November 12, 2021

Hello [subscriber:firstname | default:Amazon Seller],

I recently came across something I had written a few years ago, not long after taking the leap into entrepreneurship. Perhaps someone out there might resonate with it.

For 10 years I worked at a bank as Senior VP in charge of information technology and was paid 6 "very hard-earned" figures per year. I had years of pretty much the same work experience before then.

Each day, I would wake up in my really nice condo with the awesome view and all my nice things and think I was just like a princess. Then I would go to work where I sold my soul and my life for 10-20 hours a day. It was overwhelming stress and responsibility all the time, while I did the work of 6 people. I was promised...and given shares...that when the bank sold I would be rich. In 2014 the bank sold and the executives decided it would be best if they kept all the money. I got nothing, no one except the 5 at the top were rewarded for their hard work, not even 20-year employees.

I was basically sold to the new bank like a piece of furniture. At the same time, my landlord decided to sell the condo and I had to be out on the same day that the bank sold. So I lost my job and home on the same day.

It was also the same day I realized that I was never a princess, I was a prisoner. I finally realized I was in a prison where the door had always been unlocked and all I had to do was open it. I also realized that the security I had felt in my previous job was just an illusion. I had sold my soul for peace of mind. And that day I made a promise to myself to never sell my soul again.

Sure it has been tough at times. But life is short....way too short for government auditors, risk assessments, disaster recovery, routers, firewalls, mega-servers, etc....damn...did I really do that to myself?

Freedom is a choice, happiness is a choice, success is a choice.

When I start doubting myself, I just remember how far I've come. As much as I might fear failure, I fear regret more. When I am really old, I want to look back at my younger self and say "Thank you for NOT continuing to make "a dying" in the name of making a living."

I have learned that it is not a question of what you do for a living, but what you do for a life. I may not have as much money, but now there is a life where once there was none. I have peace in my soul that I never had back then. Peace is not something you buy.
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Amazon Is Treating Their Employees Better


Amazon Launches FamilyFlex to Give Front-line Employees Flexibility and Support

When Jeff Bezos stepped down in July, he took on the task of making Amazon the best company to work for on the planet. And true to his word, he is doing just that.

In early November several improvements were made in that regard.
Flexible scheduling for employees:
Through FamilyFlex, Amazon offers employees in select roles a variety of ways to choose and change their schedule, whether they prefer keeping the same, reliable schedule week-after-week, or swapping shifts at the last minute to accommodate family duties. Some of the options, which can differ based on an individual’s role, include:
  • Swap shifts ahead of time or at the last minute: Employees shared that they want the flexibility to manage life events by switching shifts rather than using time off. Eligible employees can now swap shifts easily using Amazon’s internal mobile app or desktop site. With just a few clicks, employees can swap shifts with a co-worker or exchange a current shift for a future one that they have scheduled for themselves, letting them easily choose to work a different day that week. The program is currently available to nearly 500,000 employees in Amazon’s fulfillment and delivery network across the U.S. with more expansion on the horizon.
  • Create your own schedule with “Anytime Shifts”: Anytime Shifts is a flexible option that gives employees in select roles the opportunity to pick the time and type of shift that works best for them. Employees who opt for this type of role can pick up shifts on Amazon’s internal app to create their own preferred schedule. They can also use the app to cancel a shift in as little as 16 hours before the shift begins. The company currently has over 23,000 open roles that qualify for Anytime Shifts across its U.S. operations network, and more than 100,000 employees have utilized the benefit.
Flexible pay options
Employees have shared there are times when they would like the option to access their earnings without waiting for payday. With “Anytime Pay,” a free, fast pay program, select U.S. employees can transfer the majority of their earnings since their last paycheck to a paycard. The card can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted, like neighborhood grocery stores, and employees can also withdraw cash at participating ATMs and transfer money from their paycard to a regular bank account—all at no cost.

And there are many more improvements listed in the article linked below. So finally the light has come on at Amazon that people need a work-life balance and should be treated with respect. Kudos!

Amazon workers are essential workers, helping all of us to get our products out into the world. Join me in gratitude for them and pray for their safety and fair treatment.

Read the Amazon Press Release>

Amazon Brand Lift (βeta)


Amazon Brand Lift is Amazon Ads' first-party brand lift study solution, powered by the Amazon Shopper Panel. Brand uplift studies measure the before and after awareness and sentiment that a fixed set of consumers have for a brand (and their products). It's an industry standard for mid-to-top of funnel ad campaign measurement.

By issuing surveys to ad-exposed audiences and unexposed control groups, and analyzing survey results using a rigorous methodology, the solution helps advertisers quantify how their campaigns are driving brand metrics like awareness, preference, or purchase intent.

Amazon Shopper Panel is an opt-in, invitation-only program where participants can earn monthly rewards by sharing receipts from purchases made outside of Amazon.com or by completing short surveys from within a standalone mobile app. Currently, over 200K US customers actively participate every month, with an average survey response rate greater than 50%.

Learn more about this>

FBA, but for ocean freight

This is from ModernRetail.com:
As the supply chain crunch drives up the cost of oceanic freight shipping, Amazon has quietly been offering a new service to select vendors. It will send their products to the U.S. on Amazon-chartered vessels for cheaper than the rate offered on the open market.

A New York Times report tracked how Amazon recently offered Aterian, a consumer tech products company, a spot on one of its ocean liners for a fee. Amazon has offered an ocean freight shipping service since 2017. Initially, it was aimed at Chinese sellers, but Amazon expanded it to U.S. sellers at the end of 2018. Amazon’s reach into ocean freight shows just how extensive Amazon’s logistics service offerings are today.

Amazon is one of the few companies with enough resources to avoid the worst of the supply chain crunch -- and for a fee, some of its third-party sellers can apparently do the same.

This is a link to an older article about this>

Review of Every Amazon Advertising Tool - Amazon PPC Tools 2021

There's a great range of advertising tools on the market. We list a lot of them on the A2ZSellerCentral.com website. If you're unsure which ones are right for you or you need to understand how they balance with your manual operations then watch this video. Over 40 solutions were researched, demoed, and reviewed! Full credit to David Zimmerman for dedicating so much time to help the community.

The 2021 Amazon Consumer Behavior Report

In its fourth installation, The 2021 Amazon Consumer Behavior Report provides a comprehensive and detailed view into the minds and wallets of over 2,000 U.S. consumers. This includes the impact of Covid-19 on consumers’ buying habits and the evolution of their online media consumption and shopping behaviors, plus comparisons to pre-pandemic statistics.

Download free from Feedvisor>

Amazon Terms Of Service in 2021-22: How To Grow and Rank Without Breaking the Rules

When I wrote in the last newsletter that Amazon had said no to external rebates and had shut off RebateKey, I thought that was the end of the story.
Turns out there is so much more.

LandingCube, a company offering external landing pages for your Amazon products has written an amazing article about all the new do's and don't's. I had no idea that super URLs were on the list. A Super URL is a way to link directly to an Amazon product listing while making the ranking algorithm think the click came from an organic search. For Search Find Buy, you literally need to get someone to go to Amazon, search a specific keyword, find your product, and buy it. And there are a lot of services that now do this for you. Here is just a brief sample from the article, linked below.
  • Rebates, 2-step URLs, super URLs, and Search Find Buy are officially against TOS
  • It's extremely unlikely that other modes of promotion, such as promo codes, external PPC ads, and external traffic are against TOS.
  • Amazon will have a hard time detecting rebates or keyword URLs, assuming you don't overuse them. So consider if you're comfortable taking the risk with these tools.
  • The safest way to rank will still be (as it always has) through "earned traffic", such as organic audiences following your brand. This could be on a Facebook community, email list, or your website.
Sidenote: Just my guess, but I think there are big companies that will move on to Amazon and spend millions in advertising as soon as Amazon cleans up the "cheating" that goes on. And that is causing this sudden interest on Amazon's part.

Read this informative article>

How To Optimize Your Amazon Listings This Q4

Your listings are up and ready for the holidays, but what now? It’s time to think about Amazon listing optimization. Find out just what is Amazon listing optimization, why it matters, and how to get an optimized listing on Amazon on the double.

This excellent post from SellerEngine will teach you:
  • How to List on Amazon
  • What is Amazon Listing Optimization?
  • How to Optimize Amazon Product Listings in 2021
  • What Amazon Shows and What Buyers See
  • How to Get an Optimized Listing on Amazon
  • Dos and Don’ts of Title Selection on Amazon
  • Basic Rules of Image Selection on Amazon
  • Why Listing Optimization Matters
Learn about these things>
supply chain issues
Liz Downing seldom has a conversation these days that doesn't involve supply chain issues and inventory woes. So she invited Burak Yolga, Co-Founder of Forceget, to join her for a discussion on the state of eCommerce logistics, and what we can learn from this year to make 2022, well, hurt less.

They will cover:
  • An update on the US ports
  • Updates on air and sea shipping prices, with predictions for 2022
  • Alternative sourcing countries to consider
  • Lessons learned from 2021 for a smoother 2022
Tuesday, November 16th from 1-2 pm EST

Register for the free webinar>

How to Win the Amazon Buy Box in 2021-22

Amazon is responsible for nearly a third of all online retail sales, and 82% of all sales on Amazon happen through its Buy Box. If your product offer is not in the Buy Box, it becomes more difficult for a customer to make a purchase.

In this detailed guide, you will learn the following:
  • What is the Amazon Buy Box?
  • Why the Amazon Buy Box is important
  • Amazon Buy Box requirements and how to become eligible for it
  • How to win the Amazon Buy Box
This guide is very detailed and well done.
Read this free guide from Jungle Scout>

Sourcing from China for Amazon – A Go-To Manual for FBA Sellers Replace?

Check out this blog to help you source high-quality products at competitive rates. You’ll get a comprehensive A-Z manual about how to source products from China for Amazon.

Sidenote: Go ahead and take a look at this blog post. It really has a lot of great information and not just for China.

Learn more>

How to Level Up Your eCommerce Reputation

The holidays are rife with opportunities to give a delightful customer experience. Whether it’s the perfect post-purchase email or a social media post or even a little something extra on your packaging, taking an extra step can go a long way.

While there is a huge opportunity to delight your customers, there’s also an increased likelihood that you will receive some less-than-happy customers. The brands that can rise above this and turn around an unhappy customer are those that will prevail in the long run.

Whether you’re strictly on Amazon or are branching out to the greater eCommerce space, there’s so much that you can do to provide an optimal customer experience, earn repeat business, and win this holiday season.
Seller Labs Customer Service and eCommerce experts are coming together for a webinar all about how you can wow your customers and keep them coming back for more.

Their experts will cover:
  • Customer Service by Amazon – NEW feature announced at Amazon Accelerate
  • Best practices for Buyer-Seller Messaging
  • Amazon’s extended holiday return policy
  • Free apparel returns for merchant-fulfilled orders
  • Best practices for complaints and returns
  • & more!
Come prepared with your questions and be ready to connect with their experts!

Tuesday, November 16 @ 2 PM EST/11 AM PST


Register for the free webinar>

Podcast: Why Plan Your Amazon Exit From Day 1?

Did you know that more than 50% of the money you ever put in your pocket is going to come when you exit your business?

In episode 295 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Scott discuss:
  • 01:15 – Scott’s Backstory
  • 02:30 – How Scott Got Involved In Strategic Exits And Transactions
  • 06:00 – Watch Scott’s Modules In Freedom Ticket 3.0!
  • 07:00 – How You Make More Money When Exiting Your Business
  • 10:20 – Why Planning Your Exit From Day 1 Is Important
  • 15:40 – The Four Things That Drive Your Valuation
  • 18:30 – Diversification And The 20/20/20 Rule
  • 20:00 – Scott Shares Some Case Studies
  • 25:50 – What Are Buyers Of Amazon Brands Looking For?
  • 34:00 – How To Get In Touch With Scott
Listen here>
easyship 89 off

Extended Holiday Returns Policy

The Amazon Extended Holiday Returns Policy for 2021 requires that most of the items purchased between October 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021, be eligible for return through January 31, 2022. We will automatically authorize returns on your behalf to reflect the Extended Holiday Returns Policy.

This link takes you to a page with the return rules for various kinds of products.

See Amazon's rules>

Tidbits:

  • Amazon is now embracing more flexible payment systems beyond just Amazon Pay. In August, Amazon announced it was partnering with the buy now, pay later service Affirm to allow customers to split their purchases into installments. This week, Amazon also announced that customers can now use Venmo, the peer-to-peer payment platform owned by PayPal, at checkout. There is still no Paypal checkout option, however. Nor can you buy with Crypto.
  • Rivian -- the electric vehicle company in which Amazon owns a 20% stake -- went public this week to a valuation of over $90 billion, giving it a market cap greater than Ford and GM.
  • Zoox, the self-driving car startup that Amazon bought last year, said it is having preliminary meetings with Amazon about how the two can more closely collaborate on projects (though Zoox’s focus remains on building self-driving taxis).
  • After losing a key court battle, Amazon is looking to settle with the European Union over its antitrust lawsuit against the company.
  • According to Marketplace Pulse research, each active seller on Amazon in the U.S. receives more traffic than sellers on Amazon’s smaller marketplaces. For example, in the U.K., sellers receive half the traffic. In Canada, they receive a quarter. Monthly visits per seller are the total visits divided by the number of active sellers.
  • Amazon announced two new fulfillment centers in Huntsville, a Receive Center in Montgomery, and a delivery station in Birmingham. Amazon has created more than 9,000 jobs in Alabama.

PPC Ninja

PPC Ninja offers PPC tools and services for sellers and agencies. The software uses the advertising API and doesn’t require MWS. The software provides advanced reporting and automation tools to help maximize sales, reduce advertising costs and discover opportunities. The company makes it its job to be aware of the rapidly changing features of advertising on Amazon. Increase your sales and conversions, while lowering ad spend and making higher profits.
  • Consolidate all of your advertising data in one place
  • Feels like using Excel
  • Optimizes all of your advertising campaigns
  • Support for Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display Ads
  • Leverages and improves your advertising performance
  • Unified dashboard for international sellers and agencies across multiple marketplaces and accounts
  • View your entire account performance in one view or dive deep into the data and customize
  • Easily compare your bid values to Amazon’s suggested bid range
  • Find ASINs to target with Product Targeting Ads
  • Manage all your keywords and discover new ones
  • Track all of your bid changes and receive weekly suggestions
  • Available in US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, and Japan
As of May 2021, PPC Ninja has updated its platform to include:
  • Support for targets within Sponsored Brands
  • Support for video ads reporting
  • Change product-level target ACos in bulk
  • Improved views
  • Bid change history
  • New markets
  • Bid recommendations for all supported ad types
  • Faster sync between Seller Central and PPC Ninja
  • Chart for target bids
Micro-services are available as add-ons to your basic PPC Ninja Software. Examples include:
  • Strategy Sessions
  • PPC Account Audit
  • Campaign Optimization
  • Listing Optimization
  • PPC Account Audits
  • PPC Strategy Sessions
  • 1-on-1 consultation
  • Campaign setup and optimization
  • Listing optimization
  • Keyword Research (English and Japanese)
  • Done-for you PPC Managed Services (subject to availability)
Starting at $49.00 per month. Free trial

Go to PPCNinja>

Deals we know about....

Use this Promo Code - A2Z50
for 50% off the lifetime of your subscription to Zonbase
Use this Promo Code - A2ZSC50
for 50% off your first month for Helium 10.
Use this Promo Code - GET50
for 30% off your first three months for Seller Labs software, after your 30-day free trial.
Use this new Promo Code - A2Z_10_6MON_2021
for 10% Off For 6 Months for A2X software

Use this new Promo Code - A2ZSC
for 20% off the first month or annual plan for SmartScout
NOTE: Above offers are subject to change.
Thank you for reading. I wish you unbelievable success. Selling on Amazon can be challenging sometimes, however, goals can be achieved by working hard and not giving up.

Any suggestions about our site or this newsletter are welcome. Just hit reply and let us know your thoughts.

Keep sourcing, keep selling, keep learning, keep growing.

You can do this!


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Happy Selling on Amazon. Let's go Brandon!

Making Sense Of Selling On Amazon

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