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kanthg

CEO Update for Q1 2019

Posted by kanthg Feb 15, 2019

Greetings,

 

Like all of you, we have spent the last month crystallizing our plans for the year and launching various initiatives. Our goal for 2019 is to continue building on the projects we embarked on in 2018. We’re optimizing the current Monsoon software as well as building out new infrastructure and tools while dealing with marketplace mandated changes. As you can imagine balancing all these goals pose some interesting challenges.

 

Our focus for the Monsoon software this quarter is split between marketplace mandated changes and new features.

 

  1. eBay Listing Durations: By the end of Q1, the only listing duration that eBay will support for Fixed Price listings is Good ‘Til Cancelled (GTC). If your listings are already GTC, you don’t need to make any changes. For those of you with listings that are not GTC, we will be working with you to switch your eBay listings over to GTC. We’ll also be removing all listing duration options except GTC from the Monsoon UI.
  2. FBA Improvements: Streamlining FBA processes is going to be another big focus for Q1. We are in the process of improving the FBA shipment workflow, whereby you’ll specify box contents for each shipment and complete the shipment process in Monsoon. This will also allow Monsoon to track the items in each box, provide box content information to Amazon, and you don’t have to leave Monsoon to send your shipment to Amazon.
  3. Pricing: We expect to have the infrastructure solidified this quarter so that this can be rolled out to all customers and can introduce new pricing features beginning in Q2.

 

One of our biggest, exciting initiatives for this year is building out a new, and much improved, Channel and Listing Management tool. Increasing competition amongst sellers makes it imperative that you efficiently consider all the variables needed to competitively position your products on Amazon, as well as price effectively against the most appropriate competitive listings. Most importantly, the above needs to hold true whether you stock media, general merchandise, or private labels. The initial focus will be Amazon.com as this accounts for a significant majority of marketplace sales and is likely to remain so in the future. We are aiming to roll out the first iteration of this application at the beginning of Q3, and we will start reaching out to some of you at the end of Q1 to show off a sneak preview as well as gather feedback.

 

The focus of the new channel management tool in Q1 is margin optimization. This will include giving you more granular control of your price floor by allowing you to set cost of goods sold, shipping cost, channel and selling fees, and desired margin as well as to see the Amazon fee estimates at any time.

 

Lastly, we have been working with a software development partner to offer Custom Development services to you. Many of you use other applications in addition to Monsoon to manage certain aspects your business, so building a seamless integration between your applications can enable you to manage your operations more efficiently and effectively. Our custom development partner is capable, cost effective and very familiar with Monsoon, its integration points, and capabilities. A few of our customers have already utilized them with great success, so please connect with our Customer Success team if you’d like more information. A few examples of integrations they’ve built so far include integrating Monsoon with customer websites, synchronizing vendor files with Monsoon, and integrating Monsoon with shipping solutions.

 

We will continue to post updates and information on these new features and every Monsoon release in the Monsoon Community, so make sure to check them out to keep abreast of these and all other developments that could have an impact on the way you use Monsoon to grow your business. The Community itself will be revamped next month to provide you with easier access to important news and updates, so keep an eye out for more information on that front as well.

 

Happy selling,

 

Kanth

We have received reports from some Monsoon users that updating to the recent Dazzle version 18.1.11 may cause problems with shipping and/or tracking numbers not being sent to Monsoon. Endicia is aware of this, and we are working with them to determine the cause of the issue.

While we are working to resolve the issue we have found the following workaround to be the best option in printing postage, getting tracking numbers into Monsoon and marking your orders as shipped. *Please note that tracking does need to be added to an order before it is marked as shipped in order for that information to be sent to the marketplaces.

Workaround:

  • When clicking the Print Postage button in Monsoon, choose the option to Override Monsoon data (this will open Dazzle).
  • Once Dazzle is open, verify the postage settings are correct (package type, mail class, etc.).
  • Click the Print button in Dazzle.
  • Copy the tracking number from Dazzle and paste this into the order in Monsoon.
  • Click the Ship button in Monsoon.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Support.

 

We will continue to work with Endicia and update this post as we receive new information.

 

Thank you,

The Monsoon Team

Monsoon will be closed on Monday, January 21st in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

 

Email support is available on a limited basis during federal and corporate holidays. We will resume normal hours of operation on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019.

 

If you need urgent support during the holiday, please contact Support and put the word "Urgent" in the subject line.

If you're selling on Amazon Germany, you've likely received the email at the bottom of this post regarding German VAT legislation. While we're not tax professionals here at Monsoon, there is information out there to help you better understand your obligations. Here is some information provided by Avalara:

 

Distance selling EU VAT thresholds

Internet and eCommerce VAT

EU VAT number registration

 

If you're unsure about your obligations, it's recommended that you consult with a tax professional.

 

Dear Seller,

 

Amendments to existing German VAT legislation became effective on January 1, 2019. 

 

As a result, you might no longer be able to sell on Amazon from March 1, 2019, if you have not obtained and provided us a copy of your German Tax Certificate. 

 

You need to be tax-registered in Germany with a valid Tax ID (Steuernummer) in order to be able to apply for a Tax Certificate in Germany. If you are not yet tax-registered in Germany, we recommend that you consult with a tax advisor to assess if you should be registered.

 

To apply for a Tax Certificate, you should submit an application to the German tax office that is responsible for the country where your business is legally established. You can find details of each countries’ corresponding tax office here:
https://m.media-amazon.com/images/G/02/AmazonServices/Site/UK/Product/VATServicesbyAmazon/vat-services-by-amazon/German_Tax_Office_per_Country._CB1198675309_.pdf.

 

For contact information of the different tax offices click here:
https://m.media-amazon.com/images/G/02/AmazonServices/Site/UK/Product/VATServicesbyAmazon/vat-services-by-amazon/Contact_Details_of_German_Tax_Offices._CB1198675309_.pdf

 

According to the German Federal Ministry of Finance, the following information is requested as part of your application for the Tax Certificate:
1. Your name (first and last name or trading name) 2. Your address 3. Phone no., fax and email address 4. Confirmation whether you are already VAT registered in Germany and if so the name of the relevant tax office 5. Tax ID in Germany (Steuernummer) 6. Name and address of tax advisor (if applicable) 7. Name and address of a German-based Authorised Agent (required only for sellers not based in Germany or a member state that is part of the Agreement on the European Economic Area) 8. List of marketplaces on which you are trading on or intend to trade on, including the relevant “identification feature” on each marketplace (for example, account trading name) 9. Place, Date, Signature and – if applicable, firm stamp 

 

It is recommended that you provide the above information to the tax office using the official application form:
https://www.berlin.de/sen/finanzen/steuern/downloads/umsatzsteuer/antrag-auf-erteilung-einer-bescheinigung-englisch.pdf

 

We will follow up with details on how to submit your Tax Certificate to Amazon in a separate communication.

 

If you need help with VAT registration or filling in Germany, visit VAT Services on Amazon:
https://services.amazon.co.uk/services/vat-services-on-amazon

 

Regards,
Amazon Services Europe

Due to Marketplace Facilitator tax laws, eBay started collecting taxes on January 1st for sales where buyers are based in Washington and Minnesota. Next up with be Iowa on February 1, 2019 with more states added throughout the year.

 

You can view the effective dates for other states here.

Amazon began calculating, collecting, and remitting sales and use tax for all orders shipped to customers in Iowa and Alabama on January 1, 2019.

 

Here is the full list to date from Amazon Seller Central:

 

StateEffective DateState Resource
Washington1/1/2018Link
Pennsylvania*4/1/2018Link
Oklahoma7/1/2018Link
Minnesota**10/1/2018Link
New Jersey11/1/2018Link
Connecticut12/1/2018Link
Iowa1/1/2019Link
Alabama1/1/2019Link

Note:

* Digital products purchased by customers with a Pennsylvania billing address will continue to follow your existing Tax Calculation Service settings.

** Amazon will collect Minnesota sales tax on behalf of all sellers for sales shipped to customers in Minnesota.

Click here to visit Amazon's Marketplace Tax Collection FAQ.

Beginning in January, 2019, Amazon will require pre-approval to list refurbished items, now called Amazon Renewed. Read below for more details on what items can be sold as Amazon Renewed and how to apply for approval.

 

 

From Amazon Seller Central:

 

Starting January 16, 2019, you will require approval to list Refurbished items

Please sell your existing Refurbished inventory or remove your Refurbished listings before January 16, 2019, and do not create new Refurbished condition listings. You can apply for approval to continue selling Refurbished items under the Amazon renewed program.

If you are already part of the Amazon Renewed program, you do not have to re-apply and can continue selling your refurbished products.

 

 

From Amazon Seller Central Europe:

Update to Fulfilment by Amazon storage fees (Europe)

Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) storage fees across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain will be adjusted to reflect the changing costs of inventory storage. We will no longer charge a long-term storage fee on inventory that has been in a European fulfilment centre for 181 to 365 days, and we will reduce Fulfilment by Amazon monthly storage fees for oversize items. These reductions reflect our continued investment in supply chain innovations.

For inventory that has been in a European fulfilment centre for more than 365 days, we will begin assessing the long-term storage fee on a monthly basis, and we are introducing a minimum charge for long-term storage fees.

For more information about all upcoming changes, including fee schedules and examples, visit 2019 Fulfilment by Amazon (Europe) storage fee changes. We welcome your feedback on these announced changes at eu-fba-fee-announce-feedback@amazon.com.

Amazon announced both referral fee and FBA fulfillment fee changes to take place this coming February. 

 

From Amazon Seller Central:

2019 US referral and FBA fee changes summary

As the year draws to a close, we want to thank you for your collaboration in better managing aged inventory, which has helped us improve efficiency across our fulfillment network. While the costs to fulfill, transport, and deliver orders increased this year, our continued investment in supply chain innovation allows us to limit the fee changes for 2019. Certain fulfillment fees will be increasing, while many storage and referral fees will go down. Our goal was to minimize the impact of these adjustments for as many of you as possible, and we expect over 40% of FBA units shipped to experience no change—or even a decrease.

Please review each fee detail page linked below. The storage fee changes will take effect February 15, 2019, and the fulfillment and referral fee changes will take effect February 19, 2019. We are notifying you now so you can plan accordingly.

Fee change detail pages

For fee schedules, definitions, and examples for the 2019 selling fee changes, visit the pages below.

2019 US fulfillment fee changes

2019 US storage fee changes

2019 US referral fee changes

Amazon has set a shipping holiday for December 5th, 2018. However, please read the Seller Central News statement below as orders that are already marked with a December 5th ship date will still need to be shipped on time:

December 4, 2018

Shipping impact: USPS observing day of mourning December 5

USPS has notified all their customers that December 5, 2018, will be a national day of mourning for USPS in honor of former President George H.W. Bush. Due to this, USPS will not deliver or schedule pick-ups on December 5, 2018.  To avoid a negative impact on customer deliveries, a shipping holiday has been set for December 5. This means that orders placed after your order cutoff time today can be shipped on December 6. For any orders with a ship date of Wednesday, December 5, please ship using alternate carriers to ensure you meet the delivery promise to customers. 

More information can be found at the following link: http://about.usps.com/newsroom/statements/120318-usps-operating-status-national-day-of-mourning.htm

 

 

jons

The Lifecycle of a Price Change

Posted by jons Employee Dec 3, 2018

The cloud pricing migration is underway, and I want to thank all of you who have been migrated so far for the amazing feedback that you’ve provided.

 

I gave a high-level overview of what to expect and what is changing with cloud pricing in my previous blog post, and quite a few of you have asked us to dive deeper into the life cycle of a price change in the Monsoon cloud. I thought this topic would be great to cover here in the Monsoon Community.

Price Change

Cloud Pricing

StepCloud Pricing Action

1

A price change starts with products you are selling on Amazon. Amazon monitors the offers for all products in their catalog. When there has been a change in the top 20 offers of a condition (New, Used, Collectible, and Refurbished) for any product you sell, Amazon notifies us that the offer information has changed and provides the details of those offers. Typically, Amazon notifies us that offer information has changed within 5 minutes of the change.

2

Once we receive the offer details, our cloud pricing engine calculates the price for all channels that you’re selling the product on based on your price settings. Prices are normally changed in the Monsoon Cloud within 2 minutes of Amazon notifying us that a price has changed. We also make note of the price change in the Monsoon Cloud, so you can view the last five price changes for that product on your Monsoon workstation.

3

Your Monsoon server is constantly communicating with the Monsoon Cloud to get the latest prices for your products. New prices are sent to your server as they change, and Monsoon updates the price on all channels where you’re selling that product within 1 minute of the price change.

4

As your prices change, your Monsoon server sends those price changes to all channels where you sell the product. The timing for sending price changes will vary depending on the channel activity at the time, and price changes are sent to the channels within 4 to 15 minutes of the price changing.

5

The time it takes for each channel to process the price change varies from channel to channel. For Amazon, new prices are normally reflected within 15 minutes of Monsoon sending a price change

 

Desktop Pricing

If you’re wondering what’s different about a price change in cloud pricing versus desktop pricing, here is an outline of the desktop pricing flow:

 

StepDesktop Pricing Action

1

Amazon monitors the offers for all of products in their catalog. When there has been a change in the top 20 offers of a condition (New, Used, Collectible, and Refurbished) for any product you sell, Amazon notifies us that the offer information has changed and provides the details of those offers.

2

Once we receive the offer details, the Monsoon cloud queues up these offer details for your Monsoon server.

3

Your Monsoon server is constantly consuming the offer details.

4

Each time offer details are consumed, the desktop repricing engine calculates the price for all channels where you’re selling that product based on your price settings.

5

Monsoon updates the price on all channels where you’re selling that product.


The main bottleneck with desktop pricing is the speed at which your Monsoon server can consume and calculate prices for products that you’re selling (steps 3 and 4 in the Desktop Pricing table above). Speed is heavily dependent on the hardware of your Monsoon server, so it is possible that your server can’t keep up with the number of offer details in your queue. With cloud pricing, the Monsoon cloud scales dynamically to the amount of information Amazon is sending us. This scaling allows us to process all of the offer details as fast as possible, regardless of your server’s hardware, and reprice within 7 to 18 minutes when an offer changes.

Amazon regularly posts updates in Seller Central News about policy changes, reporting updates and other current events happening in their sphere. We recommend that you log into your marketplace accounts everyday as is to ensure that orders are processing as expected (especially during this peak sales season!), so this section is a convenient stop on your path.

 

 

Here is a recent article worth checking out if you’re an FBA seller...

 

Updates to the Fix stranded inventory page

We have updated our Fix stranded inventory page to include a Stranded reason column that explains why your inventory is stranded and the steps you can take to fix the issue.

The new page also provides a Date of stranded event column and new sorting and filtering features that let you see how long inventory has been stranded, why it is stranded, and what to do to resolve it.

kwallace

Thanksgiving Holiday closure

Posted by kwallace Nov 20, 2018

Monsoon will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd.

Email support is available on a limited basis during federal and corporate holidays. We will resume normal hours of operation on Monday, November 26th, 2018.

If you need urgent support during the holiday, please contact Support and put the word “Urgent” in the subject line.

From Amazon Seller Central:

 

New: Immediate disposal option for customer returns

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers in North America have a new option for disposal of customer returns, saving removal costs and storage fees.

When you enable Automated Unfulfillable Removals, you now can choose to have unsellable customer returns disposed of immediately, rather than on a weekly, twice-monthly, or monthly schedule.   

Immediate disposals will be free of charge through March 19, 2019. 

To learn how to enable immediate disposal, visit Remove inventory automatically

 

In Monsoon versions 5.19 and 5.20, we introduced a couple new features that I want to call out -

 

30, 90 and 365-day orders are now included in the inventory export

When we added the ability to see this information for ASINs on the My Inventory and Inventory Receiving tabs, it was very well received. You can read more about it here, but in short, the feature provides you with a quick snapshot of how well that ASIN is selling, helping you identify anomalies and opportunities.

 

One request that we received from multiple sellers was to include that same information in the inventory exports to help save time with marrying inventory and order data. So, we did. You can now find columns for QtySold30Days, QtySold90Days, and QtySold365Days when you export your inventory.

 

Amazon Mexico via Build International Listings

You can now create Amazon Mexico listings from your Amazon US inventory as part of Amazon’s Build International Listings feature. When an order is placed on one of those listings, the order will flow into Monsoon as an Amazon US order with the appropriate currency conversion. (If you enabled this feature for Amazon Italy and Spain before those markets were included in Monsoon, then this should sound familiar.) The one catch is that you must have an Amazon North America unified account type in order to enable this functionality.

 

Amazon has been urging sellers to migrate to the unified account type for quite some time now, but if you haven’t yet migrated, you can do so by contacting Amazon Technical Support. Two standalone Amazon accounts (one for Canada and one for US) is still okay, and you would continue to sell on Amazon Canada as-is with its own account. Alternatively, you have the option to start listing to Canada via the unified North America account. By going this route, you would eliminate the additional $39.99 Professional Selling fee that you pay for Canada, but you will essentially be starting fresh on Canada with new listings and your existing feedback will not carry over.

 

If and when you migrate to the North America account type, be sure to let our Support team know so that we’re in the loop and can help ensure a smooth transition.

 

**NOTE: Amazon Mexico is the only region Monsoon supports through Amazon’s Build International Listings feature at this time.