Amazon invests in new seller tools, Brexit preparations, single sign-on and French digital tax

Amazon invests in new tools to help smaller marketplace sellers

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Amazon is on the move to invest US$15 billion in infrastructure, programs and people to launch tools on its marketplace this year. Since the start of 2019, Amazon has launched 150 tools and services to help marketplace vendors grow their sales on Amazon, including investments in its delivery network, data centers, AI research and robotics areas.

Some of the recent additions to Amazon’s seller toolbelt include fulfillment and inventory tools, app store and third-party tools, pricing management tools and business reports and analytics tools.

According to Amazon, marketplace vendors accounted for 58% of Amazon sales in 2018. This comes as no shock as 52% of 165 retailers surveyed stated that their business was growing on Amazon, compared with only 23% who said they were growing on eBay and 22% on Walmart Inc’s marketplace.

Prepared for Brexit?

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As we start the countdown to Brexit (less than 9 weeks) there is still great uncertainty about what it will actually mean to UK-based businesses in the event of a trade deal or a no-deal exit. A no-deal Brexit could mean disruption to borders temporarily and this would have a tremendous impact on the movement of goods between the UK and other European countries.

So if you’re selling in Europe through a warehouse in the UK, to ensure continuity of flow of sales and products after 31 October 2019, you may need to seriously consider another source of fulfillment outside of the UK. More extensive continuity plans for sellers include opening an Amazon seller and VAT account in an EU country to make sure you can continue selling in Europe without any blockages.

At this point, it’s still unclear as to how Amazon sellers will be affected, but with time ticking, it not too late to make contingency plans for whatever the outcome.

Amazon single sign-on to help sellers manage cross-regional accounts (US)

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Amazon has announced a new feature, Amazon single sign-on (SSO) aimed at supporting how marketplace traders manage their cross-regional accounts with one credential on Amazon Seller app. The move is focused on enabling US sellers with cross-regional accounts to operate their marketplaces and linked accounts with any set of account credentials.

Whilst in isolation this is a minor change, it is another example of Amazon adding features which will simplify and accelerate the management of multiple storefronts.

Amazon passes French digital tax onto Marketplace sellers

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Amazon is raising the fees it charges third-party sellers in France by 3% in direct response to the country’s new 'Digital Tax' on tech companies. The tax was designed to help smaller companies better compete with tech giants like Amazon, but the fee hike on sellers appears to have the opposite effect.

France passed the digital services tax last month despite opposition from tech corporations. It applies retroactively, starting in January 2019, to tech companies with revenue of more than €750 million, with at least €25 million generated in France. Those companies are required to pay 3% of sales made in France.

So if you are selling or planning to sell on Amazon.fr, carefully review your fees and pricing to take account of these additional fees.