"Watch out for old Wal-Mart goods for sale on Amazon," the Kim Komando website warns
. The site gives a basic explanation of what sellers call "retail arbitrage" - sellers who buy items in stores and resell them on Amazon.
Kim Komando then explains that many resellers are scooping up heavily discounted items at the 154 stores that Walmart is closing and reselling them on Amazon.
It's not an overly negative article: "You can think of it this way: They're bringing great deals from stores that could be thousands of miles away from you, and delivering those products to your door."
But it does warn shoppers what they need to look out for. It also includes a "bonus tip" - how to tell if you're buying directly from Amazon.
The post also points out that Amazon will direct shoppers to items that it is fulfilling itself: "Look for a note like, "Not eligible for Amazon Prime," or a link to a product that says, "Available with free Prime shipping from other sellers.""
Sellers who are engaging in retail arbitrage might do well to heed the advice of Cynthia Stine in her guest column in EcommerceBytes Newsflash
, How to Avoid Amazon Seller Account Suspensions:
"When a customer's expectations are not met, sellers can expect to see complaints like "Used Sold as New," "Counterfeit," and "Inauthentic." This puzzles a lot of sellers because they know their products were purchased new.
"In many cases, sellers are purchasing imperfect products from retail stores, liquidators, online retailers, etc., that they sell as new but which are actually used (as in the case of a repackaged return) or so ugly that they look like they have been stored in someone's attic for a few years (dirty, dingy, faded, dinged corners, torn shrink wrap, etc.)."
I had this experience when buying wedding presents from a friend's gift registry at a local brick and mortar store. One of the items I purchased in-store had a gift receipt inside the box! (Luckily I had glanced inside before wrapping.)
Going back to the store, I examined all the boxes really carefully, and most of them looked like returns that I would not feel comfortable giving as presents to the bride and groom.
Hopefully resellers are on the lookout for this type of problem, but it could be a reason to list such items as "Used, Like New." What do you think?