(Amazon’s New Brand Restrictions)
Amazon has made some sweeping changes to a few select brands we have seen reports of about 50-100 brands named so far. You can see our response and a list of all the brands we have seen become restricted over the last several years and the email I sent to Jeff. It has left a lot of people feeling very anxious. If you are primarily RA/OA then you might need to take a moment and wait to see what these changes will mean for your business. However, we see a lot of people panicking and we wanted to offer 7 alternatives.
1. Get caught up on administrative stuff repricing, reimbursements reports, checking your inventory for stranded items, and get caught up on bookkeeping/accounting taxes.
2. Actively look at your 13-week rolling cash flow report. Make sure you are clear on how much you need to generate to cover expenses. If you have a lot of brands that are restricted in your current product mix, identify how you will diversify your product mix or where you sell.
3. Clear your dead inventory shelf. Almost every large seller I know has one. The one-off items you couldn’t find a listing for, the damaged boxes, returns, and (my favorite) the mysterious product that fell into your cart while sourcing with children.
4. Catch up on getting your receipts scanned and invoices sorted. We don’t know if they will be accepted, but the IRS still needs them scanned or copied for tax purposes. (Reminder: Thermal receipts fade over time so make copies or scan copies in case of an audit.)
5. Spend a couple of days focusing on the homefront. Make sure all the little tasks that will take time out of your Q4 are done now. Spend some quality time with your kids. Make sure you have meals frozen, the squeaky door fixed, and anything else that might distract you from October-December.
6A. If you have wholesale accounts, start proactively getting authorization letters or make sure you have three invoices over the last 30 days with at least 30 units.
6B. If you have been only RA/OA, look at your inventory health report for small brands, niche items that you could pursue a wholesale relationship.
7. Source brands that have been unaffected. There are also several categories that have been unaffected and have lower incidents of counterfeits. Our observation is that we haven’t seen as many restrictions in books, kids clothing under $25, grocery, industrial & scientific, and household supplies.
Bonus: Look at other ways to earn income. For example research selling on another marketplace like Ebay, Etsy, Jet, or even Bonanza. Browse Fivrr and Upwork to see if you have a skill you could monetize while we wait for the dust to settle. See if you can drive for Uber, Lyft, Post Mates, or another local service.
I say this with only love, but I think it needs to be said. If you want to be an entrepreneur, it means that when something affects your business you don’t get to pull the covers over your head anymore. You can’t pretend there is an issue where there is not. Or inflame an issue that might not affect you to use as a reason to quit. You have figure out that even if the game has changed, that just means it is time to shake up your strategy. Instead of worrying, postulating, and speculating it is time to roll up your sleeve do some work and find the next step for you. For some, that might not be on Amazon.
I think the opportunity for experienced sellers is an amazing one. However, it is not for the faint of heart. You can look at policy changes as a reason to quit or as part of the game. That means looking at what information we have and figuring out how to adapt our businesses from there.
I will say, that I think that this is not the week to buy courses or make rash decisions about your business. It might take a few days or a few weeks for us to really know what we need to do long term. Policy or not Q4 is just around the corner. I know I for one and not going to miss it by being unprepared.