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Roundup: Upcoming Amazon Changes and Features

Here’s the latest on Amazon’s suite of products and services, including upcoming changes to the FBA removals policy. 

1. Set competitive prices with new Similar Product dashboard

Amazon just launched a new dashboard that allows you to compare the prices of up to 5 similar products being sold on Amazon.com. Think of it as your very own pricing advisor, empowering you to make informed choices that have the potential to boost your sales and maintain your competitive edge. 

However, a few sellers question the motive behind the creation of the new dashboard saying it could just be another tool to covertly harvest product data, while others doubt that it’s as useful as Amazon purports it to be. 

In the comments section of the announcement page, one seller, listed as SELLC, advises people to “pay attention” to their “desired profits to be earned”, further hypothocizing that you likely won’t see Amazon’s offerings in the dashboard and inferring that Amazon desires slow down sales for sellers by promoting higher pricing, thus encouraging them to make up for it with Amazon ad spend. 

Another seller expressed their lack of confidence in the new dashboard, writing “bots are not good enough at identifying ‘similar according to humans’ without a lot of human intervention.”

Moreover, “by using this dashboard, you’ll be creating data for an AI, which Amazon will then use to (poorly) identify similar items. Then Amazon will (a) push customers to cheaper versions of your product, largely from overseas, thereby taking away your sales and further eroding the middle class and (b) require that you match pricing to poorly defined similar products in order to get surfaced on the platform.”

This new feature could be of value to providing insight into what Amazon’s AI considers similar, which may or may not provide insight into some of the other features utilizing a “similar products” method throughout the platform.

However, if the shared opinions of the sellers commenting on the announcement prove valid, this new feature could become a dwindling spiral of lost sales and profits. 

If your products don’t sell because they’re not priced competitively, you’ll find yourself buying ads from Amazon to boost search visibility. So, while you’re fixated on keeping your prices slightly higher to stay profitable and managing ad campaigns, Amazon’s own brands and those others with the lowest prices continue to sell around the clock more easily.

Some fairly strong views on this feature but sellers will have to decide for themselves whether they see the value or not.

You can try comparing prices from your Manage Inventory page inside Seller Central. Or, go to Similar Product Pricing to learn more.

2. New end-to-end supply chain management across all sales channels

Amazon seems poised to intensify its competition with freight forwarders by unveiling a “completely automated” end-to-end supply chain management service, connecting suppliers directly to sellers through to their customers.

Introduced during this year’s Accelerate, Supply Chain by Amazon features “advanced logistics, fulfillment and transportation capabilities to keep products in stock, ship faster and more reliably, and significantly lower costs.” 

The logistics giant claims a 25% cost reduction for cross-border shipping directed towards its Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD) facilities. Now open to all sellers, AWD is a low-cost bulk storage solution that autonomously restocks your inventory to align with anticipated demand levels. You also have the option to distribute your inventory from AWD to multiple sales locations, including physical stores, with the help of Amazon partner carriers.

In addition, AWD is exempted from capacity limits and Amazon’s peak holiday surcharges. Storage savings are a benefit to AWD that shouldn’t be overlooked. During non-peak, AWD is 51% less expensive than standard FBA storage, and 82% cheaper than FBA holiday storage. Long-term bulk storage discounts will also be available to sellers later this year, potentially making AWD 80% cheaper than FBA.

All of this makes it sound like Supply Chain by Amazon is just the polished version of Amazon Global Logistics, because it is!

“Amazon Global Logistics is now part of Supply Chain by Amazon, a fully automated set of services that gets your products from manufacturers to customers around the world,” the company said.

However, expect that Amazon will most likely continue to subcontract a lot of the pickup and delivery services to forwarders and couriers and then take their profits, as they do with their Partnered Carrier Program. 

The introduction of Supply Chain marks another strategic move in Amazon’s ongoing efforts to bolster its presence in the logistics sector. This program comes on the heels of some huge developments, including a 10-year agreement with Hawaiian Airlines to operate 10 converted A330-300 freighters and Buy with Prime integration with Shopify and the more recent Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) App for Shopify.

With this latest deal, Amazon is positioning itself to become one of the premiere fulfillment providers for non-Amazon eCommerce sellers which represents a huge potential toward putting their, in recent years, over-extended logistics and warehousing network to good use and, dare we say, the road to profitability.

Overall, it’s exciting to watch this space and to see what logistics could become over the next several years.

3. Update to FBA removals policy

Effective November 1, 2023, if you’ve selected “Dispose” as your removal option within the Automated Unfulfillable Settings, the scheduling of your removal orders will be determined by Amazon’s capacity considerations. This may include immediate action following the assessment of returns.

Additionally, if you haven’t selected a removal option by November 1st, the default selection will be set to immediate “Disposal.”

While this may help streamline your removal process, one seller is concerned about the possibility of losing the ability to thoroughly check product returns that have been marked as “unfulfillable” by Amazon. 

In busy and clogged fulfillment centers such as FBA, mistakes can happen. An Amazon associate could mistakenly tag your products as unsellable. Unless there’s solid proof that your product has been returned by the customer poorly or damaged by carrier, it’s always good practice to maintain some control over your returns so you could still refurbish or repair those in sellable condition.

Try to maintain a regular removal schedule, whether on a weekly or biweekly basis, by going to Automated Unfulfillable Settings, select your preferred return option, and provide a valid return address. This will grant you the flexibility to manually initiate removal orders for your (unsellable) returns at any point before your chosen automated removal date.

Related: Amazon Return, Refunds and Reimbursement Policy Updates

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