The past week or so has been met with a lot of concerning news for Amazon Sellers. This is, perhaps a direct opposite of the experience many in the miles and points community has experienced with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
You see, for one reason or another, Amazon is restricting brands. In fact, there’s a reddit post that lists many of the brands being restricted.
I haven’t experienced this myself (thankfully!), but a friend of mind shared the below graphic. Its concerning to say the least:
The most concerning part is the fact that Amazon is requiring a non-refundable $1,000 payment. I get it. Amazon wants to ensure that you are committed to the brand. The problem is, that for many resellers, we can’t commit to just a few brands. Further, many resellers just can’t afford to pay $1,000 per brand, just to be able to sell products that we’ve been permitted to sell before.
My Read of This Change for Amazon Sellers
There have been numerous reports of brand owners like Birkenstock that have decided to stop selling on Amazon because of counterfeit products. Amazon isn’t saying that this is their attempt to get rid of counterfeit products, but, I really think it is. There are numerous articles about counterfeits on Amazon. It is one reason why I have advocated for folk’s doing non-commingled, when selling on Amazon. The sad part of this, however, is the fact that because Amazon’s own stock is commingled, they ultimately ship products, sold directly by Amazon, that are counterfeit.
The counterfeit issue became abundantly clear to me, when I saw on a listing for Yeti Cooler’s where there were half a dozen “Just Launched” sellers that “shipped from China.”
That said, this really hurts all sellers, not just the bad guys.
How can you protect yourself?
Well, first of all, if you’re selling a product that Amazon restricts, you may not have recourse. I don’t have personal experience here, but if I saw a product, that I have a track record of selling, I’d submit a case to Amazon, demonstrating my history of selling the product, and asking for leniency.
But I think what a lot of folks may be looking for, is how to not buy something that may eventually be restricted. I don’t have a crystal ball. I wish I did–I’d be able to predict airline devaluations, and more importantly, the hottest sellers on Amazon. That said, the easiest thing you can do, is to add products to your inventory before you buy them. You could go one step further, and create a shipping plan. We learned back in March, that Amazon was restricting what could be shipped in, because warehouses were just too full.
I’m not sure that there is any good news here. Be vigilant when you buy anything. What I’m most concerned about, or, rather, curious about, is how this will impact Amazon’s bottom line. We have “Q4” – the time when many retailers finally get into the “Black” – aka, they get into profit (thus the name of Black Friday). If Amazon were to restrict its catalog, by, I’d say, restricting 40% of sellers, I have to believe that Amazon will see a drop in sales, and overall transactions. Will this drop result in a change of how Amazon interacts with its business partners (aka sellers)? One can only hope, however, there is a lot to be determined.
Have you had a brand that you’ve sold before, suddenly become restricted? Did it require a $1,000 payment as well as receipts?