There’s a ton of information out there about Amazon’s FBA program. Some of it is good, some of it isn’t. In this and in upcoming posts, I will list some of my favorite sources of information and what kinds of questions you might get answered there. Today’s post focuses on the official story from Amazon itself.
Your Pro Seller account is a goldmine of information – and like most mines you have to do a bit of digging to get the good stuff. It can be overwhelming at first. Go into your Amazon SellerCentral account. Click on the “Help” button in the upper right-hand corner to get started and we’ll take this step-by-step:
For those of you reading this online, click on the pictures to zoom in. This main “Help” page allows you to search for answers to your questions in several ways. You can type in a search term, you can click on commonly asked questions and you can read the FBA manual like a book. If you need to contact customer service, you can do that from here, too.
If you are new, start with the “New Seller” on the lower right-hand side (#1).
New Seller “Getting Started” Guide
This guide is VERY HELPFUL! I printed off many of the pages and keep them in a 3-ring binder with highlights and notes. While FBA is not hard, there are many things to remember and you can’t keep it all straight in the beginning. On this page, you can click on the main topic area (listing, managing your business, etc.) or browse by topic or click on “frequently asked questions.”
If you want to print off the guide as more of a book, then start at the bottom left-hand side of the page with “Amazon Basics” and click your way through it from there.
Helpful Video Workshops
If you click back to the “New Seller” section, you will see specific information for textbook sellers. There is also a free video workshop and New Seller FAQs. The video workshop page has 29 videos. Some of these are for merchant sellers only like “Manage customer returns.” This is not an issue for FBA sellers because Amazon handles our returns and customer service. The tour of Seller Central (upper left-hand side of the page) is a great overview and I recommend it.
The “Create Listings” video is not as relevant to those of us using FBA Power since FBA Power is our listing tool. What you will probably find most useful is how to fix incorrect or incomplete product information on an existing listing. In addition, if you ever want to know how to add a product to the Amazon catalog, or if you need to list manually for some reason (heaven forbid!), check out these videos.
The FBA videos, of course, are very relevant and helpful. You’ll find them on the lower right-hand side of the page.
Here is where you will get answers to your questions about “stickerless co-mingled inventory” (sounds vaguely naughty) and labeling requirements for your inventory. In addition, the video on “reports” gives you a quick overview of the many, very intelligent reports that Amazon makes available to its sellers free.
Ok, let’s go back to the main “Help” page.
Again on the right-hand side, above the New Seller information are several other important sources of information (#2 on the first picture) – “Shortcuts,” “Policies and Agreements,” “Your Support Cases” and “Contact Seller Support.”
Shortcuts are really a fancy way of getting to the most commonly-asked questions relating to your account. Things like changing your bank account or how to improve feedback ratings can be found here. There is a seller support blog and forum although I admit I’ve not used either. If you check them out and like them, please let me know.
Policies and Agreements
Policies and Agreements are VERY IMPORTANT! Print these off and refer to them often. These are the rules that you agreed to when you set up your account. There are LOTS of them and it is easy to forget or make a mistake that could cost you the right to sell on Amazon. Read them more than once. It is a lot to take in during one sitting and some of it will seem like gibberish until you start selling in a particular category, etc.
Things like taxes and required insurance are covered here as well as product guidelines and how to bundle products. This thing is a monster when you print it out. You’ll want to create tabs and label them for easy access later. In spite of the times I’ve read it, I’m always “discovering” new things or policies that are suddenly relevant to me.
Your Support Cases
Every time you have a support case in the works whether it was initiated by email or phone, you’ll find the chain of resolution here.
Amazon answers inquiries pretty quickly so you generally don’t have to wait long for an answer. I’ve had 17 cases in the past year, just to give you an idea.
Contact Customer Support
Amazon has a dedicated team of customer support staff just for its sellers and they are fantastic. When you click on this link, you will be asked to fill in a form with the details of your problem. Even if you plan to call rather than email, it is useful to gather the information they suggest before placing the call.
When you call, you will be asked for some identifiers like the last four digits of the bank account or credit card associated with the account. Be sure to have that on hand. Once you click “call me” your phone will ring immediately. You might be on hold for a couple of minutes, but usually someone is on the phone with you pretty quick.
If your question is FBA specific, you will be transferred to an FBA specialist. Be prepared to be wowed with the best customer service in the business. There are only a few things they won’t let you call about – you have to use email – and that includes issues relating to customer feedback. Don’t worry, you won’t even get to the “call” screen if you have a feedback-related issue. This is why they have you fill out information in advance.
Back to the main help page. Look this time on the left-hand side for the “Table of Contents” (#3 on the first picture). Underneath it you’ll see several links including those for FBA. Not to be confused with the Policies or the “Getting Started Guide,” the Manual is FBA specific. This is another stack of pages you want to print-off, highlight and tab for future reference. Yes, you can always find it online, but sometimes a quick zip through the notebook is faster and you don’t have to keep clicking.
“HazMat” (Hazardous Materials) is one of those bewildering things that sellers don’t understand. There can be a listing on Amazon for a product and when you want to sell it, it gets put under HazMat review for five days or so. The FBA Manual explains why.
Fees are explained in detail and much, much, more. Read the Manual more than once. You’ll be glad you did.
OK, these are the highlights of the “Help” page on Amazon’s SellerCentral. Be sure to spend some time here. Just about any question you might have has been anticipated by Amazon.
Please let me know if there is a question about Amazon FBA that you couldn’t find through the Help page – it might make a great future blog post!