Understanding how to leverage Amazon’s Seller Platform and its numerous tools to provide clarity and aid decision making is key to maximising sales and saving time. One of the most time-efficient ways of achieving your goals is to better understand how bulk operations work – in this blog, we’ll take a look at what this term means, and how to use operations in your own campaigns.
Understanding Bulk Operations
Within Amazon Advertising, operations represent each activity performed on your account. This description spans every single action which takes place while your Amazon Seller account is active, ranging from creating campaigns right through to adjusting your bids and adding keywords.
Bulk operations encompass multiple changes with are made all at once, instead of in individual actions. Bulk operations provide time-strapped sellers with the tools they need to optimise campaigns on a larger scale, helping to save both time and money in the long-term and allowing them to focus on other areas of their business.
How do bulk operations work?
For this, we asked George Meressa, Managing Director of specialist Amazon agency Clear Ads and he said:
“The process of getting to grips with bulk operations is relatively straightforward; you simply upload a single file to the Amazon Seller platform, through which you can then carry out many different ‘operations’.”
The file used for bulk operations is provided by Amazon in the form of a spreadsheet. This includes a template for your campaigns, with all the data available for download via your account. You can use this template to change existing campaigns.
Accessing the bulk operations spreadsheet
The bulk operations functionality is not only handy for editing existing campaigns, it also enables you to create new campaigns.
To get started, you need to go to Campaign Manager and click on the tag titled ‘Bulk Operations’ (full instructions below).
After logging into your Seller account, head for Advertising, click on Campaign Manager and select Bulk Operations. After this, you can then choose to modify your existing campaigns or start afresh.
- To modify campaigns, you will have to select creating and downloading a custom spreadsheet. From here, you can choose to adjust a variety of different variables including the date range. This affects only the columns containing existing campaign performance data – notably orders, sales, impressions, clicks, spend etc.
- You cannot make adjustments to a campaign which has been terminated or archived, but there should be little reason to do so. You should also exclude from your selection any campaigns which have received zero impressions.
After you have made your selections, click on Create spreadsheet for download. It will take a few minutes for the file to be created. After Amazon has created the file, simply download it and get started.
If you are beginning this process with an account which has no existing data, then you can simply download a blank template by avoiding most of the options above and going straight to creating the spreadsheet for download.
This can be quite confusing, particularly for those who are new to selling on Amazon, but in essence the spreadsheet is comprised of six different tabs, which detail key pieces of information:
- Attribute Definitions
- Example Bulk Template
- Template – Sponsored Product
- Template – Headline Search
- Template – Portfolio
The template varies depending on your geographical location, so the above definitions may vary – they are intended as a guideline only for what you will see when opening the spreadsheet.
The structure of the bulk file includes a header row, and named columns, which must be preserved to ensure the process of editing works as it should. Be sure not to delete or alter any of the information included in this first row. The second row onwards is referred to as a record, and provides all the data associated with your seller account.
Editing your bulk operations spreadsheet
Editing the spreadsheet is relatively straightforward. You can edit the document in any applicable editing software, including everything from Microsoft Excel to Google Spreadsheets. Apple users can use Apple Numbers, or those who prefer to stay away from the commercial document applications can opt for OpenOffice Calc.
Bulk operations keep track of four different types of information:
- Ad Group
Each of these will require you to fill in different fields within the spreadsheet. Campaigns require a budget for each day, a start date and targeting type, while ad groups need a name, maximum bid and status, as well as any SKUs or ads which are applicable. Keywords are added underneath each advert. Each of these steps must be repeated for every ad group in your campaign.
Uploading your file
After editing, it’s now time to upload the file to Amazon. Head for the Bulk Operations screen and select ‘Upload your file to update your campaign’. Next, select ‘Choose File’ and upload your spreadsheet. Note that it could take several hours to process the file, depending on the amount of data which is included. The process only takes a few minutes.
Bulk operations metrics
Using bulk operations is not only a handy way to get things done quickly, it also provides a closer look at your advertising metrics with an in-depth take which surpasses the relative simplicity of the campaign manager interface. There are several areas in which these two methods differ.
Amazon Bulk Operations allows you to more easily trace the tracking metrics of each campaign whilst using Sponsored Products. Following recent updates, it is now more difficult to track major changes in the campaign via the existing reporting tools, as Sponsored Products supplies only simplistic date-based tracking process.
The Campaign manager will allow you to see performance metrics which cover time frames such as today, last week, or over the lifetime of your account. With bulk operations, you can drill down into these numbers with more accuracy, allowing for a more straightforward analysis of the data. By taking this approach you will gain a clearer understanding of the true performance of your account, which is helpful when subsequently deciding on and implementing any necessary changes and improvements.
Campaign managers are advised to look closely at the data from the exact date on which the shift towards each change was made, in order to see the effects with more accuracy.
Major benefits of bulk operations
While the benefits of this approach are numerous, they can be summarised into a few key points.
First and foremost, carrying out changes in bulk means you can adjust your bids quickly and simply. This isn’t just time-saving, it also helps to prevent instances of server errors, which can often be a consequence of alternative approaches.
In addition, you can make the necessary changes without needing to be online – and simply upload the end result after completion. By using the spreadsheet to add all the important details for your campaigns, you automatically generate a back-up, which will prove invaluable should something go wrong.
Boosting your sales performance
Many sellers get confused during the Amazon selling process, mistakenly believing that the more they spend on an advertising campaign, the more they are apt to gain from it. This is not always the case – selling on Amazon is far more complex and requires a far more careful approach in order to accomplish your goals. Each campaign hinges on the bids and the budget, and testing these areas is crucial to securing ongoing success. If you have room to spend more on your campaign, then try increasing your keyword bids.
Carrying out changes in bulk allows you to update the keywords simply and set the campaign to continue for a set period of time. We would highly recommend ongoing testing to assess progress (on a weekly basis ideally) before comparing to your prior achievements. This allows enough data to be gathered for a rigorous look at how to continuously move towards enhanced sales performance.
When to use bulk operations
Whilst ultimately the ‘when’ and ‘where’ to use this capability rests with the campaign manager, there are certain situations where it is often the best choice. If you discover that working in this way doesn’t suit you, then it’s always possible to revert back to the original format, so there is no commitment.
A few clear indications that you could benefit from bulk operations include:
- You are managing larger ad accounts, where you have significant data to handle and are struggling to keep track of everything.
- The same applies to medium accounts, as you will also likely have many different variables to monitor.
- You are feeling frustrated by the limitations of your existing approach, waiting for Amazon’s seller platform to load and repeating the same operations in a time-consuming way.
In these instances, giving bulk operations a try could see you boost not only your ad performance but your productivity across the board. Selecting bulk operations needn’t replace your existing workflow, and can be used either in conjunction with your current methods or as a temporary adjustment until you make a final decision.
How to Train Your Managers (and Why it’s Important)
Having a great manager (not just an okay one) is so important to a business’s success. You will find that your employees work a lot harder when they have a great manager, because they want to impress, they want to help, and they do not want the business to fail. For information on training mangers, a useful link is: https://www.efrontlearning.com/blog/2019/02/how-to-train-managers.html. This will provide you with an overview of what is involved. To get it wrong will impact on staff engagement, performance, and retention.
Educate Them on the Importance of Their Role
To educate managers, there are textbooks, online resources, seminars, and eLearning courses available. These can bring a manager up to speed with not only tried and tested methods of management but also with the very latest methods. Training methods that are digital and more relevant to today’s business world. New managers can learn from already experienced managers and how they best achieve their results for their respective companies. Equally, managers can learn through good and effective training, targeted to their needs and that of their company. The best managers increase the motivation and mood of their staff on a continual basis, which in turn, increases their company’s productivity.
Training such as new managers training can be provided in-house, and be even more effective and targeted through the use of external training agencies. It can be a very effective conducted by specialists in this area, who know not only what it is like to be a new manager, but the skills that can make for an effective manager in the long term. Much can be learned from the experiences that former managers have faced in a variety of different types of businesses. To not offer a manager training is to allow them to fail. To not provide them with the tools for success is to make their progression slower and less effective, for themselves and those that they are managing. Management training is not only about training others but how to train those responsible for the training.
Encourage Them to Practice, Reflect, Learn and Repeat
The best way for a manager to learn is to continue practising their skills, to think about the result the skills are having on the staff and the business itself. Continuing to repeat these skills, the rights skills, can only improve them until they become second nature. That is, not to practise until you get it right, but to the extent that you cannot get it wrong. Skills such as: communicating effectively with staff, planning the progression of staff, the ability to delegate the work in an effective manner. In addition, the manager will need to learn skills in problem-solving and motivation. There are tricks to be learned, to be known. An effective leadership course can teach managers these skills initially, so that then be refined through constant use and monitoring of their effectiveness. It is not enough to put into practise these skills once, they have to be carried out several times to check their effectiveness on different groups of staff, who are likely to respond in different ways and with different results.
So, with much to consider, it is in the first instance necessary to recruit flexible managers who are going to respond to training. Managers who are not too fixed in their ways of managing for other companies that they cannot respond effectively to a new training scheme. Then, they need to be aware of exactly what their new role encompasses. This should next lead to an effective training scheme that they are going to engage with, as their staff will ultimately engage with their management approach. During completion of the training scheme, it will be a matter of continual practice, but the results will be rewarding.
What’s Amazon ASIN And How Do You Get One? Here’s Everything You Need To Know
Amazon is the world’s leading online marketplace. According to Statista, they have 213.4 million unique website visitors each month.
That’s a lot – accordingly, it’s no big surprise that every merchant wants to sell their products through Amazon.
If you also want to sell your products on Amazon, you need an Amazon ASIN.
But what is an ASIN?
ASIN means Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is an Amazon internal number that helps them keep track of your products.
Every product on Amazon has a unique Amazon Standard Identification Number.
In this article, you’ll learn everything about Amazon ASIN – what it is, why you need an ASIN and how to get one.
What Is Amazon ASIN?
ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number and it’s simply the product identifier used by Amazon. A product identifier is a scannable number like a UPC (barcode) to identify a product.
If you don’t know what’s a UPC, here’s an example of it:
ASIN is Amazon’s internal unique identifier to keep track of all the products sold on Amazon. With over 2,734,713 active sellers on Amazon, it would be impossible if every seller has their own unique identifier for their products.
There’s only one exception – if you want to sell books on Amazon, you don’t need to have an Amazon ASIN. That’s because every book has it’s own ISBN as an identifier. Amazon uses this ISBN to identify books, they don’t use their own ASIN.
I really don’t know exactly why, but I think it’s because Amazon started as an online bookseller in 1995.
When Do You Need An Amazon ASIN?
First of all, if you want to sell your products through Amazon, you need an Amazon ASIN. You need one unique ASIN for every product you sell on Amazon.
Second, if you sell the same product on two different marketplaces – for example, Amazon US and Amazon Germany, you need two different ASINs.
If this in case, you need two one ASIN for the US marketplace and another one for the german Amazon marketplace.
The next thing is that you need different ASINs if you sell variations of your product. If this in case, you will need a parent ASIN for your initial product and different child ASINs for all your variations.
For example, suppose you sell a T-shirt in different sizes. You need an ASIN for the first product – the T-shirt – and further children’s ASINs for all variations, e.g. for a blue, yellow and pink shirt.
When You Don’t Need An Amazon ASIN…
If you want to sell a product that’s already on the Amazon marketplace, you don’t need to register a new ASIN because every product that’s sold on Amazon already has one.
If this is the case, you only need to research the ASIN. If you don’t know how to find the ASIN of a product, read on, I will explain in the next chapter how to do this.
However, if you’re a new seller and want to sell a brand new product on Amazon, you’ve to register a new ASIN for that product.
What you need to know is that there’s a limit for new sellers on how many new ASINs they can create. If you want to create more ASINs in the near future, you need to sell more products and increase your sales on Amazon.
I highly recommend checking out this site to find out more about Amazon’s restrictions on the creation of new ASINs.
How To Search For A Product’s ASIN
Looking for a product’s ASIN on Amazon is super easy. All you have to do is to search for the product on Amazon.
Then, navigate to the product detail page and scroll to the end of the page.
You will find the ASIN of the product at the end of the listing with the product information.
But there’s another opportunity to get a product’s ASIN even faster. What you can also do is to take a look at the URL entry of your browser:
The ASIN is usually at the end of the URL of the product page. Just make sure that there’s no referral code and you’re good to go.
How To Get A New ASIN
If you’re starting as a private label seller, you will probably sell a product that nobody else sells on Amazon.
If this in case, you need to create a new Amazon ASIN so that Amazon can identify your product.
But you only need to do that if you sell a unique product under your own private label brand.
If the product you want to sell is already on Amazon, you don’t have to create a new ASIN.
Here’s how to create a new ASIN for your product on your own:
First of all, you need a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) for your product.
What is a GTIN?
Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) can be used by a company to uniquely identify all of its trade items. GS1 defines trade items as products or services that are priced, ordered or invoiced at any point in the supply chain.
Where do you get a GTIN?
You can get it from the GS1. The GS1 is a worldwide organization which distributes GTINs, UPCs or ISBNs.
There are different packages and you should choose a package that isn’t too expensive but fully suits your needs.
There are a lot of online sellers that also sell GTINs. However, I highly recommend not to buy a GTIN from another seller than the GS1 since it will only make you problems in the future – trust me.
Once you have a GTIN for your product, it’s relatively easy to get an Amazon ASIN.
All you have to do is to head over to Amazon Seller Central and click on “Add a new product” and then on “Create a new product”.
Then, you’ve to upload your product’s GTIN and Amazon will automatically generate a new ASIN for your product.
It is necessary to have an ASIN to sell on Amazon. However, you only need to create a new ASIN if you want to sell a product on Amazon that does not exist yet.
Anyway, taking care of the ASIN is only an administrative task. Focus more on increasing your sales to succeed in the long run.
About the Author
Moritz Bauer has over 5 years of experience in eCommerce and Marketing. On his blog smartminded he writes about Amazon FBA.
How to choose an accounting firm for your business?
Tax laws undergo changes and additions every year. All these changes tend to confuse businesses, trying to find what each change means for them. It is the role of accountant firms to keep track of all these changes in the tax laws. And thus, rescue businesses from getting trapped in financial hassles and tax liabilities. Accounting firms expertise in managing day to day accounts and advising companies on complex financial matters.
If you are starting your own business, you must be considering consulting an accountant firm for your finances. You don’t know when you’ll need them, and it is totally normal. Right now, you’re focused on transforming your idea into a settled business. And while you do that, we’ll take you through some essential tips on how to choose an accounting firm for your business.
Experience in the field
Several people have CPA credentials and can perform an audit for your business. But the critical factor is who has worked in your specific industry. A person or a firm which has dedicated years in handling nuances of your sector knows what will work best for you. They will be able to offer solutions for your problems more quickly and thus, manage your finances better. A sector like technology has companies with massive and complex accounting structure and investors having high expectations. A knowledgeable company should also be able to help you with business proforma, but don’t expect them to just include the service for free. Pro forma business analysis goes hand in hand with accounting services.
Similarly, some accounting firms have thorough expertise in the audit. But your company requires immediate assistance in taxation. Hence, it is essential to talk to the CPA about their proficiency in your sector and knowledge in different tax laws.
How much do they charge?
A fee is a vital aspect to consider when hiring an accounting firm. It is obvious that different firms charge differently. Large firms, like Deloitte, will charge massive numerations in comparison to a boutique accounting firm in your city. The fees also depend on the kind of assignment they are getting. There are firms which set special rates for every task while others offer a full year service and charge for the same. The prices per job depend on the task they get like preparing profit and loss statement, personal income tax filing or collecting a statement of net worth.
Some accountants write bills on hourly services. If that is the case, then you need to know the standard hourly rates and if these rates change often.
How important is the location?
Before the dawn of technology, having an accountant near me was important. But now, the boundaries of communication and collaboration have shrunk significantly. As technology advances, working with firms abroad through cloud-based technology is just as simple and effective as working face-to-face. There are cloud accounting features that allow you and your accountant to work on your finances and taxations using real-time data. It diminishes the confinement of location and thus, allows better search of services for your needs.
But the decision still lies in your hands. Your decision will be based on your finances and how to handle them. Honestly, while technology allows collaboration through the internet, there are certain situations which require face-to-face intervention.
Opt for a certified or chartered accountant
Several countries have governing bodies that check qualifications and maintain high accounting standards. In different countries, accountants are known with different names like Certified Public Accountants or Chartered Accountants. CPAs or CAs are highly qualified individuals who have completed degree-level studies with professional internship programs.
Hiring a certified or chartered account makes sure you get the right service and financial advice. Their qualification adds value to your business. It means to make sure your company grows from the word “Go!” you must hire a professional accounting firm from the start. Several tax preparation firms employ and train preparers to help clients through income tax filing. But when it comes to catering to more significant accounting needs, you’ll be better off with firms employing CPAs.
Can they grow with you?
When you invest in a business, you make it clear that you’re ready to enter the big leagues and with zest. To make this happen without any glitches, you need to have a CPA firm that has the human resources and expertise. Your CPA must stick with you to see you grow from a start-up to IPO or exit phase. There are countless things to consider: does the firm have the expertise to stick with you, does it has the staff for the job, or they are facing their acquisition? If any of this is true, you’ll have to go through the whole process of finding a new firm once again.
It might fine at the moment when you’re working with an accountant for small business. But once you start growing, you can’t waste time on finding a new CPA when you should be focusing on your business.
The team assigned to you
When you hire a firm to do an audit, you are buying the communication style of the team undertaking the service. An experienced team doing the audit will save you resources when they utilize their expertise and tools at hand. You need to ask the firm questions on who will be handling your case and if they will be a part of the meeting. Ask them about their previous experiences with other clients and how the following team works on-field. You must be sure that the team you are assigned is the best one.
Converse with government and business entities
Several countries stress on small businesses since they boost a significant share of their economies. To help small businesses grow, the government rolls out plans, packages, and assistance. If you are a small business owner, you can use this assistance and network of business entities to get an accountant.
Whichever accounting firm you choose for your business, remember that they will have access to your sensitive data. So, do your research and take your time to finalize one. Talk with your fellow business associates to get a picture of how accountant firms deal with clients. And since you have the power of the internet in your hand, use social media to dig in deeper. Trust is key!
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