Amazon: What’s All The Hubub, Bub?
This is the first of a 2 part series about Amazon and eBay. I’m going to talk about each sites positives and negatives from a large sellers point of view.
Please keep in mind that I am a dvd, cd, book, and video game seller – your experience may vary. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, explosive diarrhea and, in some rare instances, bleeding eyeballs. Please consult your physician.
I read this awesome book some years ago called "The Nudist On The Late Shift" – it was a collection of stories about Silicon valley startups. Somewhere in that book is this really normal photo of a cluttered cubicle – at least it looks normal until you spot the guy sleeping on the floor underneath it, curled up in this pathetic ball. That guy? Jeff Bezos. You might as well have put that picture next to the word "Entrepreneur" in the dictionary. That photo completely sums up to me what the essence of an entrepreneur is.
So Jeff’s little company did ok last year – the stock more than doubled, profits were way up, and for the first time, Amazon had more page views than eBay in December.
Third party sellers (that’s me), are really in love with Amazon.com right now. There are 4 reasons why:
1. Ease of listing: Amazon is a product-centric site. Every media item that they have for sale already has a photo and a description. For a seller, all I need to do is tell Amazon that I want to sell Passion of the Christ DVD (usually via a UPC code), give a one line blurb about my company (shipping speed, shipping upgrades, etc), and tell Amazon what price I want to sell it at. That’s it. My item stays up forever until it sells. They provide a ton of ways to list items - via the site, via their API, via a file upload, via a service provider.
2. Payments: Amazon collects buyers payments and disburses them to me. Why is that so important?
a. 99.8% of the time, a sale is a sale! When I get an order, it’s ready to roll.
b. Amazon guarantees the transaction for both the buyer and seller. They call it their A-to-Z guarantee program. A buyer is 100% covered by Amazon if there are any issues, and that means trust, people, trust.
c. It makes the transaction completely efficient. That means we don’t get emails from buyers concerning payments. Period
3. Customer Service is almost not needed. Amazon has made the buying process so simple to a buyer and so simple to a seller that the two almost never need to communicate with each other. We list items, we sell them to buyers, we ship the items, and the buyer receives the items. It can’t be any easier than that. Take it from me folks, it is completely true that Amazon has 90% less Customer Service than eBay.
4. Amazons third party sellers (that’s me) are held to a very high standard. Amazon has no problem whatsoever booting off sellers that fail to meet their standards in refunds or feedback or claims. If a new or even a seasoned seller suddenly ramps up sales, Amazon will also take a look at the seller to make sure there’s no funny business going on. This high standard once again promotes trust, people, trust.
So, to summarize, what Amazon has accomplished with its buying and selling experience is 1) Trust 2) Trust 3) Trust 4) Ease of transaction 5) Guaranteed transaction 6) Trust 7) Ease of listing items.
If you don’t believe me, go ahead and go buy something from us there and I’ll prove it to you: Inflatable Madness on Amazon
Amazon is only human, however, and it is not perfect. They provide very little seller support - I call it the Amazon Cloud. There are no account reps to speak of, and if you are very lucky and have said a prayer to Shanikra, the God of finding obscure phone numbers, you may find the phone number to Amazon Seller Support. So there are people there, up in the Amazon Cloud. The roughest thing to deal with is account performance – if your account slips up and Amazon reviews your account or heaven forbid suspends your account, your only recourse is to beg and plead and grovel to an email address. On the other end of that email address?
The Amazon Cloud.
I’ve actually always pictured the guys reading the emails as Statler & Waldorf, the two critics from The Muppet Show, just laughing and laughing at my pleas of forgiveness.
The good news is that you really don’t need any help on a daily basis. I’m a big boy and Amazon doesn’t need to hold my hand.
Tune in next time, when you’ll hear me say:
"Trust and Safety took down Pretty Baby and I’m restricted from selling?"
Up next: eBay