Friday, 3 February 2012

My Problems Selling On Amazon UK

Its been two years since our business Fab4hairnbeauty was born. Our business is mainly an on line retail shop for fabulous hair and beauty products mainly for women of colour and class. In our quest to get our fabulous products out there, we decided to register with giant on line market places like eBay and Amazon UK alongside having also our own website.  Now, sales on our website is fair, but,  in these harsh economic situation, one needs on line retail giants to help get your products seen by consumers. Selling on these giant on line retail shops has its ups and downs. First, it does not come cheap. A percentage of your sales is taken alongside paying a monthly fee.  My problems  with eBay is documented in one my older blogs.

We have had our shop on Amazon UK for close to two years. It is fair to say that our Amazon sales account for almost 70% of our sales. It is a fairly good place place to trade as customers have come to trust  Amazon due to their good reputation. Its estimated that almost 80% of on line retail is done on its website. One of their great qualities is good seller support. Regular webinars are organised for traders to support and educate. I have found some of these webinars valuable as a seller too. However, its becoming frustrating to comprehend some of their policies.

One of the problems I have encountered on Amazon UK is their "Buy Box" policy. Buy box is where a seller wins the top position of a product advertised. Now, Amazon offers buyers different options of sellers to choose from, which is great. My question is how is the winner of the buy box determined? For instance, we have created a product on Amazon for the first time and did all the hard work of writing the product details and uploading images of this product and then all of a sudden another seller is awarded the buy box of this same product we created without due consideration for all the hard work put into creating this product on Amazon. When asked, Amazon has said that 'Buy Box eligibility is based on factors such as pricing, availability and sellers performance.'. Sometimes when as a seller, you get all this right, you are still not guaranteed to win the eligibility of a buy box.

There is also a lot of emphasis on sellers performance. Sometimes, it feels like you are under pressure as a seller  to meet their criteria as a seller. Seller performance is largely determined by the all important 'Feedback".  Feedback from buyers is great if it is fairly done. I have noticed however, that some buyers use this tool to intimidate and bully sellers. What happens when you have done all you can as a seller to fulfil your side of the bargain and a difficult buyer decides to leave a negative feedback? One advise is to contact the buyer to remove the feedback. What happens if they don't? In some cases, Amazon has removed feedback's that are deemed a violation of their policy, but a lot still needs to be done. The buyer needs protecting as well as the seller.  Feedback's are invaluable if they are genuinely done.  There are however, difficult customers who abuse the system and aim to defraud. Sellers should be protected from these minority.

All in all, its been a great experience.

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