AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Mon Apr 29 2013 17:25:39

What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean

By: Julia Wilkinson

Sponsored Link

Amazon recently emailed some sellers about a new program called Virtual Account Manager, which it says will connect sellers with business and growth opportunities, and also "suggested improvements to increase your selling potential." If the latter  means they're going to tell me I need to go back and add images to x number of listings, I already know that. 

As an Amazon seller, I now always ensure my listing either has an existing image or I add a scanned image using my scanner. I actually like to add an image when I list one of my more obscure books or pamphlets, because I like to think I am contributing to the vast amount of collective knowledge out there on the "interwebs." And it would be nice if, when they say "business opportunities" and "blend of personalized activities and opportunities that match the unique characteristics of your business," it means they will to fly me to New York to meet with top muckety-mucks and motivational speakers. (I know; dream on!). But seriously, if they make suggestions that will make sellers more money, that's good for everyone.

In reality, I think what's happening here is Amazon is making an effort to do some housekeeping by consolidating duplicate listings and listings that don't quite match, ensuring each listing has an image and a description, fixing images with errors, and the like. I don't blame them at all for embarking on this campaign, because there is quite a bit of this on the service  - you know; like that great masterpiece "WAR anD PEACE;; BY LEo TolstOy," though I think it's getting better. (OK, I made up that example but hopefully you know what I mean).

My sense is, when a lot of sellers started out, we were so thrilled by the fast listing process that we didn't bother to add a photo. (I mean books for the most part here). It's not putting up good images going forward, but going back and adding images (and in some cases descriptions) to those older listings that will be a time-sucker.

Still, this is something I think Amazon should do, so long as they give sellers a reasonable amount of time to do it, and understand there may be some cases where they can't. For example, if the seller has already shipped a book to FBA, they don't physically have it available to photograph or scan.

I am curious what this VAM will mean for me...I just hope it won't come to canceling a vacation to furiously scan and post hundreds of images by some arbitrary tight deadline.

Some sellers are not impressed. One seller on a Facebook group wrote: "I think everyone got it [the VAM email]. Whether it means anything is yet to be seen. Is it "this will help your business" or "Fix this or we will kick you off"? And I want a REAL TAM, not a VAM. Because if I need to talk to Amazon it means I need a human involved."

If you sell on Amazon, did you get this VAM email, and what do you think of it? What do you think Amazon should do about their duplicate listings, or listings which contain errors such as typos? Post a comment here!

Comments (4) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean   What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 30 09:44:37 2013

I did not receive this. Maybe you have to be a large seller??? I only did 45,000 last year.  

Perminate Link for What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean   What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean

by: JoyfulA This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 30 10:56:08 2013

I didn't receive this, but I'm a small seller and also "on vacation" while recuperating from knee surgery.

Perminate Link for What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean   What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Tue Apr 30 12:50:58 2013

Freddy and Joyful don't sense is only sellers who have issues to fix (like in my case some images I need to add to my older listings) got it. ;)

Perminate Link for What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean   What Amazon's Virtual Account Manager May Mean

by: julie This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 1 09:14:58 2013


I got the email... :)

Here is my main issue with the ''help'' Amazon is going to provide. It's not geared to help 3P sellers, but to help Amazon make sales.

Case in point: I listed a widget on Amazon against an existing listing. Added a description since the listing was lacking in detail, and also added a nice photo since the one it had was not so great. The widget started selling.. like crazy... because we took the time to update the listing. We must have sold at least 100 widgets in less than 30 days.

Then suddenly.. the sales stopped. Like a faucet being turned off. It's been 6 months and the widget now collects dust in our inventory. Anyone want to guess why? No, it wasn't that another 3P seller lowered their price...

The widget listing we improved is now being offered by Amazon itself, with Prime Free Shipping, with our image and description. They saw the sales and swooped in..

So forgive me if I really don't want to rush in and start adding nice descriptions and adding images... unless it's a widget that Amazon can not get their paws on to sell themselves. Otherwise you spend all this time ''fixing'' your listings so Amazon can benefit. They are not your friend. :(

Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.