In the past (yes, by now you can also talk about “in the past” when it comes to working with Amazon), it used to be quite simple. If you had new products in your portfolio as a manufacturer, you simply listed them in Amazon VendorCentral, uploaded pictures and you could be pretty sure that a few days later the first order from Amazon arrived. Amazon Born to Run was not needed.
Amazon’s maxim was, “We want to give our customers the widest possible choice.”
Today, this principle is being softened; profitability plays a much greater role than it did a few years ago.
Therefore, it happens quite often that the listing alone is not enough. Even if you have put a lot of effort into the search terms, the product title, the highlights and the images, you have meticulously filled in all the data in the vendor catalog; often nothing happens ……
So what can be done?
The solution is called “Born to Run” or “Supplier Initiated Orders”.
Here we explain what is behind this cryptic term, how it works and what are the opportunities as well as the risks. At the end we present you our best case for new listings.
What is Amazon Born to Run?
Born to Run (B2R) is an invitation-based program for Amazon Vendors that allows the manufacturer to create orders from Amazon, detached from the Amazon ordering algorithm.
You can find this program in the menu under Orders -> Orders initiated by supplier. B2R works both for newly listed products, but also for existing items. If you can’t find this menu item in VendorCentral, contact your VendorManager or have it unlocked via support case.
How does it work?
The basic idea behind this is that with B2R you can deliver goods to Amazon that the algorithm would otherwise not order, or not in this quantity, for example because the demand is not there (newly listed items) or Amazon does not recognize a seasonal peak (example Advent calendar, products for Halloween or New Year’s Eve).
You suggest ASIN and order quantity, Amazon reviews the suggestions and either accepts or rejects. The test is completed after a few minutes. Usually you will receive the POs within the next 30 minutes.
Of course, this isn’t the ultimate way to stuff Amazon with your slow movers, so Amazon has built in two safety filters:
Items that don’t sell within 10 weeks of program launch, Amazon can either:
- Return to you. You will be refunded 100% of the product cost and bear the shipping costs for the returns.
- Amazon will charge you a 25% discount on the sale price (retention fee) for the unsold units.
Which option should apply, you select before the program start.
Common reasons for rejection and their explanation
During the fully automated review process of your B2R suggestions, Amazon often rejects products; sometimes with very obscure error messages.
Here we have compiled all the reasons for rejection and explain the background:
|Reason for rejection||Explanation|
|Rejected – active offer||Occurs when there is already a Born to Run offer for this ASIN, which is not yet completely sold out.|
Note: It does not have to be created by you, you will also receive this reason for rejection if another vendor (for example, another national company) has created a B2R offer.
|not accepted – not registered trademark||If this concerns an article of your brand, check per support case in the BrandRegistry if the ASIN is correctly assigned to your brand. If you do not have the trademark rights (for example when selling licensed articles), it can help to have the trademark changed in the VC catalog or via support.|
|not accepted – Dangerous Goods Review||Amazon has classified your ASIN as a hazardous material (HAZMAT). If it is indeed so, check which documents still need to be deposited with Amazon(item -> product certificates). If the item is not a dangerous good, the only (tedious) way is via Amazon Vendor Support.|
|Not accepted – processing error||The only thing that helps is patience and trying again every few days.|
|Rejected – unprofitable||Amazon cannot profitably sell the product at the current terms.|
Either you lower the selling price or you increase the MSRP moderately. Especially for items in the lower price segment, raising the RRP by 50 cents has already worked wonders.
Our tip: 6 steps for a successful product launch as an Amazon Vendor
- Research the relevant keywords for your article. Use tools for this (e.g. Amazon’s own BrandAnalytics or Amalyze).
- Make the product title and highlights appealing, easy to read, and include the most important keywords in the beginning of the title.
- Create 6-7 meaningful photos of your product and upload them in a resolution of at least 1,000 x 1,000 px.
- In the Amazon product catalog, fill out all specified fields if possible, not only the mandatory fields. Amazon is increasingly moving towards creating product descriptions automatically from the data entered.
- Trigger an initial order through Amazon’s “Born2Run program.” If this option does not exist in your VendorCentral, request activation by case.
- Create an advertising campaign at Amazon Advertising. A Sponsored Products campaign with automatic targeting, running 5-7 days from the item’s availability on Amazon and a budget of 5-10 EUR per day has proven successful.
Born to Run should be an essential part of every new launch. Waiting for Amazon to place an organic initial order only costs valuable time unnecessarily. But also consider Born 2 Run if you think Amazon is short on stock for a product. This is particularly relevant for items that have very short peaks, for example Advent calendars, party products for New Year’s Eve, special Easter items, etc.