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Amazon has new resources aimed at addressing an issue in its third-party marketplace: Sellers see their accounts suspended for policy violations, and don't have a chance to work through the issues.
The news: Amazon on Wednesday launched Account Health Assurance. Designed for sellers that have a high account rating, Amazon said in a message to sellers that “we will no longer deactivate your selling account as long as you work with us to resolve any issues.” There is no charge for the feature.
Implicit in this news: Amazon wants to cut down on deactivations that happen in a seemingly-automated fashion, and give merchants a chance to fix the issues before they are booted.
How it works:
- When a seller encounters an issue that would result in deactivation, an account health specialist will reach out “proactively.”
- The specialist will provide step-by-step instructions on what the issue is, and how to address it.
- Sellers must be able to be reached within 72 hours, and work with Amazon to address the issue.
Who’s eligible? This follows the release over the summer of Account Health Rating, which provides a score of 1-1000 that indicates a seller’s standing with Amazon. To be eligible for the new assurance, sellers must have maintained a rating 250 or higher for at least six months. The benefit is available in the US and Canada at launch, with other countries set to be added in the coming months.
Quotable: “As we head into the busy holiday shopping season and beyond, we want to provide Amazon’s seller community with even more peace of mind so they can focus on doing what they do best, which is creating innovative products, building amazing brands, and delighting customers,” said Dharmesh Mehta, VP of Amazon Worldwide Selling Partner Services.
Why now? Account suspension is a big source of anxiety in the third-party seller community. Not only does a deactivation cut off a key revenue stream, but Amazon’s automated tools raise the specter that it could come without warning. In fact, many outside agencies offer the service of addressing suspensions and getting reinstated for merchants, alongside advertising and help with sales. This new benefit appears to be an acknowledgement that Amazon wants to work on this issue.
Sellers’ market: This is the latest of a series of steps Amazon is taking in recent months to address issues among third-party sellers. At two million sellers, it’s an increasingly important group to Amazon’s ecommerce business. Third-party sellers account for 58% of sales on Amazon, as of Q3. They boost not only the assortment of products available to customers but also drive advertising and fulfillment services.At the same time, sellers have a growing number of choices of where they want to offer their products. Retailers like Macy’s are launching and expanding third-party marketplaces as they recognize the opportunity to add the goods of independent merchants who are responsible for their own shipping and inventory to their ecommerce offerings. Walmart has been particularly aggressive about expansion recently, sharing this week that it added 8,000 sellers and increased SKUs by 50% in the third quarter. For Amazon, steps to rein in sudden deactivations have the potential to provide some peace of mind for sellers, and cross one reason that they would reduce their business or leave off altogether the list.
Trending in Retail Channels
Amazon partnered with Hexa to provide access to a platform that creates lifelike digital images.
Amazon sellers will be able to offer a variety of 3D visualizations on product pages through a new set of immersive tools that are debuting on Tuesday.
Through an expanded partnership with Hexa, Amazon is providing access to a workflow that allows sellers to create 3D assets and display the following:
- 3D images
- 360 viewing
- Virtual try-on
- Augmented reality content
- High-definition marketing materials, including packshots and lifestyle images through AWS Thinkbox.
Selllers don't need prior experience with 3D or virtual reality to use the system, according to Hexa. Amazon selling partners can upload their Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) into Hexa’s content management system. Then, the system will automatically convert an image into a 3D model with AR compatibility. Amazon can then animate the images with 360-degree viewing and augmented reality, which renders digital imagery over a physical space.
Hexa’s platform uses AI to create digital twins of physical objects, including consumer goods. Over the last 24 months, Hexa worked alongside the spatial computing team at Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the imaging team at Amazon.com to build the infrastructure that provides 3D assets for the thousands of sellers that work with Amazon.
“Working with Amazon has opened up a whole new distribution channel for our partners,” said Gavin Goodvach, Hexa’s Vice President of Partnerships.
Hexa’s platform is designed to create lifelike renderings that can explored in 3D, or overlaid into photos of the physical world. It allows assets from any category to be created, ranging from furniture to jewelry to apparel.
A Hexa 3D rendering (Courtesy photo)
The result is a system that allows sellers to provide a new level of personalization, said Hexa CEO Yehiel Atias. Consumers will have new opportunity see a product in a space, or what it looks like on their person.
Additionally, merchants can leverage these tools to optimize the entire funnel of a purchase. Advanced imagery allows more people to view and engage with a product during the initial shopping experience. Following the purchase, consumers who have gotten a better look at a product from all angles will be more likely to have confidence that the product matches their needs. In turn, this can reduce return rates.
While Amazon has previously introduced virtual try-on and augmented reality tools, this partnership aims to expand these capabilities beyond the name brands that often have 1P relationships with Amazon. Third-party sellers are an increasingly formidable segment of Amazon’s business, as they account for 60% of sales on the marketplace. Now, these sellers are being equipped with tools that enhance the shopping experience for everyone.
A video displaying the new capabilities is below. Amazon sellers can learn more about the platform here.
Hexa & Amazon - 3D Production Powerhousewww.youtube.com