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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue July 17 2012 22:04:39

Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?

By: Ina Steiner
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Imagine getting a $25 item for a penny - what a great deal for a shopper. Now imagine you're the seller, and the one-penny price was a mistake caused by a glitch in your vendor's software. That could have a drastic effect on your bottom line.

That scenario played out today for 15 minutes when a glitch caused by a third-party software company called Appeagle caused some of its clients listings on Amazon to sell for a penny. According to Appeagle, Amazon jumped in when notified and cancelled the FBA orders and told Appeagle it wouldn't count the cancellations against the merchants' performance metrics, including orders cancelled by merchants themselves for merchant-fulfilled orders.

Note I've yet to hear confirmation from Amazon itself on how it will handle the occurrence, and there are merchants who are dissatisfied with Appeagle's handling of the situation - you can read the details of the incident in Wednesday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash newsletter.

Appeagle's Zee Mehler said Amazon was "all over it" to help resolve the issue when the glitch was uncovered fifteen minutes into pushing an upgrade to its software. "They did right by us," he said, "because they knew we were working hard to do right by them." Mehler said the glitch occurred when Appeagle was pushing an update through to Amazon to conform to new requirements that all repricing software vendors must meet.

Why was Amazon responsive, and why did it get on board with cancelling the one-penny orders when it is so customer focused? It likely because Amazon is a retailer too and understands the cost and impact of major pricing errors.

I can recall many a glitch on eBay that resulted in auctions selling for less than they should have thanks to bidders not being able to access the listings. Would eBay be as responsive - and proactive - if a similar incident occurs on its marketplace?

It's interesting to think about the way the two marketplaces differ in terms of pricing. Auction sellers place an item on eBay, and bidders drive the prices up - good for merchants. On Amazon, prices are actually driven down - not nearly as exciting for merchants!

Repricing is much more common than many sellers realize, and it's unlikely that today's incident will have any significant impact on the demand for repricing automation tools.

But the incident does drive home the importance of paying close attention to repricing tools and setting minimum prices to try to avoid becoming the victim of a repricing meltdown!



Comments (14) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 18 00:05:03 2012
''Would eBay be as responsive - and proactive - if a similar incident occurs on its marketplace?''
NO!
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 18 00:15:52 2012
This is what happens when you try to undercut everyone else by a penny. If you have to sell it for a penny than that is the lowest price out there and the seller should have to be held for the bargain. After all, they are the ones that are using the software.  
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Wed Jul 18 01:27:32 2012
Any resemblance between ebay's attitude toward sellers and Amazon's is purely coincidental.

Read the lyrics of the 1950s song sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford called "Sixteen Tons."

It reflects the position of most  3rd party online sellers.
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: NullApps This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed Jul 18 03:18:06 2012
@ Tiffee Jasso

That's not how it works and that represents a gross misunderstanding of how repricers are used by sellers.  This incident was caused by a glitch in their software (one I've fortunately never experienced after 3 years doing this) supposedly affecting non-managed listings.  Nobody in their right mind would set up a listing to be repriced down to $0.01 unless it was OK to sell it that cheap.  Granted I've had a few subscribers set themselves up for selling for pennies like that but it is highly unusual and not recommended at all.

I am very surprised that Amazon took such swift action assuming it is true.  I'd be very curious to hear their official response.  My guess is that they recognize the value that repricers add to their marketplace.  Usually when you sign up for a third party app on any marketplace it is just assumed that the marketplace won't put out your fires for you.  I'm just hoping this company's brief mistake didn't give the entire repricing industry a permanent black eye.  I'm reminded of that $23698655.93 book that made the rounds last year.
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: mtime10 This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 18 07:33:37 2012
Praise for Amazon's "quick response" to the Appeagle debacle needs to stop.  I'm at close to 30 orders fulfilled at .01  24 HOURS AFTER alerting Amazon of the problem and personally requesting and getting cancellation of all pending orders at .01.  24 HOURS AFTER the problem was made aware to them by Appeagle, I still have a dozen or so more sitting in pending status awaiting fulfillment.  Amazon is not acting quickly to help solve this problem that they are partly liable for as the article states this error was in a new feed from Appeagle to comply with Amazon's ever changing data policies.
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: N.Todd This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 18 08:52:21 2012
Acting Fast?  Not in my case.  I have over 100 items that have already been shipped at a total of $0.01 each.  I stand to lose at least $3,000.00 already.  I am still trying to get Amazon to remove orders that are pending.  AppEagle can look forward to one hell of a lawsuit!!!
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: N.Todd This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 18 09:17:52 2012
A little follow-up to the last post I left.  If Appeagle has caused you any loss please email me at appeaglelawsuit@gmail.com
My attorney has suggested that we start building a class action case against appeagle to recover damages incurred by their mishandling of Amazon seller pricing.
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: scrappymomtotwins This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 18 09:53:09 2012
Amazon didn't cancel all FBA orders, not by a LONG shot. One merchant is reporting close to $40K in losses on already-shipped-orders. Another textbook seller estimates they lost thousands. I didn't buy any .01 items, but I know folks who did and they have rec'd confirmation of shipping on many of their FBA orders. In other words, Amazon lies. The orders shipped. And if I were an Appeagle customer the wrods crossing my mind today would be "Attorney" and "Lawsuit".
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: amazongenius This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed Jul 18 12:11:12 2012
We at AmazonGenius.com are writing up a Review on this glitch and in the works of getting more information from Appeagle. We recently just posted a review about their repricing software.
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: JackieBlue This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 18 12:21:04 2012
I did this myself accidentally, for several hours.  I had to cancel about 80 orders.  Most people were understanding.  People are generally realistic and understand these things happen.  It had minor effect on my Amazon account.
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: amazongenius This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed Jul 18 13:25:00 2012
hey Jackie,

Do you use repricing software like appeagle? Or just manually reprice items?
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Wed Jul 18 15:20:13 2012
There is a very good reason behind Amazon's actions to stand behind their sellers that serves to highlight eBay's weakness in the same circumstances.

Amazon actually sells stuff, so when something goes wrong, they have first hand knowledge of the negative impact their smaller sellers will face because they experience it as well.

With an intelligent CEO at the helm, Amazon becomes proactive and assures their sellers will not be hurt by a system glitch.

Compare the same kind of issue to eBay.

eBay executives and management are not actively engaged in selling yet they dictate every facet of how sellers should conduct business. They create systems and write policies that allow sellers to be abused all because management does not know better.

eBay's leadership void with regard to seller experience leads them to take a hands off approach to protecting sellers which leaves sellers at the mercy not just of defective eBay policy, but also vengeful buyers who leverage the eBay system to destroy seller reputations like it was a sport.

Of course, with eBay mimicking so many aspects of Amazons success, this is one area eBay continues to ignore to the detriment of sellers and eBay itself.
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly
       
Wed Jul 18 16:07:55 2012
lmao

Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

Good for the buyers.

It was on sale for a penny and they bought the items.
Perminate Link for Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?   Amazon to Protect Merchants from Repricing Glitch?
by: Rat Dude This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jul 18 21:20:10 2012
I managed to order two much wanted items during their one cent sale and suspected at the time there was a pricing malfunction as it has happened before.  I check my Amazon cart almost everyday and have seen prices fall dramatically at least two times in the last 3 or 4 months with $10 or $15 unexplained price drops that disappear quickly.  Amazing how this has been kept down low and is not easily found on Google. Ain't technology grand?


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