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Thoughts on Amazon Seller Central

by trevor. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

Hello Baby has been selling on Amazon through seller central for a few months now and I thought I would share some findings.

Postage

The postage functionality on seller central is limited as postage is set by rule and not on a per item basis.  Postage rules can be created in two ways

  • By weight.
  • By price band

The problem with these is that that the rules are never perfect.  Postage defined by weight is not linear after about 2kg e.g. the rate for 10kg is not five times the rate for 2kg so this does not work if a seller has heavy items to sell.  Defining postage by weight works a bit better, but does not work for expensive by light items. For example I sell some prams which cost about £50 and weigh 7kg and some changing bags which cost about £50 and weigh about 1kg.  Using the banded rule both have to be charged at the same postage.

Another annoying feature is that there is not way of excluding items from international postage.  If any items is offered to a region, then all items must be offered.

Fees

After eBay’s fee structure change, Amazon fees are looking pretty expensive.  In the (very soon to be) past, due to eBay’s listing fees and frequently low sell through rates, for cheaper items amazon fees tended to be lower but overtake eBay as prices increased.  With eBay all but removing the listing fee, amazon fees are looking pretty high by comparison.

Design

It would be nice to bring some more branding into Amazon so that people know that they are buying from a third party seller and not Amazon.  Some sellers seem to have a customised storefront (e.g. Mums the word) but it is not clear to me how this is created.  It is perhaps a legacy of z-shops and not available to new sellers.

Optimising listings

Selling on Amazon is about getting into the blue buy box on the product profile page.  Getting into this box depends on the following

  • Price (including both product price and postage)
  • Customer service (i.e. feedback, refund rate and a-z claim rate)
There is not a lot that can be done to optimise these factors apart from give a good service at a competitive price.  Remember to fill in the comment field in your listing, although it is difficult to know what effect this has.
One thing I am not sure about is the merit of creating new listings for items which already exist on Amazon.  When listing a product on Amazon it is possible to add an offer to an existing listing (assuming one exists) or create an entirely new listing for that product.  See for example this listing for a Cossato Hogarth cot in Cream for which multiple listing exist.  Some of these listings are better than others, but is it worth creating an entirely new listing which can then be used by others, or just piggy back on exisitng listings.   
What certainly does not seem to be worth it is adding information to an existing listings, as Amazon makes no guarantee of adding this information to the listing.

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