All posts by MyAmazonGuy

How to Fix an Account Suspended upon Creation of a Seller Central Amazon Account

Sorry to hear about your account suspension. Below are a list of questions to help you identify why the suspension occurred. You will want to email seller-performance@amazon.com to request the suspension be lifted. Because of the nature of suspensions, you need to email Amazon directly from your end with the admin email of the account in question. (The email you used to register for Seller Central)

 

  1. Is your IP address used on any other seller central accounts?
  2. Is your bank account used on any other seller central accounts?
  3. Is your email address tied to other Amazon accounts?
  4. Is your cell phone used in the 2 step verification tied to any other Amazon accounts?

 

If the answer to the above 1-4 is yes, write to seller-performance@amazon.com and ask for reinstatement of your account, and state that you are unsure of the reason it was suspended but that it may be because you have logged into another person’s account. State that you do not have multiple accounts.

 

  1. Do you sell on any other Amazon accounts?

 

If yes, request approval from Amazon by emailing seller-performance@amazon.com to sell on multiple accounts and share that each has their own business structures, unique banks, and unique items.

 

If the answer is no the above, you should write seller-performance@amazon.com and ask why the suspension occurred. Also call Amazon seller support and ask, they may be able to tell you.

 

It will take 14 days on average to fix the suspension. Email every 2-3 days requesting an update and restating your position. Within the first response from Amazon you will get an automated email that won’t make sense, keep emailing.

 

MyAmazonGuy charges by the hour and usually can help with suspensions for $500 total cost. However you may find it in your best interest to try the above advice first. If you want to hire us though contact us here: let me know.

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Walmart Questions & Answers from Walmart Seller Central Q&A

Walmart eCommerce is up and coming. From a recent webinar where a Walmart insider answers questions, these were the top questions and answers:

 

Image result for walmart seller central

  1. Do I need to submit items to be a part of campaigns?
    1. Only for manual campaigns (algo campaigns will pull in items based on attributes)

                                                    i.     CM’s or CS’s may reach out to you for items

                                                   ii.     You can also present items to them – just ask for their preference on how to do this

 

  1. Who pays for shipping if you qualify for the Walmart free 2 day shipping program?
    1. This is seller funded
    2. If you use 3rd party service Deliverr you are eligible for discounts – article on this attached on Resources slide

 

  1. Are Marketplace sellers eligible to participate in sponsored Ad’s
    1. As of right now, no, but it may be an option in the future

 

  1. Is Walmart planning to develop a program similar to Fulfilled by Amazon?
    1. Not at the moment

 

  1. How do I submit to affiliates
    1. This will differ by division, reach out to your CM or CS
    2. Men’s has a template to fill out, please reach out to me for it if you are interested

 

  1. How do I opt in for the Walmart free 2 day shipping program?
    1. Go to seller center to view your delivery metrics and see if you qualify
    2. Request access through the shipping settings page on seller center
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Launching on Amazon is getting Harder – Do it Now Before it’s Too Late

Amazon is entering the maturity phase of it’s business. They’ve won the eCommerce game, and they’ve won the retail game. They’ve successfully made it faster and cheaper to buy items across the United States than anywhere else. I personally predict that American Made and High Quality Goods will be the next phase of Amazon. In addition to that, you will need to start pushing external traffic into Amazon to even get off the ground.

Examples of new barriers to entry:

  1. Categories Requiring Approval – Grocery, Topicals, among the hardest.
  2. Ads within Amazon ecosystem aren’t triggering impressions as of June 2018 without prior sales history. (No one is talking about this)
  3. Brands much have a trademark to register with Amazon. It takes 6 months to get a trademark.
  4. All consumables, liquids, topicals, require hazmat approval.
  5. Batteries require documentation.
  6. Photos, titles, and other critical attributes are now being towed to a specific bright line. Either produce good customer experience, or Amazon removes them or changes them to whatever they see fit.

So what do you do about all of this? Launch on Amazon now!

In order of priority, here are the things you should do:

  1. Open a Seller Central account.
  2. Hire a consultant who can get you launched. Yours truly has scaled an Amazon Agency, and we onboard 3 clients a week. www.MyAmazonGuy.com Steps 3+ are best done by the pros.
  3. Load products to the account.
  4. Ship products in.
  5. Optimize products. Get your titles, photos, bullets, back end SEO all setup.
  6. Launch Sponsored Ads.
  7. Launch a storefront. Article and video on that here. 
  8. Launch Headline Ads.
  9. Build Enhanced Brand Content.
  10. Get reviews on your products.
    • Sign up for early reviewer program.
    • Get Feedback Genius to automated review requests.

Every company ever is going to get stuck on one of those steps. Whether it’s the logistics, the merchandising, or the marketing. That’s why you should hire a consultant who can get done in days what your company will try do in months. Let the top executives make the hiring decision of on a consultant, so that they are empowered to cut through the red tape, and growth hack you some results.

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An Amazon Advertising Guide for Seller Central & Vendor Central – Keyword Targeting

The best way to setup advertising on Amazon

What I’m about to share is one of my biggest trade secrets. It reveals how I setup advertising. Highly segmented strategies, that produce results. First of all, advertise every product, 24/7. Every product deserves its own bidding strategy, but advertising can always be profitable. Exceptions of course if you’re in beauty – PPC bids there are astronomical. Apply this strategy and you will have control over your Amazon advertising destiny. At MyAmazonGuy we’ve even applied this strategy in foreign languages we don’t speak, with great results. Google translate works. Techniques matter more than language barriers. We recently launched a client in Europe across 6 languages with the below techniques and they are already performing at a 10:1 return. (Returns are easier in Europe than USA)

Ad Segmentation for Sponsored Ads:

We build four campaigns as follows. Each with its own strategy and segmentation.

  • Auto Campaign
    • Keywords chosen by Amazon, good for keyword discovery in case manual campaign misses opportunity, medium spend
    • Brand terms are negated
  • Brand Campaign
    • Brand terms are only used on this campaign
    • Defensive advertising, not incremental sales, low spend. Protects us from competitors advertising on our brand.
  • Competitor Campaign
    • Competitor brand names are only used on this campaign
    • Often very small spend, high results, low impression counts, incremental sales
    • Set up to target competitor’s brand keywords in order to gain market share.
  • Manual Campaign
    • Highly segmented ad groups, will have most benefit, most spend, most sales.
    • Keywords are all manually chosen.

Keyword Strategies:

We have added the same keywords in the following three formats below, essentially A/B/C testing the keywords for strength. A keyword could perform better in any one of the below formats, and we adjust bids ongoing accordingly.

  • Broad Match
    • Generically targets the keyword, can have other words in search result mixed, has most impressions
  • Phrase Match
    • Must contain the phrase, can have other words in search result
  • Exact Match
    • Is exact match, and only targets when precise letter for letter keyword is used. Least amount of impressions, but most controlled and targeted format.

Bidding Strategies:

Each Amazon advertising setup uses a unique bidding strategy. In the case of many brands we choose to apply a growth bidding strategy. Where we put in high bids to test the market, and see what happens due to the competitive nature of your category. If results are poor we will pull back within 2-4 weeks. Our target is to get ads to be performing within 90 days. Advertising in competitive categories can have a ACoS of 30-80%. Advertising in less competitive categories such as home goods, can maintain a 15-25% ACoS. 

Bonus round – Create a Facebook meme, and send traffic to Amazon.

You don’t have to a masterful creative designer to make an ad that works. I built this in 3 mins, launched it in 5, spend $50 and made 30 unit sales, and got 900 engagements. Showing up is half the battle. I even put in Pickle Rick for Rick & Morty, which is totally off brand for www.momstir.com, one of the brands I own. It still worked. Because it got people’s attention. I abuse my own brands quite a bit for testing purposes. It’s all about targeting, low bids, right message, and push them to Amazon using an SEO super url. An SEO super url is keywords in the UTF of the coding of the URL. It makes your product rank for those keywords when you get sales when someone clicks the url because it signals to the search engine that someone sought those terms out to make their purchase.

 

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Understanding the Amazon Inventory Index – The Magic Score of 350

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether inventory will be limited, and when the magic date comes into effect for FBA inventory limitations. With the new FBA Inventory Storage Limits, if your Inventory Performance Index is less than 350 for six weeks before the end of a quarter you will be notified of your potential storage limits. If your score is still less than 350 on the final day of the quarter, the limits will apply for the next quarter. This means that your score of less than 350 for six consecutive weeks before the current quarter ends and at the end of the current quarter will have a limited storage.

In order for your FBA Inventory Storage Limits to be unlimited, you may need to maintain your score of 350 or greater than for standard-size, oversize, apparel, and footwear items. You will only have storage limits if your Inventory Performance Index score is less than 350 six weeks before the end of the current quarter and on the last day of the current quarter. In this example, you would not have storage limits if your score is more than 350 first score check which is six weeks before the quarter ended or the final score check.

Quarterly storage limits are based on 1) your sales volume, 2) your historical Inventory Performance Index scores, and 3) available fulfillment center capacity. Sellers with consistently higher scores will receive higher storage limits, adjusted for sales volume and available capacity. When setting limits for an upcoming quarter, both your recent sales volume and seasonal volume from the last year are considered.

Seller Central Help File: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/GXLRKWL8L5BMSHWB?referral=A3TI3F8839JJFF_A2VMNEEYCY3YGZ

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Amazon 2018 Prediction of Massive Seller Acquisition & Mergers MyAmazonGuy + Seller Accountant

Steven Pope (MyAmazonGuy) teams up with Tyler Jefcoat (Seller Accountant) to discuss their prediction that here will be a massive amount of acquisitions and mergers in the Amazon Seller world in 2018 and in the next 3 years. Investors are starting to gobble up brands selling on Amazon, typically brands that are 80-90% of their sales specifically on Amazon.

Amazon is entering the maturity phase.

Image result for maturity phase cycle

Amazon is entering the maturity phase.  Amazon has grown grown grown and now it’s maturing. What happens when a company like Amazon matures is they make it harder for sellers to participate as a seller on Amazon. Barriers and additional rules like Hazmat reviews, gating, higher threshold metrics that accounts have to adhere to, and increasing fees. It’s now ripe for sophisticated sellers to gobble up competition and bring additional resources into the same house. Investors can bring 5-20 different Seller Central accounts into the same company and have on person to run the following areas just like a single company:

  1. Marketing & Sales
  2. Accounting & Finance
  3. Merchandising & Product Growth
  4. Customer Service

By bringing multiple brands together, you can have deeper expertise focused in these areas. You can have a rockstar (who you pay exceptionally well) run all the accounts in any of those specific job function. As a single account you wouldn’t be able to afford that expertise. But as a group, you have one person over each of those areas.

So watch our discussion so you can learn what it means for you as an potential investor, or a seller (regardless of whether you are selling your business):

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What the South Dakota v. Wayfair Case Means for your Amazon E-Commerce Business

One of my good friends Tyler Jefcoat runs an accounting business for Amazon sellers. He’s been following the supreme court case that will impact all online sellers in a big way. With his permission here is his take on the court case in an article he published today, which can be found originally published here at SellerAccountant.

What the South Dakota v. Wayfair Case Means for your E-Commerce Business

The Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on 6/21/18 in South Dakota v. Wayfair, INC siding with the State and overruling two prior Court decisions (Quill & Hess) to redefine what constitutes “nexus” in a given state.  This has huge future implications for e-commerce sellers and we want to unpack this landmark decision for you.

So What Is South Dakota v. Wayfair, INC?

Let’s start with a summary of the case and its core arguments. When consumers make purchases, the consumer’s states often impose a sales tax. This case requires the Court to determine when an out-of-state seller can be required to collect and remit that tax. All justices agree that taxing e-commerce sales is lawful and constitutional. The question is whether a previously held rule called the physical presence rule is a valid test for either including or excluding sellers from a given state’s tax law.

What is The Physical Presence Rule?

According to the old Quill ruling, a state only had the right to require sales tax compliance IF a company had a “significant physical presence” in the state. The court had defined “significant” as a company having a location, employees or inventory housed in that state. For e-commerce sellers, this was great news and created an advantage. It meant we only had to worry about collecting and remitting sales tax in states where we literally had a physical location.

Amazon FBA complicated things since Amazon moves inventory to any of its fulfillment centers across a growing number of states, therefore, giving a seller nexus in those states. Amazon’s extra confusion meant that sellers were at most on the hook for the 26 states where Amazon had an FC. Sellers had a hard time determining whether to file in a particular state and recent MA, PA and WA rulings have made this risk management decision even harder.

South Dakota’s Response to Not Collecting Enough Revenue

Back to South Dakota v. Wayfair, INC: It is impractical to collect a use tax from each citizen and the result of non-compliance is estimated to cost the states between $8-33 Billion a year(the Court opinion cited multiple studies). In response, South Dakota enacted a law in 2016 to try to correct this issue by asserting authority to require all sellers who sell into their state above a minimum line to collect and remit sales tax regardless of whether they have a physical presence in SD.

When Wayfair and other large sellers Overstock and Newegg decided not to comply with the new law South Dakota filed suit. The defendants asked for a summary judgment thus combining their cases into this one case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, INC. The lower courts sided with the companies against the state because of the precedent established by Quill and Hess (the 2 prior landmark Supreme court cases).

The Supreme Court decided to weigh in on the case and heard arguments in April of 2018 and have now issued an opinion on 6/21/18.

What Was The Supreme Court Opinion?

The Justices ruled 5 to 4 in favor of the states. In Kennedy’s words: “Held: Because the physical presence rule of Quill is unsound and incorrect, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota & National Bellas Hess v. Dept of Revenue of Illinois ARE OVERRULED.” Check out the actual 40 page Supreme Court Opinion here.

What Does This Mean?

The South Dakota v. Wayfair, INC opinion means that the physical presence rule no longer applies and that the states have the right to enforce sales tax laws on any seller above a “reasonable” minimum regardless of whether that seller has any physical presence.

How Does South Dakota’s Law Protect Small Sellers?

In an effort to protect small sellers and startups, South Dakota established minimums of $100,000 per year in revenue OR 200 distinct transactions. This means any seller who doesn’t sell at least these minimums into South Dakota in a year is exempt from collecting sales tax. Since the population of South Dakota is very small these minimums will likely exempt almost all out-of-state sellers who sell less than $10,000,000 per year unless their products are particularly popular in SD.

Is This Good News or Bad News?

We aren’t 100% sure yet if this is good news or bad news for 3rd party sellers because this ruling doesn’t at all address whether marketplaces like Amazon should have to collect taxes for its 3rd party sellers.

Will Amazon Take the Compliance Burden Finally?

This is a major question that South Dakota v. Wayfair, INC doesn’t settle. Will Amazon respond by using its existing sales tax infrastructure to make this compliance headache disappear from the plates of millions of 3rd party sellers? Although this ruling doesn’t address platforms like Amazon it does appear to be one more logical step down the path toward Amazon owning the sales tax problem for its sellers.

Since this ruling most directly gives states the right to create and enforce sales tax legislation against sellers without addressing Amazon things may get more complicated before they get a lot easier. In other words, unless Amazon voluntarily steps up to the plate many sellers who have ONLY had to file in the fulfillment center states may now have to file in additional states since physical presence isn’t required any longer.

Although the fate of Amazon and its sellers is somewhat up in the air this is definitely bad news for Wayfair, eBay, Newegg and other large sellers and marketplaces who aren’t already collecting and remitting sales tax. These companies took pretty strong stock price hits when this ruling came out on Thursday as you can see on the following chart via Bloomberg:

Thursday’s Blood Bath For E-Comm:

  • Wayfair: -9.5%
  • eBay: -12.1%
  • Amazon: -1.9%
  • Etsy: -5.7%
  • Overstock.com: -7.8%
  • and more

Amazon suffered the least because the effect on Amazon and its 3rd party sellers remains to be seen. Just as importantly Amazon is already collecting sales tax in all required states on products that Amazon directly sells and Amazon already collects and pays sales tax on behalf of 3rd party sellers in two states (Washington and Pennsylvania). This means that Amazon has the infrastructure to make a move and has already proven in WA and PA that sales won’t be radically harmed by adding sales tax.

The Bottom Line:

Each state is now going to present and pass a new sales tax law (at least 16 are already in process or completed) and will follow South Dakota’s law as a template in an effort to collect those billions of dollars that have been slipping through the cracks. We hope states set volume minimums that are higher than South Dakota’s and therefore proportionate with their population sizes (i.e. South Dakota makes up a quarter of a percent [.27%] of the US population while California makes up 12.14%). So if California’s minimums were to be 45 times more than South Dakota’s since the population is 45 times more then California’s minimums would look like this:

If this trend held true for all states then only sellers selling more than $25,000,000 a year would even need to worry about sales tax in most states. Our suspicion is that states like California that have a much stronger appetite for regulation won’t be nearly as generous as South Dakota has been. So don’t expect the final outcome to be this rosy but our guess is that states will compromise depending on the political climates and that most of the newly taxed sellers will be 8-figure sellers. If we are correct then this is great news for 95% of all e-commerce sellers. Oddly enough this is also great news for large traditional retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, etc… who already had to pay sales tax in all states that have one.

So… In Summary:

  • Bad news: all 50 states can now create new laws enforcing sales tax compliance on all sellers regardless of location as long as the minimums are “reasonable”. The ruling doesn’t clearly define “reasonable.”
  • Good News: South Dakota chose to define “reasonable” pretty generously given their population. If this trend were to continue among all of the states then only 8-figure sellers would need to worry about sales tax. This would be unbelievable news for 95% of all sellers.
  • Unknown: Will Amazon respond in the next few months by biting the bullet and just collecting and remitting sales tax for all 3rd party sellers? Maybe they will but this ruling doesn’t require them to at all. In fact, if anything this ruling provides a cleaner path to enforcement for states against individual sellers. Now we just have to hope that most sellers are too small to be considered targets by the new sales tax laws in each state which leads to the next point.
  • Unknown: What will each state decide is a “reasonable” minimum in order to protect the smaller sellers? Some states will be more aggressive than others and the most aggressive states will be challenged in court until “reasonable” is more clearly defined either via federal legislation or by future Court rulings.
  • Timeline: Our guess is that this is the very beginning of a long trajectory and that nothing dramatic will happen until each state has had time to create and pass its own laws.

What Should I Do Now?

South Dakota v. Wayfair, INC should immediately make sellers do at least two things:

First, you don’t need to use the physical presence rule to determine if you should file, collect and remit sales tax in states since this new ruling has eliminated the physical presence rule.

Second, It is critical to stay on top of where you sell your products to and to stay up to date as states enact new sales tax laws over the next 12-18 months. Make sure your accounting and compliance partners really understand the ins and outs of this evolving landscape. Our accounting clients have had a good experience with TaxJar as a sales tax filing software. If you don’t have a good software partner check them out.

We’ll Keep You Posted

Seller Accountant will keep you updated as we see things unfold. Feel free to reach out to Seller Accountant if you have questions about your specific situation.

This post was co-written by Seller Accountant CEO, Tyler Jefcoat, and Accounting Intern, Christian Joseph.

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