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A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE AMAZON EXCLUSIVES PROGRAM

Amazon Exclusives is a program offered by Amazon that lets sellers partner directly with Amazon to get added exposure and support for their brand, while agreeing to sell exclusively through the retail giant.  You may have heard of Exclusives.  One of our staff recently joined, and we’ve been talking to a number of our own users who are members, not to mention the questions we’ve had on the subject and, well, we thought we’d give you our thoughts on what we know so far.What You GetAt first glance Exclusives looks to have some fairly sweet perks.  Some of the things you get when you join:
  • A dedicated brand advocate within Amazon
  • Direct access to one-on-one sessions with a sponsored ads specialist
  • Help with custom banner ads
  • Help with new product launches
  • Wide exposure each month in 2 Amazon Exclusives catalogs
  • Free Lightning Deals or Best Deals each month
  • A Video Manager account for uploading and managing product videos
On the surface those seem like great things, and they truly are.  Our inside man has been in the program a few months and the benefits seem to be outweighing any drawbacks.  The dedicated brand advocate alone has been worth the price of admission.  Having someone in your corner, being able to get questions answered directly, being able to get help with various aspects of brand development, sales and marketing … being in a partnership with Amazon makes sense, especially if you’re selling on Amazon.Each month they update their Exclusives storefront with themed catalogs, usually seasonal or holiday related, and give you an opportunity to feature your products.  Traffic to the catalogs is high, and getting in front of that many potential buyers likely accounts for the increased sales volume you see when joining the Exclusives program.  In addition to your usual Sponsored Product ads (keywords), and any other marketing you do, with Exclusives you get this additional, regular, high-traffic exposure.In the Exclusives program Lighting Deals are free.  Or you can opt to take part in their Best Deals, and enjoy yet more exposure on those pages.  They also have special banner ads they’ll configure for you, though as of this writing we don’t have much additional info on that.  You get your own Video Manager account, which lets you upload, monitor and control your selection of product videos, you get one-on-one access to, and guidance from, a Sponsored Products expert, and if you launch a new product they help you with that as well.All in all, a pretty sweet deal.What It CostsIn return for their direct partnership and assistance, Amazon takes an additional 5% fee on all sales.  This applies to the entire account, so if you have multiple products but only one is in the Exclusives Program, the fee will be applied to all sales.What We Don’t KnowThere are a few things.
  1. We don’t know if being in the Exclusives program gives you additional protection against take-downs. Once you’re in the program you’re technically in a partnership with Amazon, agreeing to sell only through Amazon (and your own retail site), plus you have an internal advocate directly within Amazon, who works with a team dedicated to helping to get exposure and sales for your product … One would think this would add up to greater protection/advocacy, and therefore less chance of listing suspension.  However, as logical as this seems, at this writing we don’t have any direct proof that it’s true.
  2. We don’t know what, if any, penalties there are for dropping the program. We do know that you can elect to add or not add other products to the program that exist within your brand -- in other words, the program does not umbrella all products in your brand -- but we can’t say how you cancel it or what the repercussions would be.
  3. We have only anecdotal evidence, from our own experience and several others we’ve interviewed, and so we don’t know the exact, comparative analysis of how this stacks up against non-Exclusives sales. We can say that in our example, and in others we’ve talked to, participation in the Exclusives program can double or even triple your sales.  Take this with a grain of salt, and see the next section.
Who’s It For?Anyone, of course, but based on what we’ve seen it may not be the best choice for all sellers.  This increased exposure may not add significantly to the successful actions of a large, established seller.  Or, more accurately, it will definitely add sales to some greater or lesser degree, but it may not be enough to offset the additional 5% fee Amazon will take.  And remember that fee applies across the entire account, so if you have multiple products and only a few will be in the Exclusives program, the hit will be even more dramatic.Other things to consider.  If you sell through other channels, or intend to, this may not be for you.  To be in the Exclusives program Amazon requires that you sell only through your Amazon listing and your own brand website (and physical stores, if you have them).  We have heard of instances of Amazon being lax when it comes to certain other outlets, but for the most part expect them to hold this line.  When you’re an Exclusives member you can sell:
  • On Amazon
  • On your own site
  • At your own physical storefront
If you have future plans for other outlets, or are selling currently through other online sites (like eBay, for example), this may not be for you.How Do I Give It A Look?You need to be Brand Registered, and have Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) set up for your listing.  Get all the FAQs and Apply directly from Amazon’s Exclusives page:Amazon Exclusives For Sellers(Note: you’ll need to be signed into your Seller Central account)ConclusionThis may only have given you more questions.  But if you’re looking seriously at the Exclusives program, perhaps this will be the impetus to get you to take the next step, contact Amazon and get the rest of the info you need to make a decision.  So far we’ve seen no real drawbacks to the program (other than the things to consider above), and have seen definite reasons to get involved.Whether you join the Exclusives program or not, we wish you, always, the best of success in all your enterprises. All the best,The ManageByStats Team