Deep in the Amazon, it can get pretty dire. When you’re in the trenches and on the hunt, you can easily get turned around and find yourself in a mild panic, retracing your steps as sweat pours from your temples. And at every turn, you could end up in a head-to-head challenge with a fellow omnivore. Anything is possible when you’re in the bowels of this mighty beast.
Oh and we’re not talking about getting lost in the Brazilian jungle.
This is just what it’s like to be an Amazon store owner on a daily basis.
We’ve pulled some horror stories from Amazon store owners from our private community. Some are funny, while others are downright heartbreaking. These are the tales that made each store owner wish they had an Amazon expert on speed dial.
Customers Won’t Always Read The Fine Print
It doesn’t matter how well-optimized your Amazon product page is if a customer doesn’t pay attention to the details. For one store owner who had a product page selling a part to a set, being specific about the item being a single and not a full set could not be stated enough. “It’s clear on the page that it’s just one piece and the bullet points and title all state that it’s an individual,” he said.
Nevertheless, a customer left him this one-star review:
Firstly too long to receive my 2nd and I only ordered 1set. Looks like your sending two sets. Cancel both orders. AMEX notified not to pay TERRIBLE SERVICE!
The result? One bad review ruined his near perfect metrics. Don’t let one bad review get you down. Brush it off and move on because more will follow.
When You’re Not an Amazon Seller, Your Products May Still End Up There
Some store owners decide against selling their brand on Amazon to strengthen the confidence in their own store. But for many, this requires filing copyright takedowns in case someone else decides to try selling it on Amazon for them.
Here’s what one store owner had to say. “One particular seller got fired up when we filed an image in her store violating a copyright. We emailed back and forth and back and forth and finally I got this response: ‘All you’ve done is protect your image. Your product is still live on Amazon and all it will take is for one seller to upload a crappy image. Your brand will look smudged at best.’ Little does she know that’s exactly what I wanted to happen.”
You may not be able to stop your product from appearing on Amazon, but you can make getting it there a lot harder.
Using Amazon Fulfillment Means You Aren’t In Control Of How Items Ship
Imagine trying to fit a 6′ long item in a 3′ long box? Well that’s exactly what this seller had happen to one of his FBA shipments.
“One of my branded products is a 6-foot long oil rubbed bronze piano hinge. Until now it was enjoying a 4.5 star rating with 15 reviews. Recently, a 1-star review was posted where the buyer indicated that he received my 6′ long hinge, bent in half so it would fit into a 3′ long box shipped FBA.”
Try as he might, Amazon wouldn’t take down the review. “When it comes to striking a negative seller review when FBA screws up, they’re totally fair. But when it comes to product reviews, their agents are apparently either afraid, or unwilling to apply common sense. Everybody loses.”
Even in situations where Amazon is to blame, you can’t always expect them to make it right for you or your customer. It’s one of the controls you give up when you fulfill through the behemoth.
Customers May End Up With Knockoffs Of Your Product
One store owner from our community had his main listing turned off for two weeks when a customer received a knockoff.
“They filed a counterfeit claim and it took a while to get to the bottom of what happened and convince Amazon to reopen our listing,” he says. “As long as a low paid hourly employee is responsible for inspecting returned items across thousands of brands/products for resellability, you’re going to have lousy returned items put back into your FBA inventory.”
Today he still gets the occasional customer receiving his product in an unmarked polybag wondering if it’s real. If you sell your product FBA, you never have full control of how a customer receives it.
Even Veteran Sellers Are At Risk of Losing It All
After selling on Amazon for over 10 years, one store owner’s account was suspended thanks to a double whammy within days.
“The first suspension we were braced for impact. We were getting hammered on late shipments because our distributors were sold out. It wasn’t until we learned about the shortage that we finally blocked all SKU in that category, but it was too late – our Late Ship had gone up to nearly 5%.
Then in the middle of the night one of our SKUs went active on Amazon, but on the wrong ASIN. We got about 52 orders overnight and had no way to fulfill the correct item, and had no choice but to email the customers and explain that this was a listing/ASIN-matching error and that we regret that we’d have to cancel their order. 52 canceled orders caused our cancel rate to spike to 12%.”
At this point they proactively notified Seller Performance and appealed the suspension. In the meantime, his business was bleeding money and he had to lay off staff. Thanks to revenue from other channels, he had just enough to cover expenses.
Amazon is full of opportunity. But if you rely on it to keep your business afloat, you’re always at risk of losing it all.
Ready To Hire An Amazon Expert?
If these horror stories sound all too familiar, or have scared you to death, you might want to hire an Amazon expert to keep on hand should things go south. Post your job listing here.
We’ll promote your job in our newsletter that’s sent to 6,000+ eCommerce job seekers. It’s a highly engaged email list with 40%+ open rates. Your job will also be listed on our website which receives 30,000+ visits each month.
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