Amazon became famous for selling books online. They developed a sales platform and then realised that they could open up their technology to allow others to sell goods on their site. If you think you will sell less than 35 items per month, you would fall under Amazon’s low volume classification, which qualifies for a “Basic Account.” A higher turnover user should apply for a “Pro Account.” The Basic users pay a per transaction fee, but the Pro users pay a monthly transaction and no per item fee. Platinum merchants are a subset of Pro merchants.
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New Pro Account holders do not know about the classification of merchants in Amazon. There are three levels of account: silver, gold and platinum. As a general rule of thumb, if you don’t know what your classification is, you are probably a silver merchant. As a silver merchant you will be unaware of levels above you. Amazon does not create an incentive to progress to gold or platinum levels. The existence of these levels is kept a secret from standard silver members.
Pro sellers will only become aware of the Gold and Platinum memberships once they receive an invitation to these categories. You will not find any information on these statuses on the Amazon website, or even in the seller’s pages. Matt Williams, Amazon’s Director of Business Development, gave an interview to the online magazine Auction Bytes (now eCommerce Bytes) in 2008. This interview gives the only official mention accessible to general readership of the Gold and Platinum programmes. He explains that the key to getting invited onto the programs is to have high quality products, a good delivery record and positive customer feedback.
Matt Williams told Auction Bytes that Pro merchants don’t have to wait to be noticed. You can contact the administration through the Amazon Services website (see Resources). Once the leaders of the programme have your request they will examine your past performance and product line to decide whether they want to allow you into the program. However, the criteria for the programmes is vague and he gives no indication of the distinction between Gold and Platinum levels.
Brad and Debra Schepp, in their book, “Amazon Top Seller Secrets” explain that only Gold and Platinum sellers are allowed to sell in certain categories. These include computers, clothing and gourmet food. These privileged merchants get higher visibility for their merchandise and get featured listings.
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