A Messy Situation: Reclaiming Melted Products & Lost Revenues Through Test Buys

Blogs | February 26, 2021

The Client: 
A United States manufacturer of high-protein nutrition bars created to be a guilt-free snack choice. These products are marketed as better-for-you products geared toward individuals with an indulgent side. This story focuses on Amazon’s Summer Ship regulations as they pertain to selling perishable goods.

The Situation:  
Starting in early 2020, POTOO partnered with this protein bar brand for a Full-Service Brand Protection program across their entire catalog. As their products are consumable, the POTOO team thoroughly investigated Amazon’s regulations for perishable items. POTOO’s deep understanding of Amazon policies and third-party seller behavior enabled the team to detect and uncover unauthorized sellers and listing violations on the marketplace.

After several test buys, it became apparent that unauthorized sellers cut corners with shipping guidelines, leading to visible damage to the product and potential health hazards for consumers. Additionally, products that are mishandled and shipped incorrectly reflect poorly on the brand and negatively impact its reputation. As 3,500 online resellers join Amazon daily, countless unauthorized operations exist online. Test buys play a critical role in protecting brands by providing additional support for claims sent to Amazon. By providing clear violation examples of third-party sellers to Amazon, the removal success rate increases.

What is Amazon Summer Ship: 
Summer Ship is one of Amazon’s shipping protocols for warm weather months as higher temperatures increase the risk of damaging package contents. For any consumable item, mishandling or damaging the product puts the consumer’s health at risk and exposes the brand’s integrity.

Summer Ship Criteria & Best Practices

* Date range: Between May 1 and October 1
* Perishable goods require special packaging to ensure they arrive in good condition.
* Recommended option for these items is Amazon’s Expedited Chilled Shipping method.

If you do not use Amazon, the carrier company should be:
* Equipped to handle temperature-sensitive goods.
* Knowledgeable of any legal rules and regulations.
* Able to provide appropriate packing solutions.

Best Practices: 
* Ship in styrofoam containers with a cooling gel pack.
* Select an appropriate coolant. Dry ice is best for freezing, while gel packs keep item temperature between 32ºF and 60ºF.
* Send delivery messages and shipment-tracking information to your customers.

What categories are at risk:
Most consumable goods should adhere to temperature-controlled shipping guidelines including (but not limited to):

* Candy
* Protein bars
* Baby food
* Meats
* Medications
* Probiotics
* Vitamins

POTOO strategically placed test buys during the Summer Ship months on sellers with low price points and high inventory volumes. When each order arrived, it was clear that no shipping or safety precautions were taken. The product was not in temperature-controlled packaging, allowing the product to melt completely. Violation cases were submitted through the Brand Registry Portal referencing Amazon’s policies and adding supplemental images to further prove the product was inedible. As the brand manufacturer, we asked that these sellers be removed as they were violating Amazon’s policy. 

During Amazon’s Summer Ship, POTOO had a 95% removal success rate on the shipping violations found and reported to Amazon. Through this process, we were able to remove over 3,000 units of unauthorized inventory from the marketplace; redistributing over $100,000 in additional sales share back to our client.

Melting Temperature Attribute Will Soon be a Required Step for ASINs:

To help improve the customer experience, Amazon has added a melting temperature attribute for ASINs. Starting April 22, 2021, this attribute will be a required step when you fill out information for the following:

  • New ASINs
  • All existing ASINs when you update any attribute on a product information page

For meltable items, such as chocolate, lip balms, and wax-based products, select Yes for “is heat sensitive” and provide information about the product’s melting temperature.

Although melting temperature is currently an optional attribute, we recommend that you update your affected ASINs now so that they are current as of April 22. If you offer temperature-sensitive ASINs that Amazon also offers, the product attributes may have been updated already. We appreciate your cooperation as we continually strive to improve the customer experience.

To learn more about Summer Ship or our test buy program, connect with us at: www.potoosolutions.com/contact-us.

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