Inside The Lab: 2018 In ReviewCaroline Powell
It’s been quite a year for Amazon sellers. The top highlight of 2018 (in our industry) was Amazon Advertising. Coincidentally, the highlight of 2018 for Seller Labs was Amazon Advertising with the launch of a brand-new Ignite and our Managed Services department. It goes to say that, if you weren’t advertising, you probably should be.
We’re looking back at 2018 today and reviewing the year that was.. As you’re planning for 2019, maybe you’ll find something to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions for your business.
It’s All About Those Ads: Amazon Advertising Gets an Overhaul
On September 5th, Amazon changed Advertising as we knew it, consolidating it into a simple unified Amazon Advertising platform at advertising.amazon.com. We saw a rebrand of “Headline Search Ads” into “Sponsored Brands Ads” and many other changes reinforcing Amazon’s bold approach to ads.
The investment in both time and resources into consolidating Amazon Advertising is a clear indicator that you have to pay to play. Amazon is focusing even more on advertising, becoming competitive with the likes of Facebook and Google. We discussed all of this and more in our webinar, Understanding the New Amazon Advertising (and Getting Back to Basics).
The second half of our year was all about Amazon Advertising too! In June, we debuted Seller Labs Managed Services and the all-new Ignite in our effort to help you understand advertising and make the most of your budgets. Since then, our Managed Services team has grown and we have more than quadrupled on all fronts!
Here are some resources to help you navigate the brave new world of Amazon Advertising
- Webinar: Advanced Amazon Advertising: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
- Webinar: Common Amazon Advertising Mistakes (And How to Avoid Making Them)
- Blog Post: 6 Steps for Using Amazon PPC for Profitable Product Launches
- Free 30-Day Trial of Ignite, the Amazon Advertising Advantage
The Not-New New Issue: Compliance
Amazon continues to crack down on non-compliance, especially when it comes to customer reviews and communication. They’ve even published the recommendation that sellers should send no more than one email per customer order. When Amazon presented the opportunity for users to unsubscribe from receiving any third-party messages, sellers worried over the effectiveness of a system like Feedback Genius. However, if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last year, seller feedback and product reviews are more important than ever! Just be sure you’re compliant when talking to your buyers.
- Amazon Terms of Service Breakdown & Resources
- Amazon Sends a Reminder to Sellers: Follow Product Review Policies or Lose Selling Privileges
- Amazon Email Policy Change? Nope! Check Your Compliance With Existing Policy? Yes!
- Spotted on Amazon: Verified Expert Reviews
Seller Labs In The Field
Thanks to our community, we were recipients to wonderful opportunities in 2018. This year, we celebrated our 5th “birthday,” and we were named #148 in the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies. Hank Harris, our CEO, was invited to present at Venture Atlanta in October. We were also named #51 by Deloitte as one of the 500 fastest growing technology companies.
We’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit in the last year as well. From tradeshows and conferences like IRCE, Prosper, and Pubcon, to trips to Seattle to meet with Amazon for inclusion in their Marketplace Appstore for Amazon Sellers and Amazon Developer Council, we’ve certainly earned some frequent flyer miles. We get to meet with some influencers in the space and do interviews as well. These events also introduce you to new people that may become long-term friends, like Bob Schwartz whom Jeff Cohen met at Retail Global years ago!
Just a few of our guest appearances in case you missed us (okay, in case you missed us or Jeff in particular) along the way:
- Should You Be Selling On Amazon?
- Feedback Friday: Seller Labs Talks Amazon And How To Hit Big On The E-Commerce Giant
- Have The Foresight To See Where Things Are Going
- Sourcing: How To Recognize Right Steps And Red Flags
Friends of Seller Labs
Speaking of industry connections, we’ve turned the blog over quite a bit in an effort to help connect you with the experts in the Amazon space. Seller Labs can help with all things Amazon advertising, reputation management, and listing optimization, but we turn to our expert peers when it comes to things like finances, taxes, and suspension.
- How Will The Growing Freelance Economy Impact Amazon Sellers – Connor Gillivan, FreeeUp
- How To Boost Amazon Private Label Sales With A Sales Velocity Repricer – Erik Mathes, Informed.co
- 5 Essentials When Expanding Your E-Commerce Business Into Europe – Avask Accounting
- 6 Reasons Amazon Sellers Can’t Ignore The Importance Of Having A Strong Brand – Menny Hoffman, Ptex Group
- 3 Secrets To Avoiding Amazon Account Suspension – Chris McCabe, eCommerce Chris
- Profitability Will Make Or Break Your Amazon Business – Tyler Jefcoat, Seller Accountant
- Designing Amazon Storefront To Increase Conversions – Seller’s Choice
- What To Do When You’re About To Stockout – Victoria Sullivan, Payability
Awesome, right? And you’ll have the chance to see some of these thought leaders at Resonate 2019 as well.
Lightning Round ICYMI
Though it wasn’t the main story of 2018, sales tax is still a hot-button issue, especially with the results of South Dakota vs Wayfair.
Amazon made updates to the maximum allowed character count for back end search terms. Now, some characters are more “valuable” than others, so be careful. Remember, no commas! Add the search terms in order of importance. Don’t duplicate!
Amazon’s Vendor Express platform is no more as of January 1, 2019. Sunsetting of the platform started in March and will be officially done in the new year.
Like these sorts of quick info-packed nuggets? We do! That’s why every Friday, we publish In Case You Missed It, Amazon-related news that helps you stay on top of your informed-seller game. And in case you missed anything from 2018, you can search our blog or browse the ICYMI full archive.
Coming Soon in 2019
We’re so excited for everything that the new year has in store. We have some great features on the roadmap that we can’t wait to share with you.
Resonate 2019 will be held May 7-8, 2019, in Atlanta, GA, at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. Tickets are on sale now! We’re also pleased to announce the addition of a Women’s Mastermind on May 6th to kick off the event.
You can always find us at Amazon events or connect with us on social media. We love the community that Amazon sellers bring and are always looking to build our community too.
As we close out the year, we just want to thank you again for every part you’ve played in our story. 2018 has been an amazing year for Seller Labs, and we can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us all!
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