Inside Seller Central, there’s a lot of information. In previous episodes, we’ve discussed multiple reports that sellers ignore. It’s an easy thing to miss some crucial information plus it’s hard to know exactly what reports you need to be paying attention. One of my favorite things to do is combine reports to gain more information.
In this episode, we’re going to talk about one report that can make bookkeeping a lot easier, plus, a newer feature of Seller Central that you don’t want to ignore, especially if you’re a brand owner.
“I think a lot of sellers are really familiar with their traffic and conversion rates but what will happen is a lot of them aren’t really familiar with your payments reports,” says former Amazonian Rachel Greer.
Rachel used to work on compliance at Amazon. Now she helps brands grow, expand plus stay compliant through her company, Cascadia.
Payments reports is one section that she feels that too many sellers ignore. Payments are found under the Reports tab. From there you can find Statement Review, Transaction Reviews, Date Range Reports and Advertising Invoice History. The ones we really care about is the Date Range Reports and Transaction Reviews.
Returns can be a huge problem and you might not even realize it. You could be getting slammed by restocking fees.
To illustrate this point, let’s pretend you sell blankets and they came in sizes from baby to jumbo-sized plus in a variety of different patterns. Let’s say you’ve sold 100 blankets in a month and you make $10 on each blanket, so you should be making $1,000 from Amazon for that month. However, your disbursement is only $800. That’s a problem. Your sales information tells you that you’re missing $200. You need to figure out where it went and how to prevent it from happening again.
This is actually something Rachel has dealt with for a client selling apparel items.
“I was doing an analysis for a client about trying to figure out why they were selling so much and yet when they ran all their numbers they just were just not as profitable as they expected to be,” Rachel says.
So Rachel opened up the Transaction Report under the Payments Reports inside Seller Central. This report tells you exactly how much money is coming in and out in every single transaction. You can look at this information and break it down by ASIN to figure out exactly where the problem is.
“There were certain sizes of their top selling product, and they just kept stocking this thing like crazy because they were convinced it was doing really well,” says Rachel, “We found that there were about a third of the sizes that they were paying Amazon to sell as in the restocking fees had been so high and the return rates were so high that it was actually profit negative.”
So the seller was making money but not as much as they expected because restocking fees were so high. The seller discovered that the problems were with specific sizes. They weren’t fitting as expected. Those sizes were being returned and restocked at such a high rate that it was costing them money to sell that size.
So now that they’ve figured out the issue, what’s the fix? Well, if it’s your own apparel item, you could redesign the product and maybe that’s something you want to do, but it’s not a fast fix. A better way to address the problem is by creating a more detailed size chart.
“You just include a really detailed sizing chart and make sure that people are really clear on what they’re getting and then they won’t buy it if it won’t fit them so that’s easy,” says Rachel, “But if you don’t know that it’s a problem then you don’t know to include that and go to the effort to include that.”
If you’re selling apparel items, there are all kinds of cool things you can do with a size chart that can provide more clarity for shoppers.
Jumping back to our blanket example. Maybe after looking at your Transactions Report, you determine that there are specific sizes that are the problem or maybe it’s a fabric pattern that the quality isn’t the same or the pattern looks different in person. Once you understand the problem you can start figuring out how to fix it.
There’s another Seller Central report that can give you insight on returns, it’s the Returns Report. You can find the reason why items are being returned. It won’t always give you all the information you need but if you combine it with the information from the Transactions Report and look at it at the ASIN level, you can better extrapolate what problems might be happening.
The Date Range Report under Payments is another one to look at. This report is particularly helpful for your bookkeepers and or accountants. It will help you better reconcile your books instead of using the Sales reports.
In our last part of this episode, there’s a relatively new feature in Seller Central that allows Sellers to create Amazon Storefronts. It’s particularly important for brands but storefronts are good for any sellers.
“Storefronts are basically like a website within Amazon and the reason that I like it is because Google indexes everything. You don’t have to just hope that Google indexes your product listing, Google will now index your storefront too,” Rachel says.
Storefronts can also be heavily customized. You can add product videos, lifestyle photos, announce new products or include customer testimonials. Amazon has a storefront for their Amazon Basics line. If you want to see what a storefront can look at, explore the one Amazon has made here: https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/947C6949-CF8E-4BD3-914A-B411DD3E4433
Most sellers aren’t taking advantage of storefronts right now but it’s something that sellers should look at. Remember, if you’re not taking advantage of something from Amazon, your competition will.
Thanks to Rachel Greer for her insight on tools we need to be using in Seller Central. If you’d like her help with your business, you can find her at thinkcascadia.com.