sell their product with personalized text, font, imagery, and other configurations. It allows sellers to offer customization options to their customers and get creative with how they want their products to appear.
TRENDS TO FOLLOW
There comes a point in every seller’s career when they overshoot with the inventory planning and send more than what was needed. It happens to the best of us, and we’re faced with the decision to either have the products returned or destroyed. The alternative also exists where you let the items sit and accumulate storage fees, waiting patiently for them to be bought out by a gracious customer. Other than that the options were pretty limited until FBA Liquidation - your solution (or so they say) to excess inventory or customer returns.
How does it work?
When you create a removal order from any inventory planning page you’ll now be able to select Liquidations as an option. Determine how many units you want to liquidate and submit your responses. From there, Amazon will send your products to wholesale liquidators where the seller can recover 5-10% of the average selling price.
What’s the Catch?
On June 1st, 2021, Amazon started charging 2 types of FBA Liquidations fees:
These fees begin when shipments leave fulfillment centers. There are mixed opinions on FBA Liquidations, not only because of these new charges but also because it doesn’t seem to be worth the 5-10% recovery when it opens the doors to risks and challenges. A common fear is that resellers who'll now have a hold of your inventory will be competing against you for the same product when you might as well have kept the product and found alternative outlets. Many sellers also prefer control over their products and don't like the idea of liquidation hurting their brand's reputation. The option isn't for everyone, but we're glad to see that it works out for those who use it as a relief for struggling products.
We all know that Prime Day 2021 is approaching and sellers are optimizing their products to get the most out of this major event. A ton of work is required for a Prime-prepared listing, but a captivating main image is critical. An Amazon listing that’s been optimized for the marketplace means adhering to Amazon’s rulebook of what you can or can’t do. Don't miss out on a prime opportunity because your images don't meet the following specifications:
Find the full list of Jungle Scout's main image guide here.
If you want to get creative with branding on your listing, the main image is not the place. The additional supplementary image fields, however, do give you room to get imaginative. If you see competitors getting away with shady practices, don't be tempted! Continue to follow Amazon guidelines and avoid anything that will risk your listing with Prime Day coming to a close - better safe than sorry!