As Amazon closes down the Smile charity programme, we look at alternative ways for Sellers to do good

The decision by Amazon to shut down its Smile charity initiative is a sad one, with thousands of good causes set to lose much-needed funds they’ve historically generated through the philanthropic programme.

But, for brands still seeking a way to have a positive impact through their Amazon activities, there are other ways you can keep making a difference.

We take a look at two…

The FBA Donations Programme

All FBA Sellers are automatically enrolled in it but, if you don’t know what it is, the Amazon FBA Donations Programme allows you to donate overstock and/or returned product to people in need.

The process is simple – you manually opt into the scheme at a level that works for you, and Amazon handles the shipping and processing of donations to their extensive network featuring charities like Barnardo’s and Age UK for a small removal fee – a brilliant way to reduce waste, save money spent on accrued storage fees and support great causes.

And the programme really does help those who benefit from the donations – in 2021, for example, products reached more than 250,000 people every week.

“The programme is huge for us,” says Sonja Green, Head of Gifts in Kind (GIK) & Recycling at Barnardo’s.

“The income we make from Amazon donations can be put to where it’s needed the most – for example, with this extra income we’ve been able to set up a helpline for people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine and coming over to the UK.”

Sellers might even get a tax relief benefit too.

Amazon provides all participants with a donation certificate at the end of each year detailing all the inventory you’ve sent to charity – so if you’re thinking of taking part, you should speak to your tax advisors to see if this might entitle your brand to benefits.

Useful links

The Climate Pledge Friendly Programme

If your products are ethical and/or sustainable already, or if you’re planning to make them more so, then looking to qualify for Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly programme is both a fantastic aspiration AND a great way to entice shoppers wanting to make conscious choices.

As we discussed in our mini-blog way back in March 2023, qualifying for the Climate Pledge Friendly badge means that you’ve achieved a good standard of sustainability for your qualifying product – either through compact packaging or by gaining a reputable external eco-certification.

And giving back with a brand commitment to the natural world can bring welcome secondary benefits too, in the form of boosted sales and margin potential – here’s just a few interesting study stats:

  • 35% of online shoppers told that they “would only associate with responsible brands”.
  • 66% of survey participants told Nielsen they would “pay a premium for goods sold by sustainable brands”.
  • 74% of customers told Trivium Packaging that they would pay more for sustainable packaging.

Useful links

So there are still ways your brand can make a positive difference – and build customer trust and brand reputation in the process!

If you’d like to speak to our experts about implementing your own “give back” initiatives on Amazon, get in touch today.

Can’t join our Amazon Vendor Mastery webinar tomorrow? We’ve got options…

Tomorrow (Thu Feb 29th) at 10am, we’re hosting our latest expert webinar, this one a panel-led deep dive into winning strategies for Vendor success on the marketplace in 2024 and beyond.

With four renowned Vendor specialists joining us, this promises to be an hour jam-packed with Vendor value as they share experiences and insights to help your brand gain mastery and thrive on Amazon.

Can’t make it? We’ve got you…

But we know that it’s not always possible for you to join our masterclasses live, so we’ve made sure we’ve got your back!

After the event, you can always…

Watch later.

Sign up for the event and you’ll be able to access it on demand at your leisure.

Read the blog breakdown.

We’ll be pulling a written summary together to publish shortly after the event, which we’ll share in a forthcoming mini-blog and on our socials – keep your eyes peeled for that!

What – and who – will you catch in the webinar?

What will be in the webinar?

New to Venture Forge events and wondering what all the fuss is about?

Well, like all our webinars, we’ve planned this one to delve deep into the secrets and the intricacies of our chosen topic – which, in this case, is unlocking advanced strategies for elevating your brand’s Amazon Vendor success.

We don’t always have a panel, but we’re delighted to say that here, we’ve gathered a real doozy of a group – with 4 seasoned Vendor veterans joining our CEO Andy Banks to impart their privileged insights and specialist knowledge.

And, as well as tuning in as they deep dive into the nuances, challenges and potential of the Vendor model right now, you’ll also get the chance to pose your own questions to our panel live, with an interactive Q&A to finish the session!

Who’s on the panel?

Joining our very own everything-Amazon master Andy Banks, we’ve got:

  • James Wakefield – the founder of WAKE Commerce, with years of experience in unlocking brand potential on Amazon Vendor Central.
  • Ant Finch – Founder of Vendor Rocket, Ant is a Vendor expert with a profound passion for driving profitable and sustainable growth on the Amazon platform.
  • Bruno Ferreira – founder of BlueDot Ecommerce, Bruno is a time-served Vendor expert with proven expertise across all things Vendor Central for brands, manufacturers and invited distributors.
  • Matt Briggs – last but certainly not least, we’ve got another brilliant member of the Venture Forge team – Matt! With 5+ years working with a multitude of clients on both Vendor and Seller Central, Matt’s well versed in driving success for clients of all shapes and sizes, from multimillion-pound consumer electronics brands to ambitious start-ups.

Whether you’re a seasoned Amazon veteran, an emerging Vendor or just on a mission to widen your marketplace know-how, this masterclass is definitely one for the diary, however it suits you to participate 🙂

Love to join us?

Will the new sales history requirements affect how you use Amazon vouchers?

From mid-March 2024, Amazon is changing the requirements for Amazon vouchers, requiring products to have a sales history in place before you’re eligible to offer a discount.

How do Amazon Vouchers work?

Easy to set up and with the potential to be very effective (Amazon cites stats showing an average sales uplift of 11%), vouchers are a simple way to boost your sales when used as part of a smart strategy.

The minimum discount you can offer is 5%, and the maximum is 50% off.

Showing your chosen discount across your product detail page and various Amazon visibility pages including the vouchers, category and peak events pages, Amazon Vouchers allow your customer to simply click on the offered saving and have it applied to their basket.

What’s changing?

From 18 Mar 2024, the majority of products will have to have a sales history – even of just one unit – that sets a “Was” price before they’re eligible to run Amazon vouchers.

Your proposed promotion price then needs to be lower than either the Was price, or the recent lowest price offered.

And why is it changing?

Think of it as the latest in Amazon’s overall drive to bring more realness, authenticity and value to the platform.

In fact, in a jokey way, Amazon’s announcement makes the point of gently dissuading Sellers who might have the bright idea of faking a sales history with purchases from buddies or coworkers – something which could (a) work out pretty costly if you’ve got multiple products to cover and (b) land your brand in hot water with Amazon if you’re rumbled.

Amazon wants to make sure discounts are legit – a brave new world where being upfront and showing off your sales track record is key for promos.

Building shopper trust is the name of the game, and this is a move that definitively waves the flag for fairness and bang for shopper’s bucks.

So we see it as a cast-iron “good thing”

It might shake up how promos need to be snagged before they go live, but, by pushing for more openness and verifiable value, Amazon is setting the stage for an era of increased value that will benefit consumers and honest brands alike.

Want our expert help to run your next promo? Speak to the team today.

4 Emerging Trends for Sellers and Vendors in 2024

In the fast-paced landscape of eCommerce, we’re seeing 4 key trends for brands to consider as we move further into 2024…

Channel surfing on the purchase path

The way we shop has changed, again.

According to ecomm platform Rithum’s recent study, almost everyone (three in four, to be exact) checks out three different marketplaces before making a purchase.

Amazon continues to enjoy substantial trust at 42% – and there’s also a noticeable move towards direct-to-consumer sites (34%) and other private marketplaces (21%), so we’d suggest that a robust seller strategy that explores channel diversification, marketplace advertising and social media commerce is key.

Make FOMO a sales weapon of choice

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is still having a significant influence on consumer decision-making, with buyers continuing to make impulsive purchasing decisions in a bid to keep abreast of the latest trends.

How can you leverage this for your Amazon brand?

With 39% of consumers shown to purchase after seeing an ad on the marketplace, you’re well positioned to take advantage of FOMO!

Make use of the most accurate and current data available to you, and rework your strategies and campaigns to tap into the desire for exclusivity and urgency.

In-person shopping is still dropping

There’s been another visible shift towards online shopping, especially among Amazon Subscribe & Save members, with around half saying they prefer their digital subscriptions over in-person retail.

We recommend that you make crafting a seamless customer experience an absolute priority, focusing closely on your inventory management and ensuring the smoothest of transitions between subscription membership and shopping and delivery – poor service and/or frequent out-of-stocks are a big no-no in this climate.

The rise and rise of Social Commerce

We’ve talked before how Amazon are working hard to partner with leading social platforms like Pinterest and Meta – and they’re doing that with very good reason, because the integration of shoppable features within social media platforms is one of the most notable trends around right now.

The lure of the enhanced user engagement that comes from providing clickable product links, in-ad purchases, product tags, shopping catalogues and augmented reality try-ons is strong.

How can your brand put itself in a position to reap the rewards?

We’d say it’s key, if you’ve not begun already, to strongly prioritise optimising and refining your Amazon Store and product catalogues so you’re perfectly placed to provide a seamless and effective online shopping experience across all your channels, social included.

Deciding on the most viable strategies around in this landscape of rapid changes and competing innovations will be crucial for success in 2024 – click here to get our team of experts on board for maximum impact!

Looking to maximise any of these opportunities for your marketplace business? 

Click here to speak to our Award-Winning Amazon Team!