EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1741 - March 05, 2008     2 of 3

Strategies for Getting onto Amazon.com Selling Programs

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After AuctionBytes published an interview with Amazon's Matt Williams, many readers had questions about getting included in the high-end ProMerchant program that offers merchants several advantages. Some sellers said they were unable to get into the program, or were barred from selling in certain restricted categories.

At the IMA conference on Tuesday, we followed up with Matt Williams to learn more. He said the web form on Amazon WebServices was the first place to start (see original interview at http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y208/m02/abu0209/s02). "All do go through a level of consideration, and they should get a definitive response. It may take a few days." In many cases, Williams said, merchants will receive a call from Amazon Direct Sales asking for more information.

Amazon also has an info@ email alias that sellers can use to contact the company, though Williams said this is not the best approach to take - "but it is another method to contact us," he said. Finally, sellers may choose to become a regular ProMerchant seller in a non-restricted category, or open a WebStore, and apply to the program once Amazon.com can measure their performance and the level of buyer interest in their products.

Williams said Amazon has category managers who look at the brand of the seller and the quality of the items they sell - including on the merchant's own website. And if they are already a seller on Amazon, they have a lot of information, he said, including buyer interest.

A number of readers expressed interest in selling in the jewelry category. This is a category that requires pre-approval. Williams said that most categories are "self-service," but that there are a few categories (such as jewelry) where there is a lot of manual intervention from Amazon staff. "Perhaps it could be more automated, and we are looking at ways to do that," he said.

Williams said Amazon looks at the searches visitors conduct on its site and looks for sellers who can fill in Amazon inventory gaps. AuctionBytes asked whether Amazon shared information about such opportunities with sellers, and Williams said yes, they do. "We do reach out to sellers. We retain Detail Pages, and if we are out of stock, we'll reach out to previous sellers of those items."

He added, "We will be more proactive, but the category managers already do a good job."


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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