Did you know that Amazon buyers spend 84% more online than the average Internet user? (SOURCE: Dec 2011 comScore Media Metrix Core Report)
And that one of the BIGGEST sales categories on Amazon between now and the end of the year is the TOY category…
Yet on November 13, 2012 thousands of sellers will be unable to list toys on Amazon until mid-JANUARY because they don’t meet Amazon’s rigorous standards for selling toys during the holidays.
…Completely MISSING the lucrative holiday toy selling season on Amazon.
From Amazon’s standpoint, it makes complete sense. They want their customers to receive the BEST customer service experience during this critical shopping season.
(There’s a reason they were voted #1 in the online retail customer service category last year.)
From a merchant perspective it may mean making some quick changes to your business.
Let’s start by reviewing the Amazon toy selling requirements:
Effective November 13, 2012, only those sellers who meet the following performance criteria will be eligible to sell in Toys & Games from November 13, 2012 through the first week in January 2013:
- Your first sale on Amazon.com must be prior to September 17, 2012. The sale does not need to be specific to the Toys store.
- You must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders during the 60 consecutive days preceding November 1, 2012. The orders do not need to be specific to the Toy store.
- Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate must be no greater than 1.75% for the trailing 30 days preceding November 1, 2012.
- Your late shipment rate must be no greater than 4% for the trailing 30 days preceding November 1, 2012.
- Your order defect rate must be no greater than 1% short term as of November 1, 2012.
Fortunately, there is a way around the “Amazon toy ban” and that’s to ship all your toys through Fulfillment by Amazon.
Shipping holiday toys through Amazon FBA will provide you with an exemption to the Amazon holiday toy restriction.
In addition to being able to sell toys during the holidays…
When you ship through Amazon FBA, they control the buyer delivery experience.
- They package the items to Amazon’s standards
- They ship the inventory using their UPS shipping account and guarantee processing and delivery time
- The handle all the holiday selling season customer service issues
Make the Move to FBA
There are many reasons to use Amazon FBA in addition to circumventing the holiday toy ban.
It’s the only way that a solopreneur can scale their business without hiring a team, renting a warehouse or working themselves into the ground.
As far as holiday sales go, you also want to make the switch the Amazon FBA so that you can:
- Reach Amazon’s most profitable customers
- Get promoted over Merchant Fulfilled sellers
- Sell toys all holiday selling season long
It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have a toy in stock right now.
There will be lots of opportunities to use arbitrage sourcing to purchase toy inventory retail and resell it on Amazon that I’ll be sharing with you.
But you won’t be able to sell toys AT ALL unless you do one VERY important thing…
Sign up to ship your products through Fulfillment by Amazon.
Last year, Amazon’s Prime customers were able to order toys up through 12/23 (and in some cities the morning of 12/24) and have them delivered by Christmas.
Very few Independent merchants could come close to that delivery time.
Guess who got the sales instead? You got it! Sellers who fulfilled using Amazon FBA.
The time is now to take action on this!
I have never tried Amazon FBA. When someone buys from my store in Amazon, I ship the item myself. I don’t like some of the parameters Amazon uses. I sell a lot of small items. So, I use first class mail to ship the items. This does not come with any tracking. So, Amazon rates my seller performance as Fair. With the money I am getting for shipping, I can’t add tracking.
I’m just starting. Have an old amazon account with only 1 feedback rating but the account name has the word “books” in it when ill be selling other stuff including toys- no books really. I was going to start fresh with a new account and jump in with that new account with a good name straight into a professional account.
Since I’m learning FBA, I’m really not sure I should worry about missing out on toys? I could do it using my 7 year old account with the name I don’t intend to grow. Suggestions?
If you plan on turning Amazon/FBA into a business, you’ll want to set up a “Sell Professional” account ($39.95 per month) and start fresh on that account.
Your old account is “Marketplace” account and doesn’t give you all the features/benefits of the Sell Professional account.
If you’re just testing out the business, you definitely can upgrade your Marketplace account to “Pro Merchant” which enables you to use FBA services.
For the holidays, you don’t need to focus on selling toys. At this point, it’s more important to just list/sell whatever you can that will net you a profit. Don’t limit what you sell when you’re just getting started.
One important note – you must contact Amazon and have them close out your old account and open a new one for you. Don’t do that yourself without contacting Amazon. Amazon has a policy against having two accounts and require that they close out the old one first, before you open the new one.
Congratulations on getting started on Amazon and right now, just focus on listing as much as possible to get things rolling!
Do you have to be a “pro merchant” to sell via FBA. I know if you sell over 40 items per month it will pay for itself, but if you’re just starting out….
Yes, you do need to be a pro-merchant to sell via FBA. However, if you have enough inventory to send in each week, the FBA advantages will offset the $39.95 per month fee.
The key is being in a position to send at least some inventory in on a regular basis.
If you’re serious about a building a business that can scale, starting with FBA is the way to go.
I believe that both the “Sell Your Stuff” and “Sell Professionally” accounts are able to use FBA. See info here: http://www.amazonservices.com/selling-on-amazon/benefits-and-pricing.htm
The “Sell Your Stuff” account must be upgraded to Pro Merchant ($39.95 per month) in order to use FBA.
However, the “Sell Professionally” account, while priced the same, does give sellers additional access/benefits over the Pro Merchant account.
For sellers who are serious about building a long-term business on Amazon, the Sell Professional account is the way to go.
For sellers who want to test selling on Amazon and using FBA, the Pro Merchant account will suffice.
Yes, you do need to upgrade your “Sell Your Stuff” account to a Pro Merchant account in order to use FBA.