We’ve just passed the midway mark for 2017, and we’ve already seen some exciting Amazon headlines. From the shocking purchase of Whole Foods to the unveiling of the Amazon wardrobe program, Amazon continues to grow by pushing past the status quo.
At Whitebox, we love watching the ripples from Amazon’s biggest changes, but we also know it takes a while for these ripples to reach our clients. In fact, the policy changes that really impact us and our clients tend not to make the big headlines.
This week, we’ve put together a list of some of the biggest policy changes of 2017… and we’ve even included a few upcoming changes, which we learned about at the Amazon Seller Summit Boost by FBA event last month.
- Glass is back! After a whole lot of pain to many of our clients and an entire blog post dedicated to making the switch to plastic… we’re happy to say that glass is once again a viable container on Amazon - kind of. Before, liquids were limited to 4 oz. glass containers, but now the containers can be up to 34 oz. However, glass product "bundles" aka multipacks are NOT allowed in FBA currently.
- Small & Light is BACK and now Prime-eligible! At one point, Amazon had a program called the Small & Light program, that lowered fees for items that were particularly compact and lightweight. We’re pleased to hear that this is active again and, most importantly, is now Prime-eligible. In order to qualify your product must: retail for under $10, measure less than 16 x 9 x 4, and weigh 15 oz. or less.
- New Brand Registry interface and … This past week, Amazon released a whole new brand registry program. While we don’t know everything about it yet (we have a blog post planned for when we do), we do have a few preliminary things to report. For one, it’s going to offer a few exclusive privileges, including Enhanced Brand Content and the Early Review Program. We’ll explain these in more detail below.
- The Early Review Program can help jumpstart new products. We all know how tough it is to get a new product up and running on Amazon… and we also know that a lot of this has to do with a lack of reviews. As part of the new brand registry, Amazon has a new Early Review Program, which works similar to the Vendor Central Vine program by bringing in reviews to your newest products.
Keep in mind you product must meet certain requirements such as being more than $15 and having fewer than 5 reviews to begin with. And, of course, you’ll have to pay for it: $60 for five guaranteed reviews on each SKU.
- Coming Soon: Your Brand is about to be more visible. We heard a few exciting things regarding brand story at the Seller Summit. First, brand logos will soon replace brand names for your products so customers can really get to know your logo. Second, Amazon will begin offering Brand URL, so that your brand name will be front and center when you share on social media. It should appear like this: amazon.com/YOURBRAND.
- Coming Soon: Enhanced Brand Content is set to change Seller Central. We’ve talked a fair bit about this already since Enahnced Brand Content rolled out earlier this year, however, it was still in the beta stages. We felt it was important to include Enhanced Brand Content in the list because we learned at the Seller Summit that there will soon be "Premium" Enhanced Brand Content available to us sellers. This newer version will be more customizable with 15 different modules to drop in to the bottom-half of our product listing pages. This means you won’t be stuck with something super generic.. But rather a page with large, beautiful images, video and eye-catching text to showcase your brand as the unique product it is.
- Coming Soon: Customizable Brand Pages. Soon, Brand Pages will be available to edit by sellers with Brand Registry. There will also be additional features that allow you to create product categories within a brand and choose what order they are shown in. And, there will be a “Follow Brand” button where consumers can choose to follow your brand, and you can then send blast emails, promos, news to your followers. We are particularly excited about nurturing that loyal brand following.
- Coming Soon: Videos on product pages even outside Vendor Central. Brands on Seller Central will now be able to add video to the product photos on listings, which means you can finally make use of those pricey promo videos you’ve used for ads on social media. Videos will also be part of the new enhanced content.
Chances are, before we even post this blog to social media, there will be some other little change to Amazon’s policies or another massive headline that reporters say will spell the end of another sector of the retail market. That’s just how Amazon rolls.
The good thing is, this year, most of the changes we have seen have been very positive for small and medium sized businesses. At Whitebox, we’re pretty darn excited to help our clients implement these changes and begin reaping the benefits of a more personalized Seller Central in 2017.