Solving Operational Issues with Amazon Vendor Central
Operational issues can be a major headache for vendors using Amazon Vendor Central, but with the right approach, they can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
Here are some tips for solving operational issues with Amazon Vendor Central:
Understand the problem: The first step in solving any operational issue is to fully understand the problem at hand. Take some time to research the issue and gather all relevant information, including any error messages or reports that may be available. Utilise the reports in the Operational Performance tab of Amazon vendor to get a clearer understanding of the issues at hand.
Research the chargeback: There are many trainings available on Amazon that detail the compliance requirements for each charge. Many relate to preparation, PO management and shipment management. Some of the common ones include:
- PO on time Accuracy - the POs were accepted with items on it, and either the items were delivered late (“not on time”), cancelled late (“down confirmed”) or not cancelled at all and never fulfilled (“not filled”).
- Carton information compliance - this relates to cartons being mislabelled or not labelled at all. The shipment failed Amazon’s receive processes, meaning either AMNZCC, SSCC or GTIN14 labels were missing. Note that PO and ASN information is still required on the carton level regardless of which method you choose. For vendors shipping pallets, you might consider using the new Single ASIN pallet method to help to print labels at the pallet level for your shipments.
- ASN accuracy - this means either the ASN was missing, invalid, or missing information such as the expiry dates for perishable products. It is worth checking your catalogue to ensure products are classified correctly.
- If you would like help with a specific chargeback type, please get in contact with KhooCommerce here
Talk to your internal team: Discuss the issues and understand the internal process. This is especially important when using a 3P warehouse who may not be 100% au-fait with Amazon’s requirements, which are usually more strict than other customers. If possible, map out the whole process flow to best understand what is happening when, and pay attention to when packages are labelled, when messages are sent, and what happens when an order needs adjusting.
Contact Amazon: If you are unable to resolve the issue on your own, don't hesitate to reach out to Amazon for assistance. Amazon has a dedicated team of vendor support professionals who can help you troubleshoot and resolve any issues you may be experiencing. However, Amazon is such a large company that the responses can be quite repetitive.
Dispute the Charges: This can either be your own action, or that of an agency you hire in to take action. Third-party service providers that do this tend to operate a no-win-no-fee model which makes the decision to use them usually quite pragmatic. You may need to upload records of proof-of-delivery and other documentation as part of this process.
Keep a record: It's always a good idea to keep a record of any operational issues you encounter and the steps you take to resolve them. This can be helpful in case you need to refer back to the issue in the future, or if you need to provide information to Amazon or other parties in the resolution process.
Integrate your systems: Using an automated system tool to manage orders and shipments, often communicating via EDI, can be a brilliant way to improve your operational compliance. These systems take some time to install but can save hours every week in manual data entry as well as improving transparency and logging of messages.
Check for updates or changes: Sometimes, operational issues can be caused by changes or updates to Amazon Vendor Central or the Amazon marketplace. Be sure to check for any updates or changes that may be relevant to your issue.
Analyse your profitability and determine if Seller or Vendor central is the correct route for you. Both are legitimate and profitable models when it comes to engaging with Amazon, but as Vendor is an invite-only programme, only vendors have the choice to look at both. You may find that using a consultancy to prepare this work for you can help to paint a clear picture of your situation and which way you should proceed. Often using a hybrid approach, or having a clearer brand strategy, is essential to maximising your profit even in spite of the charges. For some brands, factoring in the price of the charges can be sensible as part of a margin check, and there can be an “acceptable” level of charges for sales. For example, a £0.12 carton information compliance issue on a £150 product is almost negligible, and the price of re-labelling each item likely exceeds £0.12. A different company selling smaller products, however, would not be at such liberty to do this and would much rather spend the time labelling correctly.
Consider seeking outside help: If you are still unable to resolve the issue, you may want to consider seeking help from a third-party vendor or consultant. These professionals have experience working with Amazon Vendor Central and may be able to offer valuable insights and solutions. These solution providers could be on the catalogue management side, the refund and chargeback angle, or from an integration and technology perspective.