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Updated May 30, 2019: Brands that use Vendor Central missed POs and went through a whirlwind of rumors in early March 2019. Confusion lingered on for several weeks with minimal communication from Amazon. However, several MPS clients received emails encouraging them to enroll in Brand Registry. The language used in these emails implied brands had to be Brand Registered if they wanted to use Vendor Central moving forward. After all this panic, POs resumed and the news went quiet. Continue reading to learn why brands on Vendor Central still need to have a plan and prepare to move to Seller Central.

move to Seller Central

The Latest in Amazon’s Efforts to Cut Costs and Expand Product Selection

Early Tuesday morning, as brands returned from a long weekend, Bloomberg released a story resurfacing what we have dubbed the “Great Amazon Panic of 2019.” The news comes on the heels of Amazon suspected goal to increase profitability by redirecting its wholesale strategy to prioritize bigger brands. Reports imply this change in strategy could drastically change how brands operate on Vendor Central or eliminate the option altogether.

Amazon responded to Bloomberg's report on Twitter, "We informed Bloomberg prior to publication of their article that their sources and story are wrong. We review our selling partner relationships on an individual basis as part of our normal course of business and any speculation of a large scale reduction of vendors is incorrect." At any point, Amazon could decide a "purge" of smaller suppliers is the best road to profitability.

Nothing is certain, but it’s important brands have a plan in place to protect themselves, especially as the holiday season approaches.

Make Sure Your Brand is Enrolled in Brand Registry

Brands can enroll in Brand Registry in three simple steps. First, brands have to align with certain eligibility requirements, like having a registered trademark.

Here’s a list of information needed to enroll, as provided by Amazon:

  • Your brand name that has an active registered trademark.
  • The associated government-registered trademark number.
  • A list of product categories (e.g., apparel, sporting goods, electronics) in which your brand should be listed.
  • A list of countries where your brand’s products are manufactured and distributed.

Once your brand meets the requirements, sign in to Amazon Brand Registry and enroll.

Amazon Brand Registry allows brands to protect themselves with exclusive tools. In addition, earlier this year, Amazon Retail said it prefers to source products from brand owners. Enrolling in Brand Registry is the first step to ensure your brand is ahead of the game when Amazon announces any significant changes that may force mid-sized brands to the third-party marketplace.

Prepare to Move to Seller Central as a Backup Plan

If your brand operates within Vendor Central, preparing to move to Seller Central is the second step to secure a backup plan. Be sure to upload your full catalog of active ASINs from Vendor Central to your new Seller Central account. Once your catalog is established on Seller Central, it’s also recommended to begin to duplicate advertising campaigns, coupons, and promotions, should a forced transition occur.

With a backup plan in place, your brand can continue to operate in Vendor Central and focus on sales velocity. Then, when Amazon is ready to make a shift, your brand will be too.

Although brands using Vendor Central started to receive POs again, it seems likely Amazon will make a more impactful purge of vendors. There is no timeline for an official announcement, but the latest headlines reinforce the need for vendors to be prepared.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us in the meantime with any questions. We’re here to help.

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