How to Boost Product Launches with Amazon Born to Run

To convince Amazon that your product is worth stocking up on, you need to build up significant sales velocity. But it’s difficult to build sales when you’re constantly running out of stock. 

That’s why launching new Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASIN) can be a tricky task for vendors. But that’s where the Amazon Born to Run program comes in.


What is the Amazon Born to Run Program? 

The Born to Run program provides vendors with a way to prompt Amazon to order plenty of stock up front. It is designed to help vendors fast track the success of newly launched products and quickly build up sales velocity. But they need to agree to Amazon’s terms. 

Vendors who take part get to choose their ‘Launch Buy Quantity’. This is the amount of extra stock they’d like Amazon to order. In exchange, vendors need to provide Amazon with the right to return all unsold stock after 70 days. Vendors are also charged 10% of the cost of unsold units to cover shipping and handling. Alternatively, they can pay a 25% retention fee for Amazon to hold on to them. 

So let’s say a vendor has just manufactured a new keyboard priced at $40 per unit. With the Born to Run program, they can secure an order of 1,000 units. In this case, their Launch Buy Quantity will be $40,000. 

When the Amazon Born to Run scheme first launched, vendors were also required to spend at least 10% of the value of their Launch Buy Quantity on Amazon advertising. However, in 2020, Amazon abolished this rule. It now allows vendors to promote their products in whatever way they see fit.


What are the eligibility requirements? 

As well as providing Amazon with the right to return any unsold inventory, vendors need to meet the following conditions to take part in the Born to Run program. 

  • Participants need to be first party sellers and members of the Amazon Vendor program 
  • The total value of the Launch Buy Quantity can’t surpass $50,000 
  • The cost of the product enlisted must be at least $5 
  • The product can’t be heavy, bulky or regulated as a dangerous good 

The Amazon Born to Run program operates on an invite-only basis. Amazon uses unknown operational and profitability requirements to determine who gains entry. If your business is eligible, you’ll be able to access the program under the ‘Vendor Initiated Orders’ section of your Vendor Central account. 

If the ASIN you’d like to enlist meets the above requirement, you can fill out an intake form and Amazon will review it. Once approved, the ten week deadline for selling your Launch Buy Quantity will begin 20 days after your submission.


How the Born to Run program benefits brands 

Launching new products on Amazon can be difficult. But the Amazon Born to Run program can bring momentum to your sales. Here are some of the key benefits that come with signing up. 

1. Consistent availability of stock 

Because you’re sending lots of stock to Amazon straight off the bat, you’re less likely to experience a stockout during this initial 70 day period. 

This is a great way to ensure Amazon has sufficient stock during your launch. By always having stock available, brands can maximise sales and product reviews from day one. Both of which can positively impact your ASIN’s visibility. 

In fact, according to Search Engine Land, product availability is a key ranking factor for Amazon’s algorithm. So maintaining stock is also in itself good for your ASIN’s visibility. 

2. Greater sales 

Amazon runs out of stock more frequently than you’d think – especially when it comes to products with no previous demand history. 

As mentioned, the Born to Run program means you’re less likely to miss out on sales due to stockouts. In fact, according to the Vendor Society, pilot tests show that ASINs enlisted in the program attract almost twice as many sales as normal product launches. 

To increase Amazon sales even further, many vendors strategically sign up to the Born to Run program at crucial times in the retail calendar. If your high stock levels coincide with peak sales periods, like Prime Day or Black Friday, you’ll be sure to shift your Launch Buy Quantity and boost your bottom line. 

It’s also worth noting that vendors can enlist long-standing ASINs in the program too. Whenever you think your PO quantities should be higher, you can sign up to increase stock. This is a great option if you’ve got marketing campaigns in the pipeline. 

3. The potential for a better relationship with Amazon 

The Born to Run Program can help new ASINs gain momentum and reach sales maturity faster. If your product proves to be a hit during its ten week sell-through period, Amazon is likely to place larger orders and boost revenue for your business. 

In fact, if your ASIN gains traction and shifts its extra units quickly, Amazon’s systems may even forecast demand and order more before the ten weeks is over. 

Without the Born to Run program, it would take longer to build up significant sales and reach this point. So it is a great way for members of the Amazon Vendor Program to speedily prove that their products are worth investing in.


More tips for running successful product launches 

Using the Amazon Born to Run program isn’t the only way to supercharge your product launches. Here are three tips to boost visibility and kick-start your sales. 

1. Invest in advertising 

While advertising is no longer required to take part in the Born to Run program, it is a smart way to build visibility for newly launched ASINs. 

Investing in Amazon’s sponsored ads is probably the most effective option for capturing relevant shoppers. But you can also use social media advertising, affiliate marketing, a Where to Buy solution and any other eCommerce marketing methods that will drive up your sales. 

Once you’ve built up your ASIN’s sales history and reviews, it will begin to rank better in Amazon’s organic search results. 

2. Increase your product reviews 

As well as affecting your Amazon rankings, product reviews can also significantly impact conversions. 

91% of shoppers read at least one review before they make a purchase. So you should ensure that new ASINs attract some positive Amazon Reviews as soon as possible. 

Accurate product descriptions, high quality merchandise and advertising can all help with this. Members of the Amazon Vendor Program can also sign up to the Amazon Vine, which is designed for products that have less than 30 reviews. 

3. Optimise your listings 

You can improve your chances of appearing at the top of Amazon’s search results with some simple listing optimisation

As well as being beneficial for SEO, optimised product pages can boost conversions. Simply put, optimising your content will increase sales and reduce the financial risk that comes with enrolling in the Amazon Born to Run program.


Final thoughts 

Launching a new product on Amazon can be tricky, but the Born to Run program can bring momentum to your ASINs from day one. 

However, signing up isn’t without its risks. So be sure to use Amazon Brand Analytics to assess similar products and accurately forecast demand. You can also optimise your listings and promote your products to ensure each launch is successful.