1. Coventry strikes got you thinking about contingencies? We talk backup options…
As we publish this mini-blog, the latest round of strikes at Amazon Coventry are scheduled to be underway, this time for a week.
Though Amazon have continually stressed that these strikes will have a minimal effect (the Coventry hub is a staging depot and doesn’t directly fulfil customer orders), we know some of you are concerned that action will spread elsewhere in time.
And, while we don’t know whether it will or not, it never hurts to have a contingency plan in place.
But what’s the best way to protect your Amazon business from potential strike disruption?
Let’s talk backup options.
Smart thinking now = Fast moving later
As industrial actions make the services we’ve taken for granted less secure, the best contingency planning will see you researching your backup options now so you can move quickly if it looks like your business might be affected.
You might even find that there’s an alternative option that makes more sense for some, or even all, of your products right now…
FBA vs the Alternatives
There’s no denying that Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) is incredibly convenient, with all your logistics and shipping sorted for you and only one platform to manage – not to mention that instant qualification for Prime.
But it can also be expensive, is affected by regularly fluctuating storage limits, requires you to heavily prep your items and is restrictive in terms of brand customisation and more.
So what’s the alternative?
FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) is the main alternative to FBA, where Sellers deal with their own storage, picking, packing and shipping either in-house or by using an outsourced fulfilment partner (otherwise known as 3PL).
FBM offers a lot of benefits to Sellers, from complete control over the process and your costs to making it easier to expand into extra marketplaces or platforms.
However, you do need to know your onions – or speak to someone who does.
FBM requires Sellers to have the knowledge and resources at their disposal to fulfil orders in times that match those of Amazon, and to do that year-round – or to have the right partner or partners behind them.
Fulfil orders ourselves? No thanks…
If you’re using FBA already, you’re unlikely to relish the thought of taking matters in-house unless you absolutely have to.
But there is another option that can be a “best of both worlds” situation, and that’s 3PL.
Finding the right outsourced fulfilment partner (we always turn to our fast-growing friends at Huboo) can unlock huge benefits for Sellers, whether you use them for some or all of your product shipping.
With the same kind of service as FBA, a good 3PL provider can give you back control over your costs, help you manage rapid growth more effectively and offer more flexibility for customisation, expansion and more.
So how do we work out what’s best for our brand?
As with every strategic decision regarding Amazon, we advise a WHY – IF – HOW mindset.
Some of your “Why” is because you need a fulfilment contingency plan.
But you should also think about why the other options might – or might not – work for your business.
Then think about your “If”. For example, if you used an alternative fulfilment service, how would that work best for you?
And finally your “How”; how can you put your best scenario planning into action so it’s available when you need it?
Want some expert guidance? Our specialist fulfilment team can help you identify and implement the right course of action.
2. New Report from Amazon and Planet Mark gives a voice to SMEs in the drive towards Net Zero
Leading sustainability certification firm Planet Mark and the Amazon Small Business Accelerator have joined forces to levy the UK government for better support and funding for SMEs working towards Net Zero targets.
A new report commissioned by the duo is based largely on findings from a series of recent roundtable events they hosted, in which business leaders, academics, independent consultants and industry bodies came together in Bristol, Manchester and Cambridge to offer their feedback on the challenges and barriers faced by SMEs in their preparation for Net Zero.
54% of small businesses are unaware or do not understand UK Government’s Net Zero CommitmentsSmall Business Britain
Summarising the key barriers, opportunities and innovations identified and explored at the events, the report also outlines SMEs’ policy and funding needs as they strive to become sustainable net-zero businesses.
We remain laser-focused on reaching net zero carbon by 2040 across our business, but we also have an opportunity and responsibility to lead by example, and encourage partners, such as the small business community – many of who sell on Amazon, or use our products and services – to address the climate crisis and solve the challenges of decarbonising our economy. With Planet Mark we want to help small and medium-sized enterprises overcome and understand some of the barriers they face in their net zero journeys, including better access to information and a clearer roadmap for progress.John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon
The report’s top recommendation will be music to the ears of many SME owners faced with a tricky and/or bewildering Net Zero transition, with Planet Mark and Amazon highlighting the clear need for an improved, government-backed SME Net Zero Resource Hub.
Planned as a single point of reference that’s easy to navigate, suggestions for the Hub include the provision of clear information on impactful actions towards sustainability, breakdowns of information by regions and sectors – as well as crucial funding and legislation opportunities.
Key Net Zero issue? More funding and tax incentives needed for SMEs
Among other recommendations, the report also covers the vital need to offer financial incentives to SMEs that reward them for implementing low-carbon solutions and offer help with upfront financing.
Existing suggestions supported by the report include both the environmental tax credits proposed by BIMA and/or the corporation tax reduction suggested by the IoD.
You can read the report in full here.
3. Amazon issues Compliance Updates and Reminders for Sellers in Italy, Germany and France – and don’t forget the UK Plastic Tax!
It’s not the most interesting subject in the world, but staying compliant means your products stay on sale and your account stays safe, so here goes!
Amazon have flagged updates to their compliance policies in some EU markets, with the dates each will come into force. They’ve also issued some reminders of existing legislation.
The new compliance updates are:
Compliance issue: Provide your Codice Fiscale
Comes into force: 30 June 2023
Selling in Italy? You need to add your Codice Fiscale (Italian Tax/VAT Code) to Seller Central before 30 June 2023 to avoid your Italian store account being deactivated.
To provide your Codice Fiscale in Seller Central:
- Click ‘Add a VAT/GST number’
- Select ‘Italy’ in Country field
- Enter the required information (individual selling partners enter your Italian Tax ID in the ‘Citizen ID’ field; Companies enter your Italian VAT ID in the ‘VAT/GST Registration Number’ field).
Want some help with international taxation? Get in touch and we’ll put you in contact with our expert friends at Taxually.
Compliance issue: Electrical and Electronic Equipment must comply with EPR WEEE
Comes into force: 1 July 2023
To avoid listing deactivations, ensure any Electric and Electronic Equipment you sell in Germany complies with EPR requirements before 1 July 2023 – learn more here.
The compliance reminders are:
Compliance reminder: Plastic Packaging Tax
Since 1 April 2022, UK Sellers manufacturing or importing 10 tonnes or more of finished plastic packaging have been subject to plastic packaging tax requirements levied by HMRC.
Failure to do so can result in account suspension for your UK store if Amazon receive notification from HMRC.
Compliance reminder: EPR Packaging Requirements
Since 1 July 2022, you’ve been required to ensure any packaged goods you sell in Germany comply with EPR packaging requirements to avoid listing deactivations.
If your listings have been deactivated, click here to fix your products and begin the reactivation process.
Compliance reminder: EPR Requirements
Since 1 July 2022, you’ve been required to comply with EPR if you sell certain product categories in France or your account can be automatically enrolled in Amazon’s ‘Pay on behalf’ service.
4. Miss our recent webinar, “Where does Amazon sit as part of your e-commerce strategy? Recording and Blog now available…
If you missed out on our recent webinar, fear not! We’ve got a full recording AND a blog summary available for you…
Chaired by our CEO, Amazon specialist Andrew Banks, our handpicked panel of e-commerce experts demystified and delved into the whys, wheres and hows of slotting Amazon perfectly into your multichannel sales strategy.
Specialist advice from the agency/consultancy side was offered by Andy and Nic Jones, supported with some invaluable insights from a brand’s point-of-view courtesy of James Ewens, Head of E-Commerce at FurnitureBox.
A must-watch (or read!), especially if you’re looking to expand into International markets – we’ll let James explain why!
The links you need:
Inspired and full of “what nows”? Want some expert guidance to level up your Amazon sales? Our specialists are on hand to help…