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What to Know About the Drastic Cuts to Amazon

Amazon On the same day in mid-April that Amazon’s stock reached an all-time high — due to its increased demand during the COVID-19 lockdown — the booming business also announced that it would be making significant cuts to its Amazon Associates affiliate commission fees.

Amazon

This change went into effect on April 21, 2020. It is frustrating, to say the least, for affiliate members including online publishers and social media influencers who have been dependent on this income. Many have even built businesses around their participation in the program, and now their Amazon income has been cut by more than 50%.

Worse, these changes were implemented in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the U.S. was already in the midst of economic uncertainty. Amazon’s new commission structure slashed rates for several high-demand product categories. Now, more than a month later, affiliates are seeing the effects of these cuts in their commission checks.

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What Is the Amazon Associates Program?

Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program that has been in place for several years. It allows members to advertise and link to Amazon products in exchange for a commission on a percentage of the sales.

The program has been a significant revenue generator for sites that link to Amazon products in their content through product guides, roundups, reviews, and more — including The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Vox Media. Social media influencers and YouTube Creators who promote products to their followers have also profited from their share of Amazon sales through the program.

Referrals, which are the incoming traffic from other sites providing links to e-commerce stores, are the best-performing sources of traffic for online retailers. In the first quarter of 2020, Amazon’s third-largest traffic driver was referrals, after direct and organic search traffic.

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What Are the Commission Rate Changes?

The product categories affected by Amazon’s drastic affiliate commission cuts include furniture, home, home improvement, lawn and garden, pet products, and pantry items, which dropped from an 8% commission to a 3% commission. Beauty, which offered a 6% commission, dropped to 3%. Groceries, which previously garnered a 5% commission, dropped to 1%. Health and personal care, which used to give affiliates a 4.5% commission, also dropped to 1%.

Amazon has not commented about the timing of this change and whether this decision was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company only said that it regularly evaluates its program offerings to ensure it is competing with the broader industry, and that rate evaluations are standard practice in the industry.

Many speculate that this move is likely related to Amazon’s surge in traffic during the COVID-19 lockdown when most consumers were dependent on online shopping for many basic needs. Why would Amazon continue to pay for traffic that is already flocking there on its own?

This change arrived one month after Amazon cut its spending on Google Ads by 90%. It was a logical move in mid-March, considering the massive flood of consumers shopping on the site and the subsequent fulfillment and shipping challenges it faced.

Regardless of whether this move is a response to the pandemic, Amazon will now be keeping a much larger portion of its referral sales in its own pocket, while affiliate members are losing a significant portion of income in an already shaky economy.

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Amazon FBA vs FBM: Which is Better?

After the success of our last interview where he revealed tips and advice on how to sell books on Amazon, we invited Amazon bookseller and playwright, James, to contribute another post — and the good news for you is that he agreed. In today’s post, he focuses on a common seller dilemma — what fulfillment option should I use to sell on Amazon, FBA or FBM?

Amazon

Firstly, if you don’t know what those two Amazon acronyms mean, you’re probably not ready to answer the question yet. If you know exactly what they mean then you’re probably looking for a list of the pros and cons of using FBA v FBM.

Something to help you orient your business into a model that works best for you. And that’s the question you need to ask yourself. One that’s at the heart of whether you want to use FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) or FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) to sell and ship your Amazon inventory.

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Get yourself a plain piece of paper and a pen and at the top of the page write, ‘What will work best for me?’ Then have a day off. You’ve earned it. Just kidding. You got a lot more things to do now.

The answers to these questions might not be apparent at first, but as you begin taking your first tentative steps into selling on Amazon, the decisions you make will shape the business you create.

Everything about you, your life and your current situation will play into whether you decide to use FBA or FBM.

Benefits of Using FBA

For a fairly hefty chunk of your profits per sale, Amazon will take the hassle of ‘booking’ (my new verb) out of your hands.

You’re outsourcing almost everything but finding your stock to Amazon. They will store, coordinate, package and deliver your book whilst you sit in your own home and do whatever your little heart desires.

Now before you start printing labels and booking the UPS, it sounds far more relaxing than it is. You’ll still have to manage your inventory, deal with stranded inventory and occasionally Amazon will damage your books.

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Once you start FBA you realise that there’s a whole bunch of additional things that you didn’t necessarily sign up for and these can be a hassle and a little daunting.

Whilst it’s relatively easy to FBA your stock, getting answers about what to do when things go wrong is about as easy as getting a PhD in Astrophysics.

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Amazon FBA vs Shopify – Which Should You Sell

Shopify One of the most important decisions you will make when selling your products online is choosing the ecommerce platform that will work best for you. It’s likely that when you are making this decision, you’ll look at Amazon FBA vs Shopify and wonder which you should use, as they are two of the most prominent players around when it comes to ecommerce.

Shopify

Amazon and Shopify have both built vast reputations, with Shopify powering over 800,000 businesses and Amazon receiving 2.5 billion visitors every month! For most entrepreneurs, these amazing stats make it a hard choice, as both platforms are reliable in the world of ecommerce.

What’s the Difference Between Amazon and Shopify?

Let’s consider these two platforms. The main difference between Amazon and Shopify may appear obvious, and to be honest, it is! Amazon is a ready-made ‘marketplace’ whereas Shopify focusses on you designing and building your store from scratch.

So, in other words, Amazon easily attracts buyers to its single online marketplace which allows you to reach millions of potential customers worldwide, while Shopify simply gives you the tools to build a stand-alone webstore rather than putting you in front of customers too.

This is the key difference, and so it might seem clear cut. After all, if Amazon already has a fabulous reputation and huge customer following which you can tap right into that’s the decision made surely?

Well, not entirely, because to access Amazon’s customer base, there is, of course, something that you must give in return. You will pay a percentage of every sale you make, to Amazon.

You will also have to abide by their rules as you would expect. Shopify on the other hand, although requiring you to market your store yourself once designed and built as there is no ready-made traffic, allows you to keep more of your sales profit as you won’t be relinquishing a fee. It’s a tricky one, isn’t it?

That’s why these key differences make it hard to compare Amazon and Shopify like for like. What you can discover through a comparison of Amazon vs Shopify is a better understanding of which platform will suit you and your specific business model.

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The Pros and Cons of Selling on Shopify

First, a little more about Shopify: it is, as you would expect, a leading ecommerce platform that allows budding entrepreneurs to start their online store without any technical experience.

Because of its simplicity, user-friendliness and host of design features, it’s an excellent place to start for those, including newbies, who want to launch an online business with very little skill. Shopify is all about building a premium quality webstore of your own.

This, of course, means that you won’t be competing directly with anyone else because the store belongs to you. While this sounds fun, remember that building your store will be exciting, but the real work begins when you understand that you must find customers and drive traffic to your store to make it work.

It has to be said that there are a large number of pros to choosing Shopify as your ecommerce platform.

Pros

  • Free 90-day trial
  • Easy to use
  • Flexible design
  • An affordable way to build your online store
  • Your store belongs to you
  • More control over your store
  • Access to powerful ecommerce tools and apps
  • Simple to create your unique brand identity
  • Mobile friendly store
  • Opportunity to build a substantial business
  • Free Shopify payments

In a nutshell: With Shopify, the pros just keep on coming! You can get access to the basic plan, design and build your store and trial it for 90 days completely free. During this time, you can use Shopify payments which also cost nothing so you’ll get a clear idea of exactly how a Shopify store can work for you. Because it’s such a flexible platform with access to ecommerce tools and apps, you’ll be able to build your brand identity from day one and expand very easily.

Cons

  • Marketing must be done yourself
  • Potential increase in marketing costs
  • No reputation to piggyback off
  • Monthly fees add up with the use of additional apps
  • Access to reports is not available with the basic plan
  • Transaction fees apply if using a third-party payment provider

In a nutshell: The most crucial aspect of Shopify to be aware of is the enormous job of marketing your store once it is built. Marketing is a full-time task, and you won’t have the reputation of a platform like Amazon to piggyback off so it will take time, effort and money to promote your brand and start getting sales.

You won’t see any reports on the basic plan either, so you’ll need to keep track of data yourself. Remember too that if you don’t use Shopify payments, you’ll incur a transaction fee on all your sales.

The Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon FBA

Let’s now look at Amazon. Amazon is also a leading platform and pretty straight-forward to use, although listing a product and adding images can sometimes be time-consuming as there are lots of ‘back-end’ sections to complete.

Like Shopify, it’s the perfect place for newbies to start, especially those with zero technical experience. At this point, you may already be thinking that although Shopify has many pro’s, Amazon sounds like it could be the more comfortable option, after all, it offers FBA, a ready-made marketplace and of course a reputation beyond your wildest dreams. So, let’s see;

Pros

  • Free 30 day trial with a Pro account
  • Instant access to a global audience
  • Ready-made brand reputation
  • Setup and start selling immediately
  • Reach motivated buyers easily
  • Built-in customer service
  • Easy refunds and returns service
  • Sales reports data
  • FBA service available

In a nutshell: You can trial Amazon pro for 30 days allowing you to get to grips with setting up your product listings and start selling immediately to a worldwide audience. In reality, you could list a product and get your first sale within an hour!

If you choose to register using FBA, the setup process is longer as you’ll have to ship your products to a dedicated Amazon warehouse, but in doing so you cover not only your storage and fulfillment but Amazon will also deal with your customer service, any returns and refunds, so it’s completely hands-off for you.

Cons

  • Fees payable to Amazon for every sale (15% – 40%)
  • You must adhere to Amazon’s rules or risk suspension
  • It’s a highly saturated platform
  • No control over your store page
  • No design options
  • Undercutting tactics by competitors

In a nutshell: Amazon’s fees, while pretty reasonable bearing in mind that you reach a ready-made audience, can appear to eat into your profits quite dramatically. This, coupled with a highly saturated platform when it comes to some categories, restrictions and of course undercutting by competitors, could mean that the fees just aren’t worth the extra services offered.

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Video: Shopify vs Amazon Pros and Cons Review Comparison

Amazon Fees vs Shopify Fees

When it comes to comparing Amazon vs Shopify, it’s unsurprising that fees will play a big part in your decision-making process. Profit is critical to the success of your ecommerce business, and you want the best value. An Amazon pro account will cost you £25 + VAT per month, and typically your selling fee per item sold will be 15% on top of this.

If you use FBA, Amazon’s fulfilment programme, your platform costs will, of course, be higher – closer to 35% – as you will need to factor in storage and fulfilment costs as extras. These fees will vary depending on your product. So, as an example, based on the sale of a product at £29.99, along with your monthly account fee, you’ll pay £4.50 in selling fees for each product you sell. Using FBA, your selling and fulfilment fees will be approximately £9.90.

Shopify has three main pricing plans: Basic at $29 per month, Shopify at $79 per month and Advanced Shopify at $299 per month. The Basic package has everything you will need to begin with, apart from reports, and it’s roughly the same cost as Amazon, but you won’t have any additional charges unless you add on paid apps.

So, again, based on selling a product at £29.99 and using Shopify payments, your only fee would be the monthly plan cost. This sounds like a complete no-brainer, doesn’t it? But zero selling fees are only a benefit when you are making sales! So, the higher selling costs of the Amazon platform need to be weighed up against the traffic that Amazon provides.

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How to Sell Internationally on Amazon in 2020

Sell It’s also likely that you will have considered scaling up your Amazon business at some time or another but may have got cold feet when it came to expanding beyond the UK. This is perfectly normal.

Sell

After all, there are so many things to think about; taxes, language barriers, payment options, currency issues, fulfilment; it’s all a bit intimidating and confusing to get your head around, making it far easier to stay within your comfort zone.

But, by sticking with what you already know, you run the risk of missing out on a huge opportunity to maximise your presence using the Amazon platform and the massive reach that comes with that shouldn’t be ignored.

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The Benefits of Selling Internationally

It goes without saying that expanding the reach of your Amazon business will be beneficial.

1. You’ll Reach More Customers

This is a pretty obvious benefit! Currently, with just one unified Amazon account, you can reach millions of customers across the whole of Europe via Amazon’s five EU marketplaces, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. There is just one caveat, and that is your Amazon listings must be in the language of the country you are selling to, so you’ll need to get them professionally translated unless you are fluent!

2. You Can Enter a New Market Quickly

Introducing your brand to a new audience can be tricky, so imagine introducing your brand to an entirely new country! By selling on Amazon internationally, you can enter a new market super quick, and effortlessly build trust based on Amazon’s brand rather than your own.

3. You’ll Have No Upfront Costs to Pay for Expansion

By leveraging the Amazon brand, you won’t need to factor in any costs to expand your business into a brand new sales environment. Amazon will only charge you a single monthly Pro Merchant subscription fee for your Amazon Europe Marketplaces account, so in fact, there are no extra costs involved in expanding to the European market.

It is, however, advisable to consult with a professional import or tax expert to be sure you receive individual advice on your circumstances before you start to sell internationally.

Specifically, you may need to register for VAT, and you will need an EORI number to allow you to declare your goods when they are entering or exiting the EU. If you don’t have one, customs will not be able to clear your goods. You can apply for an EORI her.

4. You Can Set Up and Scale-up Easily

You can use your current Amazon account, your regular listings and Fulfilment By Amazon to make the order and fulfilment process and customer service even more straightforward as you expand.

Your products will be managed across all these countries using a single unified seller account, so everything is in one easily accessible place that you will already be familiar with.

Selling your products in Europe is the obvious first step to expanding your reach, but there are some essential steps you will need to take before you can go live.

Next Steps to Selling Internationally on Amazon

  1. Check your product listings are optimised and up to date.
  2. Translate your listings where required.
  3. Decide whether you will use FBA or fulfil orders yourself.
  4. Be aware of any legal, tax and compliance obligations.
  5. Apply for an EORI number.

These steps are worth taking because by maximising your presence within Europe using the Amazon platform, you will begin to benefit from more customers, an immediate international presence and ultimately more profit.

But why stop with Europe? Go global!

Introducing your brand to Europe is a fantastic move to expand your Amazon business, but you could take it even further!

What is Amazon Global Selling?

By selling only in the UK, you are limiting your sales. By selling within Europe you are expanding your reach, but with the help of Amazon Global you can easily expand your Amazon business worldwide and with that comes considerable opportunities to grow your business further, reach millions of new customers and build a large customer base.

Amazon Global Selling (AGS) can open up further countries in which you can list your products on Amazon’s global marketplaces. Currently, there are eight global marketplaces in addition to the five European marketplaces we have already discussed, so by going global, you’ll have a presence on 13 marketplaces in total. These include the United States, India, Japan, China, Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Australia.

Imagine being able to scale your business throughout the world while running everything comfortably from the UK. Check out the Amazon Global Selling success story below from Miami Buys.

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The Benefits of Amazon Global Selling

In addition to the benefits you’ll see by expanding internationally to Europe, there are further benefits to going global!

1. You’ll Reach an Even Larger Customer Base

The biggest benefit! Just like your European expansion, by going global, you’ll have immediate access to an even more extensive range of customers. Take into consideration all the other festivals, holidays and promotions celebrated throughout the world such as Black FridayCyber Monday, International Days, Thanksgiving and Christmas and you are bound to see a boost in sales as these festivities are celebrated throughout the world.

2. Choosing FBA Makes Shipping Simple

If you decide to go global, FBA will be a necessity for ease of international shipping. The benefit will be immediate as this will take all product storage, picking, packing and shipping of orders out of your hands. You won’t need to deal with customer service or refunds, and all the logistics of your Amazon business can run smoothly without you needing to be hands-on.

3. You Won’t Encounter Currency or Payment Issues

Whether you sell in Pounds, Euros, Dollars or Yen because your customer transactions will go through Amazon, currency conversions will be processed automatically, and deposits made directly to your bank account. This also means that you are guaranteed to receive your payments securely and on time, ensuring smooth cash flow.

4. How Easy is it to Sell Globally on Amazon?

It sounds simple when it’s all laid out like this doesn’t it, but just how easy is it really to sell globally on Amazon? Well, as you might expect, there are some aspects to the global set up, which will require more effort than others.

To sell globally, you’ll require an individual seller account for every country with the exception of unified seller accounts for Europe (UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy) and North America (Canada, Mexico and the USA).

So, that means opening Amazon accounts on each of those countries’ individual sites, India, Japan, China, Brazil and Australia, to use alongside your Europe and North American accounts.

This also means you will have monthly fees due to Amazon on each of these accounts. This is why it’s crucial that before you open your new accounts and start selling, you understand local demand and ensure that your products will actually sell!

But that’s not all, there may be product restrictions and compliance issues in certain countries, with Japan seemingly the strictest when it comes to this.

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Is It Key to Your Amazon Ads Performance?

Ads Amazon ACoS or Advertising Cost of Sale is a great tool within Seller Central to gauge if your PPC efforts are adequate and your campaign is built correctly. It tells you if you have enough well-performing keywords and the bids are set right to generate extra sales at a reasonable marketing mark-up per unit.

Ads

Plus, it broadly indicates how effective your Amazon product listing is at selling the actual products.

  • Does it contain all the top-selling keywords?
  • Does it have attractive and alluring first and other pictures?
  • Are your reviews good enough for your market niche?

Comparing Amazon ACoS with scales (the one with two arms) is a rather dramatic visualization but a very accurate one. ACoS value is derived from two crucial sets of data collected by Amazon for any PPC keywords: Ad Spend and Ad Sales.

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Left Side – The Cost of Advertising (Ad Spend)

On the left side of ACoS is the money spent on advertising on Amazon.

This value is kindly provided by Seller Central for any level of data collection: from total spend on all PPC campaigns – to a spend accrued by advertising with a single keyword, ASIN, or category.

If we look deeper, this ad spent value itself consists of individual costs for partaking in every auction (over a given period).

Normally, whenever you spend more money on Amazon ads, it increases your ACoS.

Right Side – The Sales of Products Advertised (Total Ad Sales)

On the right side is the total revenue from selling your product using Amazon PPC. This value is trickier than it looks actually.

Whenever the Amazon algorithm believes that somebody has bought your product after clicking on one of your paid ads, this event counts as a sale (of 1 or more units). The algorithm does not simply register the direct sequences like “Ad click” followed by immediate “Add to basket” and a purchase. It considers if your ad has had a postponed or indirect effect that has led to purchase as well.

Note, registering the non-immediate purchase event takes a long time to occur and it is harder to register for the algorithms. Because of this, not all PPC sales data comes through Seller Central quickly.

It is a general recommendation by Amazon itself to all sellers to wait out at least 24 hours before working with any Seller Central data. As the more experienced Amazon managers will probably know – it’s entirely possible to see a campaign’s ACoS to be around 70% the same day, and then to see it drop down to 30-40% tomorrow (or better yet in 3 days).

Normally, whenever you sell more products with PPC, it decreases your ACoS.

What’s a Good and Bad ACoS for an Amazon PPC Campaign?

Whether any given ACoS is good – depends on your selling costs structure AND your business goal.

ACoS always takes a percentage of a seller’s profit. This means that if your total cost of product manufacturing/purchasing + delivery to Amazon warehouse + Amazon fees + FBA fees is low and your selling price is high – you get more leeway in what is acceptable ACoS.

And the reverse is true, if your profit margin is tight, you can’t afford a high ACoS. From working with hundreds of sellers and dozens of product niches, we can say that 80% of sellers are comfortable with ACoS values up to 15-25%.

Although we’ve encountered sellers who say 7% is too much and those who say 45% is still ok, 20% is the golden middle for most Amazon sellers.

But what was that, that I mentioned about business goals in the previous paragraph?

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Painting the Bigger Picture for ACoS

Amazon is all about sales. If a product sells well – it’s listing quality score, a number of reviews or excessive price become secondary to the fact that people buy it.

Amazon’s A10 search algorithm is geared towards rewarding best-selling products with the first position in relevant search results. And paid advertising with Amazon does exactly that, it increases sales.

A well-built and optimized Amazon PPC campaign is not simply a selling tool but is also instrumental in increasing the visibility of the product for organic sales (a.k.a. non-PPC sales).

Before the major algorithm update, this was a huge deal: you could rocket-boost sales of a new yet unknown product skywards by simply engaging in an aggressive PPC campaign. The new algorithm plays down the effect those extra sales have on the overall visibility of a product – but the effect is still there, and it is still considerable.

So, does your PPC campaign drive your overall sales (and thus increase the BSR above its “natural” level)? You can tell by comparing your total product sales (over a period) with total PPC sales. If for every one product sold via PPC, you get two or less organic sales – then your PPC is a driver behind your Amazon selling activity.

Is Selling Worth It If Your ACoS Overshoots Your Profitability Threshold?

Well, it can be. Although you may be selling at a loss now you might still benefit from a flywheel effect if your product resonates well with the market.

As you artificially expose your product to more buyers, your Amazon BSR starts to decrease (i.e. improve). Holding this pace for 3-4 weeks is sufficient for the new level BSR to be reached, as the algorithm is artificially throttled not to react too fast to the shooting star sellers.

Once you are there – this new BSR can give your organic sales a much-desired boost, and now if you cool your PPC bids to a profitable ACoS level – you have an excellent chance to retain this higher-selling position for a very long time.

Automate Your Amazon Prices

Another way you can increase your Amazon sales and profits is by using our repricing software. With a free 15-day trial, you can start automating your prices and win more Buy Box. Get started today and see what all the fuss is about.

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eBay vs Amazon: The Complete Comparison

As established brands, most online shoppers are familiar with eBay and Amazon. Still, there was a period, around 10 years ago, when the question of “Where should I sell – eBay or Amazon?” wouldn’t even have been considered.

Why? Well, because quite honestly, eBay would probably have won, hands-down at that time! For years, eBay was the most recognised place to sell online.

eBay

This was not only for second-hand goods, which is where it all started, but it was the perfect starting point for small businesses who wanted to launch quickly, with minimal start-up costs and a ready-made, devoted audience, accessible 24/7.

Then Amazon, initially known only for being the place to go for books, videos, computer software and CDs began diversifying further until the present day. They now stock products from A to Z as their logo suggests!

So, you can understand why for ecommerce entrepreneurs, it might be challenging to decide whether to sell on eBay or sell on Amazon.

As you would expect, there are arguments for both venues hence the debate. While they may appear to be in colossal competition – and they are to a large extent – for sellers, there are fundamental differences that should be taken into account.

So, on which of these two impressive ecommerce monsters should you choose to sell your products? Selling on Amazon versus eBay is an important decision.

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Here are some questions we will attempt to address in this article:

  • What’s the difference between eBay and Amazon?
  • Is Amazon better than eBay for selling?
  • What are the seller fees for each marketplace?
  • What are the communities that each marketplace has?
  • Is Amazon more competitive for sellers?
  • Are buyers loyal to eBay or Amazon?
  • Can you make more money selling on eBay or Amazon?
  • What can I sell on eBay and Amazon?
  • Is it easier to sell on eBay or Amazon?
  • Do buyers trust eBay or Amazon sellers more?
  • The Pros And Cons of Selling on eBay
  • The Pros And Cons of Selling on Amazon

What’s the Difference Between eBay and Amazon?

First things first! Let’s look at the main differences between eBay and Amazon. Unlike Amazon, eBay facilitates only third-party sellers. In other words, eBay does not have its own products.

Products from individual sellers or businesses are listed through either the auction format or fixed-price format, so the good news is, you will never compete with eBay themselves as they simply provide the marketplace!

Amazon does include third party merchants, often private label sellers, alongside the sale of products from their own range – Amazon Essentials, which you may find yourself competing with.

Here there is no auction facility, so all available products are sold at a fixed price, just like a standard retail site.

1. Is Amazon More Competitive For Sellers?

Not necessarily! Although Amazon has their own brand and eBay don’t so eBay in this respect is slightly less competitive. You will encounter competition on both platforms – this is a natural part of being in business.

Some sellers will offer low pricing to attract buyers and sell in volume, others will price higher, basing their sales on quality rather than quantity – this is always going to happen wherever you sell.

What’s important is that you don’t enter a ‘race to the bottom’ on either site!

2. Are Buyers Loyal to eBay or Amazon, or Do They Buy From Both?

Well, eBay and Amazon audiences do differ as you might expect. There’s no denying that eBay and Amazon both have a massive reach, but significantly each platform reaches a different type of audience!

Both have an international presence.

Amazon has 14 marketplaces worldwide; eBay has 23 global sites. Both receive vast numbers of visitors. Amazon gets more than 197 million visitors worldwide each month. This equates to more than 2.3 billion visitors over 12 months.

eBay has over 180 million active buyers and about 2 billion daily transactions yet more than half of eBay’s annual sales revenue comes from its 60 million buyers outside of the United States, setting it apart from Amazon in global reach.

But, in terms of demographics, Amazon buyers tend to be wealthier. Research reveals the average Amazon shopper is between 45 and 54 years old, married, with children and has a college education.

The eBay demographic consists of 57% males which you may find surprising, and 43% females. Of these 35 to 49-year-olds make up the largest group at 32%. However, these figures though mean nothing if you do not know your buyer persona!

Determining this will allow you to identify whether your audience is already active in these marketplaces and which marketplace they use predominantly. What’s also interesting is that some buyers are indeed loyal to one platform or another!

Some will shop only on Amazon and never dream of buying from an eBay seller, others are eBay die-hards and believe that products on Amazon are likely to be more expensive! So, from a sellers point of view, is this true?

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3. Can You Make More Money Selling on eBay or Amazon?

If you are selling a product on eBay for a fixed price of £10 and your profit margin is 30%, you’ll make £3.00 per sale. You’ll need to sell in large volumes to make a decent amount from this one product.

If you choose eBay and list at auction, you are also at the mercy of your bidders, and you may not achieve the £10 price you hoped for. On the other hand, you may receive a final price of more than £10! Not so on Amazon!

Here you will always list at a fixed price and so will always know where you stand with your profit and will always sell at £10. This is why the fixed price model offered by both platforms provides some security and allows you to predict and keep track of your sales and profit. Then there are the fees to take into consideration.

Generally, eBay charges a flat 10% selling fee (this varies per category), but this does not include payment processing fees via PayPal. These are typically an additional 2.9% + 20p. Amazon charges a typical 15% commission which includes payment processing fees as well. However, there will be additional fees to pay if you use their FBA service.

The thing is, your listed price, which will determine how much money you make, must take into account many factors, including:

The quality of your product. If your product is high quality and superior to your competitors and you ensure you get this across in your listings, the likelihood is that you can command a higher price – and achieve that price.

Your competition. If you have little or no competition and your product is popular you will make more sales – this stands to reason!

The uniqueness of your product. If your product is rare, is in demand, has a fantastic USP or stands out for whatever reason, you will make more sales!

Your brand awareness. If you have an excellent reputation on one or the other of the sites, you will be able to command a higher price for your product because you’ll already have the trust of your customers. Alongside this, Amazon is great for selling your own branded products, and your business will thrive there if that is the route you take.

All these points apply to both eBay and Amazon. You may choose to price your products differently between sites, but ultimately, the amount of money you make will depend on your product, your branding, your profit margins and how well you list!

4. What Can I Sell On eBay and Amazon?

When it comes to categories available on Amazon and eBay, there are similarities. Most noticeably, eBay does not have as many restrictions in place as Amazon. Of Amazon’s 40 categories, 23 are unrestricted, and 12 require permission to sell.

These are known as ‘gated categories’. The other five have some restrictions depending on the type of product. This is simply to stop counterfeits in some instances.

Other categories are season restricted – for example, toys and games over the Christmas period mainly to avoid an influx of sub-standard products.

On eBay, rather than restricted categories, there are lists of restricted products. Before you decide which platform to sell on you should check that your product or category is not restricted, prohibited or gated, but there is a massive range of potential categories and products for you to choose from.

5. Is it Easier To Sell On eBay or Amazon?

eBay is quicker and less complicated when it comes to listing your products and indeed selling and receiving payments. You can list in a matter of minutes, choose your listing format, and once your product sells, your eBay buyers money will go directly into your PayPal account where you can then manually withdraw it when you need to.

Amazon also takes payments for you, but holds them for 14 days, before transferring directly to your bank account. It’s a lengthy listing process, although still straight-forward. Ease of sale will also depend on your product!

Generally, quality products that appeal to a mass market, such as new clothing, baby products, health and beauty items, nutritional supplements, fitness products and toys, are popular on Amazon.

On eBay, sellers can list used, unique, or unusual items alongside cheaper versions of products that might sell for low margins but in high volumes.

The real difference comes down to the fact that Amazon has the added advantage of their FBA service, taking all the hassle of storage, packing and posting out of your hands saving you a considerable amount of time and effort. Of course, extra fees are involved.

6. Do Buyers Trust eBay or Amazon Sellers More?

eBay, unfortunately, built a reputation for hosting scammers a few years back and in some respects, this has stuck a little.  The number of overseas sellers on eBay also does little to encourage peace of mind. However, “trust” on eBay has improved massively over the years because eBay now protects buyers if items don’t arrive. Amazon is harsher on sellers should you fall foul of their rules and regulations. Suspensions regularly occur, and so from a buyers perspective, this is where more trust has been built. Buyers know that should a questionable seller be touting products on Amazon, they will likely be dealt with quickly.  This, alongside their easy returns and refunds guarantee, puts them a step ahead of eBay.

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What is the Amazon Request a Review Button

We all know how tough it is to get a buyer to leave a review once the sale’s been completed, so how cool is it that Amazon’s introduced a “Request a Review” button on the Order Details page in Seller Central? ReviewIf you’re not using feedback software to automate the process for you, then the information we’ve gathered for you should come in really handy.

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Okay, So What Exactly Does the Amazon Request a Review Button Do?

Log into your Seller Central account and head over to the Order Details page. Once there, in the top right corner, you should see a grey Request a Review button that Amazon recently added. It’s right there beside two other buttons, Print packing slip and Refund Order.

There is no option to personalize the email so every buyer should receive broadly similar review requests.

Interestingly, not all buyers have reported seeing the Request a Review button on their Seller Central accounts, meaning that Amazon is rolling out this feature in stages as a way to gauge its effectiveness.

This triggers Amazon to send a message to the buyer, asking them to leave seller feedback and a product review. And if the buyer doesn’t speak the same language that you do, Amazon will automatically translate that request into the buyer’s chosen language.

As for what that message looks like, it’s a concise, if relatively generic, message asking buyers to leave a review. Although the text may vary a bit, it’ll essentially say this:

There is no option to personalize the email so every buyer should receive broadly similar review requests.

Interestingly, not all buyers have reported seeing the Request a Review button on their Seller Central accounts, meaning that Amazon is rolling out this feature in stages as a way to gauge its effectiveness.

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What Does the Request a Review Button Mean for Sellers?

Well, it’s tough to say, as not every seller’s experience has been the same across the board. Some have commented that they love the feature, particularly how easy it is to request feedback and reviews.

But other sellers aren’t as big fans. On the Amazon Services Seller Forums, there are dozens of threads where sellers are voicing their frustrations at what seems like Amazon encroaching even further on their territory.

Although Amazon hasn’t expressly said this new button is the only way to go, it appears that they’re trying subtle pushes, like account suspensions for failing to abide by Communication Guidelines, to make the switch.

If you’re opting to contact buyers yourself instead of using the Request a Review button, then make absolutely sure you’re doing everything correctly:

  • Send only one message asking for a product review or seller feedback, making sure to phrase it in a way that’s just asking for the review or feedback (i.e. you can’t ask for a positive review).
  • Avoid language that incentivizes reviews, asks to update or remove an existing product review, or is marketing-y or promotional in nature (like including your brand logo).
  • Don’t put something like “Important!” in the subject line, as this message isn’t crucial for completing an order.
  • Include a link to where buyers can leave feedback or a review, but don’t include a link to a non-Amazon store or a link to opt-out of messaging.
  • Keep the message on topic, especially if you’re sending the message through Seller Central.

It can be tricky getting the wording on a feedback request message just right, so if you’re at all unsure and don’t want to risk account suspension, it’s always a good idea to use a feedback-specific app to do the work for you. That way, you never have to worry about the language being wrong or not abiding by Amazon’s rules, and you can rest easy knowing the app is running constantly without you having to stay on top of things manually.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve gotten the feedback and review part of selling under your belt, it’s time to shift your attention back to aggressive repricing. And for that, there’s no better assistant than RepricerExpress, whose main purpose is to maximize your profits. Interested in adding more money back to your wallet? Then sign up right now with a free trial to get you going.

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Amazon SEO Vs Google SEO in 2020

For the average web user, the difference between Amazon and Google is enormous. After all, they won’t go to Amazon to search for answers to their questions. But, it’s likely to be their go-to when it comes to product searches.Amazon

In 2019, 45% of online sales in the US were done on Amazon. Considering that there are over 1 million sellers in the marketplace, it’s quite obvious that standing out takes effort. Unfortunately, merely having a great product won’t do much to positively impact rankings.

That’s why it’s important to realize that search engine optimization is just as essential for Amazon as it is for Google. Yet, there are significant differences between the two platforms. Simply put, using the same strategies won’t yield results, and it may even hurt your performance.

So how does Amazon SEO differ from Google SEO? And how can you combine your efforts over platforms to maximize your performance? Read on to find out.

Difference 1: Keywords

One of the biggest differences in SEO for Amazon and Google is how you utilize keywords.

On Amazon, however, keywords work quite differently. Users are less likely to search for answers to questions.

Their focus tends to be on products instead. That’s why you will have to move away from higher-funnel, long-tail keywords and concentrate on bottom-of-funnel, highly relevant keywords.

To rank higher in Amazon search, you’ll have to direct your attention towards making the absolute most of all parts of your listing.

Note, stuffing your product page with a keyword won’t bring in results. Neither will crowding your listing’s title with alternative search words.

The Solution: Research for Improved Ranking

So, the first step towards standing out on SERPs is going to be keyword research. Preferably, you’ll do this with a tool that gives you insight into both platforms, such as Ahrefs. Using multiple keyword tools (Amazon keyword research tools include Jungle ScoutHelium 10 and Unicorn Smasher) will help give you a more accurate layout of the land, as no tool is 100% accurate.

As you’re aware, Google and Amazon’s search engines have different volumes, and it’s a good idea to be aware of how the differences will impact your rankings.

Take, for example, the brand SomniFix that manufactures breathing strips for improved sleep quality.

A quick search on Ahrefs reveals that if the company chose to use the generic term “sleep strips,” it would find that this particular keyword, though relatively low in search volume, gets more searches on Amazon.

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Difference #2: External Links

One of the driving forces of Google SEO is linking. Simply put, the more quality links you have to your site, the higher your authority score will be, thus increasing the likelihood of ranking in the top spots of SERPs.

But Amazon’s search engine does not entail linking. The main factor that will determine whether your product ranks high in Amazon’s SERP is sales volume.

So how do you make up for the lack of this particular SEO tool?

The Solution: Using Google SEO to Drive Traffic to Amazon

While you can’t use links in your listings to improve your product’s performance on Amazon, you can use them in a different capacity.

With the introduction of the A10 update to Amazon’s algorithm, external traffic suddenly became one of the most influential factors affecting rankings. And you can use it in a wide variety of ways that will offer improvements to your store’s performance.

Firstly, you can create a blog. It’s one of the foolproof ways to boost your Google SEO, and you can utilize it in a way that will steer your audience towards finding you on Amazon. In addition to adding direct links to your listings (more on this a bit later), you can also write informative articles that will expose your audience to your products.

Take, for example, the mattress manufacturer, Zoma Sleep. They chose to take a route that is a great example of using a blog to drive organic traffic on Amazon. Their Best Bed in a Box Mattress post is a well-informed article that provides in-depth information about what exactly a bed-in-a-box mattress is, and what advantages it offers over regular memory foam or innerspring types. They also introduced a relatively novel keyword that is “bed in a box mattress.”

Once their readers determine that they’re interested in purchasing this type of product, and 9 out of 10 shoppers decide to price-check on Amazon, they’ll be likely to use this lower search volume keyword, which is targeted by the company. And they just might end up purchasing this exact brand of product.

A way to make a blog or website even more effective would be to include a link to the Amazon listing. Of course, this should be done carefully. Sending traffic directly to the product listing can be problematic, as a high number of views vs. a low number of sales can result in lower rankings. But, it’s something that you can easily control by introducing a landing page.

With these solutions, you can not only capture your visitors’ data before they go on to become Amazon’s customers, but you can also make sure that only those who are likely to make a purchase end up counting towards your product views.

Difference #3: Sales & PPC Campaigns

When used correctly, PPC campaigns are one of the best ways to quickly boost website traffic. They’re ideal for anyone trying to raise brand awareness, as well as for e-commerce websites with ongoing promotions and sales. And PPC plays an entirely different role in Google search & Amazon search.

If you get a sale from Adwords or Facebook Ads to your e-commerce store, it has no impact on your Google rankings. However, if you get sales on Amazon from Adwords or Facebook Ads, it will positively impact your Amazon rankings. Even sales from Amazon Sponsored Products ads positively affect Amazon keyword rankings, although not as much as a full-priced organic sale or a sale from external traffic.

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The Solution: Getting Creative to Beat the Competition

Not ready to sink your hard-earned money into advertising? Want to make an actual profit instead of mindlessly competing for the lowest price? Well, there are a few solutions.

  1. Use Market Basket Analysis: If you can figure out what types of products people are purchasing that are related to one another, and create a product campaign to bid on those, then you can use the information to cross-sell and upsell. It’s cheaper than a regular PPC, yet offers the same type of results.
  2. Win the Buy Box (without losing money): Amazon is a customer-oriented platform, which means that they will always favor the seller with the lowest price. But sometimes, making lots of sales at a low margin simply isn’t enough. That’s why using a repricing software solution such as RepricerExpress is such a great choice. It helps you win the battles worth fighting but stops you from losing money.
  3. Get reviews: One thing many sellers tend to forget is that shipping a product doesn’t mean that the sales process has ended. After all, don’t you want to build a loyal base of customers? A great way to make your past sales work for your future ones is to reach out to buyers and encourage them to leave feedback on your items. It will provide social proof, and a higher number of reviews will also improve your SERP rank.
  4. Don’t be lazy with product listings: Even if you’ve set up your product pages already, it’s important to remember that there’s always room for improvement. Take the time to go through them and optimize your product listings once in a while. Maybe add a few better product pictures. Or go through your descriptions and see whether any relevant keywords are missing (or some that are unnecessary). In the long-run, this is sure to have a great effect on how well you do.

Amazon SEO vs Google SEO: Final Verdict

As you can probably guess, both are equally effective. How you use them will depend on your needs, as well as what resources you’re working with. But for the best results, it’s not a bad idea to combine efforts. This way, you can maximize your rankings on Amazon, ensure visibility on Google, and most importantly, drive traffic to your product pages in a way that will increase conversions and sales.

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How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners

Amazon is a popular platform for both sellers and shoppers. To cope with the rising demands of the sellers, it has rolled out its FBA service. This service allows sellers to leverage the platform’s powerful distribution network and customer base to make their business dream come true. For retailers, it’s the most popular choice of platform.

FBA stands for “Fulfillment by Amazon” which means Amazon will store your products in the Amazon inventory, fulfill your orders, and offer customer service. If you want to use the Amazon FBA service, you have to create an Amazon seller account and add FBA to your account. It’s important that you set your business up in compliance with the guidelines on the website.

Amazon

Create your product listings and inventory or integrate your inventory data into the Amazon platform. Prepare the products to be delivered, and send your products into Amazon warehouse. When the customer places orders, Amazon FBA will fulfill the orders and send all necessary shipping and tracking info to the customers. 24/7 customer service is available for both sellers and customers.

As a seller, you will be free from the processes attached to inventory, packing and shipping orders. This system means it’s quite easy for you to get started. Amazon’s robust FBA model supports and allows you to scale your business globally too. Besides, if you are an Amazon FBA seller, you are qualified for free shipping on orders over $25 (books) and $49(all other items).

Plus you qualify for the Amazon Prime program, and that will give customers unlimited free two-day shipping or free one-day shipping service. The Amazon FBA fee is rather cost-effective compared to other order fulfillment centers. What’s more, you are allowed to sell on different channels with the Amazon FBA program. You can sell on eBay, your e-commerce store, and other market places besides Amazon.

How can you start an Amazon FBA business? This article elaborates on this in detail and walks through all vital steps to become a successful Amazon FBA seller. If you are starting your business, you are in the right place to find out more about an Amazon FBA business. Let’s get started.

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1. Create a Business Plan

To start an Amazon FBA business, you have to have a plan in place to ensure everything on the right track. A business plan should include your business mission, market analysis, products and services, marketing and sales, and financial plan, etc.

There are a lot of things you need to know. You have to research the market, check the trends, get to know your competitors, and figure out what kind of products you want to sell, how much you want to spend on the product sourcing, marketing, and promotion. Try to create a rough plan for your business schedule, and relevant business activities.

2. Find Your Niche

To sell on Amazon FBA, you need to find a profitable niche as it matters your success. To have a profitable business, you need to do market research and find relevant trendy and competitive products that align with your passion and interests.

Get to know the product trend, and study its emotional impact, practical value, visibility, and recognition. Try to find the selling point or create a new trendy selling point to make it viral on the market. We strongly suggest you do not involve seasonal and fragile products.

3. Start Market Research

Once you determine your niche, you have to verify it on the market with market research. Keep track of competitor sales over a period of time. Tracking your competitors will give you a more realistic view of the market, niche, or segment.

Another idea is to communicate with several suppliers or customers to get to know their sentiments for the products; you could use a survey.

If you confirm that the sales numbers are consistent in the market, you can take your plan to the next step. In a stable market, you can move forward based on your plan.

4. Identify Product Suppliers

Once you determine your niche, you have to find your product supplier. There are several ways to find supplier info. You can find suppliers on Alibaba and other B2B platforms such as AliExpress. You’ll probably find a few potential suppliers. Get their contact info and other background info if possible.

You could also search on Google or get contacts with suppliers at trade shows. Trade shows are a great way for you to have a brief communication with the supplier and get to know their products. You can also visit suppliers to find the supplier based on the industry distribution.

You have to contact these suppliers to find the best one for you. Send emails, make phone calls, and visit the suppliers. Try to avoid scammers and identify the best one.

Get to know the sample products, the price, and the minimum order quantity (MOQ), the order limit, product quality, shipping charges, and their capacity, etc.

Try to figure out the payment options and the payment terms for your quote. Find the best one for you; narrow down your options based on your requirements.

Remember to order samples so you can see the product quality. Check the product by yourself or use professional quality inspectors before you choose your supplier.

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5. Place Orders

Once you have chosen your supplier, you need to place an order.

Normally, the first order should not be large. You can place a small order and use it to test the market and get relevant feedback from customers. Testing like this is a great way to know the market with your products.

Remember to stay in regular contact with your supplier to avoid misunderstandings and get product manufacturing updates. Try to keep the key specifications in black and white and be timely with any revisions.

Product quality inspection should be in place when you place an order. Try to inspect the raw material, processes in the production line, and the finished products before shipping.

6. Register an Amazon Account

If you don’t have an Amazon seller account, you have to register as an Amazon seller account first. There are two types of account available – individual seller or pro seller. The former cost $0 per month but you will be charged about $1 for each item you sell on Amazon. The Pro seller includes more features and charges $39.99 per month. You can choose the account type based on your business budget.

7. Create Product Listing

You have to create product listings to add your items on to the platform. There are many parts to creating your listing. You have to include clear and high-resolution images. Make sure your products are “Prime eligible” and enjoy the free shipping options for prime members. If you do not have many items, you can list them manually. If you have many items, you can upload a spreadsheet that contains each of your items. Try to provide enough info about your products and make your product listing appealing.

8. Manage Your Inventory

Amazon FBA sellers have to pay special attention to their inventory. Inventory levels are extremely important. Try to manage and replenish your inventory properly. It is imperative for you to ensure you have enough to sell and keep your product inventory level available for your market and sales.

Your inventory level will decrease automatically on Amazon as orders are placed. Ensure your inventory level will be updated regularly to show the availability of the item on your product listing page. You can use a sophisticated system to integrate your sales and inventory data.

If you see that the item is going to run out of stock, try to change your marketing plan and place orders from suppliers to replenish your inventory level.

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9. Follow up Customer Reviews

As we know, customers are likely to refer to the feedback left by other buyers who have bought the item before. Amazon customer reviews are important for your business. It is the credibility that you’ve built among your target customers.

These testimonials are social proof for your business and products. As a result, you need to follow up on the shopping experience of the buyer so that they leave their feedback.

There are many ways for you to do this. You can write emails to the customers to get to know their comments about your products and services.

You can build your social media account and try to get customer feedback on the social media platform.

Try to get more positive feedback to increase your sales and conversions.

10. Optimize Product Listings

Try to monitor your sales performance and get to know your business within the market. Optimize your product listings to increase website traffic and boost sales.

Optimization should be a continuous process for Amazon sellers.

Start with the keyword. Research and find relevant keywords and insert them into your product titles, features, descriptions, etc. Try to leverage the Amazon algorithm and make it work for your business.

The relevancy of the keywords of your products matters to your product visibility and sales. You can use Google Keyword Planner to help you identify the keywords of your products.

Images are important too. You are allowed to use 5-7 images of the product from different angles and contexts and to display the size, feature, and designs of your products. Try to make it clear and appealing to customers.

When it comes to the product features, always display the most important info that the customers want to know. Put yourself into the shoes of the shoppers, show the value of your products, and include the warranty and guarantees of your offerings.

For the description part, try to use compelling language to tell your story. Keep the sentence short and simple, and make sure it can be easily understood. If possible, use Call-to-Action words or phrases to boost sales and increase conversions.

Final Thoughts

For Amazon FBA beginners, it’s a tough job to start your own business. However, the above tips will help you figure out the whole process of the business. If you are stuck in your sales, you can incorporate some of them to your business. Now, it’s time for you to go ahead.

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How to Handle Buyer Violations and Fraud Amazon

Fraud Most people who shop on Amazon are good, honest people — but, unfortunately, there are a few bad apples out there who are looking to scam Amazon sellers out of money.

Fraud

If you sell on Amazon, then you have likely encountered a few cases of buyer violations and fraud. The company does its best to limit these sorts of issues, but they do occur, so it is in your best interest to educate yourself and learn how to protect your business.

Below, we go over all the various types of buyer fraud that you might face while selling on Amazon and the best ways to handle them if they do occur.

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Types of Buyer Fraud

There are a number of different Amazon buyer scams out there, and it seems like fraudsters are constantly coming up with new tactics. Here are the most common ways buyers can scam sellers on Amazon:

1. Demanding Refunds Without Returning the Product

Some buyers will receive their product and then contact the seller to demand a refund, claiming there is an issue with the product. Many sellers simply provide a refund to avoid the hassle of dealing with a dispute.

2. Claiming They Did Not Receive Their Item

In this case, buyers claim they never received the item they purchased, even though they did. Some may claim the item was stolen during shipping or that the person who signed for it was not them. This results in a refund and the buyer keeps the product.

3. Falsely Claiming Products Are Not As Described

Some buyers will receive a product, use it for a short while, and then return it. They will simply say the item “wasn’t as described” to get free return shipping. This is especially common with clothes and, unfortunately, now that the product is used, it can no longer be sold as new.

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4. Returning Different Items

With this scam, buyers will return an item to the seller that is different than the one they purchased. In many cases, they replace the new item with an old or broken one, or an object that has a similar weight as the new product so as to not be detected.

5. Only Partially Returning Items

This scam is similar to the last one. Sometimes people will purchase bulk items and then only return some of the items in the set. For example, they may purchase a Tupperware set, take the ones they like, and return the rest, claiming they returned all the items. A similar scam is to buy multiple items and only return one. They will claim they included all the items in one box when, in reality, they just returned one of the items and kept the rest.

6. Changing Their Address

This scam is a little different than the others. A fraudulent buyer purchases a product on Amazon with one address. Then, after the sale is complete, the buyer will contact the seller and claim they moved, asking them to ship the product to a new address. However, Amazon’s policy states that you must ship the product to the address provided. Whatever address you decide to ship it to, the seller can claim they never received it and ask for a refund.

These are just a few of the ways scammers can take advantage of sellers. Make sure to keep an eye on your orders and return claims and take note of anything that seems suspicious.