1. Calling all Sustainable Startups! Applications for the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator are open…
If you’re an early-stage startup with a strong sustainability focus, Amazon’s 3-month, equity-free and expert-driven Accelerator programme could be for you.
Created in collaboration with sustainability innovators EIT Climate-KIC ( Europe’s leading climate innovation hub) and WRAP (UK-based NGO recycling leaders), the programme has been designed to give startups the support they need at the right time to nurture growth and impact.
Now recruiting its second cohort, the programme is open to applications from young startups who are focused either on:
Startups working on eco-friendly, climate-positive consumer products. You should be past prototyping stage, and have some production capacity. Your product/s should be demonstrably more sustainable than existing products, such as being made with more recycled or upcycled materials, made with reduced carbon emissions and/or helping consumers reduce, reuse or recycle. Product participants will work with the Amazon Launchpad team to help them refine their business strategy and help them scale.
Startups tackling the industry’s recycling challenges with technologies that help create a more circular economy. Ideal types of solutions include advanced sortation tools, waste management data systems and innovative recycling capabilities. Again, you should be beyond prototyping phase. Your tech should aim to help the recycling industry take a leap forward, whether through yet-to-be-solved recycling challenges or offering a significant improvement to existing tools and/or systems.
What are the benefits of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator Programme?
Tailored, expert-led learning
A bespoke curriculum covers a range of topics, from early-stage fundamentals to e-comm and recycling-specific sessions.
Learning is delivered in a variety of ways, including workshops, bootcamps and expert speakers.
Weeks 1, 6 and 12 must be attended in person, but the remainder is hybrid online/in person (subject to Covid-19 restrictions).
Expert mentors from the world of startup growth, climate innovation & sustainability, e-commerce and recycling.
Financial Grants and Support
- A £10k cash grant (equity free)
- €/£500 Sponsored Amazon Ads credits
- USD$25k AWS Activate credits
Additional Benefits include…
- 3 months office space at Amazon HQ London (Shoreditch) or Berlin
- Peer learning and exchange with a community of like-minded founders
- 1 year’s free access to Amazon Launchpad, the one-stop shop for “unique and unexpected finds from outstanding startups”
- A Climate Impact Assessment that evaluates the potential climate impact of your product/tech, helps you develop the strategies you need to optimise your sustainability and guides you to receive external validation
Does it work?
Let’s look at last year’s participants.
The startups in the inaugural round raised more than £4.5 million, and boosted their sales both on and off Amazon by an average 250%+ after they completed the programme.
So we’d say yes!
Mark Rushmore, co-founder of UK-based participant SURI, says the Accelerator offered “enormous value”.
SURI, which designs, manufactures and sells reusable and repairable toothbrushes with replacement heads made from plant-based materials, grew from “zero revenue to significantly over £1 million in a short period.”
Wow. So how many businesses are chosen?
Of 1,300 applicants last year, 12 brands were chosen – including 9 from the UK and Ireland.
This year, they’re looking for between 12-15 businesses.
I think we’re a good fit for this. What next?
The closing date for entries is 17 March 2023.
Want some expert guidance for your application? Click here to contact our team of Amazon specialists.
2. Great news for Sellers of customisable products, as Amazon says they are no longer eligible for returns
As of the 15th February 2023, Sellers of personalised items everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief with the news that Amazon has banned customers from returning their customised products.
The ban does, of course, make perfect sense – after all, how often can a Seller re-sell those items?
And also, where else can a customer return a product they’ve personalised?
We know it can be difficult to accept returns of customised products as they may be hard to reuse or resell. This policy makes it clear to customers that their customised product purchases are final and saves you from manually authorising returns requests.Amazon
And yes, the ban does cover all three Amazon custom categories:
- Text customisation – where a customer adds their own text using their choice of colours and fonts
- Image customisation – where a customer uploads their own image to use on a product, and can also add their own text
- Product configuration – where a customer builds their own product from the list of options a Seller offers via Seller Central
3. As Amazon chop more 1P Vendor accounts, it’s time to go Hybrid…
It’s not the first time Amazon have purged Vendor accounts, and now another mass account closure is in progress.
Amazon have informed multiple 1P sellers (those selling first-party with Amazon Vendor accounts) that their contracts are set to expire, and that they plan to only keep Vendor relationships that are direct with brands.
As a part of a procurement policy implemented at a European Level, Amazon has decided to focus on sourcing brands directly from brand owners. As a result, we hereby inform you that we will stop sourcing all products from you, starting on [various dates]. We remain at your disposal to discuss the above with you, and if you have any questions please reach out to Vendor Support through Vendor Central. You still have the opportunity to sell these products to customer directly on our store through Amazon Marketplace, as a third-party seller. If you do not already have a Seller Central account you can get started by talking to a team member directly here.Amazon EU SARL
Who is affected?
The biggest losers are those who act as agents or distributors for brands.
To continue to operate, they will have no choice but to go from being 1P Sellers to 3P Sellers.
Why are Amazon doing this?
Basically, it’s worth more for Amazon not to sell directly.
Amazon reportedly make about 5% on direct sales and about 10% after costs on products sold by Merchant – and 3P business is bigger and growing faster than Amazon Retail with Amazon Vendors, with Amazon Merchants now supplying 50%+ of the products for sale.
Driving similar growth through the Amazon Retail model has proved expensive and not very profitable at the same time.
Buying direct from a brand also reduces Amazon’s upstream supply chain costs, by cutting out both transportation costs and distributor margin.
Good news for Merchants then, right?
Not necessarily. It’s possible we’ll see more Brands becoming active themselves, registering with Amazon Brand Registry so they can control the supply of their own goods.
Direct selling could mean they limit the competition to only authorised distributors and retailers.
If that’s not you? Then you could miss out. It’s time to begin watching your sector with a hawk-like eye.
I’m a 1P Vendor. What should I do?
It’s time to go hybrid! Open an Amazon Seller Central account and start selling as an Amazon Merchant.
Even if you’re not caught in this round of cuts, it looks like the writing is on the wall…
Want some expert guidance on your next best steps? Speak to our specialist team today.
4. Amazon reduces the window to claim New Seller Incentives
If your brand is new to Amazon or you’re expanding into new markets and you think you would benefit from the New Seller Incentives on offer, don’t hang around!
Amazon have announced that they are shortening the window for you to claim New Seller Incentives from 1 year to just 90 days, with the change taking effect from 1 March 2023.
What even are these New Seller Incentives?
Aimed both at new Sellers preparing to list their first products and existing Sellers expanding into new markets, the New Seller Incentives programme can offer eligible brands benefits worth more than £40,000, including Amazon, FBA and Vine voucher credits.
The full list is:
- Get 5% back on your first £800,000 in branded sales
- Take £80 off inbound FBA shipping using the Amazon Partnered Carrier program
- Out-of-country sellers take £160 off fulfilment fees using Amazon Global Logistics
- Get 90 days free storage for 50 units plus 180 days free removals with Fulfilment by Amazon
- Get £40 credit for Sponsored Products CPC ads
- Receive up to 2000 free Transparency codes (£80 value)
- Enrol one product in Vine for free for up to 30 trusted reviews (£160 value)
What markets do the Incentives apply to?
They apply to the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the US and Japan.
What’s the change?
For new Sellers who list their first buyable ASIN on or after the 1st of March 2023, the eligibility window to access New Seller Incentives benefits will drop from 1 year to 90 days, and transparency credits will no longer be available.
Unsure if this affects you, or how to claim your benefits? Speak to our experts now.