I watched this: https://goo.gl/dceKBL
Then, I wrote this:
There is no time like the present to start fulfilling your destiny. You don’t just get there automatically. Just like we aren’t here on earth by accident, we have to be intentional. We must live transformatively. Take time now to see. To really see. To really hear. How did you get where you are in life? What will you do to get to the next level? What can you start doing differently? How can you “own it” when it comes to your life? What do you do to “make it happen” instead of letting life happen to you? Kill your passivity. Overcome the obstacle in your way. Correct your vision. Sometimes you become aware in the crucible. Take the opportunity today to step back for a moment. Kill procrastination. Kill excuses. Kill distractions. Live for something greater than yourself.
Then, I turned off my phone ringer and wrote an ebook.
There are several things that stand out to me about this program.
The stated goal: get small and light items into buyers’ hands with the same standard of service with free shipping as they have come to expect with Prime.
There are only 5 or 6 people currently in the department as of July of 2015. So, it is a busy, but nimble and reactive group. A lot can happen at these early stages.
The inbound shipping requirements ARE very similar but still slightly different from FBA rules. You will want to make sure you are in compliance.
The short rule of thumb for what qualifies as “small” and “light” is as follows:
- weigh less than or equal to 8 ounces
- have dimensions less than or equal to 9x6x2 inches
- be priced under $10
- be currently fulfilled through your own fulfillment network (cannot be enrolled in standard FBA)
The pick and pack fee is $1.50 per unit, plus $0.09 per ounce.
The buzzword is DISCOVERABILITY. Prior to this, I thought the keyword would be SEARCHABILITY. Apparently, there is a bit of a differentiation on that within Amazon. Also, as sellers, we look at BSR or Sales Rank. They don’t appear focused AT ALL on BSR within Amazon. When the Amazon S&L marketing team is looking to recruit new sellers to the program and trying to help them find a sweet spot for products, the key indicator is actually SALES or the total number of items sold within a one month time period FOR THAT ASIN (as shared among all sellers selling that ASIN). This is one of their most critical considerations. That velocity is also key to discoverability. If Amazon sees that product selling, their search algorithm weights it higher as far a popularity and promotes it better in search.
FBA listings will be given higher Buy Box % OVER A-S&L items which are in turn ranked better than MFN items. So, if there are many FBA sellers for a given ASIN, moving your product into A-S&L would not necessarily be a good competitive strategy. However, the caveat to that is that the fulfillment costs are lower for A-S&L. Therefore, you may be able to set your price point lower than the FBA sellers and still get the Buy Box that way as long as you don’t create a race to the bottom. Part of the requirements of the A-S&L program is that you CANNOT have the same product in your catalog listed in BOTH FBA and A-S&L and they really don’t want you moving your FBA inventory over to A-S&L.
So, there is a sweet spot. For me, it is items that were great selling items with good sales ranks and good profit but that were MFN and I didn’t feel like dealing with any more as I converted more and more of my inventory to FBA. Since an A-S&L item will sell better than an MFN item although the profit might not be as good, it may still make sense to pick back up those items I’m no longer selling but move them to A-S&L. One BIG caveat is that at this point you still cannot list items of your choice directly into the A-S&L catalog. You have to submit the ASIN’s you want to sell to A-S&L for approval before you can then upload them in a feed. So, you have another step in your sourcing process. You have to not only do your research as usual to find a good product that makes sense to sell, but you also have to get approval to sell it through A-S&L first. So, DON’T buy that product before you have approval to sell it. There are some leverage points that make this step worthwhile. Not everyone is going to mess with it. It is trouble. It is time consuming. It is a hassle. So, hustlers are going to make it happen but not many others. Besides, the program has not yet be rolled out for everyone. Essentially, A-S&L is almost like another gated (some small protection for you against competition) category.
Another “rule” or hoop to jump through is you need to have 30 of any one item (that has been approved) to send in. So, that likely cuts out a good many OA or RA finds. But, there are many others that make sense. This appears overall to be a really great alternative to selling products that were getting stuck in the Add-On program or for which you no longer find to be worth your time if the only profit in that item is via MFN.
As far as protecting your Seller Feedback in the same way as FBA, it does “appear” that there will be a preference or protection given to items processed through A-S&L. Since the supply chain process is very similar to FBA, they say the same buffer against negative feedback “should” be in effect. While that is not a 100% guarantee, it does provide a LOT more peace of mind to me than the liability of standard MFN transactions and shipping.
To find more details and specifics: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/201706140?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&
Changes as of July 1, 2016
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