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Amazon Selling

Amazon Updates for June 2019 – Videos, Sales Taxes, and More…

Amazon released three major updates in 4 days to kick off the Summer selling season of 2019. How will these changes impact your Amazon business?

Amazon released three major updates in 4 days to kick off the Summer selling season of 2019.  

These changes are definitely going to impact sellers so I thought I would write an article about it to help keep everyone up to speed.

By the way – it’s probably a good idea to read the News section in your Seller Dashboard!  

Amazon is notorious for sneaking in big changes and announcing them with little to no warning.  

Here’s what happened:

Sales Tax Collection

On June 7th, Amazon announced that starting in June, it would be collecting sales tax for Amazon sellers for orders shipped to Idaho and New York State.  

According to Amazon, however:

Currently, services provided in New York are not included in Marketplace Tax Collection. Amazon is currently working with the state of New York to confirm the marketplace’s responsibility as it relates to services and your existing tax settings will continue for services.

Services provided in Idaho are included in Marketplace Tax Collection.

This moves the total number of states that Amazon is automatically collecting sales tax for to 10.  Be sure you check with your professional tax advisor and certified public accountant to ensure you are in compliance with all of your local, county, and state tax laws pertaining to tax collection for eCommerce transactions.  These laws differ so much, there is no “universal” code within the United States that applies to all.

And, consider signing up for an Amazon Seller-friendly service like TaxJar, which can help streamline the process of collecting and remitting your taxes.

Price Per Unit Requirements

On June 10th, Amazon announced that it will now be requiring sellers that sell US consumable products to enter “price per unit” and “unit-count” attribute data in their listings.  This change will apply to the following Consumables product types in these categories:

The change will apply to the following Consumables product types:

  • BEAUTY
  • BODY_CARE_PRODUCT
  • FRAGRANCE, HAIR_CARE_PRODUCT
  • HAIR_REMOVAL_AND_SHAVING_PRODUCT
  • LUXURY_BEAUTY
  • MAKE_UP, SKIN_CARE_PRODUCT
  • HEALTH_MISC
  • DAILY_LIVING_AIDS, DIETARY_SUPPLEMENTS
  • HEALTH_FOOD, OTC_MEDICATION
  • PERSONAL_CARE_APPLIANCE
  • SEXUAL_WELLNESS
  • BABY_FOOD
  • GROCERY

This change was designed to help improve the shopping experience for customers and bring more transparency in the marketplace for comparison shopping.

According to Amazon:

All new listings are to include the unit count attribute, which was previously optional. Unit count includes a value (unit_count, e.x. “5”) and a unit type (unit_count_type, e.x. “ounce”). The unit type will be restricted to the following units:

  • fluid ounce
  • ounce
  • pound
  • gram
  • count
  • foot (recent addition)
  • square foot (recent addition)

Data submissions without this information will fail. The scope of this change includes any product-level data submissions, whether through Excel templates, Seller Central, or XSD feeds.

Additionally, Amazon is requiring sellers that are selling US Consumables in the categories above, to require updates to existing impacted listings to include the unit_count attribute. ASINs without unit count information or with invalid values in the unit_count_type attribute will still require this information when listings are updated.

It is important to note here that any updates that do not include this information will be rejected.

New Video Upload and Management Feature

This should be welcomed news for all sellers.   Amazon announced on June 11th that it would be rolling out the ability to upload product videos to all sellers.  This feature was previously only available to vendors and to a limited extent, brand registered sellers.

What Amazon found through research was that shoppers who watched a product video on a listing page were 3.6x more likely to make a purchase than those that did not watch the video.

So it makes sense that if Amazon gave this ability to all sellers, this would increase the chance for video watching time, and therefore, increase the opportunity for sales for sellers AND for Amazon.

Now, any seller may upload a video to their product listing page!  

Amazon has listed some current and future features that will be rolled out eventually:

You will be able to:

  1. Associate a single video to multiple products
  2. Upload multiple videos for a single product
  3. Use auto-generated thumbnails
  4. Track the status of the upload process
  5. Coming soon: Viewership metrics

This new feature can be found in your seller central account dashboard menu by going to Inventory > Upload & Manage Videos

I highly recommend that you invest the time and marketing budget to develop a short (2 minutes or less) impactful video for your product.  Make this a priority for this summer in preparation for the holiday shopping season!

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