Amazon Sellers – Are You Ready for Q4?

Fourth Quarter, or ‘the Holiday Season’ is rapidly approaching. Soon Amazon toy sellers will begin getting notices reminding them that not everyone is allowed to sell in the toy category on Amazon.

If you are planning to sell toys on Amazon this Christmas season, it’s time to get prepared.

Back a few years ago, during one of Amazon’s biggest seasons, they began to get a lot of complaints from buyers. It seems that Amazon sellers were listing the ‘hot’ toys on the site when they didn’t actually have them in stock. Probably the sellers thought they knew where they could run out and buy them when they needed to. So they listed the hot toys at high prices (3 or 4 times retail) and planned to purchase when needed. But it didn’t work out that way. When the Amazon buyer purchased, and then the seller went to his source and couldn’t find any, the seller would come back and refund the buyer.

There were other issues also, of course, but what it boiled down to for Amazon were unhappy customers. And that, for Amazon, cannot be. So they decided to institute stricter requirements for toy sellers. Most of the year, anyone can sell toys on Amazon. But if you want to sell them during Q4, you will need to be an established seller well before then.

Last year, the requirements went into effect on November 15 and lasted through December 31. The dates have not been announced yet for this season but will probably be similar. Again, while this program hasn’t been announced yet for the 2012 Christmas season, we can expect similar rules. I wanted to get this out there to the community now, so that if this is in your Holiday plan for your business, you can prepare.

To be able to sell toys on Amazon last year in the fourth quarter, these were the requirements:

  • Seller’s first sale on Amazon.com must be prior to 09/19/11 (sale does not need to be Toy-specific)
  • Seller must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders (do not need to be Toy-specific) during the 60 consecutive days preceding 11/1/2011.
  • No greater than 1% short-term order defect rate as of 11/1/2011.
  • No greater than 2.5% pre-fulfillment cancel rate for the trailing 30 days preceding 11/1/2011.
  • No greater than 5% late shipment rate for the trailing 30 days preceding 11/1/2011.

So, again, if you are planning on selling toys on Amazon for the Holiday Selling season, you need to start now and get a good selling record started.

 

 

 

One Response to “Amazon Sellers – Are You Ready for Q4?”

  1. KathyS Says:

    UPDATE! On August 16th, I got the first email from Amazon about this issue – it is starting! Here is the email.
    Hello from Amazon Services,

    To maintain buyer confidence in Amazon this holiday season, we are implementing holiday selling guidelines for the Toys & Games store.

    Effective November 13, 2012, only sellers who meet the following performance criteria will be eligible to sell in the Toys & Games category from November 13, 2012 through the first week in January 2013. Webstore sellers are also subject to these guidelines.

    - Your first sale on Amazon.com must be prior to September 17, 2012. The sale does not need to be specific to the Toys store.
    - You must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders during the 60 consecutive days preceding November 1, 2012. The orders do not need to be specific to the Toys store.
    - Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate must be no greater than 1.75% for the trailing 30 days preceding November 1, 2012.
    - Your late shipment rate must be no greater than 4% for the trailing 30 days preceding November 1, 2012.
    - Your order defect rate must be no greater than 1% short term as of November 1, 2012.

    Your orders that use Fulfillment by Amazon will not be subject to the holiday season restrictions provided your account is in good standing.

    You can find your customer metrics in the Performance section of your seller account. If your performance does not meet the above criteria, we encourage you to take corrective action.

    Eligibility for the selling in the Toys & Games store is determined separately for each country. If you sell in multiple marketplaces, your performance metrics will be evaluated for each country.

    We will provide final notification about your eligibility to sell in the Toys & Games store by the middle of November 2012. Then, beginning November 13, 2012, we will monitor the performance and listings of sellers who are approved to sell in Toys & Games during the holiday season. Amazon Services reserves the right to cancel listings, remove selling privileges, and prohibit the sale of specific products to maintain a marketplace that is safe for buyers.

    Here are some steps you can take to remain eligible to sell in Toys & Games throughout the holiday season:

    - Monitor your customer metrics and take corrective action when necessary.
    - Utilize Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to ship products to your customers.
    - Check your orders frequently in the Manage Orders section of your account.
    - Minimize order cancellations; don’t show more stock for sale than you have available to ship.
    - Ship orders and confirm shipment in a timely manner.
    - Ensure your seller policies are up to date.
    - If you work with outside drop-shippers, solidify their SLA commitments for providing prompt shipping confirmation.

    Thank you for selling at Amazon.com.

    Regards,

    Amazon Services

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