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Selling on Amazon 101 [Webinar Show Notes]

It’s been a been a big 12 months for retail in Australia and an even bigger 12 months for Amazon Australia since their launch in December 2017. Since the initial launch we have seen the release of Amazon Prime, Fulfilment by Amazon and the addition of more and more categories including in the last month alone; automotive, travel and pet supplies.

Our recent State of Ecommerce report shows that marketplaces are continuing to grow and gain momentum with one third of ecommerce sales now coming through marketplaces.

Marking the one year anniversary of Amazon being in Australia and to celebrate the launch of Product Registration for the Neto Amazon integration, we invited Brittany Rinker from Amazon to present the webinar, Selling on Amazon 101.

The Presenters

Brittany Rinker, Amazon Program Manager

Brittany began her career with Amazon at their Seattle-based headquarters in 2014. After onboarding 500+ US businesses in her first three years, she transferred to Australia in 2017 to work towards the launch of Amazon.com.au. As a Program Manager for Amazon in Australia, Brittany is applying her extensive marketplace knowledge to scale seller education and grow Australian businesses.

Ryan Murtagh, CEO & Founder of Neto

Ryan started Retail Management Platform, Neto, after building a number of successful multi-channel retail businesses and encountering first-hand the problems of trying to efficiently scale. Today, Neto is Australia's only all-in-one solution for ecommerce, point of sale, inventory and fulfilment.

Click below to watch the full webinar, or read on for the webinar show notes.

Contents

Click below to jump to section.

The Amazon Opportunity with Brittany Rinker

Since launching in 2017 with just over 20 million products, Amazon Australia has tripled its selection and expanded into several new categories, with the aim to continue to add more categories to bring the Australian Amazon marketplace up to par with other Amazon marketplaces around the world.

Selling on Amazon is not meant to take away from the business you are already doing, but rather open up more opportunities and allow your brand to reach more customers that might not otherwise come across your products.

How it works

Once you have registered a seller account you simply;

  1. Upload/Publish your products
  2. Sell your products
  3. Ship your products
  4. Get paid
Selling on Amazon Diagram
Selling on Amazon Diagram

Amazon Fee Structure

Amazon Australia charges a flat monthly fee of $49.95, and then a referral fee between 6 and 15 percent depending on the product category. Read more about Amazon fees.

Key Considerations

As mentioned above, you pay a monthly fee to Amazon and then a percentage based on your sales - you aren’t charged for each listing, and can list an unlimited amount of products on the marketplace. The more products you list, the greater chance you have of success.

Selling on Amazon is like having a location for your store front in the busiest shopping mall in the world, you wouldn’t stock your shelves half full, so why should selling online be any different.

A lot of retailers start by testing out just a few products, but it’s important to keep in mind that Amazon Australia is a new channel, the products which are most popular on your website might not do as well on Amazon, whilst some of your less popular products could end up being best sellers on Amazon. Testing all your products allows you to build up a sales history, which you can then review and adjust based on the data, for example if you have 1000 products, list 1000 products and then you might find you have 10 which are doing really well and you can focus in on those products.

It’s also important to note, because Amazon Australia is still a new platform, there is still products gaps which you can fill and complete it more easily than others.

Quality

Accurate, high quality product data will affect customers’ decisions, increase traffic, improve customer experience, and reduce returns.

The four most important points when it comes to Amazon Product Descriptions are;

  1. The title - this is what potential customers will see first when looking for your product.
  2. Images - helps the customer understand your product, and make an informed product decision.
  3. Bullet points - key product features, keep concise but informative
  4. Categorization - accurately categorizing your listings is crucial when it comes to discoverability
Amazon Product Page Key Points
Amazon Product Page Key Points

| Related reading: How to Optimise Your Product Listing on Amazon Australia

Customer Experience

Providing a good customer experience is critical to be successful on Amazon Australia, coming into play during many points of your sales process, starting with your product listings and the offer you are creating. It’s important to create a competitive offer, that not only takes into consideration the pricing of your product but also shipping.

Customers look at both the product cost, and what it’s going to cost them in shipping; you might have the cheapest product - but if your shipping is too expensive, you will lose customers to other sellers who may have the product priced higher, but offer cheaper shipping and therefore a cheaper total cost.

It’s important to meet the expectation you have set, if you are offering shipping within 3-5 days, make sure you can meet that promise.

| Related Reading: The Secret to Getting 5 Star Amazon Seller Ratings

Motivation

Amazon gives you the tools you need to grow your business, but how you choose to interact with it comes down to your own business motivation. It’s important to make sure you use the information to make your own informed decisions. One of the most common factors when looking at successful sellers is their motivation. Amazon thinks long term as a business, and recommends the same for its sellers.

Fulfilment by Amazon

Fulfilment by Amazon, commonly referred to as FBA, allows third party sellers to take advantage of Amazon’s fulfilment network and leverage their customer service expertise.

Once you have set up your listings, you are able to determine which products you would like to send to FBA, it doesn’t need to be 100% of them; you choose which products and the quantity you send in. Again, Amazon recommends testing a wide range of products first so you can identify what will sell well and focus in on those products.

Once your products are in the Amazon fulfilment centers, Amazon will manage any orders that come in. Having your products in FBA also means they are automatically eligible for Amazon Prime - which can be a huge benefit for your business, increasing your discoverability.

After an order is placed, Amazon will handle the picking, packing and shipping of the product to the customer. Amazon will also handle any customer service, and handle any returns. Over 50% of customer enquiries are related to either tracking or questions about the shipping and FBA is able to handle this for you. With Amazon handling these day-to-day tasks, it frees up more of your time to handle the more core areas of your business.

Blog image

Three Main Benefits of FBA

  1. Trust: Amazon customers shop on Amazon because they trust the name and trust they will get good customer service, fast and free delivery.
  2. Growth: With FBA handling all your shipping, returns and customer queries your time is freed up to focus on more strategic parts of your business.
  3. Cost: Only pay for what you are using, no subscription or setup costs. Storage fee, based on a per cubic food, per month basis and then a pick, pack and ship fee based on products sold. Find out more here.

Neto Amazon Integration with Ryan Murtagh

As an all-in-one platform, marketplaces are a key part of Neto’s offerings. The Neto Amazon Integration has been designed to make it quick and easy to publish your products to Amazon and allows you to effectively and efficiently manage all of your Amazon Australia information from within your Neto platform.

Within Neto you can:

  • Create and maintain your Amazon listings (without having to login to Seller Central).
  • Fulfil and process Amazon orders.
  • View and manage orders, customers and payments.
  • Centralize your inventory management, managing your inventory from Amazon and any other sales channels you are selling through.
Amazon to Neto Flowchart
Amazon to Neto Flowchart

Watch the video to view a live demo on how to register a product to the Amazon catalog with Neto in just a few steps or check out our latest blog post List Smarter and Sell Faster on Amazon Australia With Neto.

Q&A

Product Categories

Q: What categories can I sell in on Amazon?

A: The best place to find out what categories you can sell on Amazon is via this link

Q: Are there products that can't be listed on Amazon?

A: You can find a list of restricted products on Amazon here

Q: Is there an existing Amazon Category Tree Lists where we can refer to?

A: Amazon have files called the Browse Tree Guides that can be used to see the Amazon category hierarchy. These can be accessed here (requires a login to Seller Central)

Q: If I have a product that falls under multiple Amazon categories can I set these individually on the product page?

A: This is something we are planning to implement in the future.

If you want your product to be discoverable in multiple product categories in Amazon, you can leverage your keyword fields to add related terms.

Q: When mapping Neto categories to Amazon, can the top category be used instead of having to map or us child categories? For example costumes, instead of mapping mens adult costumes and womens adult costumes.

A: Yes, you can map to categories partway through the Neto category tree. These will still need to be mapped to a "final" / "leaf" category with Amazon.

Q: Will kitted products work in Amazon?

A: Standard kits are expected to work with Amazon. Editible kits will not workt with Amazon.

Q: Will Neto's Amazon Australia integration work the same way in USA with Amazon US?

A: The Amazon.com integration will be almost identical to the Amazon.com.au integration. The same category and field mapping system will be available in both.

Q: If I accidentally approved a product to show in Amazon via Neto does it automatically list in amazon? Or should i still have to sync my data?

A: Products that are approved for Amazon (and active) should sync with Amazon. You will also need to ensure that your Amazon settings are correct, and that you have your desired sync settings enabled. For example, Neto can be used to update stock, but you can switch off pricing updates.

Product Listings: Descriptions, Images and Formatting Best Practices

Q: What's the best way to format the content of my product descriptions in Neto to push to Amazon?

A: It's really important that you pushing clean data through to Amazon. HTML, video scripts or even images in your product descriptions won't be accepted by Amazon. Plain text is best with some paragraph tags and basic HTML. We recommend cleaning them up before submitting to Amazon.

Q: Does the Neto Amazon Australia integration allow videos in the description field?

A: The Amazon integration does not allow images in product descriptions. To reduce the maintenance overhead, Neto will try to remove the images before sending the description to Amazon. If you want full control over the descriptions, a recommendation would be to create a custom field for your Amazon descriptions, and use those instead of the description you use for other sales channels.

Amazon will be enabling functionality for allowing videos (enhanced content) on the product pages in the coming months. These will sit in the images section.

Q: Will bullet points be accepted in the description?

A: From what we've seen, Amazon's description fields will not accept HTML bullet points. Neto will proactively try to remove content that Amazon won't accept, so the best place for bullet point lists is in the five "Product Feature" fields

Q: How should the product name be formatted on Amazon? Is it best to make it human friendly or SEO-friendly?

A: May your Amazon product titles "human" friendly as this is going to be the first thing customers see alongside images in search and browse results. For SEO you can include search terms/keywords on each listing in addition to the customer facing information on the detail page (this is referenced in search).

Q: How should images be formatted for Amazon and how many should I include?

A: Amazon publish style guides by category with specific recommendations on how to format your images/data. You have 9 slots for images. Ensure they are clear of text or watermarks and that the image is good quality and cropped around the product without too much white space. Image size on Amazon should be cropped to at least 1001 pixels on the longest side in order to enable zoom. You can also check out our blog post - Optimising Your Product Listings for Amazon.

Q: If our Neto Description field has characters that Amazon does not allow, what's the best way to auto remove styles or formatting?

A: The Neto integration will automatically strip out HTML tags that Amazon won't support. There are some characters that Amazon doesn't support that Neto is not stripping out. We are looking into what can be done about this.

Q: We don't want brand names showing on our Neto listing so we don't put it on. Does Amazon require a brand name field?

A: We've found that "Brand" is typically required when registering new products to Amazon. If you don't want to fill out the Neto "Brand" field, then you could setup a custom field.

Q: When uploading a product already registered on Amazon we often find that the description picture and title may be wrong and we can't seem to update from our end. How do we avoid this issue?

A: Amazon have a process in place to update content and to request a review of the details on the product page. You can find out more here (requires a Seller Central account)

Pricing Your Products

Q: "Price parity across all sales channels" - Does this mean if we sell in eBay, we should also sell in Amazon with the same item price as in eBay?

A: We recommend a pricing strategy that allows you to sell at the same price across all your sales channels to provide a consistent customer experience and build trust.

Q: If there are multiple sellers on Amazon, does the Amazon pricing algorithm push the price lower?

A: You are in control of the price of your products on Amazon. Amazon do offer some price automation tools, but these are opt-in, and you get to control how the pricing is automated. Read more (requires a Seller Central account)

Q: I have a boutique bricks and mortar store so my pricing is often a bit higher than some online stores, is pricing a major issue on amazon if a lot of my products will end up more expensive than competitors on amazon? ie is it worth listing? will my product rankings on amazon be affected?

A: Pricing is just one of the factors that plays a part in winning the buy box. Amazon suggest that you price competitively, but there are other factors like your shipping rates and speed, stock levels and other metrics about your seller account. For more information, we suggest reading Amazon's documentation (requires a Seller Central login)

Q: Amazon appears to quote prices for different suppliers, how can a consumer determine whether they are paying for an item in Australian or US dollars?

A: All pricing on Amazon.com.au is displayed in Australian dollars.

Shipping, Inventory and Fulfilment

Q: When you run the sync we keep getting our products uploaded to Amazon using the wrong shipping templates. Is there a way around this as we have set the default, but it doesnt upload with that template?

A: The new field mapping system in Neto allows you control the Shipping Template used for your listings. You can either set a single mapping for all of your products, or create a custom field to manage this on a product by product basis.

Q: Is there a way to break out the orders in Pick in Neto that are Amazon orders then so that we know which orders not to send marketing material in?

A: Neto allows you to filter orders by sales channel (online store, eBay, Amazon, POS, etc.). Tracking information will be pushed back to Amazon for them to send to the customer.

Q: Are shipping rates pulled from our Neto shipping matrix or do we need to set it up in Amazon?

A: Shipping rates cannot be pushed to Amazon from Neto. You need to set up shipping rates (called Shipping Templates) in Amazon Seller Central and then you can define rates for the different regions in Australia and set up standard and expedited options in your Amazon Seller account. Using the field mapping system, you can relate you Neto products to Shipping Templates you setup in Amazon, but you will need to be careful to ensure the names match between both systems. If you have a lot of shipping templates in Amazon, you might consider setting up a custom field in Neto just for the shipping template names.

Q: Do sales push from Amazon to Neto in real time? Could this affect out-of-stocks?

A: No, the Amazon API isn't real time so there is a delay between an order being placed on Amazon and the order being downloaded into Neto. It's important to note that Amazon have a fraud check process, so we don't download the order into Neto until Amazon have cleared it for shipment, either. To help mitigate the risks of overselling Neto has the stock buffer system, but it does not completely the remove the possibility overselling across multiple channels.

Q: Can we send internationally through Amazon?

A: Currently no, but this will be enabled soon!

Barcodes

Q: Do I need UPC barcodes for Amazon? Is there an option for sellers who manufacture their own products and do not have a UPC/EAN?

A: There are a number of benefits to your business in the long term of having unique identifiers, but if you can't source them or it's not relevant to your products, you may be able to with through the Amazon Seller Support team. (requires a login to Seller Central).

Once you've got an exemption from Amazon, there's a field called "Registered Parameter" that these can be mapped to in Neto. In this field you can enter a value provided to you By Amazon for the exemption.The options we are aware of are 'NonConsumer', 'PreConfigured', 'PrivateLabel', 'Specialized', but again, these are provided by Amazon.

If your products are already listed on Amazon but you're not the main seller, Neto will link your inventory to those listings in the catalog through your UPC, so it's important that you have the correct UPC.

Q: Does it matter if I'm using UPCs or EANs or how many digits the barcode is?

A: Amazon accepts UPCs or EANs. Neto will proactively try to determine whether your products are using UPCs, EANs, or even one of Amazon's identifiers (ASIN). As such, you no longer need to worry about mapping the barcode type in Neto because we do this for you. You just need to ensure that your products have either an EAN or a UPC on them.

Q: For bundled or kitted items, the GS1 would be the same as the GS1 Main article and any listings kitted. Is this a problem?

A: You may be eligible to list bundles / kits without a UPC, but you'll need to appy to Amazon for an exemption on these products. Amazon detail their UPC requirements here (requires a login to Seller Central)

Q: Where can I get barcodes for my products? Is there a cheap source?

A: GS1 is Amazon's preferred reseller for barcodes and recently released entry level pricing for small businesses Amazon encourages brands to get in touch with them directly to discuss pricing.

Reviews

Q: How can I get reviews on Amazon?

A: Amazon will send an automatic email asking for a review so you don't need to do this manually. Reviews should be unbiased. Avoid reaching out and offering incentives or promotions in conjunction with a request for a review.

Q: What can I do about false or misleading reviews on Amazon?

A: You can request for false or inappropriate reviews to be removed by Amazon by clicking 'report abuse' on the review.

Contacting Amazon Customers

Q: How do you contact an Amazon customer? Do you do this in Amazon or Neto?

A: Amazon don't provide you with the customer's actual email address. Instead, they give you an encrypted email address that goes through the Amazon system before sending it to the end customer. While you can contact customers using this email address, Seller Central is best place to manage these communications.

Q: Should we print the Amazon invoice to send with the Amazon order or the Neto invoice?

A: It's really important not to send promotional material with your Amazon orders, so you shouldn't include any Neto material in your Amazon package.

Q: Can we email Amazon customers with promotions?

A: If a customer has only purchased with you through Amazon then you are not permitted to email them with promotions. However if the same customer then makes a transaction through one of your other channels, e.g. your website then you are able to email them directly.

Advertising and Sponsored Products

Q: When will sponsored products be available?

A: Amazon are working to launch the Sponsored Products program as soon as possible in Australia. Keep an eye out in the coming months for updates.

Fulfilment by Amazon

Q: Does every product listed on Amazon and sold by Amazon have to be warehoused and delivered by Amazon?

A: The Amazon.com.au marketplace features products sold and shipped by various merchants - some choose to take care of their own warehousing and fulfillment and others choose to use Amazon's fulfilment system (FBA), which is completely optional.

Q: Where can I find the costs involved if I use Fulfillment by Amazon for storage, picking and packing?

A: You can find the pricing for Fulfillment by Amazon here

Q: Can you manage FBA through Neto? Or is it done through the Amazon Seller portal?

A: Neto does not currently have an integration with FBA. You will need to manage the transfers to and from Amazon outside of Neto. If you want to offer some products as self-fulfilled and fulfilled by Amazon, you can set these up in Seller Central as products in a different "Condition". Please note that these products will need to have a separate "Seller SKU" to keep them differentiated from the stock that Neto maintains.

Fees, Costs and How to Sign up to Sell on Amazon

Q: How much does it cost to sell on Amazon with Neto?

A: Depending on which plan you are on, the Amazon Australia add-on for Neto is $49.95/month, with Amazon fees separate to this.

Q: What does it cost to sell on Amazon Australia?

A: Amazon charges a monthly subscription fee as well as final value fees for the products you sell. You can view Amazon Seller fees on their pricing page

A breakdown of fees for different product categories can be found on Amazon's fee schedule page in Seller Central.

Q: When and how often do Amazon sellers get paid?

A: Amazon first settles your account 14 days after you register. Subsequently, the payment process repeats every 14 days. It normally takes five business days from the payment date until the money is available in your bank account. For a payment to take place, you must have a positive or zero “Selling on Amazon” account balance. Referral Fees, Variable Closing Fees, customer refunds, customer claims, or charge backs, if any, can affect your balance. You must also have entered an Australian bank account in your seller account.


Want to learn more? Download our free guide, Everything you need to know about Amazon Australia.

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