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Wed July 15 2009 09:30:00

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon.com wants to attract new sellers - both large and small - and beginner sellers are welcome. That was the message the company gave attendees at the recent SCOE conference - the Sellers Conference of Online Entrepreneurs, an "independent conference for entrepreneurs who utilize Amazon.com as a sales channel."

Skip McGrath covered the event for AuctionBytes Newsflash and reported some interesting factoids:

The number of independent sellers has increased 19% over the previous year, and independent Amazon sellers now account for 32% of all unit sales on Amazon, up from 25%, five years ago.

As Amazon continues to aggressively court new sellers and eBay goes after large manufacturers and retailers, I would expect the number of sellers joining Amazon to continue to increase. There should be updated data when Amazon releases second-quarter earnings next week. (That's not to say that Amazon.com welcomes all sellers into every category, something I hear from readers is a source of frustration, along with concerns about  selling on a marketplace that is also a competitor.)

One issue that Skip reported jumped out at me. He wrote, "A couple of sellers raised the issue of rewarding top sellers who deliver an excellent customer experience with recognition and perhaps rewards in placement or fees, but Amazon's Peter Faricy (the keynote speaker) indicated that is not in the offing. Favoring some sellers over others does not seem a direction Amazon wants to take."

I bet there are a lot of eBay sellers who would have this advice for Amazon sellers: be careful what you wish for!

Amazon.com also made it clear they were not going to budge on the shipping credit issue. Alibris also adopted the model Amazon uses, and their sellers are just as annoyed. I think the problem is not so much that sellers are paying for part of the shipping costs so much as the fact that the marketplace hides that fact from customers, who believe that it is they themselves who are paying the full shipping costs.




Comments (26) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Rob

Wed Jul 15 09:55:43 2009

I'd love to be able to sell on the river, but I've applied several times and been turned down both times because the river claims they aren't accepting applications for jewelry sellers. I'm not sure if that means all jewelry or just body jewelry which is what my company specializes in. It's a shame. There is a local body jewelry retailer from our area with a store on the river doing extremely well. Our company could certainly offer better prices, and comparable products and service.

A customer rep told me he that our gross yearly internet sales and length of time in internet retail sales is a critical factor to getting approved in some categories. 5 years as silver PS on two separate ebay accounts/ borderline gold PS on one account with 99.6 & 99.8 lifetime feedback ratings and roughly 23,000 combined sales between the two accounts wasn't sufficient for the river apparently.

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: eBuyer Feedback

Wed Jul 15 10:25:22 2009

I never understood the justification of the whole shipping credits thing.  Isn't that exactly how Half.com works?  If you charge someone on eBay more than your actual postage costs your buyers scream ''thief'' and demand a refund for what you cheated them out of.  Yet eBay (Half), Amazon, and Alibris do exactly that.

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: toad

Wed Jul 15 10:58:12 2009

this would be nice, but unless you sign up for the pro account for $39.99 a month, you can't sell individual items.  that is unless someone has the exact items listed already.  this really limits who can sell, and what quite drastically.

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Patricia

Wed Jul 15 11:08:26 2009

One of these days Ebay is going to realize they are on the wrong path and by then Amazon will have taken all their good sellers away LOL  I'm loving it!

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: ebay=penny stock

Wed Jul 15 14:46:39 2009

Ebay isn't capable of realizing they are on the wrong path.

To do that would take someone with a brain and after the last year everyone but ebay has come to realize there is no one with even a half of a brain running Ebay.

Its a train wreck that is just trying to find a place to happen.

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Dan

Wed Jul 15 19:01:05 2009

The reason Amazon is doing so well is that they simply aren't trying to be all things to all people. Amazon has always known who they are. They worked on building a long term brand. Amazon is Amazon. They are what they are and they do what they do.

They put quality controls in place that ebay never did and it has served them well. They limit their product lines and close catagories early to prevent themselves from all the problems that have been ebay's undoing.

No two ebay sellers or ebay employees will agree on what ebay should or shouldn't be. And that's the problem.

My goods have no place on Amazon and probably never will. But as a brick and mortar merchant, I understand that. I wish I could sell there but I admire them for their long term stratagy. They aren't vague with their 3rd party sellers and isn't that what we all want? Isn't it better to know where you stand from the outset?

Amazon has my business as a buyer for life. They earned my trust years ago and ebay lost my partial trust 3 full years ago when the onslaught of fee gouging and back and forth changes really began....

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: fruity

Wed Jul 15 20:46:07 2009

Well hopefully Amazon will create some kind of newbie training camp to cleanse all the bad juju we've been conditioned on doing at ebay. I think ebay does it on purpose. You can spot ebay sellers on amazon. they're the ones who put their dot com on the images. or have that eyesore funky text. Amazon needs to take care of that right away before it becomes the dumping zone. Sellers given the right tools will do the right thing. Sellers who have to claw for traffic by spamming up even unintentionally are probably the reason why amazon is not letting too many in.

Ina, do we know who the person is at Amazon that is in charge of seller or merchant development? It would be great if they had a type of training course

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Fruity

Wed Jul 15 20:49:43 2009

Amazon doesn't spam you like ebay. You dont have to jump under your desk when you see a message from Amazon. You also don't have to spend half an hour like in Ebays Torture System (ie customer help) trying to figure out how to contact someone for help. When you're in ebays help section, you end up walking away. I would rather spoon out my eyeballs with a melon scooper than deal with ebays customer CARE

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Et tu, Brute!

Wed Jul 15 23:32:53 2009

I have been a 3P seller on Amazon for 4 years now.  

To Fruity, read the rules and understand that Amazon says what it means, and means what it says.  Don't underestimate this fact.

Read the Forums.  Ask questions.  DON'T disobey the rules.  Period.  Amazon does not mess around.  They will suspend you in a heartbeat.  

If you can't get approved to sell, despite your ''track record'' there is probably a reason, and no, they will not necessarily tell you.

In truth, the mass exodus from ebay has begun to clutter and soil the Amazon catalog, and, Amazon being Amazon, is already taking steps to clean it up.

Amazon is also very fair.  I have known of BUYERS who have been banned because they were, well, bad buyers and all that entails.  You can protest a suspension, a chargeback, an A - Z claim, with the possibility of winning.  

You can only have one seller account.  Period.  Don't try to fudge on this; Amazon will catch you.  We don't know exactly HOW they do, Amazon naturally is not telling.  

Again, read the rules.  Go to the Forums.  

And don't cry about the fees.  Please.  I am CONVINCED that there are buyers who shop on Amazon and no where else, who won't go to any other sites such as ebay et al.  Amazon is the go-to place and all else is beneath their radar.  

Be glad that you can sell there!  

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Et tu, Brute!

Wed Jul 15 23:39:37 2009

By the way, Fruity is correct.  Amazon doesn't waste your time as a seller, AND, you can actually talk on the PHONE to a warm body with a voice.  Very nice indeed and a great change from ebay.

I closed my ebay account a year and a half ago and have NO regrets.

P.S.: I repeat: GO TO THE AMAZON SELLER FORUMS for answers to your questions regarding training and information.  

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Thu Jul 16 00:54:39 2009

Skip McGrath?


sigh

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Filla Man

Thu Jul 16 01:27:24 2009

We have too many exEbay affiliates bushing Ebay for no reason. In my view if you do genuine business with Ebay you will find them to be very good and rewarding. I started http://www.webauctionsdaily.com a few months back and I am doing very well, although it is an Ebay auction site for only $1 items.
Hope people will understand this testimony.

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Jul 16 07:59:13 2009

Amazon would not allow sellers to blatantly spam like eBay listing 130318892056. Thanks to this guy, shirts show up in ashtrays.

You complain for WEEKS and nothing is done. Why? MORE SITE CLICKS! Really, how much traffic on eBay is buying, and how many clicks are wasted on forums and turning people in and backing out of bad searches.

eBay says ''L@@k so many are clicking here!!!'' Yeah, doing everything but buying from the cesspool.

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: J

Thu Jul 16 08:03:05 2009

''We have too many exEbay affiliates bushing Ebay for no reason.''

No reason?

Ruining livelihoods is no reason?

Refusing to communicate with their paying customers is no reason?

Instituting anti small seller policy after anti small seller policy is no reason?

Taking every bit of control they can away from the small seller is no reason?

Permitting and even condoning fraud on the eBay site is no reason?

Giving preferential treatment to huge sellers is no reason?

Manipulating feedback and DSR's of huge sellers is no reason?

Suffice it to say the list goes on and on while the executives are too frightened to come out of their cubicles to confront those they have crippled with their moronic policies.

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Ron

Thu Jul 16 10:21:13 2009

Amazon has it right.  You grow your business by increasing customers (sellers are in fact customers), not chasing them away.  Why eBay management thinks that it is a good idea to get rid of small and mid-sized sellers is beyond me.  I've never heard of a business actually encouraging its good customers to go away.  And why this fact isn't obvious to the Board of Directors or the shareholder population is also hard to comprehend.  Someone over there needs a reality check.  I think that part of the problem is that the top management at ebay wouldn't know an antique or collectible if it hit them in the head. No aesthetics, no vision, no class, just some self-perception of being above lowly small sellers and the second-hand articles, which by the way, for the most part, are much more desirable than the liquidation crap that is being touted on eBay right now  

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Buck Efay

Thu Jul 16 10:43:11 2009

Amazon won me over when I was thinking of giving up Greedbay. My first email was correctly answered within hours & followed up by phone contact within a day. I felt welcome, instead of the you are an expendable piece of garbage feeling I get from Ebay. Any other issues I've since had with Amazon were promptly & correctly responded to. I do wish they would up their shipping reimbursement to reflect what it actually costs to ship tho, $3 on a 10 VHS video set is a joke.

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: even amazon bites

Thu Jul 16 18:03:21 2009

Amazon, while a good venue, (as ebay still is), has its problems too.
Prove to them that you have a hot seller and they just may go around you and find your supplier and cut you out.   After all, you are giving them all the measurements on sales.   It happens all the time.  
At least ebay doesnt compete head to head with its own sellers.
Like a mother shark, amazon will eat its babies and with just about the same emotion.
dc

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Thu Jul 16 18:37:42 2009

I don't like amazon at all. I don't like their selling pages, they look too much like a circus. Not a good venue for vintage, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think people are shopping for vintage collectibles and antiques on Amazon. Can't see it. Where are the specialists there?

Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Steve

Thu Jul 16 21:07:19 2009

@even amazon bites

You state ''At least ebay doesnt compete head to head with its own sellers''

You are wrong. Last year, when ebay did it's covert diamond deal with Buy.com, my selling catagory was completely ruined, almost overnight.

Every private, lower negotiated deal ebay does with a large merchant is at the expence of all their other thousands of sellers who are paying ebay the full rate.

We paid the full rate for years. Now that the demand is there and the marketplace is created, ebay is giving away virtually every commodity catagory it has. If you sell any goods with a bar code, you are doomed.

So yes, ebay definitely competes with its sellers.


Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers   Amazon.com Welcomes Third-Party Sellers

by: Ebay No More

Fri Jul 17 15:16:54 2009

Amazon is an excellent source of revenue for many sellers. Amazon still should be viewed as a temporary source of additional income until your own website produces enough revenue to earn a living. I noticed in Seller Central that Amazon has posted a notice effective June 5,2009 that they are not accepting any new apparel sellers. This is in effect for an indeterminate period of time. Considering the inroads Amazon has made in selling their own apparel items I am not sure I would want to bring my best selling apparel to Amazon anyway.

There are pros and cons to Amazon but every seller's ultimate goal should be the increasing success of their own site.

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