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Fri Apr 28 2017 13:52:56

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

By: Ina Steiner

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Many online sellers benefit tremendously from Amazon, yet at the same time, the ecommerce giant is a competitive force for online and offline retailers. A new study from SLI Systems conducted a survey to find out if Amazon is a foe or friend.

The company surveyed over 200 ecommerce professionals - nearly 40% of whom sell on at least one Amazon marketplace, with 42% selling on additional marketplaces.

The key takeaway? Only 6% say Amazon is less of a threat compared to the same period a year ago. The company also asked respondents about Amazon rivals. The survey found that 36% found Amazon was more of a threat than a year ago; while only 12% found that Alibaba and Walmart and Jet.com were more of a threat than they were a year ago.

Another interesting finding:

"When asked to select the single most important initiative for their online retail business, Customer Experience earned the top spot from 26% of all respondents, followed by Inventory, Logistics and Fulfillment, which earned 14% of the "votes.""

You can find the post about the survey along with a link to the study on the SLI Systems blog. 

Figuring out how to balance the benefits of the Amazon marketplace without getting steamrolled is something the big guys and the little guys have in common.




Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 28 16:12:30 2017

Amazon is data driven like no other company. PLUS they the hungriest people (business wise) on the planet, PERIOD.

I was interviewed as a buyer there, so Ive had many talks with them about how they think and how they operate.

In the beginning, 3P sellers were recruited simply to fill in the large gaps in Amazons catalog.

While they were strong in books and movies, they were weak in car stereo and fashion (as examples).

I would that EVERY seller knows that Amazon is as much or more of your competition then any other seller is .... if you dont know that maxim - then you have alot of learning to do.

Amazon is also smart enough to know that the VIG they charge you is more then they can make on the goods they are selling - so letting YOU have the buy box - helps them it doesnt hurt them.

Amazon closes (gates) brands and items as it sees fit (something that the morons in eBay havent yet figured out how to take advantage of) which can be detrimental to 3P sellers.

Being they are data driven - their software knows what you sell things for, where (zip code) its comming from, how long it took to sell, ie - they analyze EVERY piece of data and use it to their benefit.

Amazons software also learns to price match you or beat you, it knows when to "let you have the box" and when to become agressive in a ASIN or brand. Sometimes magically overnite in ASINs that you were alone or almost alone, Amazon springs up  and kicks you out of the box.

Amazon will also loose money to make money down the road. They will sell ASINs at a loss and charge the manufacturers "accounts" MDF money to make up for it OR use other monies to simply move a few hundred or a few thousand of something.

eBay though has learned none of this. Instead of learning Amazons weaknesses, it just goes along and does nothing, pretending they own things, have any control over things, and that they even care.

Its certainly easier to do NOTHING (hello DW) then to use your brain and have a plan, but no ones ever accused eBay of being SMART.

eBay SHOULD be a sellers best friend. Every sale made on eBay is one denied to Amazon ... but eBay would rather punish sellers for things they cant control, hand them losses for nothing etc in stead of just worrying about MOVING BOXES (which is why we are all here).

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Apr 28 17:12:21 2017

Amazon is a foe (hate them so much).

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri Apr 28 17:28:36 2017

@Pace

If eBay gates brands like Amazon does, there would be a lot less merchandise available for sale.

I know from personal experience that with the Amazon restrictions on DVDs and other items, eBay is the site with the next most traffic to list them on. And the Bay cannot afford to lose these items.

And not every eBay sale is one denied to Amazon- heck, there are many, many sales made where Amazon Prime goods are dropshipped from arbitragers who just use eBay as a vehicle. So they both make money.

Yes, the River is a very data-driven and competitive organization. They are also not afraid to invest their profits back into the company and innovate new ideas. And not every one of them work (the Fire Phone is a great example).

As I mentioned recently on ECB, it really makes my laugh when Wenig states that eBay is a technology company. What innovative, cutting edge ideas have they come up with? The Cassini (Can't See Me) search engine??

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Apr 28 19:12:45 2017

Excellent post, pace306!

Amazon is the PacMan of e-commerce. If you haven't already been chomped, you will be sooner or later.

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 28 20:47:28 2017

In addition to Pace306's excellent post I will add that:

Yes they will often come in and upset your apple cart with specific products, but overall they are fair and give notice; hard but fair.

They do mostly follow their written policy, which can hardly be said of eBay.

They do mostly ''grandfather'' in sellers with good metrics when they gate a category. I sell in grocery, a very very small grocery seller. In grocery I have an absolute perfect no problem record. I was grandfathered in grocery when they gated. Today, it is doubtful they would approve me for the category as a new grocery seller,  but are happy with me as long as I don't screw up.

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Apr 29 09:32:35 2017

Amazon is NO friend of mine!

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 29 10:21:59 2017

I have bought a few items on amazon and found them very fair and customer service is on point. So in that respect they are definitely friend.

I have also sold many items though amazon payments and found them foe at best. In one case a buyer opened an a-Z claim. Setting aside the facts of the claim....I got a nasty smail from amazon telling me I must respond to the case within 3 days or they would issue a refund. When I replied the emails kept getting returned undeliverable and no customer service available to get help. After an epic amount of work on my part I was finally able to get ahold of a chat support team that helped me send a reply to have the buyer send back the item for refund.  

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 29 10:33:14 2017

The gating of brands is a toxic practice that stifles competition.

Amazon would fail without 3p sellers or at least be in the red again.

They treat sellers like crap and break many laws but since before is a bottom Boi he gets favors from Washington.

If ebay gated brands ebay would fail.

Amazon in the end..is a parasite to business

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 29 14:48:15 2017

they have the visits we all desire, but they also compete with us. People bag on ebay constantly, but don't you think the ebay release they have no problem with sellers using amazon to ship to ebay buyers is intended to mess with amazon, and also make amazon crack down on the practice?

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 29 23:08:18 2017

@ eXtinctBay :)

Im not sure I understand your point ....

Mine simply was that if eBay had the brains that GOD gave to a pregnant goat, it would take advantage of Amazons behaviors.

Amazon doesnt need to follow eBays, but eBay (since while they are #2, they are a FAR away #2) does need to follow everything Amazon does.

Lets take Nikon for example. Nikon WILL NEVER advertise on or with eBay. Why? because they dont want camera buyers of their brand buying goods on eBay, PERIOD. So, eBay doesnt have to worry about pissing them off - since they "arent going to be friends anyway".

eBay if they were smart would work (like they used to when they had account managers) with a group of Nikon sellers and really get sales flying.

On Amazon, Nikon is MAP, has UPP for anything thats NOT Mapped and more! all eBay has to do is offer a coupon, a discount, advertise those sellers - aka do something positive and they would have a HUGE Nikon business.

Things like this may take some work, but if the game here is to grow - THAT is how you could do it - with very little work.

Theres many opportunities for eBay .. if they would just get people in there that actually understand ecommerce, and stop concentrating on free 3 day shipping.

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sun Apr 30 09:53:07 2017

@Pace

Great posts :)

I agree with your views on eBay, just not the statements that every sale on eBay is one denied to Amazon (because a great deal of items are in fact sold through the River).

And many sellers are forced to list on eBay simply because the item is not allowed on Amazon. I would guess this happens in your business as well.

Perish the thought, but what if eBay wanted to also charge a $5,000 application fee to sell certain goods? And this five large would not even GUARANTEE you could list them, it is just a fee to APPLY!!

Think the execs at eBay ran this idea across their boardroom at least once?? You bet!!

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 30 13:12:21 2017

You may be %100 right that a sale on eBay is one denied on Amazon - I was just "assuming" that based on the 2 companies being #1 & #2.

True not every Pepsi sale is a loss for coke - but Coke looks at it that way (as does Pepsi). They fight tooth and nail to one up each other to get contracts, stadiums, endorsements - they both hustle.

eBay just sleeps, and takes no advantage of what anyone with common sense would do if they were in charge of eBay  (and one wonders why no one at eBay does anything when they only grow %3!)

Yes, being in electronics, Im gated often - and I go to eBay - and when they let me - I make sales.

Sometimes the brands have followed me and have tried to VERO me on eBay. Of course I send them polite lawyers letters and they back off - but as usual, eBays asleep at the wheel and they dont even look at the complaints. (Like with every other part of eBay - the seller is ALWAYS wrong).

"Look" Im not stupid (and of course - neither are you). Amazon gates brands either due to threat of litigation (and they make enough on the line anyway so it doesnt matter) OR theres boatloads of back end money.

Either way its eBays loss since they have 500+ employees who just spend their time watching TV, eating, going to the gym, defecting sellers, Veroing sellers - anything except helping sellers get ahead.

What a weird company!

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

This user has validated their user name. by: Jono

Mon May 1 06:00:58 2017

I am amazed that Amazon no longer allow new sellers in the DVD & CD category. Whatever happened to fair trade & competition? Nearly all the CDs offered on Amazon are sold by gigantic companies. Small businesses are not welcome. Extremely dodgy way to operate.

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: Valaset This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 1 09:35:15 2017

The topic is Amazon and yet most of the comments want to attack EBAY.  ??

Amazon has courted my business on a number of occasions.  I have no interest in doing business with them at this time.  We are in the top 10% of sellers in Computers and Technology on EBAY and are happy to remain with them.

Amazon is a parasite.  If they find a category or brand they like...they go to the manufacture and box you out.  Definitely a foe, not a friend.

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon May 1 10:39:02 2017

Here's how I see it:

Lots of sellers started out with eBay.  They loved eBay until it turned on them.  When that happened, they were angry.  I understand that.

Amazon only looks good, though, because they haven't been burned yet.  Wait until they help a thief steal a high-dollar sale from you, or push you out of a category, or whatever form that future attack might take.  Then we'll hear about Amazon everything we hear about eBay.

Amazon has been pretty awful to me as both a buyer and a seller this past year.  It frustrates me that they continue to spread their tentacles further and wider with no end in sight.

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 1 12:20:11 2017

Right now they are a great way to generate lots of traffic and sales. We do over $1m annually on their site, and we're quite happy with that.
That said, we cannot forget the fact that we, and all sellers on their site, are selling them the rope to hang us with. Their goal isn't to be the largest 3rd party site, but rather world domination, selling anything viable themselves. 3rd party sellers are just a means to an end. Not only are we expendable, but we become more and more so every year. One day we won't be needed, and they will kick us to the curb. Our job is to diversify and prepare for that day

Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...   Is Amazon a Foe or Friend? Survey Says,...

by: TMoore This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon May 1 16:05:14 2017

I recently asked Amazon to close my KDP account because 1)Some A-hole blocked my publication of a short story due to what was claimed as "copyright infringement". A quick Google search showed that there was no alternate title or any other publication of the same title on the internet. KDP's claim was that as a third party, they could not interdict on anyone's behalf. What a stupid response. I never got to learn who had posted the block so that I could take them to task.

B) I had no sales for three months, then 1 sale in March, and nothing since. I figured that since I was there for nothing, they would get nothing in commissions from me from then on.

I recently read on a Consumer Affairs report that Amazon was expanding its campus bookstore program into a delivery box program, where people could order online and then pick up their orders at the drop boxes. This means the death knell for brick and mortar mom and pop book stores. No one would by offline what they can get online. It's like watching the buggy and whip franchise disappear from history.

While Amazon was once a friend for people who could not get out of the house, it has become a foe for every business selling the same items. Amazon thinks it will be the only place to go for things on this planet, but it will learn that there are laws against monopoly. IF it really wants to see it have a prosperous empire, it will learn to compete lawfully. Otherwise, I won't miss it when it is broken up.



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