Amazon Vendors, Missing POs? What is Amazon doing?

These past twenty four hours have been swirling with rumors, speculation, and hypothetical moves Amazon is making on their Vendor/Seller platforms. While there is no official communication from Amazon (yet) on what is actually happening or what the future holds for Vendors, as a couple of key events have happened over the past week in the Amazon Vendor world that has caused some disruption. The biggest key event taking place on Monday when a large amount of Vendors did not receive their regularly scheduled POs for the week. You may have seen some of the Vendor Central Armageddon and ‘One Vendor’ rumors flying around, and as an Amazon-focused agency, we feel that we have the ability to clear the air and provide some much-needed clarity on the situation. Below are the details that we have gathered from support cases, communication with our contacts at Amazon, and from the wide variety of accounts we manage:

Direct Fulfillment / Dropship Account Suspensions

  • Last Thursday, an email was sent to a large amount of Vendors utilizing DF notifying them that their accounts are being “temporarily suppressed for business and inventory management reasons”.
  • There was no official explanation but we have heard Amazon is reviewing accounts for volume/profitability to determine account status going forward.
  • We have many DF accounts that we manage. There was definitely a trend in our client accounts getting suppressed where the majority were smaller sales volume vendors and/or had very little volume through the DF account.
  • We definitely believe this is a move to purge a large amount of DF accounts that are doing very little volume and are likely unprofitable for Amazon.

 

POs Missing Yesterday

  • Many accounts did not receive their standard weekly POs Monday, and there is a lot of speculation happening in the 1P world as to what this means.
  • We have seen many clients miss POs this week and their size was wide-ranging so it is difficult to determine if there is a sales threshold defining inclusion.
  • We’ve created cases for each client with mixed answers, but the three most common are below:
    1. Placing blame on an Amazon-caused technical ordering issue with the promise of missed POs being made up the following Monday)
    2. Amazon stating they will not be placing purchase orders on products at this time. This is the most vague and leaves us thinking there is a strong possibility POs will be turned back on.
    3. Lastly, a notice that the account is being deactivated and a clear recommendation to move to Seller Central.

Overall, there is still very little clarity and no official communication from Amazon. From our discussions with Vendor Managers and other Amazon reps, they were not aware this was going to happen and are trying to find out more (often times Amazon’s leadership will make decisions and surpass VMs in order to have communication funneled through official emails and support cases)

While we are awaiting a response from Amazon on this exact matter regarding POs being missed, as well as the DF account suspension, there are some steps brands can be taking to ensure there is a contingency plan in place. As soon as we can get more clarity on this, we will update this post.

What’s your account situation? Take Steps to Protect Your Account

  • Have you received your standard weekly POs? Check to see if you did! If it is not normal for your account to receive weekly POs then we still recommend reaching out to Amazon Support to see if your account will be impacted in the future.
  • If you are missing POs this week, first and foremost verify if your account will be affected. We suggest reaching out to Amazon Support to find out the status of your account.
    • Additionally, if you have a Vendor Manager, Advertising Account Executive or any other representative at Amazon, feel free to reach out to them. At some point the official communication will break so the more avenues you have, the better.
  • If you receive one of the three communications above, our strong recommendation is to set up a Seller Central account as a backup plan and upload your full Vendor catalog of active ASINs. If you already have a Seller Central account, you’re ahead of the game! Ensure your entire Vendor catalog of ASINs is uploaded in Seller Central. As next steps, we recommend to start to duplicate your advertising strategy from Amazon Advertising and begin building out campaigns in Seller Central. Should your brand have a promotions and coupon strategy in place on Vendor Central, we also recommend to start mirroring that in your Seller account as well.

Outside of executing on a contingency plan, you should continue to operate business as usual on Vendor Central (advertising, promotions, etc.). At the end of the day, everyone’s main concern should be to keep sales velocity steady and ensure a smooth transition when/if the time comes. Sound too daunting to face alone? We’re here to help. Contact us if you need assistance in ensuring your brand makes it through this storm.

Sam Jennings

Sam Jennings