Amazon Seller Central is the tool we can use to sell millions, tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars of physical product online. So it’s worth mastering.
In this guide, I’ll briefly cover the features of Amazon Seller Central. Then I’ll share 17+ expert tips that can take your store to the next level, including:
- The biggest problem big-time Amazon sellers have (it’s not sales) and how to avoid it
- How to price your products while they’re being shipped to Amazon to prevent losing cash once they arrive
- How to know if your product will sell big in Q4 (Christmas time) and how much more you should order if so
- How to identify dead inventory and three strategies to make the best out of it
- Consumer pricing psychology to help you stand out from the competition
- What to do if your competitor initiates a price war
- What to do if Amazon initiates a price war
- What several pages of “Pending Orders” could mean
- How to track off-Amazon advertising to see if it’s driving Amazon sales
- The 3 SellerCentral reports you need to prepare for tax season
- How to remove 90% of negative seller feedback from your store
- 3 ways to reverse negative product reviews
- The best free resource for advanced Amazon help
- What to do if you want to post on Amazon Seller Central forums without giving away your business to hungry, talented competitors
- What to do in Amazon Seller Central if you’re going on vacation
- How Amazon has your back on customer “Buyer’s Remorse” and can save you money on returns
- And more
This is a long guide– almost 5,000 words. If you’d like, bookmark it and refer back regularly. If you know anyone who could benefit from this guide, please don’t hesitate to share it with them.
The Amazon Seller Central Dashboard Overview
Note: this section mainly contains beginner info. If you are a more advanced seller, click here to skip directly to the secrets.
The Amazon seller central backend is not a work of art, but it does have everything we need to sell on Amazon. Here’s what it looks like:
The Amazon Seller Central Dashboard has 10 widgets. They are:
- Your Orders
- Selling Coach
- Payments Summary
- Manage Your Case Log
- Sales Summary
- Inventory Planning
- Amazon Business
- Performance (Very Important)
- Seller Forums
Your orders widget shows how many orders you’ve received today. It shows how many return requests you’ve received and any unshipped orders.
Amazon Seller Central Selling Coach
Amazon Selling Coach is an automated tool on your dashboard that can tell you:
- When inventory is running low.
- If you have a product that is selling quickly so you can plan ahead.
- If you have a product that could benefit from more shipping options.
If you like a recommendation Selling Coach gives you, just click the affirmative button and Amazon will handle it automatically.
If you do not find Amazon webstore Selling Coach useful and would like to opt-out:
- Click the “Settings” tab, then “Notification Preferences”.
- On the “Notifications Options” page, scroll down to “Selling Coach” and then unselect any advice you no longer wish to receive.
The payments widget shows you how much money you will be paid through Amazon, and when it will hit your account.
How long does Amazon take to pay you?
Amazon pays every two weeks. Note: Amazon will take the fee for a professional account ($39.99) out of this balance.
If you click on the number next to “balance”, it takes you to a more detailed layout, showing exactly where the money in the balance came from.
Manage Your Amazon Seller Case Log
This is where you can see the number of case logs that require your attention. By clicking on that number, you can read the messages and respond.
Here you can see your Amazon Seller Central sales analysis. If you are selling in other market places around the world (like amazon.com.jp or amazon.cn) you can see your sales by country. Looking at this number is also a quick way to see if the optimizing/promotion you’re doing is working.
This widget shows you the latest Amazon news. Seller Central, general e-commerce and news about Amazon prime are included.
Performance – IMPORTANT
The performance section of Amazon seller central is important. It’s what Amazon uses to gauge the quality of your store as a whole.
It shows Amazon If customers like your service. Or how they like your products. Or if you should be allowed to sell on Amazon at all.
Do you know what the biggest problem big-time Amazon sellers have? It’s not getting sales.
The biggest problem big sellers run into are performance and quality problems. Amazon is very picky about who is allowed to sell on the platform.
Many sellers have “solved” making sales… and ranking on the first page of Amazon… only to be hit with a performance issue that eventually wipes their store out. Don’t let it happen to you.
17+ Amazon Seller Central Tips and Tricks
That’s the seller central dashboard. It’s simple, yet powerful. And as you continue to sell on Amazon, you will know it like the back of your hand.
We’ll now dive deep into specific techniques you can use in sections of Amazon seller central for massive sales growth.
How to Price Inventory Before it Arrives
When you ship products to Amazon, you enter in the price you plan to offer it for. Be sure to always price higher than what the current market rate is. This is for two reasons:
- By the time your products arrive, market prices will most likely be higher, causing you to lose money.
- Many sellers have repricing software that matches the prices of the lowest item available. If the prices skyrocket when your product is shipping over, you will become the lowest and repricing software may match you, causing prices across the market to plummet. This lowers the perceived value and margin for all sellers in the market.
IF the price is still low when your products arrive, you can always lower it to match before you actually ship anything. This gives you breathing room.
You can use AMZ Tracker to keep an eye on all your competitor’s prices– see when they change them, and more importantly, why. Click here to start a free 7 day trial.
Amazon Seller Central Inventory Planning
Running out of inventory is a huge problem for a few reasons. When you run out of inventory, Amazon removes your listing. And when you do get inventory back in stock, you’ve most likely lost some precious Amazon rankings.
Now– it’s no cause to panic. Most stores recover within 1-2 weeks and get their old rankings back. Most stores. Some never fully recover though. Which is why your best bet is to… never run out of inventory in the first place.
One good way to keep track of your inventory is to use the Amazon Selling Coach. It will show you how many days of inventory you have left. When you know how long it takes for your products to reach Amazon’s warehouse, you can make sure you’re always fully stocked.
But remember that this doesn’t include any new sales from promotions you’re doing!
How to Handle Inventory Management in Q4 (Christmas Time)
Christmas time can cause a lot of inventory management issues. Will your product sell like crazy? If so, you need to stock up on inventory. But if you do stock up on inventory, and your product is not a holiday item… you will be left with a heap of dead inventory.
So how can you know if your product will be a huge seller over Q4? Here’s a trick that can help:
How to Handle Dead Inventory
At times in your selling career you may order more inventory than you can sell. If you have that dead inventory sitting in Amazon’s warehouse, you’ll be charged for it. It’s also frozen cash that can’t be used for anything else. So it’s important to have a strategy in place for liquidating.
It may be obvious when you have dead inventory. Or, it may not be.
How to Identify Dead Inventory in Amazon Seller Central
To identify Dead Inventory, click on the “Inventory Tab” in Amazon Seller Central. Then sort by “active” and “Date Created”. This will show you the oldest items on your store. You can also use Reports to identify your products with the highest sales rank.
Next, find your BSR in your category, and identify the lowest price in your category. How far off are you from that price? Is there any way you could possibly meet it? Or would you go negative in Amazon fees if you did? If your product is not selling, and there is no way you can meet the lowest price… you probably have dead inventory.
How to Get Rid of Dead Inventory
I recommend one of these options depending on your preference and situation:
If possible, you can lower the price to break even. This can help you liquidate all of the inventory without losing any money. You should also calculate how much it will take to have Amazon destroy your inventory. Since you will have to pay this money anyways, you can lower the price even further.
Liquidating on Amazon is a good choice, because you’re still getting store feedback that will help you in the long run.
If you lower the price and people still aren’t buying, consider posting it as a deal on Slickdeals, FatWallet, Life Hacker Deals and other deal websites. If the deal catches on, your dead inventory will practically evaporate.
AMZ Tracker members can also run a Vipon promotion for their dead inventory. This is a more targeted deals website that has a much higher chance of selling out dead inventory quickly.
Take Inventory Back
You can pay Amazon a small fee ($0.30 – $0.50 per item) to send the inventory back to you. Then you can try and get rid of it yourself. There are a few ways you can do this, including flea markets, garage sales, joint venture partnerships, gifts, etc.
Some AMZ Tracker members have had luck giving away dead product when launching new products. A giveaway will incentivize more sales for the new product and help it gain traction on Amazon.
You can also consider giving dead inventory away to charity. It feels great and you’ll generate some buzz and goodwill for your company as well.
If you just want to stop paying warehouse fees and get it all off your hands, you can pay $0.15 per item to have Amazon destroy it. They’ll either throw it away or try and get rid of it with Amazon Warehouse Deals.
I recommend you only do this if you absolutely have to, since you will lose the cost of the items plus you’ll be paying Amazon to get rid of it. But if your warehousing fees are too high, it works.
5 Amazon Seller Central Pricing Strategies
Did you know that some prices look better than others to customers?
Here is how some prices are perceived by customers:
- Prices ending in $.00 – premium ($15.00)
- Prices ending in $.95-99 – good deal ($14.95)
- Prices ending in $.85 (made popular by Wal-Mart) – even better deal
When making a price look like a deal, it’s not about changing the right number. It’s about changing the left. For example, $14.99 is better than $15 because of the 14, not the .99.
Numbers with less syllables tend to perform better (79.76 vs 82.10)
- $79.76 – 8 syllables
- $82.10 – 4 syllables
TommyTwoLegs from Reddit.com/r/fulfillmentbyamazon speaks of a friend who a/b tested every single cent combination possible on Amazon. Here are his results (take with a grain of salt or more):
.45, .50, .89, .90, .95, .99, .00
Here is one last pricing strategy:
If you have a RATIONAL product (like cleaner/hardware), add cents to the price.
If you have an EMOTIONAL product (like shoes/clothing), take cents away.
How to Handle a Price War
Sell on Amazon for long enough and you are bound to get caught in a price war. This is where a competitor undercuts your price. Or, you undercut theirs.
The lowest price usually wins the coveted “buy box”, and so a battle commences. Both parties keep lowering prices until one ducks out. The person with the highest margin might win. But at what cost?
Match Their Price and Hold
If you can, match the price of your competitor. Don’t drop the price lower, as this will encourage them to drop their price even lower. If you hold at their price, Amazon will alternate who gets the buy box. You will still get sales.
In most cases, competitors who aggressively undercut you are new sellers. They will most likely run out of inventory quickly and you will reclaim your position with minimal losses.
If AMAZON Gets in a Price War With You
Sometimes, Amazon does the unthinkable. They begin selling your own products… for a lower price than you are! This gives Amazon the buy box. Amazon are relentless price competitors. So this can pose a problem.
So what can you do?
Like I mentioned above, the first strategy is to maintain their price. Amazon will generally run out of inventory before you. And usually, when they do, they don’t restock it.
If Amazon is seriously undercutting you, you can list their price as a deal on websites like Slickdeals, FatWallet, Life Hacker Deals and more. This will cause a surge of people to buy out all their inventory, leaving you as the buy box winner.
What Pending Orders Mean
All Amazon orders come in one at a time, as they happen. When the order first comes in it’s marked as “Pending”. This means the payment hasn’t been successfully charged yet, so fulfillment can’t begin.
Note: on Holidays or other big sales days, you may have many pages of Pending Orders. Usually, it’s not a cause for concern. However if you have a large number of pending orders for no reason, Amazon may have put you in a velocity review.
Is It Possible to Measure Off-Amazon Advertising Conversions?
Amazon Seller Central offers many options for advertising to your listing. But there are dozens of other ways to advertise your business off of Amazon. But there’s a big problem– Amazon doesn’t give us the data to determine whether or not a conversion directly comes from our off-Amazon advertising efforts. Because it’s difficult to track conversions, coming up with a profitable off-Amazon advertising campaign is no easy task. Coupon codes work, but then you don’t know if someone buys because of your ad, or because of the discount.
So here is a tip that can help you get a new off-Amazon ad campaign off the ground:
Vital Tax Reports
It’s relatively simple to get all the reports you need for tax season using Amazon Seller Central. You will need to have Excel or Numbers. Some reports can be downloaded in text format while others are in CSV.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You must run these reports on 12/31 or 1/1
Received Inventory – This is how many units you’ve sent to Amazon during the past year
Amazon Fulfilled Inventory – This report outlines a snapshot of exactly what is in the warehouse on that day. This informs your CPA what inventory rolls over into the next year. And it can only be run on December 31st or January 1st. It’s a real time report – not historical. Amazon does not have a real time report that shows what inventory was in the warehouse in the past.
Monthly Inventory History – This report can be run for the whole year and shows you what units are sold each month
Data Range Reports – Find this report under Reports -> Payments. Download the whole year or do it quarterly or even month to month. This shows you Amazon’s fees, your gross, your net, and virtually everything related to each transaction. This report also shows inbound shipping fees, storage fees, removal fees, subscription fees and more. This is a crucial report for tax and accounting.
AMZ Tracker gives weekly reports on where your products are ranking, and what you can do to improve their rankings. Click here to start your free 7 day trial now.
In the Performance section of Amazon Seller Central, you can see exactly how Amazon views your score. Like I mentioned in earlier sections, this is one of the most important sections of sellercentral.
At the home of Performance, you can get a bird’s eye view of your store health. Amazon assigns you a seller rating from 0 – 100, 100 being the best.
Your account health is a score Amazon Seller Central gives you based on how well you’re doing as a seller. Both in your product fulfillment and service… and how well you are living up to Amazon’s own terms and conditions.
This section gives you an overview of what customers think about your store. As you grow, it’s impossible to have 100% positive feedback. You will find that most customers are reasonable. So as long as you do everything in your power to give them a great experience (which is a MUST if you want to be truly successful on Amazon), you will end up with a very high overall rating.
This is good and is what Amazon is looking for.
When you do get bad feedback, if it’s constructive you can take it to heart and improve that aspect of your store. If it’s just negative complaining that is unwarranted, you can actually get it removed pretty easily. Here is how you can remove negative feedback from your store:
How to Remove 90% of Negative Seller Feedback From Your Store
When a customer buys from you, they have the option to leave you a product review and seller feedback. A product review will show up on the product page. Seller feedback shows up as your overall rating for your store. If it gets too low, your store can be in danger of going under review, or even getting removed.
Fortunately you can remove 90% of Negative seller feedback. Here’s how:
Step #1: Go to the “Feedback” section of Amazon Seller Central
Step #2: Find the order ID of the customer who left you negative feedback
Step #3: Click on “Help” then -> “Selling on Amazon” then -> “Customers and Orders”
Step #4: Enter in the customer ID number
Step #5: Click “Customer Feedback Removal Request”
90% of the time, the negative seller feedback will get removed. This is because most seller feedback is too vague, about pricing, or about products, which should go into product reviews.
Sometimes you will have some genuine negative feedback. And odds are it won’t get removed. It’s not a problem as long as you don’t get too much of it. Take the feedback and use it to improve your store.
How to Reverse Negative Product Reviews
It can be a lot more tricky to reverse negative product reviews than remove seller feedback. Which can be a problem, because sometimes even one negative review can cripple your sales.
So how can you prevent that from happening?
Well– you can’t prevent it. But once a customer leaves a negative review (3 stars or lower), there are a few things you can do to remove it or even reverse it entirely.
Method #1: Contact The Customer Directly
When a customer leaves a negative review, you can contact them and offer to fix it. The faster you get in touch with them, the more likely they are to reverse the review.
(Which is why a tool like AMZ Tracker Negative Review Alerts is so important. You get alerted when customers leave negative reviews and then you can deal with them.)
If you can, locate the negative reviewer in your Amazon Seller Central Dashboard. If you can find them, you can send them an email directly, or even call them up, and do whatever it takes to make their experience better.
- Maybe they had a faulty product– you can send them another one.
- Maybe they just didn’t like the product– you can give them a refund.
- Maybe they didn’t like the service– you can apologize and ask how you can do better.
Keep your response brief, polite, and professional. For example:
I was really disappointed to hear your mug arrived broken. Although it’s very rare unfortunately this can happen. 🙁
We are sending you a brand new mug free of charge with expedited shipping. You should get it tomorrow!
If you like the new mug, would you consider changing or removing your review on our product page? (LINK).
Method #2: Leave a Comment
Sometimes you can’t find a customer’s contact information. In this case, your best bet is to leave a comment under the review. Tell them you are sad to hear their negative feedback and, if they get in touch with you, you’ll do anything you can to make it right.
Even if they don’t get back to you, other customers will see you’re willing to make an effort, which goes a long ways towards neutralizing that negative review.
Method #3: Have Amazon Remove the Review
Sometimes a product review is fake or not accurate about the product. In these cases Amazon may remove the review if you report it. To do so, go to your product page, find the review, and click “Report Abuse”.
Then enter the reason why you are reporting the review, for example:
- Review is fake (exact review on many product pages)
- One customer writing multiple reviews on your product
- Competitor purposefully leaving a bad review that you can prove
- Spiteful or vulgar reviews
- One word reviews
- Personal contact information
- Reviews relating to price
Here you can see any messages buyers have sent to you. Some will be positive comments and reviews. Others will be concerns and requests, like people asking for refunds or complaining.
It’s crucial you handle these issues immediately. What will happen if you don’t? Maybe you can guess– performance takes a hit. And since performance is everything if you want to keep your store up, running and churning out sales… it’s really important you handle these messages right away.
These messages are so important that all serious sellers keep the Amazon Sellers App with them at all times. This way they can respond to messages right away!
The Amazon Help Center is where you can find answers to any question that comes up while selling. Because there are so many Amazon sellers, if you have a question, chances are it’s been asked before.
Amazon Seller Central provides detailed documentation for just about every situation you’ll find yourself in. Of course they’re all written with an Amazon approved, corporate slant. So for some situations, you will want outside, knowledgeable help.
I recommend one of three places.
The first is the FulfillmentByAmazon sub-Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/FulfillmentByAmazon
It’s probably the nicest place you can go for help. Generally when you have a question, you can search on the FulfillmentByAmazon subreddit and find a lot of helpful, in-depth answers.
If you can’t find an answer to your question, if you ask, you will most likely get a great answer. Be sure to ask politely and give as much detail as possible (without droning on for thousands of words). Correct grammar is also important to get a good response.
If Reddit fails you, the Amazon Seller Central Forums are another place where you can get personalized help for free.
There’s a catch: it isn’t exactly the friendliest place on the internet.
And maybe it’s for good reason. In the past 5 years thousands and thousands of new Amazon sellers have signed up for FBA. Most of these sellers are not experienced.
Many of them choose to ask others for help in a forum before doing basic searching and trying to solve the problem themselves. So over the years, the advanced sellers on the Amazon Seller Central Forum have become jaded and easily irritable.
Sure they may help you– while telling you how much of an amateur you are. And maybe advising that you close up shop and delete your account forever.
There’s another danger with the Amazon Seller Central Forums as well: your selling account is attached to your username by default! This means other sellers can find your store and see what you’re selling. If you’re in a good niche and doing well… they may become fierce competitors.
Fortunately, there are some expert sellers on the Amazon Seller Central Forum who are willing to help out newbies. Generally though, they will only help you if you give evidence that you’ve tried yourself. Tell them what your problem is and how you’ve tried solving it.
Be humble and open to suggestion and you’ll most likely get a great answer.
But what about avoiding competitors? Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. You can change your username so no one will be able to trace it back to your store.
Here’s how to do that (instructions courtesy of Amazon):
- Click on the “Your Stuff” link to get to your profile
- Click the “Edit” button or “Edit” link next to “Your Profile”
- Update the “Name” field
- Click the “Save” button
Lastly, if you’re an AMZ Tracker member, you can use our forums to get advanced answers to your questions. We check them regularly and answer in detail.
Amazon Seller Central Settings
This is where you can tweak personal parts of your account, as well as change things like Tax Settings, Holiday Settings, and more.
This is where Amazon displays your customer support emails. These are custom emails Amazon makes that redirect to your personal email. This way customers have no access to your personal email.
You should also put a valid phone number for your business here so customers can contact you via phone if they’d prefer it over messaging/email.
When a customer does contact you, Amazon recommends you use their email templates for most responses, which you can find here[LINK].
Listing Status Page
As you get your store up and running, there will come times when you need to take a break, or go on vacation. If you ever want to pause your listing, you do so in this section.
Note: You are still expected to respond to customer messages, even while on vacation.
Amazon requires you to set up your Bank Account and add a Credit Card before you can sell. You need a valid bank account so Amazon can deposit payments. And you need a Credit Card in case your sales don’t pay for Amazon Professional’s monthly service fee ($39.99).
How to Fight Buyer’s Remorse
Buyer’s remorse is when a customer buys your item, and you ship it perfectly, and they receive it… but then they decide they don’t want it after all. It’s a natural part of e-commerce and if it happens, all is not lost.
Amazon allows you to add up to 20% in restocking fees for customers with Buyer’s Remorse. So they return the item and get their money back, but they still pay a small amount of the item to you.
The Winning Seller’s Mindset
The money you make from Amazon is not yours until it hits your bank account. So when it comes to returns and chargebacks, don’t mess around! Be sure to give refunds promptly so your store ratings stay high… so you can keep earning money selling on Amazon.
Remember your store’s performance rating is everything on Amazon. And if you aren’t getting positive feedback, you won’t be in business for long!
Amazon Seller Central gives you an arsenal of tools you can use to ship millions of dollars in products. If you think you’ll forget some of the things we’ve discussed here, you can bookmark this page and refer back to it.
If you have any friends you think could benefit from this guide, we’d love it if you shared it with them.
Lastly, feel free to use any of the images on this page or quote us. We only ask that you link back to this guide as a source if you do so.
Amazon Seller Central is your control hub for Amazon Sales. And AMZ Tracker is the co-pilot. AMZ Tracker gives you all kinds of data that Amazon doesn’t. It lets you:
- Track your Product Keyword Rankings at One Glance
- Boost your Sales Velocity with Vipon.com
- Track Your Competitor’s Sales
- Find New Lucrative Products With Unicorn Smasher
- And much more