Sellers sign up on Amazon because they fall into one of two categories: they have a couple of loose odds and ends they want to turn into money, or they’re looking to start a full-time business in the online world. If you fall into the latter category, RepricerExpress has learned of four areas that may be affecting your bottom line.
1. Not Understanding How Shipping Works
No doubt you’ve sent a letter in your lifetime and have a good working knowledge of how a mailbox works. It seems pretty simple, too — you put postage on the envelope, slide it through the slot, and it arrives at its destination pretty fast.
With Amazon, sending something from Point A to Point B gets a whole lot more complicated. You have to contend with Customs in various companies, package size and weight, various post offices and shipping carriers and the different methods and speeds in which each one ships.
It may not seem like a terribly big thing, being a day or two late with when you said the product would arrive, but shipping time is one of the factors Amazon takes into consideration when awarding a Buy Box. And if you’re consistently behind on your shipping times, it could lead to Amazon penalising you, which we’ll discuss in a later point.
2. Not Understanding Handling Time
If you’ve ever watched shopping channel infomercials on TV, you’ve noticed a really common phrase: “shipping and handling”. The former we’ve discussed in the above part — the process of actually sending out a package to its destination — but handling is a little different.
Handling is what you do with the product before sending it out for shipping, the sorts of things that cover everything from processing an order to getting the package ready to go out. It’s not something that takes a terribly long time but if you’re the kind of seller anticipating dealing with dozens or hundreds of orders, you need to figure out a pretty efficient system — and fast.
Amazon won’t give you all the time in the world for handling time. In fact, they want you to get everything done and have the package out in two days or less. It sounds like more than enough time when you’ve only got a handful of packages to take care of, but as business starts to ramp up, that 48-hour window will seem to shrink more and more each time…and it may be time to consider something like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to ensure you meet Amazon’s criteria.
3. Letting Your Orders Slide
FBA is one of those really neat services where you can pretty much pay Amazon to take care of a whole bunch of work for you. All you have to do is pay them a fee and they’ll take care of everything else on their end at one of their fulfilment centres. They’ll store products for you, package products for you, and then deliver them for you — all within their timeframe and guaranteed.
By not using FBA, you run the risk of increasing your Order Defect Rate, which is a tool Amazon uses to measure your success as a seller. As a point of reference, the top sellers on Amazon, the ones who consistently get awarded a Buy Box, keep their ODR at 1% or under.
4. Getting a Suspension on Your Account
If you ask the best sellers on Amazon, they’ll tell you they’ve made loads of mistakes. Getting to the top has its own learning curve and some of the best learning experiences come from messing up. It’s a swift kick that stings, but if you’re smart, you’ll take it to heart and avoid that route in the future.
However, if you ask those same top sellers on Amazon if they’ve ever gotten suspended, the answer will probably be quite different. There’s a difference between messing up once and doing so to the point of suspension, and the best sellers educate themselves so their learning curve is as minimal as possible.
Getting suspended is something that’ll harm your bottom line a lot, as you can’t make money if you’re not an active seller. You’ve got to remember you’re piggybacking on Amazon’s site, not running your own, and there are certain rules to follow.