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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2157 - November 11, 2009 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 2

Amazon.com Makes Major Change to Third-Party Seller Program

By Ina Steiner
November 11, 2009

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Amazon.com has made a major change to its third-party seller programs. Instead of classifying merchants into Marketplace sellers who could sell Books, Music, Video and DVD (BMVD), and Merchants@, who could sell in non-media categories, it is putting all sellers into its "Selling on Amazon" program, and differentiating based on sales volume.

An Amazon.com spokesperson confirmed this, and stated in an email, "Previously, when a seller signed up for a media category (BMVD) they were limited by these categories. Sellers no longer have to make a choice between media and non-media to sign up and sell on Amazon.com."

However, terms for selling the media products are different from the non-BMVD products. Sellers are required to ship all BMVD products within two business days of receiving the order from Amazon and the shipping rates and available service levels are set by Amazon.com: Amazon charges a 15% Referral Fee and a Variable Closing Fee, and eligibility to win the Buy Box is not available for BMVD products.

Individual sellers continue to pay 99 cents per sale plus a referral fee, while Pro Merchant accounts pay a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 for unlimited sales plus referral fees. On Amazon's Selling on Amazon page, it shows which categories are available to each type of seller (individual versus Pro Merchant).

Selling on Amazon sellers can sign-up to sell items in the following categories: Books, Music, DVD, Video/VHS, Baby, Camera and Photo, Electronics, Grocery, Health and Personal Care, Home and Garden, Musical Instruments, Office Products, Personal Computers, Software, Sports & Outdoors, Toys & Games, Tools and Hardware, Video Games and Wireless Antennas and Boosters, with some provisions. For example, prior approval is required to sell in Automotive, Beauty, Cell Phones and Accessories, Clothing & Accessories, Gourmet, Jewelry & Watches and Shoes, and the company is not accepting new sellers in the Clothing & Accessories category through the fall.

Over the years, Amazon.com has had various types of sellers: Marketplace, Z-shops, auctions, Pro Merchants, Merchants@. Steve Weber, an author and bookseller who writes the Selling Books blog said he believes Amazon is trying to revive momentum in its third-party sales. "It's the most profitable part of Amazon's business, since the seller pays the costs of inventory and warehousing."

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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