Would You Pay 42k A Year For Amazon Seller Support?


Steve Simonson joins to discuss the new opportunity for enhanced Amazon Seller Support for US$42k per year. This programme from Amazon “Amazon Market Place growth” was shared to a member of the group.

  • Covers a quick path to resolutions
  • A dedicated account manager from Amazon to work with you on your growth
  • Giving access to a variety of programmes and initiatives that other Sellers do not get

So early access is valuable?

  • Headlines Search ads, coupon codes and Amazon Store-fronts
  • But most people get access to these now
  • In fairness some people get access to Betas 6m or 2yrs ahead of everyone else

Why do Amazon make this offer?

  • To make money, let’s get this one out of the way
  • Amazon are in it to win it and a financial objective is clear
  • How do we take our game up a notch to help our high value sellers?
  • The SAM Strategic Account Management programme last year was an attempt at this but they had 100 accounts each and so was not that helpful
  • So Amazon are re-tooling to 25 accounts per SAM and better alignment to Sellers

Argument against a paid Amazon Seller Support service

  • Early access is okay but…
  • If I’m spending that much money I want protection against suspensions
  • Not legitimate claims against me but the BS ones
  • If there are false claims against me to avoid suspensions I would value this
  • To speed up resolution of problems is valuable to me also

Access to Storefront?

  • It’s nice and all but where’s the value
  • They look nice but what’s the evidence that says they are taking the business to the next level
  • Show me the data that shows that having a pretty storefront is bringing me huge monies
  • What justifies USD$42k per year

The Maths on SAMs

  • So a SAM is tasked with covering 25 Sellers
  • Each Seller pays Amazon USD$42k per year
  • That’s over USD$1million per year to Amazon
  • If they pay the SAM USD$100k per year that’s USD$900k left for Amazon
  • Not opposed to AMZ making money BUT
  • It would be good for Amazon to take that USD$900k per year to improve the Seller Central interface
  • Can’t see any value in that USD$42k for Sellers
  • Maybe building in access to the ‘Performance Team’ that would be of more value to Sellers

Early Access Advantage – Amazon Seller Support

  • Bear in mind that Storefront, Coupon Codes and Headlines Ads was mentioned in the Amazon briefing on this but these are just examples of where Sellers have had early access before
  • There are other initiatives and programmes in Amazon and in Beta that we don’t yet know about

Seller Performance is a Black Box

  • The performance management of Sellers is still a black box
  • It’s very tough to break in there
  • Tangible examples of Sellers being able to pick up the phone to their SAM and getting things done faster which is worth a lot
  • Active and on-going efforts in Storefront, Coupon Codes, Ads and a massive team working on improving these categories
  • 13 storey building in Seattle that houses the Seller Experience team all about enhancing the experience
  • Meeting with the Amazon Development Team looking to make the Seller Central experience better
  • Not a question of Amazon saying they are only going to do one thing
  • How can they do something meaningful and tangible in a ‘test’ way and then scale it
  • For a big-Seller doing USD$1m a month on Black Friday having a problem on Black Friday to fix things and calling a rep to make it all go away is worth a lot
  • There is an argument for paying extra in the right way

Pay for Black Hat tricks to be Okay?

  • You don’t just want people to think they can pay USD$42k per year and just go ahead and do black hat tricks and get away with it
  • This is not what Amazon are offering by the way

Benefits are available outside of Paying too

  • The benefits have been available to people outside of the paid programmes too
  • There are people outside of Amazon that provide suspension prevention work too outside of Amazon who have previously worked at Amazon
  • It might be cheaper to pay someone outside a retainer to help with Suspension Prevention

Can you choose your Amazon Rep?

  • Choosing your Amazon Rep for an amazon seller support service based on their level of knowledge and experience
  • You might get someone as your Amazon Rep that knows less than you do as an experienced Amazon Seller
  • They may be new or don’t understand the Seller Perspective
  • You might end up paying USD$42k for someone who can’t do much for you and you have a higher knowledge level than they do on their own core business
  • You could at least vet who you get?
  • Can pretty much guarantee that every big seller will know more than their rep inside Amazon
  • That’s how Amazon is it’s just such a big beast with hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide
  • They don’t have the capacity to be as smart as we are in our own individual domains

Lawyers or an Insurance Policy?

  • For USD$4k per month
  • If that’s an ‘insurance policy’ against black hat etc
  • They don’t want to make that promise but in practical experience it has paid off
  • If you have a problem you can pay lawyers and they are effective
  • You want to fix these problems quickly and get them out of the way
  • And these BS claims come up regularly around Black Friday and Q4 times with some competitors using BS claims against you to Amazon as offensive measures against competitors
  • And lawyers can fix them quickly
  • If your scale is big enough then maybe paying Amazon AND paying Lawyers matters to you
  • Steve doesn’t like to pay for protection against idiotic stuff
  • And advocate as often as you can Amazon put in an ‘Amber’ light rather than just having a Red light and shutting you down. They let you keep selling while they look into it rather than shutting you down.
  • Steve sees the moving in that direction.

Amazon are catching Dolphins

  • Steve painted a picture when he was in an Amazon meeting
  • They are dragging a huge net through the Ocean to catch the bad fish but are catching the good fish and dolphins in that net too
  • Amazon really got that concept and he hears them asking “Are we still catching Dolphins today?”
  • Conceptually they get it but systemically they are not there yet

Should you be using this service?

  • We’ve not rehearsed our views on this debate in advance
  • Danny has put his case forward, Steve has more info than Danny from the Amazonside that Danny has not been privy to
  • This debate from both sides is to help inform our listeners on the pros and cons and let them make up their own minds
  • Every Business makes their own choice, and Steve sees this service as potential for ROI on what you spend

Steve’s Mastermind

  • Runs a mastermind in Seattle four times a year for Sellers
  • Has a Mastermind coming to the UK soon
  • The effort of a Mastermind should be to bring members together to share practices, tactics, ideas and strategies
  • Steve ads and experiential perspective, he started in ecommerce in 2008
  • Steve has wasted millions of dollars doing this and that and learned many hard lessons
  • Going to bring an outside perspective, rather than being 100% focussed on Amazon
  • It’s to say there’s a big world out there and the better you understand it the more you can make equity and wealth
  • UK Mastermind is 22nd, 23rd, 24th March meeting in the Midlands
  • Having a fun field-trip to an exciting ecommerce company to show people here’s a company with 80+ people, a big call-centre and warehouse and doing zero business on Amazon

Contact Steve

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