Have you received an email from Amazon alerting you to the fact that you MAY or MAY NOT meet the criteria to sell toys on Amazon this Q4? Amazon starts sending this email out to all registered sellers starting in August, and they continue to sell it through the year.
It is a pretty scary read for many sellers, and we often get inundated with panicked sellers in our Amazon Boot Camp community that are wondering if they will qualify to sell toys or not in the fourth quarter (q4) on Amazon. I mean, imagine selling in Q4 and NOT being able to sell TOYS.
The email is intended for sellers who are considering Merchant Fulfilling in Q4 (a strategy that we DO implement in Q4), whether they’ll do so for everything or whether they’ll do it alongside FBA. So if this is something you’re considering, listen up!
Amazon points out that eligibility for selling Toys & Games is determined separately for each country and that if you sell in multiple marketplaces, your accounts will be evaluated for each country.
We do both FBA and Merchant Fulfilling, using Merchant Fulfill mainly to sell items as late in the season as possible (in December, particularly, when it’s too late to ship items into an Amazon warehouse but while sales are still high).
Things get over-the-top crazy and hectic in Q4, particularly from about mid-November on. And Amazon wants to make sure that those who want to Merchant Fulfill Toys - by far the most popular category - have a track record of being a great Amazon seller.
This makes sense. Amazon doesn’t want to entrust order fulfillment at the busiest time of year to a flood of sellers who have never successfully sold on its platform.
Imagine the damage to Amazon’s reputation if there were a significant number of products being delivered that were of questionable quality or with damaged packaging - or worse yet, not arriving in time - to stressed-out customers who are trying to find that perfect gift with only days left to do so.
Customers wouldn’t remember the third-party seller who shipped the item. They would only remember that it came from Amazon.
What You Need To Know In Order To Sell Toys On Amazon In Q4
Understandably, Amazon wants to perform its best when the stakes are highest. So they created some requirements for those who want to play the Q4 game.
However, the email usually results in some confusion among new FBA sellers (actually all FBA sellers) who are not sure whether they’ll be able to sell toys.
Here’s a key takeaway: If you sell FBA and only FBA, you can ignore the email entirely. You’ll be able to sell Toys without a problem, whether you’ve sold your first item yet or not. Because these guidelines are set in place for Merchant Fulfilling Sellers.
Because Amazon handles fulfillment, it knows the items will have been inspected when they arrived at the warehouse, will be prepped and packaged to its specifications, and will be delivered on time.
If you do want to Merchant Fulfill at all during the Fourth Quarter, then the email is for you. But don’t worry, it still isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
If you haven’t sold anything on Amazon yet, you still have time to qualify to merchant fulfill toys, though you will need to act soon. If you’re still wondering how to get that first sale, read our Beginners Guide For Starting An Amazon Business.
One thing I want to point out for anyone NOT YET selling on Amazon…
In 2016, Amazon shut the doors to new sellers right before Q4! Sellers were planning to start in Q4 and then were not able to even create seller accounts and had to wait until the new year to get started.
If Amazon does the same again for 2017, make sure you are ready and have your Amazon seller account open and items selling ASAP.
And while you are at it, sign up for our Amazon Boot Camp and get the basics figured out prior to Q4. Time is running out, so don’t waste it trying to piece together all you need to know in order to be a successful Amazon seller!
Alright, so here are the two most important bullet points from the email:
- Your first sale on Amazon.com must occur prior to September 15, 2017. The sale does not need to be specific to the Toys & Games store.
- You must process and ship at least 25 orders from September 1, 2017 through 31st October, 2017. The orders do not need to be specific to the Toys & Games store.
This is good news. This criteria is very reachable: You need to have made your first sale by Sept. 19, and then sold 25 items in total by Oct. 31.
Don’t get thrown off by the phrase, “You must process and ship.” You do NOT need to Merchant Fulfill 25 orders during that time frame. Your sales can be 100% FBA or a combination of FBA and Merchant Fulfilled.
This is the MOST confusing thing about the email! Many sellers panic thinking they will not be able to sell toys unless they start merchant fulfilling right now. Not the case!
The point is that you’ve made a minimum number of sales and have proven yourself a trustworthy seller. Again, those sales can be ALL FBA and still grant you entry into Merchant Fulfilling during Q4.
Hint: If you have already started selling on Amazon FBA, you should have NO PROBLEM qualifying to sell merchant fulfilled toys in Q4. If you don’t end up meeting the criteria, you can STILL use the FBA program to sell toys in Q4. So you are good to go my friend!
3 More Qualifiers To Selling Toys & Games On Amazon In Q4
Amazon has three other requirements, and points out that these do NOT refer to orders that use FBA:
- Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate for the period from 1st October through 31st October, 2017 must be no greater than 1.75%.
- Your late shipment rate for the period from 1st October through 31st October, 2017 must be no greater than 4%.
- Your order defect rate must be no greater than 1% short term as of 1st November, 2017.
In other words, Amazon wants to make sure that if you Merchant Fulfill, you have done so successfully. They want to make sure that sellers ship on time, don’t have a bunch of returns, and that they don’t cancel orders on buyers. If you have never merchant fulfilled, then you meet these criteria pretty much by default.
If you’re unsure of your status, you can check cancel rate, late shipment rate and order defect rate in the Performance section of your seller account.
Amazon says it will provide final notification about eligibility by Nov. 11 and will start monitoring the performance and listings of sellers approved to sell on Toys & Games starting Nov. 12. Of course, Amazon already monitors seller accounts, so this is nothing to be alarmed about. This just means you will get an “official” congratulatory email stating that you can in fact sell in the Toys & Games category for the fourth quarter on Amazon.
So that’s it! The Fourth Quarter will be here before you know it. If you are ready to knock this Q4 out of the park, make sure to check out our Q4 Profits Training Materials so you are ready to rock and roll when those toys start flying off the shelves!