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Amazon Invites Longtime Sellers to Migrate to SOA Platform

Many of Amazon’s earliest sellers felt left behind when it launched a new selling platform that offered some significant advantages over the old marketplace accounts. They could choose to sell on the new platform, but they would have to give up their selling histories and certain advantages offered to existing account holders. One of the benefits: 24-hour disbursement.

Now, many years later, sellers can migrate to the newer platform and get the best of both worlds.

Amazon spokesperson Tom Cook said sellers who migrate to the new platform maintain the disbursement schedules that they currently have in place, and they retain their feedback, reviews and category approvals.

There is some confusion about the difference between type of account and type of platform. On Amazon, you can sell as an individual and pay 99 cents per listing, or you can get a Pro Merchant account and pay $39.99 with no listing fees (there are of course additional types of selling fees).

Some people don’t realize that, whichever type of account you have, Individual or Pro Merchant, you are on one of two “platforms”: either the old Marketplace platform or the newer Selling on Amazon platform.

The biggest advantage of being on the newer Selling on Amazon platform is that you can offer free shipping. (There is one exception: shipping is set for BMVD – Books, Music, Video, and DVD.)

Cook confirmed that migrating their account will allow non-BMVD Sellers greater flexibility in shipping charges, including the ability to offer Per-item/weight-based shipping, Price-banded shipping, and Free Economy Shipping.

He said sellers on the new platform are also able to offer combined shipping (Per-item/weight-based shipping), which allows sellers to set a charge for each shipment and either a per-pound charge or a per-item charge for handling.

However, there does appear to be at least one downside – sellers who have migrated mention the Refund Administration Fee, explained on this page: “If you refund a customer for an order for which you have already received payment, Amazon will refund you the amount of the Referral Fee you paid for the item(s), minus the applicable Refund Administration Fee, which is the lesser of USD $5.00 or 20% of the applicable Referral Fee.” One seller said it bothered them a lot, saying it wasn’t pocket change.

Would the Refund Administration Fee be a possible downside for sellers, we asked Cook? “Post-migration, sellers will not notice any differences when refunding BMVD items,” he said. “However, one change is that sellers will now see a refund administration fee for non-BMVD items. This is aligned to the same refund administration fee that all sellers on the new platform (and every new seller that signs up) incurs for non-BMVD returns.”

In the fall of 2015, Amazon began inviting certain longtime sellers to migrate to the new platform without giving up the advantages of the original accounts, and this month, it appears all sellers can now migrate.

Here’s the text of an invitation one EcommerceBytes reader forwarded to us:

Dear Seller,
Starting today, you can migrate to the latest version of Selling on Amazon while retaining your ratings, reviews, feedback, listings, inventory, existing disbursement options, and category, product, brand registry and ISBN approvals.

By migrating your seller account, you can take advantage of the following additional features to grow your business on Amazon:

  • Provide free shipping, set your own shipping rates and shipping model.
  • Obtain access to greater customizations of geographic regions and service levels.
  • Sell on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.mx from your existing account using a North America Unified Account.
  • Register for Amazon Business and sell your products to millions of Business customers.

Learn more about the new shipping rates and shipping model – link

Learn more about the customization of geographic regions and service levels – link

Learn more about North America Unified Accounts – link

Learn more about Amazon Business – link

Please be aware that if you sell non-BMVD items (all items except Books, Music, Video and DVD) and have shipping overrides on non-BMVD items, those overrides will not be migrated. After migration, you will need to re-create any shipping overrides for non-BMVD items.

What are shipping overrides?

Shipping overrides are created when you select shipping settings for an individual listing that override your account level shipping settings. There are two ways you could have created shipping overrides:

1) When editing an item that you fulfill yourself through the “Manage Inventory” page, the shipping settings for that SKU show up at the bottom of the page. You can change listing level shipping settings in this section to be different from your account level shipping settings.

2) By using an Inventory Loader, Standard Book Loader, Music Loader, or Video Loader file to upload changes to the “expedited-shipping” or “will-ship-internationally” fields with different values than what you selected for your account level ship settings.

Note that the account migration generally takes only a couple of minutes. During the migration, your products remain buyable.

To learn more about migrating your seller account, click the following link – link

Amazon Services

While we refer to the Selling on Amazon platform as being newer, it’s not “new.”

A final note – sellers who choose to switch to the new platform must remember to go to their account immediately after migrating and review their shipping settings.

Cook said sellers do not have to adjust their shipping model. “Post migration, items will continue to get shipped to the regions they were shipping to pre-migration and sellers will also continue to retain their settings for shipping charges.”

“However,” he added, “since sellers will be able to edit the rates for non-BMVD and get many functionalities that they did not before, we do recommend that sellers update these setting to take full advantage of the added functionalities in accordance with their business needs.”

Asked if there was any incentive for BMVD sellers to migrate, Cook said there are additional benefits for those sellers, “including the ability to sell on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.mx from their existing account using a North America Unified Account, and the option to participate in Amazon Business, Seller Fulfilled Prime and other new programs.”

Article updated on 3/15/16 with Amazon’s response.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.