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Premium support at a premium price: Is Amazon Vendor Services worth the money?

– Written by Jérôme de Guigné

You know you’ve made it as a Vendor when Amazon offers you AVS: Amazon Vendor Services.

AVS, only available to top-tier Level of Service Vendors, is sold by the e-commerce giant as a chance to “grow with Amazon and unleash full potential”.

It has a lot in common with services offered by agencies, but it has unique benefits too – such as the extra access to Amazon support.

But, with significant fees attached, is that help from the inside of Amazon worth the money – or not?

What is AVS?

Amazon Vendor Services gives you new tools and improved access to internal processes, plus business advice, to improve your brand’s presence on Amazon.

You get dedicated internal support working on your account, with a choice of ‘light’ or ‘full’ support.

There are five support pillars you can choose from. They are:

They include more than 80 activities that can be tailored to your needs.

It’s basically extra capability — people — working to improve your catalogue from the inside.

But it’s not cheap: depending on the size of your business and how many marketplaces you cover, the price ranges from €90K a year to well over €1M.

Give me more details – what services does AVS offer?

AVS can help you choose the right logistics strategy, including WePay, Direct Import or Dropship.

It can improve your catalogue, including defining the most important keywords for specific product groups; fixing and improving browse and leaf nodes; improving the product page by including or adjusting current bulletpoints, images, and A+ Content; and unlocking relevant selection.

AVS also includes the former PSS (Product Set up Services) and PCS (Premium Catalogue Services) tasks.

Does having AVS mean I don’t have to use Vendor Central?

As tempting as it is to send everything to your Brand Specialist within AVS, you still need to use Vendor Central for things like deal set-up.

The point of AVS is to focus on added-value tasks, delivering “growth to businesses through scalable processes and automation”.

Amazon says having AVS carry out your self-service tasks is not the best way to give you long-term growth — and they’re probably reluctant for you to have their team doing all the stuff you could do yourself.

What do other brands say?

Here are some real examples of the typical feedback we got from major brands working with AVS.

“At the beginning it worked very well, but very quickly most decisions had to be run through the vendor manager as relevant information was unavailable to the AVS and to us.”

“This is costing us a lot of money, and I don’t really believe it has a positive ROI.”

“I am wondering if we shouldn’t spend the money on advertising which would bring us more benefit.”

That’s not to say it doesn’t work. Amazon recommends AVS to Vendors with annual revenue of at least €1M, so that a fifth of your income is spent on AVS.

What do the e-Comas team think?

We at e-Comas don’t currently recommend Sellers use the service, as it’s the ‘ultra light’ version costing at least €90K, which can be better spent on agency support or on advertising.

But as an Amazon agency, we strongly believe the service and the reasons behind it are legitimate, and it can work well for Vendors.

Improving your catalogue is the key to success. And many brands don’t master the basics, which you absolutely need to do before throwing thousands of Euros into advertising.

Used optimally, AVS can help Vendors improve their content, improve the searchability of their listings, improve their reach to customers, and boost conversion rates. Which will improve sales, therefore your ranking, therefore your sales, and so on.

OK, I’m going to join AVS. Any advice?

We strongly recommend that you are very demanding when signing the deal. The cost is much higher than using an outside agency, which you can use in the negotiation with Amazon.

To get the very best value, and provided you generate at least €3M in revenue, this is our recommendation:

Go for full EU support, which will cost you around €360K a year.

And make sure that once you sign the contract, you have a starting date and a person already assigned to you. This is a point that can cause friction, as Amazon has been known to postpone the starting date but still charge you.

If you need any more help with AVS, get in touch with us today, we’ll be glad to assist!