My Amazon Guy

Amazon Selling Challenges and COVID-19 Seller Central News #37

May 06, 2020 Steven Pope Season 1 Episode 37
My Amazon Guy
Amazon Selling Challenges and COVID-19 Seller Central News #37
Chapters
My Amazon Guy
Amazon Selling Challenges and COVID-19 Seller Central News #37
May 06, 2020 Season 1 Episode 37
Steven Pope

Current Events with Amazon Selling

Overwhelmed feeling? If you’re an essential worker you’re an unrecognized underpaid hero right now. If you are an non-essential worker you’ve been holed up in your house. My favorite comment I heard today was “What day of the week is it, March 53rd?”

  • Out of budget advertising campaigns lowest hanging fruit
  • Shipping restrictions biggest frustration right now
    • Focus on MFN shipping for next 60 days
  • Things that are currently off right now at Amazon
    • Coupons
    • Lightning Deals
    • Prime Day being rescheduled
    • Inventory removals
    • Frequently bought together (saw it kind of come back but mostly still gone)
    • NARF- not a pinky and the brain reference. Sell in Canada & Mexico with Amazon's North America Remote Fulfillment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2GNJAl2XdA
    • Product review emails are on the skirts. About to get banned. Saw the new review button on orders come out.
  • Other related COVID-19 news
    • Air freight is like 5x more expensive right now.
    • USPS international shipping disruptions
    • Time to process returns and refunds has been extended to 14 days. Goes back to 2 days June 1.
    • Supply Chains still stressed.
  • Massive amounts of listings taken down in the past month. So many My Amazon Guy created a new listing reinstatement service and it has been extremely popular and successful. https://myamazonguy.com/amazon-listing-reinstatement/
  • Recording setting sales for 5% of our clients last week. This is after 25% of our clients have set records during a week in the past 30 days. Lot of new records keep getting set.
Show Notes Transcript

Current Events with Amazon Selling

Overwhelmed feeling? If you’re an essential worker you’re an unrecognized underpaid hero right now. If you are an non-essential worker you’ve been holed up in your house. My favorite comment I heard today was “What day of the week is it, March 53rd?”

  • Out of budget advertising campaigns lowest hanging fruit
  • Shipping restrictions biggest frustration right now
    • Focus on MFN shipping for next 60 days
  • Things that are currently off right now at Amazon
    • Coupons
    • Lightning Deals
    • Prime Day being rescheduled
    • Inventory removals
    • Frequently bought together (saw it kind of come back but mostly still gone)
    • NARF- not a pinky and the brain reference. Sell in Canada & Mexico with Amazon's North America Remote Fulfillment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2GNJAl2XdA
    • Product review emails are on the skirts. About to get banned. Saw the new review button on orders come out.
  • Other related COVID-19 news
    • Air freight is like 5x more expensive right now.
    • USPS international shipping disruptions
    • Time to process returns and refunds has been extended to 14 days. Goes back to 2 days June 1.
    • Supply Chains still stressed.
  • Massive amounts of listings taken down in the past month. So many My Amazon Guy created a new listing reinstatement service and it has been extremely popular and successful. https://myamazonguy.com/amazon-listing-reinstatement/
  • Recording setting sales for 5% of our clients last week. This is after 25% of our clients have set records during a week in the past 30 days. Lot of new records keep getting set.

speaker 0:   0:00
in today's podcast, we'll be talking about current events. Was selling on Amazon a lot of programs air currently shut off. We've got shipping restrictions and a lot of records selling amounts going on right now with our clients here at my Amazon guy. My name is Stephen Pope, and this is the my Amazon guy podcasts. So first, I I want to speak to the overwhelmed feeling that the nation is currently feeling right now. I know I have it. Chances are you do, too. If you're an essential worker right now, you're an unrecognized, underpaid hero. And, ah, if you're a non essential worker, you've been holed up in your house by my favorite comment that I heard from a client today was what day of the week is it's Is it March 53rd? And it just really resonated with me. And there's this over overarching anxiety pent up. Ah, I just want toe. I just want to get out of my own skin kind of feeling right now. It's definitely going around, Um, s O if you're feeling that right now and you sell on Amazon, you're not alone. Quick tip. If you're looking for a quick 32nd tip to take action today to improve your sells on Amazon. If you haven't checked, go check your out of budgets campaigns in advertising. One of the lowest hanging fruits available is to increase your budgets on advertising, especially if they're capping out. Um, we we recently have partnered up with Amazon directly is an agency here at my Amazon guide, and we now have a new tool that alerts us with campaign budgets that get tapped out. You as a seller don't have access to that. You have to do this manually. If you don't have an agency such as by Amazon guy managing your ads, you have to do it manually. If your current client we do have this capacity on your behalf, we're automatically taken care of this. You do not need to take any action. Ah, but one of the cool things that we now have the capacity to dio is go in and in 30 seconds, look at every account we manage and and see which accounts have had a campaign budget cap out in the last 24 hours. Now there are some reasons why you'd wanna have an advertising campaign tap out on its budget right? If you've got bad a costs or you're trying to stay under budget for the month and and what not those air? Valid reasons on having your campaign purposely tap out and not fund further funds on. However, our favorite strategy has generally been to manage advertising based on a cost and not based on campaign budgets. We use them as a buffer, but not as a typical main strategy point, right? So if we've got a campaign that we're not sure about, maybe it's a new campaign will put in a modest budget to begin with, just to see how the results play out and purposely let it cap out. But in general, if a client has given us a long leash, or if we're confident in our changes, will put an infinite budget on it. And as long Azari cost is being managed were happy campers. And so sometimes that means setting a 304 105 $100 budget just for one campaign per day. Um, now, that doesn't mean we're spending that much. It just means that we're willing to spend that much. If the metrics are maintained now, if you make a big change like you switch your campaign budget strategy from fix bids to up and down or up and down to fix bids, or you make ah, a bunch of new ace and targeting or new products or you got a product launch. There's a lot of variety of reasons why you'd want tohave your campaigns managed or capping out on budgets. We do have a couple of clients that are like, Hey, I don't want to spend a dime over five grand a month in ads or whatever the number might be, but but again, we typically prefer to just manage it based on a costs. And we know if we're hitting the a cost goal that the accounts in good shape. So that's my quick recommendation today. I know that took longer than 30 seconds to explain it, but ah, absolutely, very easy to take 30 seconds of your day. Go check your advertising campaign budgets. And if you're tapping out anywhere, especially if it's tapping out mid day, you need to raise those budgets as long as you're hitting your A cost coal. All right, so let's talk some current events Cove in 19 is still Thorne and everybody side. It's not going anywhere. This is a once in a 100 year event. We're gonna be filling this for the remainder of 2020 probably into 2021 if you want some realistic, uh, not optimism for me. More. So, realism, I guess. Uh, you know, my you know, my local church. We're not meeting as a congregation, and I don't for see this meeting is a congregation, probably until January. Uh, and, uh, we're limiting our trips to the grocery store. All that's currently going on. Ah, and so a lot of a lot of cultural changes. Ah, Amazon specifically has made a lot of changes as well. Probably the most frustrating thing that I can think of right now for for me specifically as well as our clients, is the shipping restrictions. If you're selling a non essential good and sometimes if you're selling an essential good, their marketing is non essential. They're limiting how much product you can ship in. And one of the things that we noticed in the last week it is not allowing you to ship stuff in, even if you've had all of the items sell out if Amazon has your inventory stuck in reserved. So what does that mean? That means that let's say you got an item that sold 500 units in the past seven days. You got zero in stock. But Amazon hasn't shipped a single one to the consumer yet. That is because ah, because they're so overwhelms at FB A Right now, they literally are not shipping items for a full week in many instances. And you is the seller paying the consequence, especially for a high velocity seasonal item. Right? We got Mother's Day coming up on Sunday and, uh, my side household brands called Monster and we sell, uh, wine glasses with funny sayings on them. Not really much of a money maker, but I do it for the learning capacity. It helps me feel all of my clients pains when I do it myself. And, you know, I spent maybe four or 5% of my time on that account vs on my own clients. I am, uh, I I had I had a glass that literally did sell 500 units and less in seven days, and I wanted to replenish it, and I could it and I and I had raised my prices by 30% and I still sold out. And because Amazon wasn't shipping my item out, they were counting my reserved inventory against me as my shipping restrictions. So I couldn't ship Maurin. Now that shipping restriction eased over the course of the next seven days, following because the item shipped out. Then they saw the velocity and it caught up. And then I could ship Maurren. I fought tooth and nail with Amazon. I went 10 tickets deep. I called three times, tried to talk to everybody I possibly could to see if I could crack the code on shipping restrictions, especially with high velocity seasonal items like a Mother's Day event, to see if I could get that needle to move. Because I knew if I could do it on Monster, I could do it for my clients. Sadly, I failed. I could not make a dent on that, and, ah, very depressing feeling when you can't solve a problem, right? And ah, we're supposed to be the Amazon experts, and I gotta tell you, we cannot solve every problem on Amazon. People say, Hey, Stephen, I got this issue, Can you solve it? And nine of the 10 times were like, Yeah, I've got a video on and I've shot it I've solved this problem dozens of times. Here's what we need Dio and we saw the same day like that's pretty standard procedure for us. But when it comes to shipping restrictions, we could not. We cannot. We can't get around it. It's just Here's what you gotta do right now is focused on merchant Fulfilled shipping right now for the next 60 days, duplicate your skews on the back end and get away from FB A. Um, however, you can for the next 60 ayes, keep shipping into F B A. But focus on your merchant fulfilled listings. Don't forget. If you add duplicate skews your account, you cannot. You have to set those skews into your advertisements as well. So advertising is done at the skew level, not the ace and levels. So if you do any new skews, those have to be reworked into your advertising campaigns. That's a really big hot ticket item and very much overlooked by many, many sellers right now is they been going out and flipping on Merchant fulfilled, and they forget to do those advertising setups. Big, big pain point. All right, so here, here, you know, switching away from shipping restrictions, which is absolutely number one pain point. Right now, Here is a list of things that I just came up with, you know, trying to brainstorm coming into this podcast that are not working at Amazon right now. Coupons completely shut off. Lightning deals off. Prime Day is being rescheduled. Probably gonna be in August at at the earliest. I wouldn't be surprised that he even gets rescheduled farther out than that. No official word on that I do have, Ah, a direct contact at Amazon that does give me information. Um, there specifically on the advertising team. And, ah, they don't have any information on this. So it's not like internal assets at Amazon. Nobody knows when. Prime. It is gonna be right now telling you anybody that sells otherwise, it's like somebody knowing when the second coming is happening. They really don't know. Uh, inventory removals are currently paused. So this has been a frequent communication issue with our clients right now, because for most of our clients, we typically set up an automatic removal for unfulfilled herbal inventory. And I love that because automatic removal means no, no work right, It just automatically done. We set it up one time, takes two minutes and and then it's off your plate. I love scalable solutions here at my Amazon guy were all about scalable solutions that solve problems and inventory removals is absolutely one of the easiest ones to do. You just go into your settings going to fulfillment and set up automatic removal for for unfulfilled goals. They did change a couple of months ago. The fee structure for how on Fulfill a bulls are charged. Ah, these air items that have been damaged or returns from a customer and ah, they can ship back to you or they can be destroyed. In the past, it used to be 50 cents to remove and 10 cents to destroy have since changed that. It's now the same cost to destroy or remove, so you're better off removing it, most likely, and they're charging the unit based on the size of the item. So, ah, if you have a small item, you're gonna get less than a 50 cents charge. But if you have a big item. You might get charges. Much of the dollar. Not a big update, but definitely an interesting one. But currently they're not physically removing any inventory, so they're not chart. Once you have that automatic removal in place, they're not charging it for storage or anything. It's just sitting there. We also noticed, frequently bought together, uh, was removed, which is kind of weird. It kind of came back. We saw it on a few aces, but it's still mostly gone. Ah, we noticed that the home page of Amazon's not pushing product physical product that is there pushing like digital stuff and books because they were so overwhelmed they would prefer to people to stop ordering, which is weird. That's a weird situation of being like France, specifically at a court order telling their own facilities to not ship any non essential goods court order by fine. So if you're selling in France right now and you're you're a non essential good, you're dead in the water. Ah, lot of European laws very difficult to navigate at the moment north, and this is not a pinky and the brain reference, by the way, uh, which is currently on who? Lou. If you're curious and been a while since you've been in your childhood and saw that great cartoon, it's one of my wife's favorites. Narf is one of pinkies faith for its weird outbursts, if you will, but it stands stands for North American remote fulfillment with Amazon. FB A. It's currently paused. This was a great program. We pushed it very hard for our clients. However, it's in beta. Only about 10% of clients. Could you access to it? Now it's completely off for everybody. And this is where you could ship an item out of F B A in the U. S. Into Canada and Mexico, which was awesome because who wants to ship product into Canada and Mexico? It's such a hassle and tracking and customs and all that garbage you have to deal with. What a great program, something Amazon should have rolled out like five years ago. Currently pause because Amazon so overwhelmed, they've paused anything even remotely difficult for them to achieve right now, including narf. So get your peaking the brain on with that one. Product review emails are also on the skirts. This is a long time coming we kind of solace from two years ago. Ah, they allowed, Seller are skinny buyers to opt out of the cellar emails. Starting two years ago, about 50% of customers air opted out at this stage, not a big program. Any more Feedback. Genius, which is a local Atlanta company owned by Seller Labs, have met with Brandon Checketts. What a great guy. Highly recommended services. They were first to market with feedback geniuses, their main tool. They have since launched many other tools. Uh, I currently like feedback whizzes, my favorites automated email program. However, right now Ah, there they're the best thing you can do for product review generation is click that request review button inside of the order page. You could do that manually. There are two tools that currently have the ability to do this in mass button. Click feedback five is one of them. I did have feedback. Five on my podcast. Ah, a couple weeks back and they talked about that tool. They were first to market on it. Got to give them credit on that. Ah, I believe he. That genius also now has this ap I capacity and feedback quiz. I've been in close contact with them. They have been trying to program around this. I thought they would have it out by now. They still don't, um, but were kind of holding out that they will. They will release this tool. So, um, but basically, if you don't have any of these tools, you can go in and manually and go go into any order that's a week old and less than a 30 days old and just click on the request review button and it can allow you to get your best foot forward to requests reviews with customers. I think they're gonna completely shut down cellar emails with customers except when specifically about an order issue. So feedback requests and promotions and marketing gonna be completely taken away from e mails. That's my prediction. I think it's gonna happen very, very soon. Be prepared for that other related cove in 19 news. We've seen airfreight is like five times more expensive right now, and ah ah, That's because there's no airplanes flying at the moment. Nobody is flying. That's why you're afraid is up. Ah, getting your items on the water a little bit more difficult right now. costs are about the same from what I've been told, but it's definitely an extra 20 days on the water, which is definitely a big delay. So if you're having stock out issues, we have a lot of clients that have stock out issues right now because their products are in demand, their competition stocked out, and everybody has supply chain disruption, a lot of uncertainty. Maybe maybe we're holding that trigger on whether you send money to China right now and and re invest. A lot of that's going around right now to and so because of that ah, lot of products being sold out and harder to get it back in stock. I have ah prediction for you, and that is American made. Manufacturing is going to come back following Cove in 19. It's gonna take five years, in my opinion. And if you're first to market on this, you're gonna have some pretty big advantages. Um, so I recommend it. Now, if you do it in 2020 it's gonna be really difficult gonna be really costly, but it's gonna pay out dividends if you if you solve problems today when everybody else is just relaxing and I wouldn't say relax is probably bad. Way to phrase it. Um while everybody's freaking out and not doing a whole lot, if you're out there solving problems and working your butt off, it's gonna pay off. And if you're looking for a really big problem to solve and that is American made manufacturing, um, I have joined the Georgia manufacturing the last couple years ago toward lots of facilities. I'm very, very interested and have had a lot of thought gone into how to do American made manufacturing. I personally have not been able to solve this. I do not know how to solve this. Ah, and I don't think anybody else knows how to solve this. But if you solve it, I guarantee you're going to make a buck. Ah, and there's a lot of pent up American made nationalism, customer sentiment that I think is going to be coming out here. We're gonna probably see a backlash of customer sentiment against China. Um, as as consumers want to hold somebody something somewhere accountable for Cove in 19. Ah, and we're gonna see buyer decisions be made based on that, Um and ah, so that that is my personal take. Who knows if that will come true? But if you make, I've been thinking about American made for two years. Ah, very much in my mind. And I think over 19 could be a catalyst to help that out. Very scary that our entire economy is based on Chinese manufacturing. So I think there's some national security issues at stake there, no doubt. Ah, but at the very least, some savvy entrepreneurs who solve that problem we're gonna make bank. So give that some thought, um, a couple of the random Kobe 19 news. So the time to process returns and refunds has been extended to 14 days for sellers that goes back down toe two days starting June 1. I don't think it really affects anybody terribly too much, but that's an F way I So we're still seeing supply chain stressed. The last thing I'll talk about today is listing reinstatements. We've seen massive amounts of listings being taken down, and so many that we actually created a new service page on my Amazon guys website. So you go to my Amazon guy dot com. You go to our services section, you can see listing reinstatements It's been so popular. We made a specific service. Um, Page for 500 bucks will reinstate any ace in with about a 95% success rate with this Fed about 20 clients in the past 30 days need the service. That's how how many we've seen price gouging issues, trademark infringement issues, all kinds of issues that come up, whether it's copyright, medical claims, medical supply issues, maybe the category was was wrong. Listing condition, complaint issues, restricted item ingredient take down type claims, brand takedowns, infringements items, safety breakdowns and mawr Not even limited to that long list I just gave. We've seen all of these issues exasperated in the past 30 days. So if you are listening to this and you're like, yeah, I've got an ace and that's taken down, you need to hire us. Don't delay. We could get it back up. We were so good at this now because we've documented so many processes on it that were averaging. Solving ah, you know, a good solid 70% of these in 48 hours and a good another chunk within the 1st 5 days. Ah, the unlucky 10 percenters do take a full month. Not gonna not gonna lie on that front. There are some that are super complicated that just take a while to solve. Um, but we are really on top of it and have a good system in place. So if you're having ah listing issue, definitely, definitely. Hire us for that. If you got somebody else, Another person, your network who's complained about Amazon taking down their products, that is a great entry level product service to re first out to them on. And we really appreciate that, um, last comments. So we've seen a lot of record sales being said. About 5% of our clients last week sets a record for sales, and that's beating out. Ah, cyber Monday weekend and Black Friday, beating out prime Day. This is after about 25%. Additional clients have set records during a week in the past 30 days, so we're still seeing some clients set new records. These 5% of clients were were not previous record centers there, like new record setters, so it's it's it's hitting different areas. We're seeing that certain categories were spiking in demand. So, like we have a toilet paper client where we sold, like, six months of supply in, like less than 72 hours. That was about six weeks ago in the toilet paper front hit or whenever that was, um, we're seeing, Ah, big demand for exercise equipment right now. Pet supplies. That's that's been ongoing for a few weeks now, but still saying, Ah, big demand on pet supplies. Men's supplements. A lot of beauty products have been soft, however, Um ah, but we're seeing seeing increases in key areas in some areas. So ah, good time to be selling on Amazon. I do think Amazon's recession proof we're going to see new acquisition of customers who have never purchased on Amazon before come out of the woodwork. Very, very good to be selling on Amazon right now. So Well, I appreciate you listening to the my Amazon guy podcast today. We hope you subscribe and tell somebody else about the podcasts and have them subscribers well and share share of the word on. If you haven't yet, we would appreciate a like or ah review on our podcast as well. Help spread the word and thank you so much. My name is Stephen Pope on the founder of my Amazon guy. This is the my Amazon guy podcast