They were inviting him to set up a store on the popular Amazon web site depending on the thorough nature of his very own successful web site (which I am proud to have designed, constructed and maintain for him.) Since he is busy conducting his company, he inquired if I could handle this due to him personally. This will incorporate all communications with Amazon, meeting their technical requirements for providing content using their own proprietary applications, in addition to upload and testing of this store to successful implementation. And so it began: November 4th, 2008.
Obstacle Number One:
First hurdle to clean involved my taking care of a Mac. It seems that Ecom Income blueprint Amazon’s applications, called the Amazon Seller Desktop or ASD, can not utilize the Macintosh operating system. It must work within a Windows environment. But the Amazon technical staff assured me there were many third-party providers who could deal with this endeavor for me, which would cost my client an arm and a leg and cut out of this film. Since my customer’s internet site has more than 175 automobile accessory products, it was no small matter. Luckily, because Apple Computer lets me run Windows and Macintosh operating systems simultaneously, I already had Windows loaded in my computer through a course named Parallels. Granted I had been no Windows expert, nor aficionado, but I go with the assumption which I’ll persevere if I simply keep my nose to the grindstone.
My Amazon tech support team contact hadn’t ever worked together with someone in my own case previously, so she’d no idea if the software she would send me could be in a position to be installed. But we decided to give it an attempt.
Fast forward two weeks and over a hundred products after, I was able to install and then utilize the ASD to offer the descriptive articles, the appropriate visual formats, the hundreds of search terms, the SKU numbers, manufacturer attributions and price information needed to populate the various fields needed for every item to be sold. Most this article is then displayed on the Amazon website within a normal format so all stores look alike in presentation.
Obstacle Number Two:
However, there is another aspect to supplying advice, which unless handled correctly, could protect against addition of important seller data, such as shipping and returns policies, tax info, seller background and contact. This involved the Amazon Seller Central website where all store data and inventory is contained and managed by individual storekeepers (or some one just like myself) with something called a “release date.” This is an extremely cumbersome functionality which continues to perplex me even with having mastered it a number of times just to have to re invent the wheel each time I’m confronted by it being an obstruction. Illogically, it takes that you should possess a release date set up sometime in the future before you may release current information at the time of a recent date, which is based on Pacific time (while I’m on Eastern time). And, it’s imperative you’ve selected the suitable release date from a dropdown menu before adding or editing content into the several categories governed by this system or it won’t take effect once you expect. (How often have I spent a couple of hours editing and correcting information only to understand that I had not selected the right release date initially and had to start all around!) Anyway, once you’ve done this a few hundred times, I’m sure it’s a snap. But also for this apt college graduate with years of relevant experience, I find the whole discharge date theory to be dull and unnecessary. Yet, I obediently work using that which I’m presented and sincerely attempt to implement properly, keeping my fingers crossed while I wait out the time difference to determine if my changes have gone into effect in the designated hour. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Learning from mistakes is really a superb teacher but a time waster in this case.
But forging beforehand, I am next notified by Amazon of a new segment having to be added to my own ASD applications that’s important to re sell our products for the Amazon automotive “Partfinder” search engine. After a couple of faulty attempts at installation through no fault of my very own, we are finally powerful in appending to my ASD the newly developed “application” software. This requires selections from an infinite set of drop down menus describing use of vehicle (Subaru, etc.), version of vehicle (Forester, etc.)annually or two years, and a gamut of other special choices including kind of engine, transmission, drive, etc..)
Obstacle Number Three:
Supposedly, addition of this data in conjunction with the rest of the data supplied will assure our products have the ability to be found when somebody utilizes the Partfinder Search Tab in the Automotive part of the Amazon site. If this were true! While a scant few of our products can be seen employing the Partfinder Lookup tool, the huge bulk of our products are not included, although maddeningly and strangely, all those of our competition are all!
That is not to say that the primary search engine Amazon isn’t a powerful and beneficial tool. It is! All our products can easily be found using that tool. It’s the Partfinder tool that’s deficient and has continued to frustrate mepersonally, my client and the technical team at Amazon for all, many months. There are a lot more than just a hundred separate entrances within our Amazon event log regarding this issue within the previous 14 months. All these are communications with technical and liaison staff who supposedly work behind the scenes to tackle this matter, though I’m never allowed to go over the issue with anybody of any proficiency directly. Plus a few of the written notes thanking me “yet again to my patience” result in people with very strange names, which leads me to feel that much of this work might be outsourced to inhabitants of states I might never have heard about, or some other planet for that issue! I experienced lengthy phone conversations with engineering representatives from Amazon’s staff, without avail. No one appears to comprehend why a number of our products are accepted and the others aren’t, all fulfilling exactly the exact same pair of formats and parameters to meet all of system requirements.
Obstacle Number Four:
But this is simply not the sole consternation in dealing with this Amazon store front experience. For instance, parameters for photo upload have shifted since the software’s inception. Originally all photos needed to be at least 300 dpi at a size of 1200×1200 pixels square. Somewhere along the way, the size has been reduced to 500×500 pixels requiring replacement and resizing of almost any photos on product files that may need editing or updating, and reloading to the Amazon server. Moreover, through a process of elimination, I have discovered that if the name of a photo file is too much time, or if the file is saved in CMYK instead of RGB, further problems can arise, resulting in failure to upload, as well as error codes which resist correction till you’re fortunate enough hitting the jackpot by simply trying various potential “fixes” limited only by your imagination and imagination.
Obstacle Number Five:
Then there’s the difficulty of assigning shipping costs to a global market where product weights vary to our over 175 products; clients may sometimes prefer expedited transportation; and individual countries outside the Continental United States will assign their very own taxes and tariffs. My client and I consented the only sane recourse was to just provide free delivery.
Obstacle Number Six:
And because each item must possess its own individual number, if a item can be found in an range of colors, each color has to have its own file, page and SKU number, exponentially increasing the total amount of work required to offer for purchase something like a painted automobile body trim part which is different by year, model and upwards to fifty variations of color!
No such fate. Alternatively I had to research on Google the paint code of the actual color in question to find a sample of the color needed as a way to transform the one photo I had of this auto in one color as well as a individual photo of the part in addition in just one color by “painting” each in the many different colors needed together with Photoshop. I am sure those who don’t know or use Photoshop probably think that this is only push of a button. Nothing can be further from the reality. Even pros of Photoshop, of that I consider myself, spend hours silhouetting a heavily magnified image by drawing on an extremely precise course on the areas of the car needing color adjustment, attentively excluding chrome, windows, tires, mirrorsand desktop, etc. and employing one of various tools available to include realistic color to an interest without changing shape, reflections, shine, shadows and glow that could create the final result to appear “faked.” Now multiply this by fifty or two vehicles; subsequently double it in order to also handle the separate photo of the part itself. Yes, even a mere push of a button, indeed!
Obstacle Number Seven:
Oh, and here’s a good one! On the infamous application software appendage, the most current year that I could select for some models of Subaru is 2009! When I write this, it really is August of 2010 and I’ve updated my customer’s web site with the 2011 model information. Yet our Amazon data is stuck in a year ago for at least 2 of our models. And 2011 is no where to be found for any model! Do not get me started how upsetting it is in order to locate competitive products for many years while using the Auto Partfinder! My only option is to incorporate rich content – very rich content – into the descriptive passages of each of my customer’s product pages so clients who search using the main Amazon internet search engine will definitely have the ability to detect our 2010- and 2011-suitable products without a problem.
These software limitations are an unfortunate position for both my client and Amazon alike. Only if the rest of our services and products could be found using the Partfinder Lookup tool! Clients, Amazon along with my client could be a great deal happier!