Categories
News

Amazon Messaging Changes – Jan 2018

[UPDATE]: We have resolved the issues with “Message without Contents”. There is still an issue with tracking email opens. We are developing a new technology for this and we’ll post here once it is released!

[UPDATE]: Email Opens are again being tracked!

——

Amazon is up to their old tricks again! Another new rollout has caused issues for all contact done through Seller Central (this is not just a Zonmaster issue).

We are seeing the following:

  1. Bugs in the Seller Central message center shows “Message without contents” – by switching to the old message interface (there is a link at the top middle of the messages page) you can see the real message.
  2. Removal of the Zonmaster tracking pixel. For now, our “Open Rate” stats are off because of this
  3. Removal of links – even to Amazon pages – that only have an image as the link element (i.e. you don’t have text inside your link)
  4. They rolled out the Customer Opt-out to non-US marketplaces. Now all customers can opt out of getting emails from sellers.
  5. Adding “[Important]” to a message no longer gets around the opt-out. I’m guessing this is because most sellers just kept on pumping out messages and putting Important in the subject line.

Some people are reporting all links are gone, but we don’t think this is true.

Obviously, these are significant changes that are affecting ALL email/autoresponder services, not just Zonmaster.

We are actively working on solutions or workarounds, as well as building out other features inside of Zonmaster.

Categories
News

Find Your Profit: Unit Costs and Inbound Shipping Costs

At Zonmaster we’re always looking for ways to improve our services to you so that you can get a better handle on your Amazon business. Whether you’re a big or small seller we think you should have access to the same kind of great tools.

As any business person will tell you, know where you’re making money – or loosing money – is vital. So we’re working on giving you better financial tools. The first step is to show you true profit on your orders. On your orders now you should see additional information that shows you fees.

Zonmaster Showing Amazon Fees On Orders

As you can see, there is a space for  Unit Costs and Inbound Costs. This information can only come from you, the seller. So, if you zip over to your items you can now see a space to enter that info. (For fun we also show some additional info about the item if it is FBA).

Zonmaster Enter Unit And Inbound Costs
Enter Your Unit And Inbound Costs

Clicking on either the Unit or Inbound cost value will bring up a popup. Just enter the value – don’t enter a currency symbol.

 

With that input, if you go back to your orders you’ll see those values populated.

 

We’ll be rolling out a bulk upload tool so you can just send us a CSV file with SKU, Unit Cost and Inbound Cost.

IMPORTANT:  This feature is still in development so some aspects may change. If you use this and experience any issues please let us know. Your feedback is the only way we can improve!

Categories
Instruction News

Finally! A/B Testing arrives to ZonMaster

I know, I know! You’ve been asking for a way to do split testing for some time! Finally we have the first stage of our solution in place.

What It Is

You can set a template to go out to all orders or to odd numbered orders or even numbered orders. Amazon pretty much splits these order numbers 50/50 and we’ve done a lot of testing – this does seem to be a good way to do the splitting. By sending one template to odd numbered orders and another to even numbered orders you can see which is more effective.

Split testing (also referred to as A/B testing or multivariate testing) is a method of conducting controlled, randomized experiments with the goal of improving a website metric, such as clicks, form completions, or purchases. Incoming traffic to the website is distributed between the original (control) and the different variations without any of the visitors knowing that they are part of an experiment. The tester waits for a statistically significant difference in behavior to emerge. The results from each variation are compared to determine which version showed the greatest improvement.

How To Use It

What we recommend is to set up two almost identical templates (you can duplicate a template by using the ‘Clone’ button when you’re viewing a template). Set one of the templates to be an ‘A’ template and the other to be a ‘B’ template.

Then change something like the subject line. Changing the subject line in one template and leaving the other alone will, then looking at the open rates, will let you see which subject line is more affective.

Or leave the subject line and change the call to action in the content of the email.

Change only 1 thing between emails – otherwise you don’t know what caused the difference results!

Where to set it

The ‘A/B Selector’ is available while editing a template.

Categories
FAQ News

All About the Amazon Opt-Out

Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) recently began blocking messages that are sent to buyers who have chosen to “opt out of unsolicited messages” from Amazon. Many sellers have come to us with questions, so we’re sharing our answers here.

What does it mean if a buyer “opts out of unsolicited messages?”

Buyers who have opted out of unsolicited messages will only receive emails with information that is critical to completing orders, including product customization questions, delivery scheduling or issues with a shipping address. As of March 31st, 2017, Amazon offers a way for customers to opt out via the emails and website.

What happens if I send emails to these buyers?

No penalty will be imposed for attempting to send an email to a buyer who has opted out of unsolicited emails. Amazon will simply block the message, and you will receive a notification that the buyer has opted out. Currently, this is the only way to identify buyers who have opted out.

What if I need to contact the buyer?

You can send messages to the opted-out buyers if you have information that is critical to completing orders. The messages should be sent directly from Buyer-Seller Messaging and the subject should be “Additional Information Required.” Sending non-critical information by this method could result in a penalty, including suspension of your seller privileges. Non-critical items include shipment confirmations, product manuals, out-of-stock notices, and feedback or product review requests.

How can I avoid sending additional emails to these buyers?

Forward the Amazon opt out notification email to the personalized email address available on your ZonMaster Dashboard. We suggest setting up an autoforward filter in your email (read more here). ZonMaster will add the buyer’s email address to the Amazon Opt Out list and never send them another email.

Can I identify buyers who have opted out of unsolicited messages?

Amazon does not currently provide this information to sellers in Seller Central or through their API. We’ll provide an update as soon as opt-out information becomes more widely available.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Categories
Instruction News

Mastering the Block – Part 2…automated

As you know a lot of people are reeling from Amazon’s changing of the rules about allowing customers to opt out of emails from sellers. Some people think that this means that you can no longer contact customers. This is not true. If you try to contact a customer Amazon will not deliver the message and will inform you that the customer has opt-ed out. They then expect you to not try to contact the customer via regular methods again.

A couple days ago (3 days after the new policy from Amazon) ZonMaster implemented the bulk blocking tool.

Now we announce another method that might be easier for you: setting up and automated rule in your email to simply forward Amazon’s notification email to us. We’ll do all the rest.

When you log into your ZonMaster account now, on the dashboard in the lower right you’ll see an ‘Additional Info’ box. In there will be a cryptic long email address. This is your personalized email address for forwarding Amazon emails. Do NOT use this address to try and communicate with ZonMaster as it is not human monitored.

In most mail systems you’ll need to verify an email address to forward to. We’ll discuss that below.

All mail systems are different, but, in general here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Log into ZonMaster and get your personalized email address
  2. Log into your email client (example: Gmail)
  3. Set up a rule. We suggest something like (again, this is how you would do it on Gmail)
    1. Match on subject CONTAINING ‘Your message to a buyer could not be delivered’ or has the words ‘buyer has opted out of unsolicited messages’
    2. We also suggest ‘archiving’ the messages so that they don’t appear in your inbox (or notify you on your phone).
    3. Forward message to your a new address
      1. In Gmail you’ll be taken to a screen to add the new address. Enter your personalized email address from the ZonMaster dashboard. We’ll get notification and email you back a code to authorize
  4. Apply to existing emails
  5. Sit back…we’ll do the blocking and blacklisting for you

It’s early days for this system. If you experience any difficulties in setting this up send us an email via the Contact Us form and we’ll do our best to walk you through it.

Categories
News

Dealing with Amazon’s Shoppers Opt Out of Unsolicited Emails

Amazon updated its Buyer-Seller Messaging system on March 28, 2017, to allow shoppers to opt out of unsolicited emails sent from third-party merchants.

You can still email shoppers asking for reviews and feedback, though. Want to make sure you don’t email a buyer who has opted out again?

Now using ZonMaster’s Bulk Order Blocker  you can paste in as many Amazon Order Numbers as you like and we’ll make sure – in one fell swoop! – that those customers no longer get emails from you. This solution is not ideal (as you still have to gather the order numbers) – it’s a stop-gap until we can implement a fully automatic system.

If you have customer email addresses you can use ZonMaster’s Bulk Blacklist tool (which we’ve had since day 1). That let’s you paste in email addresses and we’ll stop them from getting any emails in the future.

Categories
News

3 Metrics Everyone Selling on Amazon FBA Should Track

You’re selling on Amazon FBA, and you want results.

For example, when you decide to stock a new SKU, you expect orders to roll in tomorrow—not a week from now. You want to own the Buy Box for that item—not share it with a multitude of other vendors.

You’re not screwing around here!

When it comes to feedback solicitation, however, are you measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns?

Simply sending emails to customers offers little value unless there is a definable, measurable outcome. In this post, we’ll discuss the three email metrics merchants should keep an eye on, particularly when it comes to ensuring satisfaction with Amazon customers.

1. Open Rates

Remember the days before the Amazon marketplace? To measure customer satisfaction, you basically had two options: ask in person or send a mailed survey. As with any type of direct mail, most pieces ended up in the trash can. Some were opened, but you had no way of measuring success until responses arrived.

Luckily, those days are gone and selling on Amazon FBA is here. In addition to leveraging the world’s most advanced seller reputation system to collect feedback, savvy users utilize a feedback solicitation service such as our ZonMaster system (click here for a 15-day trial). Based on your preferred delivery settings, ZonMaster automatically sends feedback request emails to your customers. The emails can be customized with subject lines, SKU-specific copy and eye-catching graphics (and more than a dozen other variables) that match your company’s branding and messaging.

Once deployed, your great content and ZonMaster’s flexible timing should result in a predictable open rate. While open rates vary based on product category and demographics, top merchants tend to experience open rates between 10% and 15%. ZonMaster aggregates this open rate data and presents it in a digestible format.

 

open-rates

For each email template, users gain access to a wealth of open rate data, including:

  • The number of recipients who opened (or did not open) an email
  • Percentage of emails opened vs. unopened
  • Month by Month history for the lifetime of the email

Armed with this information, you’re ready to tackle your next challenge in selling on Amazon FBA: optimizing click-through rates.

2. Click-Through Rates

Even a 100% open rate offers little value if your click-through rate is stuck at 0% (or near 0%). To get more customers sharing their experience via the Amazon feedback system, you need to first get them clicking on your solicitation links.

By using ZonMaster, you can monitor and compare which emails are yielding the most engagement. ZonMaster makes it easy to track:

  • Click-through percentages
  • Total number of unique clicks
  • Emails with high open rates but low click rates
  • Percentage of opened emails with clicks

If you’re experiencing unusually low click-through rates (below 2% would be considered low), perhaps it’s time to make a few template adjustments. For example, you might try:

  • Testing a different email template
  • Re-positioning the placement of your call-to-action
  • Reviewing your copy for potential issues
  • Adjusting delivery and email templates rules for optimal engagement

3. Conversion Rates

For most online retailers, the word “conversion” equals a sale. This is of course true when sending a traditional email newsletter or purchasing keyword advertising.

When it comes to reputation management, most people Selling on Amazon FBA could argue that a conversion involves receiving seller feedback. Remember, the goal of feedback solicitation is first and foremost to ensure satisfaction. The natural byproduct of such satisfaction could come in the form of an Amazon feedback. If you provide an amazing interaction, ship ahead of schedule, show customers you care, then ZonMaster will take care of the rest.

As we’ve pointed out numerous times, even the most satisfied customers will only leave feedback about 5% to 10% of the time. ZonMaster helps ensure that your most satisfied customers are prompted to do so at exactly the right time.

Start Tracking Feedback Solicitation Metrics

If you’re ready to take your feedback management to a new level, it’s time you start tracking open, click and conversion rates. Sign up for ZonMaster today.

Categories
News

Make Smarter Decisions With Better Data Visibility

Big Data, Not Just For Big Businesses

Big businesses aren’t the only ones making data-driven decisions.

With the advent of open APIs and SaaS platforms such as ZonMaster, Amazon merchants are now gaining access to information only dreamed about in years past.

In this post, we’ll look at how ZonMaster helps you to make more data-driven decisions. ZonMaster is the market leader in giving you access and visibility to your sales data.

Match Reviews and Orders

Consumers trust the Amazon marketplace for a number of reasons. Most notably, they count on the collective genius found within millions of unbiased product reviews. Unlike traditional offline shopping that relies on smooth sales tactics and the shopper’s “gut feeling,” Amazon.com, Inc. limits the buyer’s risk by aggregating word-of-mouth referrals (or critiques) for every imaginable item.

In a similar way, merchants can also gain valuable insight from product review data. Through our interaction with our users, we consistently find that sellers use product reviews for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Determining which products to source
  • Working on SEO for private-label product(s)
  • Monitoring the popularity of items in inventory
  • Improving product quality
  • Helping suppliers improve
  • Deciding when to drop an item

Although extremely useful to Amazon merchants, product review data has historically been challenging to synthesize. While shoppers often enjoy perusing dozens of reviews, sellers aren’t interested in manually tracking hundreds or thousands of reviews for each SKU.

ZonMaster simplifies the analysis of product reviews. We do the number crunching for you. You’ll be able to see important information, such as average review rating, number of recent positive and negative reviews and much more. Sign up today and get unlimited ASIN’s matched (well, all the ASIN’s you’re selling!). We don’t like restrictions.

items-list

Dangerous Amounts of Data!

With the level of data ZonMaster provides you, you’re going to do some serious damage…to your competitors!

In addition to the brief overview about (which is all the most other platforms give you!), we dive deeeeeep!

item-1

I mean, this is a bit silly! Here is a very condensed look at a page for an item. We’ll break it down into it’s component parts.

item-2

First we give you a break down of your current ranking in all applicable categories. And you stock levels.

item-3

Complete Sales History By Month (click to get a day by day break down!)

item-4

A list of all the orders for this item, regardless of marketplace they are sold in. (ZonMaster supports global Amazon, don’t cha know?!)

item-5

Finally all your reviews.

Review Matching Helps Measure Your Impact

Taking analytics one step further, ZonMaster “matches” your orders to reviews left on the Amazon marketplace. The net result is an actionable list of customer data. You’ll get order number, customer information, marketplace and rating. If you click through to the order you even see our patented Order Timeline.

Late Email

Telling you exactly when events happened – purchase, shipment, delivery, your emails… everything!

Make the Most of Amazon Feedback Data

If you’re looking for a way to make more data-driven decisions for your Amazon business, ZonMaster is the right tool for you. Users gain access to a wealth of knowledge, presented in an intuitive, action-oriented format.

Try ZonMaster today and engage more customers, stay ahead of shifting consumer preferences and grow your bottom line.

Categories
News

[News] Amazon Brand Gating – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

As most of you Amazon sellers know, Amazon is implementing tighter control over the selling of recognized brand names on their platform.

Here’s what we officially know:

  • Amazon will start charging new sellers a fee to register to sell a brand
  • These sellers will need to register their authorization to sell the brand
  • The one-time fee will (normally) range between $1,000 and $1,500

Here’s the important bit: the fee applies to NEW SELLERS only (at the moment). This is direct from an email the Amazon spokesman Erik Fairleigh sent to CNBC:

“If a seller is already selling brands on Amazon that are now subject to a fee, they are not required to pay the fee to continue selling those brands. The fee only applies to new sellers of particular brands. Sellers can see whether a product requires a fee to sell when they search for that product using the “Add a Product” tool on Seller Central.”

So, if you want to START selling Nike shoes you’re going to have to pay. If you did it before, though, you can do it again.

Who Wins?

There are 2 big winners that we can see

  1. The Customer! The whole reason Amazon is doing this is to ensure that when the customer buys a Nike shoe they are getting a Nike shoe. No one can – or should – complain about a marketplace that is looking out for customers.
  2. Private Label Sellers. Private Labelers Win Again! If you’ve been following the ethos of selling Private Label goods (which you probably have, as you are reading this on ZonMaster.com, which is aimed at helping private label sellers get the best from their work). There might be an extra bonus here, if Amazon decides to fight counterfeit goods even of smaller sellers.

Who Loses?

Sadly some people will take a hit. Especially Arbitrage and Liquidation Sellers. Amazon isn’t really helping matters by not publishing a complete list (though, as stated above, it’s pretty easy to find out if a product is subject to a fee).

I’ve read other places saying how it is worse for the consumer and Amazon. This is not true. As I said, the consumer gets a huge boost in consumer confidence, which means they have a huge boost in the confidence of Amazon. Losing a few sellers – either because they can’t afford the fee, or can’t get the authorization to sell – is NOT going to hurt the consumer and it will not raise prices. Sorry, it’s true.

If you want to read more, there’s a great article over on CNBC. Please don’t trust public discussion forums as a source of reliable facts about this. A lot of people are screaming, but mostly because it affects their arbitrage business.

Categories
News

[News] Beginners Plans, Beginners Prices!

At ZonMaster one of our goals is to bring these sales-boosting services to people just starting out selling private label goods via Amazon FBA, when you need it most.

So today we’re announcing two new plans.

Mini Plan $6.99/month

  • 500 Emails Per Month
  • Full Access to all ZonMaster features like Seller Feedback triggering, Review Matching, Pre-Made Mail Chain Templates, etc etc.

Mini Plan + Attachments $9.99/month

  • Same as above, but with file attachments available on your emails!

With these new plans we give you a chance to do all the sophisticated emailing that the big boys do, at a fraction of the price. When you’re ready to move up to a bigger plan, you just move up. No problem!

These plans offer the best value of ANY Amazon Seller auto-responder/Customer Relationship Management tool on the market with features that rival any of our, erm, rivals! We also offer unparalleled customer service.

You will not find a better, cheaper, AND more effective way to improve your Amazon business that you’re starting up than these plans on ZonMaster.