My customer was thrilled once Amazon contacted him. These certainly were inviting him to establish a store on the most popular Amazon website depending on the comprehensive nature of their very own successful web site (which I am thrilled to have designed, assembled and keep him.) Since he is busy running his business, he inquired if I could take care of this task for him personally. That will include all communications using Amazon, meeting their technical requirements for providing content by using their particular proprietary applications, in addition to testing and upload of their store right through to successful execution.
First hurdle to clear involved my Ecom Income blueprint working on a Mac. It appears that Amazon’s software, called the Amazon Seller Desktop or ASD, can not work with the Macintosh operating system. However, the Amazon technical team assured me that there were lots of thirdparty providers who could manage this endeavor for me, which would cost my client an arm and a leg, and cut me out of this picture. Since my customer’s website has more than 175 automobile accessory goods, this was no little issue. Luckily, because Apple Computer allows me to run Windows and Macintosh operating systems simultaneously, I had Windows loaded on my computer through a course named Parallels. Granted I had been not any Windows expert, nor aficionado, but I always go with the premise which I will persevere if I simply keep my nose to the grindstone.
My Amazon tech support team contact had never worked together with someone in my situation previously, so she had no idea whether the software she’d send me will be in a position to be set up. But we agreed to give it an attempt.
Fast forward two months and over a hundred products after, I used to be able to put in and then utilize the ASD to offer the descriptive content, the appropriate visual formats, and the countless of search terms, the SKU numbers, manufacturer attributions and price information needed to populate the various fields required for every object to be sold. Most the content is then displayed on the Amazon website within a normal format so all stores look equally in demonstration.
However, there is yet another aspect to supplying advice, which unless managed correctly, could avoid inclusion of important seller data, such as shipping and returns policies, tax info, seller contact and background. This involved the Amazon Seller Central internet site where all store data and inventory is comprised and managed by respective storekeepers (or some one similar to myself) with something called a “release date” This is an extremely awkward functionality that has been perplex me even with having mastered it that a few times only to have to reinvent the wheel each time I’m faced by it as an obstacle. Illogically, it requires that you must have a release date set up sometime in the future before you are able to release current information as of a recent date, that will be centered on Pacific time (while I’m on Eastern time). And, it is imperative that you have selected the suitable release date from a dropdown menu before editing or adding content into the many categories governed by this system or it won’t take effect when you expect. (How often have I spent a number hours editing and correcting information simply to realize I had not selected the correct release date first and had to start all around!) Anyway, when you’ve done this a couple hundred times, I am convinced it has a snap. However, for this apt college grad with years of applicable experience, I find the whole discharge date concept to be boring and unnecessary. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Trial and error is really a great teacher but certainly a time waster in this case.
But forging right ahead, I am next informed by Amazon of a brand new department needing to be added into my ASD applications which is important to re sell our products for the Amazon automotive “Partfinder” internet search engine. After a few of flawed attempts at setup through no fault of my very own, we’re finally successful in appending to my ASD the newly developed “application” applications.
Supposedly, inclusion of this data in conjunction with the rest of the data supplied will assure our products have the ability to be found whenever someone uses the Partfinder Search Interface from the Automotive part of the Amazon site. If only this were true! While a scant number of our products can be found by employing the Partfinder Lookup tool, the vast majority of our services and products aren’t included, but maddeningly and mysteriously, the ones of our rivalry are all!
It is not to say that the primary search engine Amazon is not just a robust and efficient tool. It’s! All our products may be found using this tool. It is the Partfinder tool that’s deficient and has continued to frustrate me, my client and the technical team in Amazon for many, many months. There are a lot more than a hundred distinct entries within our Amazon case log regarding the issue on the previous 14 months. All these are communications using technical and liaison staff who supposedly work behind the scenes to deal with this issue, though I am never allowed to talk about the issue with anybody of some proficiency directly. And some of these written notes thanking me “once again because of my own patience” originate from people who have very strange names, that leads me to believe that much of this work might be outsourced to people of countries I may not know about, or another planet for that issue! I have had long telephone conversations with engineering agents from Amazon’s staff, without avail. Nobody appears to understand some of our services and products are accepted and others are not, all fulfilling exactly the exact pair of formats and parameters to satisfy each of system requirements.
Obstacle Number Four:
However, this is not the sole consternation in managing this Amazon store front experience. For instance, parameters for photo upload have shifted since the application’s inception. Initially all pictures had to be at least 300 dpi at a size of 1200×1200 pixels square. Somewhere on the way, the size was reduced to 500×500 pixels necessitating resizing and replacement of any photos about product files that will require editing or updating, and reloading into the Amazon server. Additionally, through a process of elimination, I have discovered when the name of a photo file is too much time, or if the file is saved in CMYK rather than RGB, further problems can arise, resulting in failure to upload, in addition to error codes that resist correction until you are luckily enough hitting the jack pot by trying a variety of potential “fixes” limited only by your own imagination and imagination.
Obstacle Number Five:
Then there is the difficulty of delegating transportation costs to a global market where product weights vary because of our more than 175 products; customers may sometimes prefer expedited shipping; and respective states outside the Continental United States will assign their very own individual taxes and tariffs. My client and I agreed the only sane recourse was to just offer you free shipping.
And because each product has to have its individual number, when a product can be found in an range of colors, each color must have its own file, page and SKU number, exponentially increasing the amount of work required to offer for sale a product like a painted car body trim part which is different from model, year and up to fifty variations of color!
No such fate. Alternatively I had to first research on Google the paint code of the actual color involved to discover a sample of this color needed as a way to alter the single photo I’d of this auto in one color along with a separate photo of the section in addition in only one color by “painting” each in the a number of different colors needed using Photoshop. I’m sure those who do not understand or utilize Photoshop probably think this is only push of a button. Nothing can be farther from the reality. Even masters of Photoshop, that I believe myself, spend hours silhouetting a greatly magnified image by drawing on a very precise trail on the areas of the car having color adjustment, closely excluding chrome, windowsand tires, mirrorsand wallpaper, etc. and employing one of many tools offered to bring realistic color to a subject without changing shape, reflections, shine, shadows and sparkle which would create the end result to appear “faked.” Now multiply this by fifty or sixty vehicles; then double it order to also cover the individual photo of the part itself.
Oh, and here is a nice one! On the infamous application software appendage, the most current season that I can select for several models of Subaru is 2009! When I write it, it really is August of 2010 and I’ve updated my customer’s web site with of the 2011 version information. Yet, our Amazon data remains stuck at a year ago for two of these models. And 2011 is nowhere available for any version! Don’t get me started on how upsetting it would be in order to find competitive services and products for many years while using the the Auto Partfinder! My only choice is to incorporate rich articles – very rich content – to the descriptive passages of each of my client’s product pages therefore clients who hunt using the key Amazon search engine will certainly be able to find our 2010- and 2011-suitable services and products without difficulty.
These software limits are a unfortunate situation for both the client and also Amazon alike. Many of our goods, especially the ones which somehow possess qualified for inclusion within the Partfinder, are big sellers, offering priced, terrific products and free transportation for customers, a generous commission to Amazon, and a small profit to my client. Only if the remainder of our products could be found using the Partfinder Search tool! Clients, Amazon along with also my client could be a whole lot more happy!