The Benefits of Selling on Amazon
Every business is unique in terms of its products, services and its long-term vision for growth and markets. Utilizing Amazon’s platform to sell a business’ products has both pros and cons to consider in determining if it is a fit with those plans.
Avoiding the heavy lifting of creating an in-house sales platform plus Amazon’s unquestionable market reach are strong arguments for its use, whereas brand dilution, weaker customer relationships, and competition from Amazon itself may be disadvantageous.
Meeting Listing Requirements
Assuming a seller decides the balance of pros and cons of selling on Amazon are in their favor, what’s next? There are a number of first qualification steps that are fairly easy to accomplish:
- Provide an EAN or UPC barcode and an SKU
- Provide detailed product and company descriptions
- Determine sales volume, prices and shipping options
- Select a product category, which may trigger additional requirements
In addition to these prerequisites, a significant hurdle for sellers that is often overlooked is navigating the extensive Amazon product compliance procedures for safety, labeling, and other market regulatory directives. Although for certain product categories product compliance requirements are minimal, many products fall under “locked” categories that require strict compliance pre-approval by Amazon before being granted a listing.
Responsibility for Product Compliance Belongs to the Seller
Any seller on Amazon is ultimately responsible for meeting all relevant safety and labeling standards plus documentation requirements for their listed products. Amazon itself does not set product compliance standards but requires traceable evidence of such compliance.
The particular standards requirements and the necessary compliance steps vary depending on the product category and the target market in which it is sold, e.g. Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, etc.:
- Safety and chemical standards
- Labeling requirements
- Lab tests
- Declarations of Conformity
Once these are established, the seller should work with their suppliers who may more easily make pre-production changes to accommodate meeting these conditions.
Can the Product Supplier Provide Compliance Data?
If the products are being sold in the country in which they are manufactured, then the supplier should already comply with relevant safety, labeling, and documentation requirements and have recent product compliance documents to share. However, it is not the responsibility of suppliers to ensure compliance of their products sold in foreign countries nor to ensure these adhere to Amazon product compliance policies.
In any case, even when suppliers have documentation, such as test results or declarations of conformity, they may not be current or may not otherwise satisfy Amazon’s documentation standards. For instance, all compliance data and supporting documentation must bear the seller’s company name not that of the supplier.
How to Discover Directives and Standards That Apply to the Product
Procuring whatever documentation a supplier has, even if it is spotty or out of date, provides a seller a foundation from which to build to meet Amazon’s compliance process.
Beyond that, if a product category has even moderate safety or other requirements, sellers likely need to consult someone knowledgeable in this area such as an attorney or a specialized consultant. Building a relationship with a domain expert is also recommended to avoid having a product de-listed or inventory destroyed by Amazon because it runs afoul of a later compliance standard changes.
Amazon Will Not Be Much Help
Unfortunately for sellers, Amazon typically provides only general guidance on what standards or directives apply to the products being listed. Often, if a seller submits compliance data or test results that are not complete, out of date or otherwise deficient in the eyes of Amazon, they will reply with a brief, undetailed message that may read something like this:
“Please provide a verifiable declaration of conformity that includes all relevant, mandatory safety standards. We do not accept your test report.”
Ensuring Successful Amazon Product Compliance the First Time
Unexpected delays in Amazon product compliance approval due to an incomplete understanding of how the process works or which standards apply can cost sellers many thousands of dollars. This is especially true if they must endure multiple trips through the procedures.
Start as Early as Possible
If compliance pre-approval is a given, sellers must start the process well before the product is otherwise ready for listing. Compliance may take weeks or even months to complete, which could easily disrupt a seller’s carefully crafted supply schedule or marketing campaign.
Even if the seller does manage an early start, first-time product compliance is a rare event without the help of compliance experts. Sellers typically do not have the necessary equipment to perform tests let alone the knowledge and experience to navigate the arcane complexities of the regulatory landscape.
Seek Help From Compliance Experts
Product compliance testing consultants, such as Testing Partners, are specialists in verifying products that are developed by or supplied to Amazon sellers are in complete compliance with any and all applicable state, federal or international regulations. They guarantee acceptance by the Amazon product compliance process. Sellers enjoy a worry-free journey that lets them traverse the Amazon product listing maze the first time through in the shortest time possible.
Avoid Amazon Product Launch Disruption Due to Compliance Issues
On Amazon, the product mix is ever-changing and growing. It is estimated that 75,000 new products are listed on Amazon every day of which many compete with one another.
Add to that a complex and in-flux product regulatory environment, and it is easy to see that delays in product listing can be detrimental to margins and the bottom line for Amazon sellers. Testing Partners hosts a Late to Market Calculator that can help quantify such losses.
Thus, it is critical for sellers to move through the product listing process rapidly, which for many means getting Amazon product compliance right on the first try. Call Testing Partners today at 862-243-2329 to learn how they can simplify and streamline Amazon product compliance for you.
This is the first part is a series of posts about Amazon Product Compliance. Check back for part 2 in the coming weeks.