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Amazon Vendor Express: Where’s the A+ Content?

Posted by on April 15, 2015

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Prior to Amazon Vendor Express launching in March 2015, becoming an Amazon vendor was an invite-only affair. We know of people who tried unsuccessfully for years to get invited by Amazon to become a first-party seller.

Amazon Vendor Express changes that, making it easier for third-party sellers to become Amazon suppliers. Or, as Amazon puts it, “You sell us your products and we take care of the rest—from shipping and promoting to customer service and returns.” Whether this is a good selling strategy or not is another question; make sure to read our Amazon Vendor Central v. Seller Central post for the pros and cons.

amazon-vendor-express

But one of the things Amazon Vendor Express doesn’t allow is for the vendor to create enhanced product content using self-service modules (or templates, or any other vendor-controlled A+ content option).

“Vendor Express does not have A+ detail page support right now,” according to an Amazon manager asked about the topic on a LinkedIn forum. “We are very interested in feedback from our vendors and use vendor feedback to guide our next steps.”

Limited Content Options for Rising Brands

Some brands won’t care that they can’t add enhanced content to their product pages; the inclusion in Amazon Prime and the promise of “ships from and sold by Amazon.com” will be enough to make them sign up for Amazon Vendor Express.

But we’ve heard from several companies who thought Amazon Vendor Express would give them access to enhanced content (which is also referred to as Amazon A+ content), only to be told by Amazon that it wasn’t an option. Why would not getting enhanced content be a deal-breaker for brands looking to become vendors?

Enhanced content allows brands to add the following elements to their product pages:

A+ content has been shown to increase sales and shopper engagement while decreasing return rates. So not having it puts small brands at a competitive disadvantage.

Vendor-express-screenshot

This screenshot from Amazon’s video promoting Vendor Express indicates there may be some descriptive product content. But it seems Amazon will determine what that is.

 

More Competition for Large Brands

My guess is that Amazon will start allowing A+ content on Amazon Vendor Express at some point. If small brands have the option to add A+ content, big brands could find themselves out-classed. In our experience, small and medium companies currently selling on Amazon Vendor Central aren’t scared away by Amazon upload fees. They often commission beautiful product content.

And even if Amazon Vendor Express never allows for A+ content, the treatment of small brands as Amazon suppliers still adds competition for big brands that sell through Amazon Vendor Central.

Takeaway: Create Nimble Content

Most of the companies we work with realized a long time ago that their content strategy needed to extend beyond Amazon. You should be creating multichannel content that:

Editor’s note: A follow up post was written September 2 to announce a version of A+ content offered through Amazon Vendor Express.

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  • Comments

    19 Responses to “Amazon Vendor Express: Where’s the A+ Content?”
    1. Joe Blobbs says:

      You will likely be able to migrate from Vendor Express to Vendor Central at some point. I also think, given some time, A+ detail pages will be offered as a service to Vendor Express suppliers. Give the program a chance to mature. Right now it is a fast track for all the makers out there who are focused on making products consumers want.

      • Augustin Kendall Augustin Kendall says:

        Hi Joe. That’s a reasonable guess. It could become a gateway to Vendor Central, or could be an experiment Amazon ditches in 6-12 months. Hard to say right now.

    2. Steve Leary says:

      The question I have for you guys, is in regards to video. How do I get video added to my product detail pages as a Seller in Seller Central?

      Does Vendor Central Express allow me to add video to my product detail pages?

      • Trinity Hartman Trinity Hartman says:

        Hi Steve, As far as I know (someone correct me if I’m wrong), Amazon sellers cannot add videos to their product pages. Vendor Central Express and Seller Central seem to have very similar rules in terms of content, so I’m assuming you also wouldn’t be able to add videos in VCE, although you should confirm with Amazon. Hope that answers your question!

        • Raj says:

          We recently signed up for the new Vendor Express program. There are many differences in the explanation they provide here and what actually we had to do. https://vendorexpress.amazon.com/help/topic/201531290

          “We create your detail page, get your product online, and determine whether we can successfully sell it.”
          — There was a form which let us create the detail page ourselves

          “You will only be required to send free units once for each product you sell on Amazon, and only when you aren’t using the direct fulfillment option. If there is demand for your product based on the units you send, we may order more products from you and pay you for them ”
          — We did get an order for samples,. But even before we fulfilled it, we got a PO. We fulfilled that PO before sending the samples because the Due Date for the PO was in 3 days, and the Due Date for Samples was “as soon as ready”. Days after we fulfilled the PO, we received multiple orders each from a different warehouse. We fulfilled them, but yet to actually send the samples. A week later (we are still yet to send the samples) we got a few more POs from different warehouses. Not sure how so many POs are coming in when they seem to indicate that they’d would only place PO orders “if” the product sells and they see demand. As of now, no units are actually sold, but POs keep coming in!

          Any inputs on what is happening?

          • I sell using the Amazon Advantage programme in the UK and had this issue (multiple small orders from several warehouses) briefly with a new product in the run up to Christmas. I believe it was due to their needing to get the items dispatched to customers in time for Christmas. After Christmas, thankfully the orders reverted to the norm: a single once a week order from one warehouse.

        • Andi says:

          And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me stghirat.

    3. Lucia Reid says:

      We have been “taking” to Amazon Express salespeople and had their contract reviewed by a lawyer. Amazon has worldwide rights for sales, irrevocable rights to all photos and sales materials, can take discounts, etc that are not listed on the contract – they set sales prices and manufacturer basically has no rights. I’d like to hear from companies who like / don’t like this program. Thank you.

      • Gina says:

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    4. “Prior to Amazon Vendor Express launching in March 2015, becoming an Amazon vendor was an invite-only affair. We know of people who tried unsuccessfully for years to get invited by Amazon to become a first-party seller.”

      In the case of the UK (and probably in many other countries too?) this is not true.

      I signed up without invitation as a first-party seller in the UK, to the Amazon Advantage programme in 2010 and am still using it. Vendor Express seems to be a rebranding and reworking of Amazon Advantage.

      I would like to distribute my products (Special Interest DVDs) to more countries, particularly USA and Canada, via Amazon and am hoping Vendor Express might do this where Amazon Advantage does not seem to.

      • I just discovered the Amazon Advantage programme is just for Books, DVDs, music and software.

        So the new Vendor Express must be to expand on this to cover other product types.

        Amazon Advantage products are one of the product types in the list of Vendor Express excluded products list.

      • Vicky says:

        That’s not just logic. That’s really senilbse.

    5. Stef says:

      I sell FBA since last year, but to make more sales and profit I’ve just started with Vendor Express UK.
      So far I’m not impressed with VE communication, seems that customer support is not aware of information which is available on their site.Response takes 3-4 days.
      Not happy with the quantity of the samples nether.
      For 2 products I’ve been asked to send 36 samples.
      For 4 other products the number of samples increased to 76.
      So for 6 products total was 112 samples.
      One thing which I’ve noticed and bothers me.
      When adding products in VE all the information provided by me for the products : details description ets. was replacing the information on my already created description page. Haven’t tried to upload a file to try to change it the way it was, I’m not sure if I will be able to change it.
      Also when searching for my product which is now available in FBA and VE , fulfield by Amazon was coming first in search.
      To me personally is very unclear what the result will be and when I will have more information.
      Has anyone had increase of sales with VE? What would you advise if anyone have any tips.
      Your help will be highly appreciated.Thank you

    6. Wilson says:

      Hi all, we’ve been looking into VCE and have read a lot of mixed information.
      Our main question is, once we sign up for VCE, will all our listings become VCE listings or is it a pick a product and submit to VCE?

      For example, we have Product A (merchant fulfilled) and Product A (FBA). If we sign up for VCE, will both products migrate and become a VCE product? Or can we have Product A (FBA) and Product A (VCE) co-exist?

      Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

      • Jeanie says:

        They can co-exist but VCE will likely win the Buy Box.

        • Flip says:

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    7. Gabby says:

      Francina, you do know why penguins live in the colder climates right …. it is because they are so cool thanks for sharing this brakthtaeing and inspiring video indeed,ciao, Jimi

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