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The Covid-19 pandemic is the defining moment of our decade. During this time, business models have been flipped on their head, demands for different products and services has transformed overnight. The impact on retail and eCommerce has been huge. Some sellers have seen a surge in demand and cant keep products in stock, while others are seeing their sales drop significantly.  

With the Coronavirus Pandemic well into its fourth month, there is no clear end in sight. Amazon sellers are facing a wide variety of challenges from policy changes at Amazon to disruptions in supply chains. In this week’s blog, we will explore 3 ways that merchants on Amazon can adapt their selling strategies and safeguard their business during this difficult time. 

Keep an eye on Amazon Policy Changes:  

Amazon is making constant changes to marketplace rules in the last few months. Since the outbreak of coronavirus or COVID-19, the demand for essential products has skyrocketed, leaving store shelves empty of basic necessities 

In mid-March, Amazon blocking shipments to its warehouses on items that are not considered essential products. As a seller, the only items being accepted at the warehouses are those in high demand and classified as “essential.” 

In an email sent to Amazon sellers and vendors, the company stated that they are prioritizing shipment of six categories: baby products, household and health items, personal care and beauty items, scientific and industrial, and pet supplies. 

Amazon has made it a priority to try to accept products from more categories, but essential products will continue to be the primary focus in the coming months. Future freezes on incoming shipments could also be necessary depending on how things like the weather and changes in shutdown protocol affect the COVID-19 virus. Keep your options open by taking control of your fulfillment strategies with Fulfilled by Merchant listings. 

Diversify fulfillment  

Amazon’s suspension of non-essential FBA inventory shipments was initially intended to last until the 5th of April 2020. This has created a big delay in delivery times 

Sellers can check their Restock Inventory page in their Seller Central account to see if any of their products become eligible for FBA inbound shipments. For those products that are not yet qualified, sellers need to find an alternative fulfillment option if their FBA stock levels are running low. 

If and when your FBA inventory runs low, you can easily convert those listings from FBA to Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) or Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM). SFP is only an option if you have been accepted into this program in the past and are not currently utilizing it, as Amazon is not accepting new registrations for SFP 

If you were not previously approved for SFP, you could convert your listings from FBA to FBM by choosing the “Change to Fulfilled by Merchant” option in the dropdown menu for each listing in your Seller Central Inventory dashboard. 

Whether you go with SFP or FBM, you will need to have the capacity to store, fulfill, and ship all orders on your own. If you cannot do this, you can partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) company, move your inventory to their warehouse, and have them handle all customer shipments for you. 

Pay close attention to your Amazon Advertising  

Conversion rates: 

If you are a seller already FBM and seeing a drop in conversion due to lower demand, check the dropping conversion rate against ACoS and pull back bids on your poor performing keywords. If ACoS is really spiking, consider pausing keywords for anything that is really performing badly and preserve your margins until things calm down. 

Also, review at the product level. If you have specific ads/products that are experiencing a large drop in conversion rate, pause that ad for now. Keep a list of ads that are paused and revisit later, especially once delivery times improve. 

Cost per click:  

As advertising budgets get decreased for some sellers, the cost per click has been coming down. As advertising becomes less expensive, this is a great time to double down if you have the budget to do so. Pull a bulk campaign file and review keywords with low CPC and high conversion rates that are within your ACoS targets. Keep a competitive bid (but one you can afford) and look for similar keywords to add to your campaigns. 

 Sponsored display and DSP 

Traffic on Amazon has massively increased in the last few months. Retargeting ads through Sponsored Display or DSP will help keep customers in your purchase funnel. These ads will allow you to target any customer who has viewed your product page after they have left Amazon. With more people at home and spending time online, make sure they don’t forget about your product as they leave Amazon and start browsing somewhere else.  

Product Attribute Targeting 

Product Attribute Targeting (PAT) is Amazon’s newest targeting capability in Seller Central and AMS. By using PAT, sellers and vendors can get their ads to show up alongside a specific set of products, brands, or items from a given price and rating range. PAT ads will show up in the same locations as sponsored product ads – Search results, product details, Add-to-cart, check out, and thank you pages. It is a great way to cross-sell and get your products seen.  

Final thoughts:   

For Amazon sellers, some of the tips and techniques that once made sense suddenly feel dated and ineffective. Running a successful business requires the ability to adapt to new circumstances even when those circumstances were previously impossible to see coming  

Now is the time to be paying close attention to all aspects of selling on Amazon from policy to advertising to understand that you still have many options on Amazon. Sellers who are nimble and adapt quickly will come out stronger on the other side.