Amazon Sellers Begin Kicking the Tires
For several months, Amazon has been warning sellers it would stop providing buyer email addresses and shipping addresses in its "Sold, ship now" emails.
Currently, many sellers cut and paste the transaction details from these emails onto packing slips and shipping labels.
For several months, Amazon has been warning sellers it would stop providing buyer email addresses and shipping addresses in its "Sold, ship now" emails. Currently, many sellers cut and paste the transaction details from these emails onto packing slips and shipping labels.
Now sellers are getting a glimpse of what will replace those familiar emails. In late January, Amazon began beta-testing the Amazon Services Order Notifier (ASON). The Windows software displays a pop-up message each time an order is received, and after clicking on a taskbar icon, sellers can view recent orders.
When viewing your order history using ASON, you can double-click on an order to display a page showing the order ID, shipping information, printable shipping labels and packing slips, and transaction information such as the buyer's price, Amazon's commission, the shipping credit, and your earnings. The software runs continuously, and no log-in is required.
ASON's major benefit is that provides quick access to order details without having to log into your payments account on Amazon's Web site. Pro-Merchants will continue to have one more option for accessing transactions details - the order-fulfillment reports available for download from Amazon's site.
ASON is a "good first stab" at a software application for sellers, said Kevin O'Brien, founder of SpaceWare Inc., a provider of automation software for Amazon sellers at http://spaceware.com
"If sellers were forced to use the order-fulfillment reports or cut and paste shipping information from the Web site, it would have driven most of them crazy," O'Brien said.
Amazon says it's making the changes to protect the privacy of buyers and sellers. In theory, buyer information in those plain-text "Sold, ship now" emails can be intercepted by practically anyone on the Internet. With ASON, however, customer data is scrambled using Secure Socket Layer encryption, eliminating the possibility that customer information will fall into the wrong hands.
ASON also eliminates two other weaknesses associated with email order notifications:
However, there are several drawbacks with ASON that sellers are hoping will be fixed during the course of the beta test:
The time required for these manual tasks may encourage more sellers to begin using third-party software to manage their Marketplace orders, O'Brien said. It seems unlikely Amazon will integrate ASON with Endicia or other online postage services.
Some sellers have vowed not to use ASON at all. Some resent the idea of having an Amazon software application continuously draining their PC's resources, and some are suspicious that the software would somehow enable Amazon to snoop on sellers. However, O'Brien said ASON uses very little system resources, and it greatly enhances privacy.
In the future, ASON's technology can be added to third-party software. The Web service application programming interface is documented here.
Here's more information about downloading and using ASON.
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