[Seller Speak] 7 problems every Amazon seller is bound to face with the marketplace

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Some say Amazon is a mature online marketplace mainly because it’s been in the business of online retail for years now. Consumers seem to enjoy the services provided by the etailer and this has put it in the lead with Flipkart. Among sellers, there are a few who believe that Amazon is far better in its policies compared to other marketplaces. On the flip side, there are others who think the marketplace should work more on its services towards online sellers.

Indian Online Seller has shed light on a couple of severe issues faced by vendors on this ecommerce platform. These include:

In spite of bringing these issues to the notice of the etailer, online sellers say that their requests are being ignored completely.

We spoke with an online seller who says he faces trouble with Amazon on a regular basis. It’s not just the big problems like those stated above. It is everyday simple things that are causing online seller Vishal grief when he sells on Amazon.

The online merchant has interacted with the marketplace about his troubles, however, he has not seen any relief with regards to the same. Here are some of the issues the seller listed out for us to understand his plight with the online retail platform.

Problem #1 – Removal orders dispatched without tracking id

According to the seller, removal orders are those that are no longer sellable. For example, in the event that a product is opened, damaged or used when sent back by the customer it becomes unsellable. These goods remain at the marketplace warehouse and simply occupy space. For this the seller must pay storage fees. So, it is essential for sellers to collect these products from the marketplace to avoid unnecessary expanses.

With regards to tracking ids for removal orders, Vishal says, “We do not get tracking ids for removal orders on the seller panel. This makes it inconvenient for us to track the products that should come back to us.”

He further adds, “We face a problem where removal orders are shipped to the wrong seller by Amazon courier partner, Delhivery. And, without proper tracking information we do not know where our removal orders go.”

Problem #2 – Inbound shipment delays

Inbound shipment refers to delivery at the warehouse, Vishal tells us. To complete product shipment to the fulfilment centre (FC) it takes around one hour. Which is way too long.

“The FC has third party security who use yard management software. The problem here is that these third party security guards appear to be uneducated and as a result, a lot of time is consumed when they try to issue gate passes to online sellers,” claims Vishal.

At the same time, during inbound delivery, sellers must wear high visibility jackets. Vishal states that these are very dirty and unhygienic. When the seller brought this to the notice of the marketplace he received the following response from the Amazon team,

“… Please understand the FC has 60-70 appointments every day and it is not feasible to provide brand new jackets. In case you are not comfortable wearing these, you can send some representative from your office…”

Problem #4 – COD cannot be disabled for FBA sellers

The moment you become an FBA seller you cannot disable the COD payment option. With the current demonetisation crisis, COD causes issues for online sellers due to returns.

Vishal says, “Amazon deactivated COD when demonetisation was introduced. But, that lasted for only 24-48 hours. We saw approximately 60 to 80% deductions in COD payment payments due to mounting product returns.”

Problem #4 – Seller support does not reply for days

As we’ve already covered, Amazon seller service is below par. Vishal mentions that when an issue is raised, the seller support associates do not listen for days and do not escalate the issue to their internal team.

Another online seller responded to our article on the subject with the following,

Seller comment

Check out what other sellers had to say about this issue here.

Problem #5 – Buyers get only 30 minutes to cancel orders

Online seller Vishal states that an Amazon buyer is given a window of just 30 minutes to cancel an order placed. After the 30 minutes are up, the order cancellation window closes and the buyer cannot cancel the order placed. It is shown as order dispatched. But, in reality this is not true.

He says, “This leads to undeliverable returns which cost the seller heavy return fees, this is approximately Rs.50 to Rs.60 minimum per order.”

Problem #6 – Product breakage during transit

The third party delivery persons Amazon used to deliver Vishal’s goods would over pack their delivery bags with products from different sellers. This would result in product breakage and ultimately returns to the seller.

“This ends up costing the seller return charges and the cost of product loss,” He informs us.

When Amazon support was informed of this, they responded with,

“… Regarding the items not being packed properly, please understand that FC doesn’t differentiate on the packing standards specific to sellers. Once the inventory comes in, there is no visibility to FC team during processing, that a particular item belongs to which seller. The packing is done as per Amazon standard and as per system recommendation. Kindly contact our Seller Support team in case you have received items which got damaged in the transit…”

The FC accepts 100% damaged returns and no liability is fixed for the carrier when the product is delivered damaged, Vishal tells to us.

“Why does Amazon want to make money off of returned goods?” he says out of frustration.

“Note, when a full refund is asked for, Amazon retains 20% of the original order-related fees. That is a maximum of Rs.300 on each item that is refunded. This amount is termed as refund administrative fee. The etailer will credit the amount of the order-related fees paid to it that is attributable to the amount of the customer refund, less the administration fee,” adds Vishal.

Problem #7 – Copyright infringements by other Amazon sellers

The CEO of Gizmobaba Alok Chawla believes that Amazon is turning a blind eye to brand infringement on the platform and so does Amazon seller, Vishal.

“There is no gatekeeping or brand authorisation in place before listing and selling any fake products. Sellers are allowed to list products of brands registered to other sellers and for this they do not have our brand authorisation. I am a brand registered seller but new sellers come to the platform and list the same products as us and we in turn need to raise complaints of infringement and have them removed,” says Vishal.

He adds, “This is an everyday process for us and it should be stopped because it is not scalable. A form or gatekeeping should exist and whoever wants to list products under my brand name should email me (the brand owner) directly to obtain authorisation. Only after that he should be allowed to sell products under my brand name.”

The online seller mentions that Paytm, Flipkart and other online marketplaces all have a gatekeeping system in place it’s only Amazon that lacks one. Making the necessary arrangements for this can save many sellers the wasteful task of creating repeated infringement cases. It will reduce the Amazon team’s work of going through a thousand infringement cases in a day.

Every Amazon seller is aware of all the above points Vishal informs us. And, the marketplace is also aware, but it hasn’t done anything to improve the situation for online sellers. When asked why he continues to sell on Amazon, Vishal tells us he hasn’t started selling aggressively on the marketplace as yet. So, it appears that the above hasn’t affected him drastically. However, it is a constant hindrance while doing business on Amazon and prevents him from getting serious with selling on the marketplace.

Out of the above problems listed, which ones have been the most severe for your business? Have you managed to overcome them? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below.

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8 Comments

  1. Amit Reply

    Hi Rebecca,

    This is Amit, an another seller on amazon. I agree with the points this seller vishal shared with IOS.

    Well there is one more point which i want to share with you and other sellers especially with FBA sellers. How persons at amazon warehouse take benefit of the loop in FBA Process. How they do manipulation at warehouse.

    First you know that FBA sellers are those who keep their goods at Amazon warehouse and Amazon warehouse pick, pack and deliver the goods to buyers. Amazon charge the fees for pick pack fees , weight handling fees and delivery service fees from FBA sellers.

    When an FBA seller create shipment to send their goods to warehouse amazon provide the tool to create the bar-code which they call FNSKU (Fulfillment network stock keeping unit). These FNSKU barcodes are unique to each product of each seller.
    for example ‘A’ and ‘B’ are FBA seller in the same warehouse and they sell the same product. Barcode of the same product would be different for both seller so person working at the Amazon FC (warehouse) can pick the right product to deliver.

    Technically and logically only the seller should be able to have the access of his FNSKU and print that bar-code, but the loop is that Staff at warehouse also can print that barcode.

    when any product is lost or missed at warehouse whether it is selleble or unselleble, FC staff is responsible and amazon charge the loss of goods to FC staff. Also their performance be decreased.

    I am saying all of this because in my removal orders of unselleble units i found the units of other sellers which is not my brand not my product but there is my FNSKU barcode is sticked.

    Can you tell me how it is possible for any other seller to have my FNSKU bar-code. no its not possible for them. The FNSKU barcode are printed by FC staff to prevent the loss of chargeback from Amazon for the goods they lost or they got returned from buyers.

    I discussed this point with two higher level seller support executives but you know all is vein. Seller support is always listend what they want listen.

  2. Due to the menace of our brand fakes being sold on amazon and their turning a blind eye to the problem, we have now totally stopped selling on amazon altogether.

    Though we are no longer listed on Amazon, Gizmobaba fakes are still being openly sold on amazon. Its safe to assume that if you buy a product of another brand, there is a high chance that you would receive a fake.

  3. Amazon has created a great reputation which is breaking whole retail market. Customers feel they will get the world from Amazon.

    We had very bitter experience with Amazon in addition to above issues

    All issues due to their easy ship, late dispatch, are put on us and they have no way of telling beyond certain days if the cancellation was charged to seller or not.

  4. Dear Sir/Madam,
    Definitely I agree with all above mentioned points. Apart from these points, Payments reports also are not clearly understandable for me with compare other market places. Even they don’t provide any details on their Android Application.
    How should I know, what are the orders paid and unpaid for my orders?

    Best Regards,
    BOOPATHI
    Mobile/WhatsApp : 9894374851

  5. Rajuram Reply

    All what is said is totally true and correct as it reflects the lack of analytical mindset of amazon who does not want to resolve the issues there and then when the issue is created by seller and if they are not able to resolve the basic issues in last 3 years of working india .

    I don’t think amazon is interested in resolving the issues as is has hundreds of issues with thousands of sellers which are unresolved thereof .

    Also this is what you can expect with outsourced seller support team . in typical amazon performance based scenario , every worker of amazon is wants to increase their own performance metrics . which in turns results in total chaos and total it acts as a major disadvantage to amazon .

    infact amazon.in is not able to proactively change itself according to market conditions . it will first collect data and that data will be analysed by its business team who in turn will take its own decisions .. it will take 8 to 9 months for any small improvement that needs to be implemented .

    that is why amazon india lacks dynamic performance and that is why amazon sellers suffer losses as amazon process not designed to find and rectify the issues before they can be noticed .

    amazon does not understand that is is loosing hundreds of aggressive sellers and there potential sales and it is busy on registering new sellers who even does not have any knowledge of working on marketplace .

    why amazon is not able to resolve petty issues and few reasons of why amazon is loosing sellers

    1 . Out sourced seller support team . ( which is more interested in giving wrong answers rather then to esclate the issue to amazon internal business team )

    2 . losses due to Returns and refunds on Cash no delivery Process .

    3. static approach to resolve issues . no proactive approach and delayed resolutions to sellers

    4. high referral fees and hidden product losses at FC

    5 low payouts for sellers as they cannot make profits then they withdraw from selling .

    6 . Many more issues .

  6. Amazon Monopoly can create lot of issues for Indian sellers the question to ask is should we let one company lead and control the whole online retail market.

    With so many issues is surprising that Amazon is able to sell and sustain this is only possible because they are absorbing all the losses which is not sustainable in long term maybe the government should take some steps and stop all this

  7. Hello People,

    I want to sale my own privet label apparel As a seller. You guys kindly confirm me that I will have to use barcode for that ? Or Marketplace accepts without barcode also?

  8. vik Reply

    Hello All,

    We are also a seller on Amazon and We have also faced many issues and complained, but Amazon keeps turning a blind eye.
    Issues like – Customers returning back cheaper, fake, or alltogether different products and then filing A-Z claims.

    We think all online marketplaces face the same challenges on internet – the Issue of Hiding behind the Internet wall or being Anonymous.
    While Amazon brings in some business, Most of the profit flows back to Amazon or is Lost in inefficiencies. Ultimately, the Seller has to bear the brunt whereas the Buyer and Amazon party!! IN any 3 party system – if 2 parties align they can coerce the 3 party.

    1 – The CONVENIENCE story. Amazon and many other portals attract customers by either huge discounts and the convenience of shopping with few mouse clicks. The customers (India or any other country) have started to take convenience as their fundamental right. Customers do not understand that there is cost involved in every business activity. Packaging, Shipping, Product, Return Shipping, Hefty Platform commissions. Companies like Amazon and FLipkart have made believe the customers that anything can be easily Returned by few Swipes on mobile phones or a few mouse clicks. In a traditional B&M Brick Mortar store, who will accept returns such easily?
    – In many cases, The cost of Accepting 1 return, is almost the profit earned for 4 to 5 items. Basically you give away 5 products without earning anything

    2- ANONYMITY – We feel certain customers (a few percentage) spoil the whole game by taking advantage of anonymity and lack of end to end tracking, surveillance.
    – Fake COD orders
    – Undeliverable addresses
    – Buyer not accepting item, Buyer not available after placing order
    – Returning different, fake, damaged item

    3- CUSTOMER CENTRIC HYperness – Certain customers make false claims and Amazon is most of the times biased towards the customer – giving their CUSTOMER centric theory.
    Amazon doesn’t loose anything in this!! As Amazon doesn’t OWN any real GOODS. Real Goods are owned by sellers who take the brunt

    Such billion dollar global businesses exert so much power that there is feeling of coercion among small sellers like us.

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