My client was thrilled when Amazon contacted him. They certainly were inviting him to establish a store on the favorite Amazon web site depending on the comprehensive nature of his very own successful website (that I am thrilled to have designed, constructed and maintain for him) Since he is busy conducting his business, he asked if I could handle this task for him. This would include all communications with Amazon, fulfilling their technical requirements for providing content using their particular proprietary applications, in addition to upload and testing of their store through to successful execution.
First hurdle to clear involved my taking care of a Mac. It appears that Ecom Income blueprint Amazon’s software, called the Amazon Seller Desktop or ASD, can not utilize the Macintosh operating procedure. But the Amazon technical team promised me that there were lots of thirdparty providers who may deal with this task for me, which would cost my client an arm and a leg and cut me out of this picture. As my customer’s internet site has a lot more than 175 automobile attachment goods, it was no small issue. Fortunately, because Apple Computer allows me to run both Windows and Macintosh operating systems simultaneously I had Windows loaded on my computer through a course called Parallels. Granted I had been no Windows expert, nor aficionado, however I proceed with the assumption that I’ll persevere if I only stick my nose to the grind stone.
My Amazon technical support contact had never worked together with someone in my own case before, therefore she’d no idea whether the software she’d send me will be able to be installed. But we consented to give it an attempt.
Fast forward two weeks and over several hundred products after, I was able to put in and then utilize their ASD to give the descriptive content, the appropriate visual formats, even the hundreds of keyphrases, the SKU numbers, manufacturer attributions and price information needed to populate the many fields required for each item to be sold. Most of this article is then displayed on the Amazon web site within a normal format so all stores look equally in demonstration.
Obstacle Number Two:
Yet, there was still another aspect to providing information, which unless managed correctly, could avert addition of important seller data, such as shipping and returns policies, taxation info, seller contact and background. This involved the Amazon Seller Central website where all of store data and inventory is comprised and managed by respective storekeepers (or somebody just like myself) using something called a “release day” This is a very cumbersome functionality which continues to perplex me after having mastered it a number of times only to have to reinvent the wheel whenever I’m faced by it as an obstacle. Illogically, it needs that you need to have a release date setup sometime later on before you can release current information at the time of a recent date, which is based on Pacific time (while I am on Eastern time). And, it is imperative you’ve selected the suitable release date out of a dropdown menu before editing or adding content to the many categories governed by this system or it won’t take effect when you expect. (Exactly how often have I spent a number of hours editing and correcting information simply to understand that I had not selected the correct release date initially and had to begin all over again!) Anyway, when you have done this a couple hundred times, I am convinced it has really a snap. However, also for this apt college graduate with years of applicable experience, I get the whole discharge date concept to be dull and unnecessary. Yet I obediently work in that which I’m presented and sincerely attempt to perform correctly, keeping my fingers crossed while I wait the time gap to determine whether my changes are gone into effect at the designated hour. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Learning from mistakes is really a wonderful teacher but a time waster in this instance.
But forging right beforehand, I am next informed by Amazon of a brand new department having to be inserted into my ASD software which is vital that you categorizing our services and products for the Amazon automotive “Partfinder” search engine. After a handful of flawed attempts at setup through no fault of my own, personal, we’re finally powerful in appending for my ASD the newly constructed “application” applications. This necessitates selections from an infinite series of drop down menus describing make of vehicle (Subaru, etc.), version of vehicle (Forester, etc.)annually or two years, and a variety of additional special choices including form of engine, transmission, and drive, etc..)
Obstacle Number Three:
Supposedly, addition of this data in conjunction with all other data provided will guarantee our services and products are able to be found when someone uses the Partfinder Search Interface from the Automotive portion of the Amazon site. If this were true! While a scant handful of our products are seen by using the Partfinder Search tool, the vast bulk of our products are not contained, although maddeningly and strangely, people of our competition are all!
That is not to say that the primary searchengine Amazon is not a powerful and effective tool. It’s! Most our products may be found using that tool. It is the Partfinder tool which is deficient and it has continued to frustrate me, my client and the technical team in Amazon for many, many months. There have been more than just a hundred distinct entries inside our Amazon event log pertaining to this problem within the past 14 months. These are communications with technical and liaison staff who purportedly work behind the scenes to tackle this problem, though I’m never permitted to talk about the problem with anyone of some proficiency directly. And some of those written notes thanking me “once more because of my own patience” come in people who have very strange titles, that leads me to believe that much of this work could be out sourced to people of countries I might not know of, or even another planet for that issue! I’ve followed all of the requirements on Amazon Seller Central to attempt to figure out this enigma myself, to no avail. I have had lengthy phone conversations with technology representatives from Amazon’s staff, without avail. Nobody appears to grasp a number of our products are accepted and others aren’t, all fulfilling exactly the same set of formats and parameters to meet all system requirements.
Obstacle Number Four:
However, this really isn’t the sole consternation in handling this Amazon storefront experience. For example, parameters like photo upload have changed since the computer software’s inception. Somewhere on the way, the size was reduced to 500×500 pixels necessitating resizing and replacement of almost any photos on product files which might require editing or upgrading, and reloading into the Amazon server. Also, through a process of elimination, I have found that if the name of a photograph file is overly long, or in the event the file is saved in CMYK rather than RGB, further problems can arise, resulting in failure to upload, in addition to error codes which resist correction until you are luckily enough hitting the jackpot by trying many different possible “fixes” limited only by your own creativity and imagination.
Obstacle Number Five:
Then there’s the difficulty of delegating transportation costs to your worldwide market where product weights vary for the more than 175 products; customers might sometimes prefer expedited shipping; and also individual states outside the Continental United States will assign their own individual taxation and tariffs. My client and I concurred that the only sane refuge was to just provide free delivery.
And because each product has to have its own individual number, when a item can be found in an assortment of colors, each color has to possess its own file, page and SKU number, exponentially increasing the total amount of work needed to offer for sale a product such as a painted auto body trim part which differs from year, model and upwards to fifty variations of color!
No such luck. Instead I had to research on Google the paint code of the genuine color under consideration to find an example of the color needed so as to alter the one photo I had of the auto in 1 color along with a separate photo of the part too in only one color by “painting” each at the many other colors needed using Photoshop. I’m sure those of you who don’t understand or use Photoshop probably think this is merely a push of a button. Nothing can be farther from the reality. Even masters of Photoshop, that I consider myself, spend some time silhouetting a heavily magnified image by drawing on a very precise path on the fields of the car having color adjustment, carefully excluding chrome, windowsand tires, mirrorsand background, etc. and then applying one of the various tools out there to increase realistic color to an interest without changing shape, reflections, shine, colours and sparkle that could create the result to check “faked.” Now multiply that by fifty or sixty vehicles; then double it in order to also address the individual photo of the part itself. Yes, even merely a push of a button, really!
Oh, and here is a good one! On the infamous application program appendage, the most current season I will select for several models of Subaru will be 2009! As I write it, it is August of 2010 and I’ve updated my client’s website with the 2011 model info. Yet, our Amazon data remains stuck at last year to get at least two of our models. And 2011 is nowhere available for any model! Don’t get me started how upsetting it would be in order to discover competitive services and products for those years when using the the automobile Partfinder! My only option is to include rich articles – very rich articles – into the descriptive passages of each of my client’s product pages so clients who search using the main Amazon internet search engine will certainly have the ability to detect our 2010- and – 2011-suitable products without a problem.
These applications limits are a unfortunate situation for both my client and Amazon alike. A number of our goods, especially the ones who somehow possess qualified for addition within the Partfinder, are big sellers, offering priced, amazing products and free shipping to customers, a generous commission to Amazon, and a small profit to my client. If only the others of our services and products are available utilizing the Partfinder Search tool! Customers, Amazon along with also my client could be a good deal more happy!