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How Brands Can Optimize Their Relationships With Amazon Vendor Managers
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For brands engaging in a first-party (1P) relationship with Amazon, maintaining an open, productive partnership with your vendor manager is pivotal to the overall health and growth of your Amazon business. By properly utilizing your vendor manager relationship, you will be able to negotiate better terms, get SKUs included in larger scale campaigns, receive end-to-end category guidance, and more. In this post, we will explain several ways you can improve the relationship with your Amazon vendor manager.
1. Expand Your Catalog
You should regularly monitor your catalog to see what other items might make sense for you to sell directly to Amazon via the 1P recurring purchase order cycle. Your Amazon vendor manager owns the responsibility of growing the size of the product category that they manage, which means they are likely very willing to take time to speak to the vendors that are interested in providing additional items or spend a larger amount on promotions and merchandising.
Be sure to make all of your brands available to Amazon, make sure your items are categorized properly (avoiding listing them as obsolete or otherwise non-replenishable), and look to add items you have never offered to Amazon by developing unique bundles.
2. Submit Cases on Your Own
Take ownership of any tickets that you want to submit instead of attempting to funnel them through your vendor manager. They will likely not have the time or bandwidth to troubleshoot them for you, so proactively try to resolve any small issues and questions through Vendor Central tickets.
3. Meet in Person
By attending Amazon category summits in Seattle, you will be able to maintain and sharpen your best practices related to category merchandising, advertising, and more. Additionally, maintaining a face-to-face relationship with your vendor manager is also beneficial to overall productivity and trustworthiness, so taking the time to build that relationship as often as possible will be worth the investment. There is also the chance that the vendors who put in the effort to meet in person are considered first when it comes to any last-minute events or promotions.
4. Learn About Your Vendor Manager
Some vendor managers will be more tenured than others, so be sure to be flexible with any new vendor managers that you are assigned. When a new one is assigned to your product category, be sure to take a step back and understand their role and responsibilities. Being able to handle any personnel changes and the value that the vendor manager brings to your Amazon operation is part of managing your 1P business.
5. Be Open With Your Ad Spend Plans
Part of the vendor manager’s job is to negotiate and secure marketing funds. You should take a proactive approach to set up a call with your vendor manager to hear their thoughts on where your ad spend would be best suited and provide the highest ROI. This will demonstrate your commitment to growing your business while simultaneously showing them how much you value their category expertise and the partnership as a whole.
6. Increase Your Email Communication
Write more emails that are shorter and more concise instead of lumping all of your requests or action items together in one email. These vendor managers likely have hundreds (if not thousands) of vendors, so the more concise the email, the better. Keep it simple with one email per topic — write a separate email for each action item, stating the deliverable in the subject line. If you don’t get a response within 36 hours, do not shy away from following up until you do.
Don’t be afraid to ask your vendor manager questions about what goals Amazon sets so you can help them get closer to their goals while simultaneously accelerating sales of your products. By taking proactive efforts to get more attention from your vendor manager and improve the overall quality of the relationship, you are increasing the overall chances of your SKUs performing better on Amazon.
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