This is the second installment in my series about the differences between the eBay and Amazon selling platforms. For each of the next eight weeks I will continue to discuss these areas and try to dispel some of the myths that surround selling on Amazon.com
I asked veteran Amazon sellers via Facebook what differences they found between selling on eBay and Amazon FBA. There were ten areas identified as noticeably different between the two platforms:
- What You Can Sell
- The Rules
- Customer Service
- Getting Paid
- Sales Tax
- Profit Potential
Today I'll discuss what NOT following the rules can do to one's ability to sell on Amazon.
Both eBay and Amazon, like most e-commerce selling platforms, have guidelines for sellers to follow in order to sell their goods on the platform. In the end it's all about the buyer experience; both platforms look at customer service, listing standards, and product offerings, among others, to determine a seller's fit for the platform.
Survival of the Fittest
Rules are rules and eBay and Amazon have implemented them to ensure a safe, friendly, and profitable environment. However, to survive as a seller on Amazon you MUST play by Amazon's rules. On eBay you may get as little as a slap on the wrist or a suspension for a set period of time for different infractions. While it is possible to fully lose your ability to sell on the platform it comes through a of process of incorrectly listing items, negative customer experience, misrepresentation, etc over time.
It is my understanding that on Amazon, there are very few warnings (if any) depending on the infraction. If Amazon decides that your business practices don't fit their marketplace then the ax falls pretty quickly. In most cases you would be sent a letter (usually an email) stating that your selling rights have been suspended indefinitely. What a scary letter to get! You are allowed one appeal via email to defend your case. Once you are suspended you may not open another account.
One example of a policy that Amazon takes very seriously is counterfeit products. Amazon's policy states, “Customers trust that they can always buy with confidence on Amazon.com. Products offered for sale on Amazon.com must be authentic. The sale of counterfeit products, including any products that have been illegally replicated, reproduced, or manufactured, is strictly prohibited.” One category where counterfeit products are rampant is DVDs. This is not news to anyone as this has been an ever-growing problem that major news outlets have been covering for years. The hard part is that if even ONE of a seller's DVDs gets flagged as counterfeit it can mean immediate and irreversible suspension.
Amazon puts the “responsibility to source and sell only authentic products” in the sellers hands. If you, like many eBay sellers, are a thrift store, garage sale, and/or flea market shopper then you may not know if that new looking, sealed item is indeed authentic. Technology allows counterfeiters to make very real looking reproductions of items in many categories. I have chosen to no longer sell DVDs on Amazon because the possibility of accidentally sourcing an item that is not authentic is too high. I feel like that's a smart business decision so that I don't unintentionally put my business and livelihood in jeopardy.
Ask yourself this question, “Do I have what it takes to make smart business decisions that will allow me to survive as a seller on Amazon?” Remember, it's all about understanding policies, guidelines and respecting the community of both buyers and sellers. Read Amazon's guidelines and ask questions when you are unsure or don't understand and you'll be on your way to selling success on Amazon.
Amazon provides a ton of resources covering the guidelines for being an Amazon seller. Check out the links below
As you read the Amazon guidelines, make a list of anything that you are unsure of or don't understand. Then ask your question in the comments below and/or find an appropriate Amazon related forum to ask for assistance so that you can make an educated business decision.
Some of the forums I belong to include the following Facebook groups:
What are you doing TODAY to move your business forward?
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