Yesterday, Amazon released a planned status update regarding editing and uploading new listings on the Merch by Amazon platform. Unfortunately for sellers, Amazon has decided to continue the pause, or freeze, as many sellers are calling it until at least December 19, 2017. Presumably, Merch by Amazon approvals for new accounts are also on hold at this time.
The freeze, which first went into place on December 5th, prevents existing Merch by Amazon merchants from uploading new designs or editing existing designs. That means no changes to prices, descriptions, graphics, or any other part of the listing. Instead, Amazon suggests that sellers upload designs in a draft status so they may be submitted once uploading is reinstated.
In November, Amazon began making new merchandise, including longsleeve tees, sweatshirts, and hoodies, available to some merchants on the Merch by Amazon platform. Anecdotally, the release seems to be fairly limited, as most merchants seem to only get access to one of the new product lines and many haven’t received access to new merchandise at all. Still, the new merchandise may be pushing Amazon’s current print-on-demand capabilities.
In our own account, we received access to longsleeve tees. After uploading the top 20% of our most popular designs, those longsleeve tees have accounted for nearly 33% of our sales. While a small sample, it’s possible other sellers are seeing similar results, which would cause a significant increase in production requirements for Amazon at any time.
Combined with the seasonal holiday shopping surge, the demand appears to too much for Amazon to handle currently. Though I can’t confirm first hand, there have been reports of shirts taking up to 5 days for delivery after orders are placed. Anyone that follows Amazon knows that’s simply not acceptable when they’ve trained customers to expect delivery in two days or less. That seems especially important for a low-cost, impulse purchase like a tee.
What to Expect Next
While this is frustrating for both current and prospective Merch by Amazon sellers, there’s reason to think of this as an exciting time. Amazon has built each segment business with strong infrastructure in place in order to make scalability easier later on. It seems likely that Amazon is simply building the infrastructure to meet demand.
Merch by Amazon was first launched in September 2015, a little over two years ago. Until just recently, they only offered short-sleeve tees. Even then, uploads were limited and it could take months to get approved for Merch by Amazon.
With the limited introduction of new merchandise, Amazon seems to be signalling that they are testing some new things out, collecting data, and planning how to scale this segment of their business. Based purely on speculation, Amazon’s historical speed, and coming seasonal trends, I don’t expect the freeze to last long. My best guess is that sellers will be able to upload new designs and there will Merch by Amazon approvals for new accounts beginning early in 2018.
UPDATE: Amazon released a statement late on December 14th, 2017 saying that they will rolling out publishing for accounts through the end of the year. Here’s their statement:
Starting today, we will begin both enabling accounts for publishing and restoring product search discoverability on a rolling basis through year end. Your publishing status can be verified by viewing your daily publishing limit as displayed on the Dashboard and Manage pages.
Are you an active seller? Have you seen any changes to the merchandise available to you recently?
Still waiting? Let us know how long you’ve been waiting for Merch by Amazon approvals.