Amazonian vs. Amazon Expert
I’ve become a better Amazon account manager since leaving Amazon. I’m trying to think of reasons why. Is it because I care about my clients more because they are ‘my’ clients and their success is my success? Is it because I’m continually seeking the latest information of global changes on Amazon’s Seller and Vendor platforms – will the latter even exist in a years’ time for example? Is it financial – I received a fixed salary at Amazon and they lobbed me free shares (gutted I don’t have them anymore) but I’m not guaranteed anything each month from The Listing People?
Let’s look into it a little more.
When you first get that call/email from an Amazon account manager, as a business owner, you should be a bloody happy individual – probably trotting home via (insert supermarket – probably Lidl or Aldi these days) and get yourself something to celebrate. They are full of promise of how they’ll use their internal presence/knowledge to help boost your online sales – great.
Example: I worked in the following teams at Amazon; FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon), SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime), Pan-EU FBA (Pan-European Fulfilment by Amazon) and Amazon Business. Many account managers also have specific tasks/projects like boosting Sponsored Product uptake – self included.
What does all of this mean for you as a business though. It ultimately means that you are part of that Amazon employees target. That could be enrolling into FBA and counting for 1 launch of their 2 that week. It could be generating ‘£xxxx’ from Pan-EU and counting for 30% of their Pan-EU revenue target – quite often their interest is focused on one particular area, and their knowledge may do too.
You may bag yourself an SFP account manager, but if you then lose a large chunk of your SFP eligible inventory, the likelihood that account manager no longer has any interest in you because you can’t do anything for them. Not only this but when you start to ask about other areas, they aren’t really that interested in helping because you’re not a whale and there is no incentive to help you with FBA, sponsored products, lightning deals – they may also not be well informed about other areas.
External account managers, however, they are continuously seeking out new information to help give their business a competitive edge over other consultants. Their spectrum of Amazon understanding can often be greater than that of an internal. Whether this be Amazon US restructuring, how reviews are displayed on listings or picking up on rumours that the Vendor business could be fading out. They’re able to offer unbiased advice to businesses as they’re less likely to have an area specific target (‘x’ number of SFP launches), they simply want to appease the client in order to get that next pay cheque.
Example: The endless debate of which is better, Seller or Vendor.
3P (3rd Party) or Seller Central account managers will subtly devalue the Vendor proposition on the phone to clients, arguing that Seller is far superior if they want to have more control over their brand, pricing etc. On the flip side Vendor managers will do exactly the same, making brands feel important as they’ve personally been selected to build a partnership with Amazon, can access better tools etc. On both sides of this fence Amazonians argue, but is the businesses best interest sometimes overlooked to get launches/revenue towards a target – perhaps. An external account manager will give an unbiased opinion as they want what’s best for the client, not their own agenda.
Internal/Amazonian: If you are a whale and are going to bring in some big money, then you’ve got the interest of an account manager and they’ll bend over backwards to help with everything from suspensions to listing support. Alternatively, if you can grab yourself a new Amazonian, sure you don’t quite get as good a service as one of the Alphas, but you do get great enthusiasm and a quick response to your emails.
They want to impress their manager, they need the numbers and they probably still have their phone plugged in. With either of the above you’ll get lots of juicy perks, like early Buy Box eligibility, access to the latest products/programmes and a plethora of handy tricks of the trade.
External: Unbiased advice, quick responses and an all-round enthusiasm to help your business succeed in every area possible on Amazon.
If you can get an internal, fantastic, keep hold of them. If you aren’t so fortunate then external consultants, good ones anyway, can fast track you to success on the worlds biggest marketplace. Ideally you could do with someone that’s been both.