Here is your midweek jetpack of Amazon seller news, updates, and other useful clicks for your e-commerce business…
INFORM Consumer Act to Require Online Sellers to Disclose Identity and Contact Info
A new piece of legislation which aims to promote transparency in online marketplaces has been included in the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill.
Authored by US Senate Democratic Whip, Dick Durbin (badass title and name combo BTW) and Senator Bill Cassidy, the Integrity Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers (INFORM) Act aims to combat the sale of stolen, counterfeit, and dangerous consumer products in online marketplaces by ensuring the transparency of high-volume third-party sellers.
The legislation, which defines “high-volume sellers” as vendors who have made 200 or more discrete sales in a 12-month period amounting to $5,000 or more, directs online marketplaces to verify a high-volume seller by authenticating the seller’s government ID, tax ID, bank account information, and contact information.
Moreover, online marketplaces will be required to provide a hotline to allow customers to report suspicious activity such as the posting of suspected stolen, counterfeit or dangerous products.
The INFORM Consumers Act has drawn strong support from organizations such as The Buy Safe America Coalition, retailers like Walgreens and CVS, and online marketplaces like Etsy and Redbubble.
With so many bad actors proliferating the largest online marketplaces, we feel that this law will only impact e-commerce in a positive way. It will protect the integrity of the marketplace, and help smaller sellers who are often at the losing end of unscrupulous practices.
Read the full story here.
Is Inflation Coming to an End? Here’s what Amazon Economists Think
Are America’s inflation woes coming to an end? For members of Amazon’s economic, finance, and science teams, the answer is YES.
The positive outlook of these Amazon teams is based on a 12-page study they conducted which touched on topics of a recession possibility, inflation forecast, and their impact on Amazon’s overall business.
Here are the highlights of the study:
- For 2022, prices on Amazon went up by 6%, which is below the average inflation rate of 7% to 9%.
- The growth rate indicates that Amazon has responded to record inflation rates by mitigating its impact on its customers.
- Amazon’s economists believe its product prices will increase at a slower pace moving forward – below 3% in 2023, and turn negative in 2024. The forecast for US inflation is near 3% by the end of 2023, and slightly higher in 2024.
While these numbers are hopeful, Amazon’s leadership team was quick to issue a statement not fully in agreement with its own economists:
“The document in question does not reflect the company’s position on the economy and where it’s headed. Our CFO Brian Olsavsky shared our thinking on our most recent earnings call, and our CEO shared his thoughts in a Dec. 6 interview at the Dealbook event. This document simply reflects the thoughts of some of our economists,” the spokesperson said.
Read the full story here.
Amazon to Increase Multi-Channel Fulfillment Fees by up to 50+%
Starting January 19, Amazon announced it will be implementing big fee increase for sellers who use its MCF program.
They say these fees will be used to “launch improvements, including faster shipping, free integrator apps, and enhanced shipment tracking functionality.”
Here’s the new MCF fee structure for standard 5-day delivery:
- 2oz, single unit: $7.15: An increase of $2.40 (50.5%) on the current rate of $4.75
- 6oz, single unit: $7.15: An increase of $1.80 (33.6%) on the current rate of $5.35
- 1–2 lbs, single unit order: $9.50: An increase of $1.85 (24.2%) on the current rate of $7.65
The new fee structure also removes the option of super lightweight packaging, which means that packages under 2 oz will now be included in the 6 oz category.
This is a hard one to swallow, especially sellers who primarily sell low-cost items.
View seller comments at the bottom of the announcement here.
Amazon Returns: What to Expect
After the highs of triumphant holiday sales, we are inching closer to the rebound of January returns.
There are a couple of changes to watch out for when it comes to returns made this January:
To provide more convenience to its customers, Amazon is now offering the option of box-free returns. To make returns, customers just need to get a QR code from the Amazon Return Center and hand it to an Amazon associate without a box or label, and the product is shipped for free. The service is available at AmazonFresh Pickup and Amazon Hub+ locations, 1,150 Kohl’s stores, select Whole Foods markets, and nearly 5,000 UPS Store locations.
Changes to Shipping Charge Corrections for Seller-Fulfilled Returns:
Sellers will now be responsible, starting Janurary 14th, for any carrier shipping correction charges caused by incorrect label information.
You will be charged or credited if:
- The dimensions, weight, or both, of your product return are incorrect: If the product returned by the customer has physical attributes that do not match your product listing or outbound shipping, you will be charged or credited for the difference in cost between the label you paid for and the correct label cost.
- Your return address is incorrect or invalid: If your return address is undeliverable, the carrier will charge an $18 fee for every package that could not be returned. Your return address must be in the same country as the store you sell in, and must accept return packages.
Sellers are always worried when Amazon comes up with these customer-centric service improvements. There is always the possibility of bad actors taking advantage of these new policies, leaving the sellers to just suck up the costs and losses. Here’s to hoping these are properly and fairly enforced.
Start Planning: 2023 Key Dates for Amazon Businesses
If your New Year’s Resolution is to plan ahead and stay organized, this 2023 Calendar from Jungle Scout is perfect for you.
This sweet calendar has all the major events and seasons that influence buying behavior, Amazon deadlines, tax deadlines, monthly and quarterly reminders, and 2023 Holiday selling requirements and target dates.
Now you can plan in advance for target dates and stay organized. No more procrastination!
Other Quick Clicks
Amazon starts rolling out its Prime Air drone delivery service
Here’s the latest on Amazon’s $31 billion ad business, which continues to grow despite the economic upheaval
Amazon and Walmart will bring old retail industry fight into new year
Amazon Style: Step in the e-commerce’s physical store for the perfect fit – better than its online platform?
How Amazon’s artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the shopping experience
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, comments or violent reactions, let us know below!
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