Amazon Food and Beverage

Selling Food and Beverages on Amazon

It’s an exciting time for any brand wanting to sell food and beverage on Amazon. However, if you do not have experience selling it online, it can be overwhelming to wade through the approval processes, marketplace regulations, and all the packaging, labeling, and shipping requirements.

During the last years, Amazon is taking big steps in order to promote and refine the grocery offerings.

Moreover, in the year of 2014 Amazon has begun requiring sellers to obtain approval before selling food on Amazon. Before that sellers didn't need it as long as their selling metrics in the category were good.

What are the requirements for selling Food & Beverage on Amazon?

When you have decided to sell Food and/or Beverage on Amazon. First things you should do is to open professional Amazon Seller Central account.

It requires information about your business (legal business name, contact, address, tax ID in your country & credit card). After you have your own seller account, you will need to provide your product invoices and other product information you are about to sell.

Provide an invoice to be approved for selling

Product invoices are one of the main criteria to be approved for selling Food & Beverages. Sellers must submit an invoice which:

• Must be dated within the last 90 days

• Must have sellers name or issuing business name.

• Should have information for your business (e.g. address, phone number, email or website)

• Invoices must have the names of the purchased products

• Must have document issuer's name, address, phone number, email or website

• As well as, pricing information which is optional but suggested

Besides that, If you are the manufacturer and brand owner you'll be required to provide:

• US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Certificate of Registration or US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) Notification

• Business address of your store/office

• Business address of your manufacturing plant Business certification showing that your business is registered (e.g. business license or sales/use tax license)

• Home occupation permit (If you work out of your home)

Sending above mention documents will take some time for Amazon to proceed. And after the approval, you can make your first sales.

Before 2014 all food and beverages on Amazon were sold under a category called Grocery & Gourmet. However, right now it is split into 3 categories, which are:

• Food & Beverage

• Organic Products

• Chilled & Frozen Foods

Selling in all these categories sellers still need to have great performance, which is evaluated by the following criteria:

• Order defect rate: < 1%

• Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%

• Late shipment rate: < 4%

Packaging and labeling of food and beverage products

As a seller of food and/or beverages you need to note, that Products with expiration dates can be sold FBA as long as the units arrive at warehouses with a shelf life greater than 105 days from time of arrival. And Amazon will remove units that are within 50 days of the expiration date.

All packaging must include:

• Product Name

• Name and address of packaging company

• Expiration Date

• Net content quantity and weight (the weight of the contents, not including any packaging)

• Any dietary or allergen-free claims (such as Organic, Kosher, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free) must

• be listed on the product packaging

Product packaging must protect the quality and safety of the food.

Additional requirements for organic products

At some point in 2017, likely following the Whole Foods acquisition, brands selling organic products started receiving emails from Amazon asking them to produce the certificates proving they were in compliance with USDA organic regulations.

In order to sell organic products on Amazon a brand must prove that the products:

• Have been produced to the USDA Organic requirements or an international standard that

• Has been named by the USDA,

• Comply with the USDA Organic labeling standards

• Be able to identify the name of the product’s certified

Comply with the USDA Organic labelling standards

You can read more about the requirements for organic products on the Amazon webpage.

Additional requirements for chilled and frozen products

Chilled and frozen products can't be FBA. They can be fulfilled by Merchant only. It makes sense since you can not guarantee that products will be in the same condition while being delivered to Amazon FBA warehouses.

The category is basically just what it sounds like, products that require refrigeration in order to maintain their quality. That means that Amazon needs to see that the product has maintained it's chilled or frozen state throughout the shipping process.

Amazon has also set temperature ranges for different categories of products and will request verification that these products have been kept at these temperature ranges. For example, meat and poultry should be in the range of -2.2 - 5 degree Celsius.

In order to ensure that products have been kept at these temperatures throughout their journey, Amazon will request validation and verification of the chill chain.

Product page listings and requirements

Amazon has specific requirements for the format and information included on the product detail page (product listings) in the Food category. Here’s a quick checklist when building your product listing:

• All Food & Beverage product pages must include an image of the nutritional and ingredients information for the product(s).

• Images should include only the products included for sale through the listing - accessory products should be featured in the images.

• And as it is suggested for all type of products on Amazon - images should be with a 1000-dpi minimum, which allows them to zoom on the listings

For the higher conversions, it is suggested to post an image with the packaging. As well as, describe in the bullet points flavor of the product and go into details describing what kind of experience it can bring to the customer.

To sell better, you need to come up with the good story telling for your brand and product, which you can describe more briefly in the bullet points.

Marketing strategies for food and beverages on Amazon

This category is one of the most competitive on Amazon, and we are advising to register for the Brand Registry on Amazon to have more benefits to advertise your products and brand.

However, if you do not have a trademark, you can still have a great sales volume focusing on things, such as:

• Adding additional value to the products and/or create a bundle. For example, if you are selling dried fruits, try to add nuts or chocolate to it. Bundling the products together usually increase conversions up to 8 times on Amazon

• Offer shoppers multi-buy discounts or upsell with discounts off certain combinations of products.

• If you have multiples flavors of a product you can expand your sales by having variants of the product in one listing, rather than creating a new listing for each flavor. This will increase your ranking for the specific product listings.

• Use lifestyle images to enhance your product listings and demonstrate your products in use.

• Show the size of the packaging, by comparing it with human body in the image.

Speaking about the Amazon SEO for Food and Beverages:

• If you have been approved to sell organic products, still include the term “organic” in your product listings so that shoppers searching in the main categories can be directed to your listing.

• Leading with the brand name in a product listing title can hurt your search ranking because it will push the relevant terms further down the title. So, instead of naming a product “Brand XYZ Milk Chocolate Bar” try naming it “Milk Chocolate Bar by Brand XYZ”. That being said, if you have good brand name recognition that shoppers might be searching for then consider placing the brand name first.

• Run PPC campaigns, and update you keyword lineup about once a week, using the information from the PPC customer search terms report to guide you. This will also allow you to change your keywords to keep up with a holiday and seasonal trends.

How ''Subscribe & Save'' can help you to sell more and retain customers

In 2019 Amazon has launched a new program - Subscribe & Save where customers can schedule repeat deliveries on the same products having 10% or 15% discounts.

Subscribe & Save is more appropriate for sealed items with a longer shelf life, like dry or canned goods, shelf-stable beverages, coffee and tea, etc. This can be a great opportunity for brands that sell these types of products to make re-stocking easy and convenient for shoppers, therefore encouraging repeat purchases and increasing the Customer Lifetime Value.

For example, Amazon Fresh is designed to compete with other grocery delivery services. Brands selling products that shoppers might consume on a regular basis, perishables, as well as chilled and frozen foods could benefit from the loyalty that this program encourages.

At INNELS, we help companies to get started and sell on Amazon selling Food & Beverages. If you need any advice contact us.