04 Nov Amazon – Selling in Toys and Games at Christmas
As November comes into view, it’s goodbye Halloween and hello Christmas. Mariah Carey blasts from every over-stocked shop, mince pies are strategically (and inconveniently) placed at the front door of every supermarket, and in the distance, the jingle of sleigh bells can be heard.
Yes, the Christmas season is officially here. Last year, UK retailers took £24bn over Christmas 2015, and we anticipate that this year is going to be even bigger and better with many retailers expecting to take 50% of their yearly sales in the last 3 months of the year.
So with a year of planning behind them, retailers finally get to roll out their finely tuned Christmas marketing plans, and as they are make the final tweak to their product launches and Black Friday preparations, some Amazon marketplace sellers have to put their Christmas cheer on hold.
Yes, the Amazon Toys and Games Christmas suspension period is upon us and sellers nervously wait for that long anticipated email to find out their marketplace selling fate for the next 2 months. Unfortunately this is where selling on Amazon can become tough for smaller businesses, as unless you are a high volume seller, one ‘problem’ order in the full month of October could be the difference between being able to sell during the busiest period of the year, and being completely excluded from it.
Here’s Amazon Holiday Selling Guidelines for Toys & Games 2016 that will decide your selling capabilities on Amazon this Christmas from 17th November – 5th January:
- Your first sale on Amazon.co.uk must be prior to September 19 of the current year and need not be specific to Toys & Games store.
- You must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders between September 1 and October 31 of the current year and the orders need not be specific to Toys & Games store.
- Your short term order defect rate must be no greater than 1% as of November 1 of the current year.
- Your pre-fulfilment cancel rate must be no greater than 1.75% between October 1 and October 31 of the current year.
- Your late shipment rate must be no greater than 4% between October 1 and October 31 of the current year.
Despite the difficulties and frustrations this causes sellers, we can all fully understand why Amazon has implemented these restrictions since 2014. After all, no one wants to disappoint children at Christmas and its down to Amazon to find and cut out those below average sellers who dare to put the good name of Santa at risk with cancellations and late dispatches.
If you are a top notch seller with great performance metrics then you have nothing to worry about, but if you are concerned about what being disqualified might mean for your eCommerce strategy here are some tips that might help to pull you through:
- Take the time to investigate the reasons why you are not eligible to sell on Amazon and make changes to your operational strategy now. Review and analyse your performance metrics and accept that something is not right, and fix it. In order to improve your performance metrics and secure your spot for Christmas 2017 you need to take action and iron out your issues now.
- Consider selling products in other Amazon categories. If you have products that usually appear in Toys & Games and they cross over with another category then change them over now. If not, consider expanding your product range so you can list products in other Amazon categories. It might not be the direction you had planned to go in, but it could be more beneficial to your profit margin than having no sales at all.
- Focus on pushing the performance of your other eCommerce channels and marketplaces. Be competitive in price (particularly with Amazon) and consider spending a little more in paid advertising to get your products noticed and make sure your Toys and Games are in direct competition with Amazon.
So if you cant be like Santa and fulfil every Amazon order – delivered on time with a customer friendly ho ho ho – then accept that this year you will have to remain on Amazon’s naughty list. But don’t worry, there is always next year! Get started now on improving your operational strategy and customer service performance to make sure that next year you don’t get left out in the cold.
Need help improving your Amazon performance metrics? Get in touch.
For more information on selling in Toys and Games on Amazon during Christmas visit Amazon.