Amazon Sellers Express Frustrations with Company
In November, Amazon sellers held their AMZ Innovate event in New York City. There was a lot of grumbling and unhappiness at the event, though. Many people feel that Amazon presents them with undue challenges, due in part to their algorithms. Their dissatisfaction spoke to a general truth that many Amazon sellers are noticing… Amazon, a platform they depend on every day, is too big to hold accountable for mistakes. Since they are dependent on Amazon’s sometimes obscure policy-making decisions, the event helps inform and connect sellers. The algorithms certainly took center stage, with many people wondering how they work and what obstacles they present. What was discussed at AMZ Innovate? What can you take away from it?
The Topic of Algorithms
Amazon has several automated features, such as determining which products are displayed first. However, there are also processes like account deactivation and ASIN resets. The ASIN number is the Amazon Standard Identification Number. This unique string of 10 characters identifies products for Amazon, like an ISBN.
ASINs are important for helping shoppers find specific products, and it helps them search. For sellers, managing and creating unique ASINs is vital to visibility on the platform. There are many reasons that these can be automatically deleted. There are other examples of places where Amazon’s automatic functions can hurt you.
Amazon can try to control your pricing by enacting a price reduction. It can do this if it sees your product listed elsewhere at a lower price. Unfortunately, the automated process has problems, too. It’s not uncommon for a twelve-pack of products to be confused for a single unit, and reduce the price of the bulk item. All it takes is for Amazon’s algorithm to think it sees an over-pricing.
There are also accusations of Amazon copying products that perform well and creating one with Amazon branding. There were claims that Amazon has even offered manufacturers larger orders than original sellers.
The event even gathered people who weren’t sellers. Partner companies were also present, offering services for Amazon sellers. Some aggregators buy and develop FBA sellers. This allows them to build mutually beneficial portfolios. The businesses involved can take part in cross-promotion and out-compete their rivals. While these and other obstacles are getting more difficult, there is hope. Things are changing, despite how advertising prices are increasing and the challenges facing sellers. Shopping habits are trending towards smaller brands. Larger companies are slow to respond to these trends, which are often fueled by social media. While things might be hard now, the messaging of the event expressed that things will get better.
What Next for Amazon Sellers?
There were some tips to leverage the ways the market is trending. You can snag an Amazon Best Seller badge by moving your product to a more specific sub-category. These often have far less competition. You can also leverage a strategy that temporarily uses large discounts that are progressively lower. For example, listing an item at 30% off for a couple of weeks, then 20%, and so on. This lengthens the time buyers will see your product on special but reduces losses. Refreshing your keywords regularly is also important.
It can be daunting to work with Amazon. However, the company has demonstrated that it will do what it wants, how they want. Despite the frustrations of the algorithms, sellers can adapt. People can make far better decisions than machines, and that’s your responsibility as a seller on Amazon for the time being.