Amazon Weekly News: November 7, 2017

Time for the weekly recap of Amazon news! It's always good to keep up with events related to the fast-moving world of the Amazon ecosystem. I select the most important news updates to share with subscribers each week, which you can sign up to receive right here.


Fee reduction for Subscribe & Save

Amazon is offering an additional incentive for brands to enroll in the Subscribe & Save program, by reducing fulfillment fees for products that meet the requirements. Originally, the Subscribe & Save (S&S) program was reserved only for Vendors and now is available to select Sellers on Seller Central. Like many features previously reserved for Vendors, Amazon is opening these programs in a self-serve fashion to bring the best conversion-optimization programs to more brands. I wonder how long it will be until we see coupon codes, product display ads, and other vendor-reserved features in Seller Central.


New feature to create promo codes specifically for social media

Users of Amazon Seller Central most likely have been familiar with Promo Codes for some time. They are codes that can be added publicly to a product detail page or created as unique one-time-use codes for flash sales. These can be effective ways to boost visibility and momentum for new and existing products. 

In the recent years, there’s been a dearth of third-party software that specializes in creating unique one-time-use codes and serving them up in a promotional ‘funnel’ through social media channels. It looks like Amazon has recognized this trend and announced a new system for brands to serve unique promotional codes to customers on social media, guiding them to a custom landing page that features only the offers of that particular seller. Unlike the third-party software, Amazon’s version won’t allow brands to collect email addresses or prompt a customer to otherwise engage directly with a brand. Still, it offers a fast, easy and compliant way for brands to promote their products outside of Amazon.


Across the 30 accounts that we manage for Seller Central clients at Bobsled Marketing, we have only seen this option actually active on 2 accounts. This could be yet another feature that Amazon is testing first.


Surprise! Amazon discounts marketplace seller inventory

Amazon surprised some marketplace sellers (i.e. those brands selling on the Seller Central platform) over the past few days when they took it upon themselves to offer discounts on selected items. These discounts were marketed as “Discount provided by Amazon.” 

Many brands choose to sell on the marketplace rather than through a wholesale 'vendor' relationship with Amazon precisely because being a marketplace seller provides more control over brand elements, including product pricing. With this action, Amazon has just demonstrated that they can and will change the dynamics of their platform. And these changes will always serve to benefit the end customer, sometimes at the expense of the brand. 

Amazon is late to the game on this strategy. eBay has had the same program for roughly 6 months, and they’ve been subsidizing sales behind the scenes since 2014. It will be interesting to see the effect on price parity for multi-channel sellers.
— Jesse Chembars, Bobsled Marketing Project Manager
Amazon has never been a fan of the MAP or MSRP, always pushing to lower that on behalf of customers. It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time when books were NEVER sold below the price on their jacket. Now that’s normal.
— Noelle Barnes, Project Manager at Bobsled Marketing and ex-Amazonian


This is all the news I have to share with you this week. Stay tuned for my next update!