Is it already the holiday season? According to Amazon, it’s at least time for merchants to prepare.
Amazon set record sales for the 2013 holiday season. Last year, more than one million customers became Prime members during the third week of December. The annual membership program offers unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items.
On Amazon’s peak shipping day in December 2013, more Prime items were shipped worldwide than ever before. Before December, more than 36.8 million items were ordered worldwide on Cyber Monday, which is an astonishing 426 items per second.
So, while you’re cheering on your favorite football team and sending kids back to school, Amazon has already started prepping their sellers for an even more successful holiday season this year.
New Rules for Toys & Games
During the holiday season, Toys & Games is an essential Amazon category. When customers don’t receive their orders in time to place under the tree on Christmas day, your seller ratings go down and you lose repeat customer business. Customers can lose their faith in online buying.
Amazon Toys & Games Guidelines
Amazon is taking measures to further eliminate late delivery and poor customer service this year. They will determine, ahead of time, which sellers are eligible to sell in the Toys & Games category from November 18, 2014 to the first week in January 2015. In a notice sent to their sellers, Amazon Services outlined the following criteria and advice:
Orders using Fulfillment by Amazon are not subject to this criteria if their account is in good standing.
By November 18, 2014, Toys and Game sellers must meet the following criteria:
- First sale on Amazon.com must be prior to September 18, 2014. It does not need to be specific to the Toys & Games store.
- Must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders from September 1 through October 31, 2014
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate must be no greater than 1.75% for the period October 1 through October 31, 2014.
- Late shipment rate must be no greater than 4% for the period October 1 through October 31, 2014
- Order defect rate must be no greater than 1% short term as of November 1, 2014
Amazon will give sellers final notification of their eligibility by November 12, 2014.
Amazon provides some steps that you can take to remain eligible to sell in Toys & Games throughout the holiday season:
- Monitor your metrics and take corrective action when necessary
- Utilize Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to ship products to customers
- Check your orders frequently in the Manage Orders section of your account.
- Minimize order cancellations; only show inventory for sale that 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
Do Something About It
Adhering to Amazon’s strict standards is possible with the right infrastructure. To help you this holiday season, check out nChannel’s Amazon connector. It links your online store to your back-end system, such as your ERP or Accounting software, allowing you to:
- Look up and list items quickly
- Synchronize inventory
- Provide timely shipping information
- Manage orders
- Utilize fulfillment by Amazon