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Amazon updates you should know about: September Edition

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Every month, we’re faced with a selection of Amazon updates designed to make buyers and sellers lives easier. The trouble is there are often so many, and not always relevant to your business, that it’s easy to scroll on past. We’re here to make it easier for you! Here are all the latest and upcoming Amazon updates you should know about.

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Start thinking about those Christmas deals

Submissions open for the Q4 Deals Events

Here’s one of the most useful Amazon updates for you this month. The busiest time of year is fast approaching; Christmas (yep, we said it). Here are the important dates to remember:

Early Black Friday week 1: Nov 8th – 14th

Early Black Friday week 2: Nov 15th – 21st

Black Friday week: Nov 22nd – 28th

48 hr Black Friday: Nov 25th – 26th

Cyber Monday: Nov 29th – Dec 5th

Great news! The submissions window is now open for any deals that you’d like to be considered for promotion during their Early Black Friday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday events – hurrah! To submit yours, just head over to Seller Central. Be aware that the deadline for Black Friday and Cyber Monday submissions is October 8th, whilst the deadline for Early Black Friday deals is 2 weeks before the event. You don’t want to miss out on this prime selling opportunity in the lead up to Christmas!

Just remember that Lightning and 7-day deals cannot run in the same week. And another thing, lightning deals can only be run once a week and 7 day deals every other week. It takes a bit of planning!

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Black Friday is one of the busiest sales periods of the year

Check the product title requirements

Now, this is only a reminder that’s been sent out asking sellers to double check that their product titles meet the listing guidelines. That almost certainly means there are some sellers out there who aren’t even aware of them being incorrect. If your titles don’t adhere to the four guidelines below, Amazon suppresses the product in the search results. You might be missing out on sales and not even realise! Such things can be avoided by simply double checking all of your listings. It’s a painful task, we know, but will help you in the long run with your organic product listing score.

  1. Follow the recommended character length including spaces.
  2. Do not use promotional phrases such as ‘free shipping’, ‘Best seller’ or ‘100% quality guaranteed’ (restricted keywords can be found in Seller Central).
  3. Do not include special characters, for example: (?!<%;_).
  4. Must contain phrases that clearly identify your product, such as ‘hiking boots’ or ‘umbrella’.
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Making a list and checking it twice…

Other recommendations for listing titles

There are also a few recommendations on Seller Central on how to create the best title. Amazon say these don’t affect where you appear in search results, but we would highly encourage you to do as many of these as you can.

  • Titles should be concise, ideally fewer than 80 characters.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS.
  • Capitalise the First Letter of Each Word, unless it’s a preposition (in, on, over, with), conjunction (and, or, for), or article (the, a, an).
  • Use numbers ie. “2” instead of “two”.
  • Do not include characters such as Æ, ©, or ® – they’re trying to avoid these being in titles where possible and will almost certainly penalise you.
  • Titles can include necessary punctuation, such as hyphens, forward slashes, commas, ampersands and full stops.
  • Titles can abbreviate measurements, such as “cm”, “oz”, “in”, and “kg”.
  • Do not include your merchant name.
  • Do not include size and colour variations.

Overall, a product title should simply tell the customer exactly what the item is and nothing more. Short, sweet and to the point! Take some time to check through your Amazon listings today to make sure you’re not missing out on any potential sales.

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Make those listing updates to improve your organic reach

Amazon updates the PPU required for product listing requirements

Amazon updates galore! From September 30th, product listings in over 100 categories on Amazon will need to have price per unit information submitted – the unit count and type to be precise. Amazon want to give a better customer experience by being completely transparent with costings, allowing customers to accurately compare products and value for money. It’s something that supermarkets have done for years so seems a reasonable ask.

If you have existing listings with this information missing, Amazon will most likely suppress your products. Whilst going in and updating every single product is quite an arduous task, the optimizing of these product attributes only helps with your organic product listing score. Time to get checking!

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Take some time to check your product listings meet all the requirements

Returns and unwanted inventory

Amazon have been under fire for the sheer amount of waste products they churn out, so are trying to combat these with a number of options.

Launching on October 21st is a new automated Returns Performance Dashboard for FBM businesses. Amazon says it’s aim is to help sellers analyse and address any returns issues with ease. Unfortunately, it’s caused quite a stir. It means Amazon may be shifting towards placing another scoring system on how businesses should perform on their platform. Along with the VTR, Amazon VAT services and continuing restrictions on stock in Europe, sellers can’t help but feel this is a way of Amazon trying to gain control and encourage them to become FBA businesses instead.

Also available, though currently only in the UK, US and France, is the FBA Donations programme. This is a charity scheme that was launched in 2019 where businesses are able to donate returned goods or unwanted inventory to Amazon’s selected charitable organisations. We’ve actually written a blog all about it which you can read here.

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Trying to make the returns process easier…turns out it’s not so easy!

US News: set your order handling time to just 1 day!

If you’re based in the US, a brand new Order Handling Capacity feature has now been added. You can set your order time to just 1 day, with the intention of increasing your sales because of your quick delivery promise. If you’re worried about not being able to efficiently manage a shorter handling time, you can set a limit on the number of orders you can handle. Once your orders go over this amount, Amazon automatically adds an extra day to the delivery time so you don’t get too overwhelmed.

In a nutshell, these are the latest Amazon updates that could have an effect on your business. Our advice?

  • First, check each of your product listings meet all the criteria – we don’t want any to have slipped through the net.
  • Definitely consider getting involved in the FBA Donations programme.
  • Put some time aside this month to plan for the Q4 deals – you really don’t want to miss out on those!

If you need any help with your Amazon listings or think a consultation with one of our team might be helpful in getting your head around the Amazon bots, get in touch with us today.

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