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How does Amazon Marketplace work?

New sellers often ask, How does Amazon Marketplace work? Find out about Amazon seller platforms, fulfillment options and more in this quick Whitebox FAQ.

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Amazon Marketplace is an ecommerce platform for third-party sellers. In exchange for a percentage on every sale, brands can access Amazon’s vast customer base and resources to sell and distribute their products.

And there are two different platforms on Amazon that brands can use to do this: Amazon Seller Central and Amazon Vendor Central.

Anyone can become a seller on Amazon, but Amazon decides which brands to work with on Vendor Central. To figure out which platform is right for you, decide how much work you want to take on.

Vendor Central provides a more “hands off” approach to selling. You fulfill purchase orders from Amazon, and Amazon handles pricing, returns, and customer service. By contrast, Seller Central offers you more control, including how you handle fulfillment.

Fulfillment by Merchant and Fulfillment by Amazon

Two main modes of distribution available to brands are Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).

The FBM program leaves the responsibility of distribution in a brand’s hands. However, an FBM product will not be available for Prime two-day shipping, and therefore will be less visible to customers at the start.

That said, FBM brands who meet Amazon’s standards for shipping can be approved for Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP), which awards the Prime badge on qualified brands’ products. With SFP, brands can achieve higher visibility to Prime customers.

Amazon incentivizes brands to go the FBA route and hand over distribution to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. For a recurring storage and fulfillment fee, Amazon will store your inventory, handle logistics, and take customer service inquiries. In addition, choosing FBA makes your product available for Prime shipping from the outset.

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Marketplace is a highly competitive arena

The A9 Algorithm and Best Sellers Rank

If your product doesn’t appear on the first page of search results, Amazon’s own data shows that 70% of customers will never see it. With over 2.2 million active sellers competing for attention, how do the best brands get their products in front of their customers?

The product search algorithm, or A9 Algorithm, and the Best Sellers Rank (BSR) are Amazon’s two systems for selecting which products their customers will view and buy. When a customer searches Amazon for a product, the A9 algorithm sorts through millions of listings to select the most relevant, high-quality, and cost-effective options. The algorithm also prefers to show products tagged for Prime shipping.

The BSR measures how successful a product is across a specific category and across Amazon as a whole. A product climbs up the ranks by the combined metrics of customer ratings and the number of products sold in a given period. And as a product’s performance improves, it becomes more visible to the customer.

Looking for more help with selling on Amazon?

Whitebox’s expertise in listing optimization, marketplace analysis, and fulfillment strategies can help your business achieve visibility and put you in the window of the customer’s attention.

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Whitebox FUSE Health Report

The Whitebox FUSE Health Report is a great first step in optimizing your listings. Our in-depth report gathers data from your listings, keywords search data, and competitive listings to score your listing and provide data-backed recommendations on opportunities and optimizations.

Listing Quality Check
Search Term Insights
Customer Review Analysis
Competitor and Market Analysis

Get an in-depth analysis of each of your listings by ASIN, along with a Whitebox Opportunity Score to help you prioritize the listings to focus on first. 

  • EBC Inclusion
  • Image & Video Evaluation 
  • Product Description Opportunity 
  • Node Count Opportunity 

Understand where your listings are potentially missing out on sales because they aren’t indexing for search. See how often your product indexes for a given keyword.

Know how the amount and quality of your reviews are trending over time.

  • Year-over-year review counts 
  • Month-over-month new review additions by product 
  • Average Review Rating by month and by product

Grasp the market share potential and gain insights into your direct competitor’s marketplace performance.

  • Total Products Being Sold by Brand 
  • Monthly Order by Brand 
  • Monthly Revenue by Brand

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