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The Vendor Manager – 7 tips for an improved Amazon Experience

For every Amazon Vendor, a productive partnership with the designated Amazon Vendor Manager is essential. This cooperation can often be decisive in the success or failure of a brand on Amazon. Even though many strategic decisions are no longer made directly by the Vendor Manager, he or she is responsible for who receives more of Amazon’s attention.

Amazon Vendor Managers have, without exception, too little time to take care of all of his or her vendors adequately. This is countered by annual targets, which are usually almost impossible to achieve. Below are some tips to help you get more attention from your Vendor Manager and thus increase your chances of performing better on Amazon.

1. Investing - correctly

One of the main goals of the Vendor Manager is profitability. The manufacturer can actively support its profitability, especially in the areas of marketing, in the form of advertising subsidies, booking of marketing measures or improved EKs, in the context of advertising. This reduction in the burden on the supplier increases the attention the supplier will receive, which is why such investments should definitely be taken into account within the framework of an Amazon strategy. Every Vendor Manager knows how valuable proactive suppliers in this area are and will appreciate the extra investment.

2. Selection - the more the merrier

Another important goal of the Vendor Manager is to be able to offer the widest possible range of products in a specific category. Therefore, Vendor Managers dedicate time and a greater commitment above all else to those retailers who are willing to offer as many products as possible on Amazon. Amazon suppliers should therefore ask themselves how they can get even more out of their portfolio and what else they can offer on Amazon. Basically, it should be ensured that all available brands are sold retail, i.e. directly on Amazon. In addition, possible problems or errors in the assortment must be repaired. Are newly created products converted to the status “ready for sale” fast enough?

In addition to the correct listing of the assortment (is the product really end of life or seasonal?), retailers should ask themselves the question of how far the offers can be made even more attractive to their customer. Are there possibly products that can be offered together in an interesting product package (bundle)? Or can the range of products be extended in other ways? There is a great deal of room for manoeuvre here, within which the supplier has the freedom to realise new ideas and generate revenue from them.

3. Independent problem solving

Vendor Managers sometimes manage a four-digit number of vendors with tens of thousands of ASINs. For this reason, it is clear that a Vendor Manager simply cannot take care of all the problems a manufacturer faces. It is important to relieve the Vendor Manager of all issues that can be solved by Vendor Central.

4. Keep it simple - an email = a topic

Different questions should not be dealt with in one email, it makes it easier for the Vendor Manager to handle a question when it is presented in a brief and concise way. Reading and editing a mail that is too long is time-consuming and takes the Vendor Manager time that he or she does not have.

Individual questions should be addressed in separate emails. The many messages a Vendor Manager receives during the course of a working day can be categorised more easily and answered more quickly.

5. The Amazon rotation principle

A basic principle at Amazon is that Vendor Managers and other employees regularly move from one product category to another. The usual duration here is about two years. In addition, there is a considerable fluctuation in the area of Vendor Management.

For example, it is often the case that a Vendor Manager is new and may first have to familiarize himself or herself with the new product line or the tasks assigned to it. The cooperation with Amazon also includes adapting to new Vendor Managers on a regular basis. This takes time, but it is always worthwhile.

6. Act proactively

Manufacturers should identify their tasks and challenges on their own and then contact their Vendor Manager. Pro-activity is always appreciated. If suppliers prove that they are able to work on their own successfully and solve problems themselves, this leaves a very good impression on the Vendor Manager. Our own approaches to solving the issues of profitability, availability or marketing represent a large and rare form of support.

7. Experience of success for all

During annual meetings, all Vendor Managers are under great pressure to meet their requirements - and, in the end, they never achieve all the goals against which they are judged. Therefore, it is very beneficial to know in advance what goals Amazon sets and help the Vendor Manager get closer to these goals.

In one year, the focus will be on returns costs: the year after that the focus may be on marketing investments. Often, an open discussion in advance can help to successfully negotiate a condition for both sides. The Vendor Manager will appreciate your proactively addressing this topic.

For many manufacturers and brands there is no way around selling on Amazon. It is no secret that there are more user-friendly sales channels. With the tips described here, however, every manufacturer can noticeably improve the relationship with their Vendor Manager and thus with Amazon.

Read more about how Amazon works and how to deal with the company: Download the whitepaper "Canute and the Amazons"