Are you sick of coronavirus headlines and dying to cut through the clutter and straight to content that’s relevant to your business and your wallet? Look no further. In this episode of Amazon Seller School, we’re breaking down the top Amazon stories of the week to keep you informed and ahead of the e-commerce tide.
The Future Of Amazon Is Bright
According to articles in Forbes and Recode, Amazon is thriving despite a chaotic time. Although there are frustrations from both buyers and sellers due to a slow fulfillment process, prime is more popular than ever before. With strong name recognition, consumers trust Amazon in these odd times.
How Does This Impact Me? All in all, if you thought it was too late to start selling on Amazon, think again. The platform is growing with no signs of slowing in sight. Hop on the Amazon train now before it really is too late.
Amazon Versus Amazon
How Does This Impact Me? In short, unrest at Amazon means unrest for sellers. If warehouse workers continue protesting, the fulfillment process will continue slowing down, ultimately affecting our bottom line.
News broke last week that Amazon is reportedly using data from third-party sellers to launch its own products. Big surprise? Not so much. While many may use this as an excuse to avoid Amazon, the truth is, this has been happening in retail since the dawn of retail (see: Target, Walmart, JCPenny).
How Does This Impact Me? Despite what anti-Amazoners say, don’t sweat it. As Amazon sellers, we’ve got bigger problems on our plate.
Google Versus Amazon
How Does This Impact Me? Anything that competes with Amazon is good for sellers. Why? Outside competition pressures Amazon to do whatever they can to improve the experience for both buyers and sellers. Not to mention, if you sell outside of Amazon, you can now list products for free where you previously had to pay to place them on Google. All around, a win for e-commerce.
The U.S. has added five Amazon foreign websites to a “notorious markets” register. No legal ramifications as of yet, but this does put pressure on Amazon to step up when it comes to policing the sale of black market and counterfeit products. Additionally, news broke that Amazon will begin vetting third-party sellers via live video calls. The video verification is intended to limit black hat sellers.
How Does This Impact Me? Every step Amazon takes to limit fake products and fake sellers improves Amazon’s reputation and our reputation as sellers. Without the uptick in unauthorized sales, partners are more likely to trust eager and legitimate Amazon sellers like us. In this business, trust is the difference between a discount and full price, an open account and a lost cause, profit or no profit.
Staying on the pulse of your industry improves your chances for success. Hopefully this episode helped you stay informed about all things e-commerce.
Resources From This Episode
- Amazon has been frustrating during the pandemic, but Prime is more popular than ever
- Not Every Retailer Is Seeing An E-Commerce Boost From Coronavirus, With Amazon Among The Few Winners
- Amazon employees shared an event invite to discuss how the company treats its workers. Then it disappeared.
- Amazon reportedly used third-party seller data to research and launch its own products
- Google drops charges on shopping service to counter Amazon’s surging ad sales
- US blacklists five Amazon foreign websites
- Amazon testing live video calls to vet third-party sellers
- Check us out on Facebook
- Leave a review on iTunes
- Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Outline Of This Episode
[00:00] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[01:13] Why Amazon’s still on top
[04:00] Amazon versus Amazon
[07:36] Why Amazon using seller data is NBD
[11:09] Why competition for Amazon is great for sellers
[14:12] Combating counterfeit products (and sellers) on Amazon
[18:22] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode
Todd Welch (00:00):
Amazon fighting back against scammers, Google fighting back against Amazon, Amazon employees fighting back against Amazon and you will not believe the third story today. A lot of people are freaking out. Should you freak out about it? Stay tuned. What’s up everybody? Welcome to episode number 22 of the Amazon Seller School podcast and this is Amazon news. Today we’re going to dive into some of the top Amazon news stories that I found and going to give you my explanation on how it’ll affect you as a seller as well as my opinion on the stories. Also, if you want to get the show notes or any of the links that we talk about in this video, make sure you head on over to amazonseller.school/22 and you can check those out as well as there’s a transcript there. Now, if you’re over on YouTube, make sure you give us a like and subscribe down below.
Todd Welch (00:55):
If you’re on your podcasts, make sure you’re subscribed to this show so you get alerted to new episodes and also make sure you leave us a review. Let us know how we’re doing. We can read those on an upcoming episode as well. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive into Amazon news. All right, so the first couple stories are from Forbes and Recode and I basically want to mention this because it’s about how well Amazon is doing or is going to be doing in the future. So this first one from Recode, the headline is Amazon has been frustrating during the pandemic, but prime is more popular than ever. And basically the gist of this story is that of course we all know the long ship times with Amazon as sellers. It’s been frustrating taking them forever to check in products and things like that.
Todd Welch (01:51):
And so it’s been frustrating for us sellers and for buyers. But prime is more popular than ever. They’ve actually had more signups to prime than ever before. People keep signing up, they want to get their products delivered to them. So people are learning to shop online that have never shopped online before. And the second headline from Forbes, not every retailer is seeing an eCommerce boost from Corona virus with Amazon among the few winners. So again, Amazon is reaping the benefits of the Corona virus and everyone being locked in their house. Amazon has the name recognition, they have millions, if not billions of products on their service that you can buy. Historically they’ve been able to get it to people in two days. So that’s kind of ingrained in people’s brain. So even though it’s taking a little longer right now, people know and understand what’s going on.
Todd Welch (02:54):
And they’re willing to overlook that because in the future it’ll get to that two day, one day, four hour delivery. And so basically for us sellers, this is, you’re showing us that Amazon continues to grow. You know, people always like to say, I’m too late. You know, people are already in this Amazon game. It’s saturated. But we’re just getting started here. We’re going to look back in 10 years and wish we had got started now. So if you’re on the fence about starting to sell on Amazon or maybe you’re selling a little bit and not going full throttle, now is the time to go full out and make sure you’re getting into this. Now if it’s something that you want to do and build into a real business or perhaps a side hustle. So just want to throw that out there. We touched on that last time we talked about the news as well, but it’s just super important to keep drilling in that this Amazon game is just getting started.
Todd Welch (03:54):
Okay. And the future looks very bright for Amazon. Indeed. Now the second story has to do with Amazon employees basically attacking Amazon. So this headline from Vox reads, Amazon employees shared an event invite to discuss how the company treats its workers. Then it disappeared. Employees told Recode, they believe Amazon deleted the event to try to prevent corporate and warehouse workers from pushing for more rights. So basically what is going on here is Amazon employees were organizing a virtual protest against Amazon’s working conditions. And so warehouse workers were trying to coordinate with corporate workers for this virtual event. And interestingly or strangely, I’m not sure, this was very smart on their part, but they were using Amazon’s calendar system to organize the event. So they were basically using Amazon internal tools to organize an event against Amazon. So right there, in my opinion, not the best way to organize an event.
Todd Welch (05:06):
If you’re going to organize an event attacking your employer, you’re probably gonna want to use outside means to organize that. Maybe Facebook or meetup or LinkedIn or whatever the case may be, but basically what it sounds like happened is Amazon found out about this, they obviously probably didn’t like it, so they deleted the event off of the calendar and so that is where this news article comes in. I definitely can’t blame Amazon for deleting the event and I also can’t blame Amazon employees for getting upset about it, but this is an ongoing development where there is a minority of workers in Amazon who are upset about the working conditions saying they’re not doing enough to fight the Corona virus that is popping up in some of their facilities. There may be merit to it. I’m sure there is. It all depends on which angle you’re looking at it, you know, of course the employers are going to make it look like it’s really bad.
Todd Welch (06:08):
The ones that are pushing for this virtual event. And of course Amazon is going to try to paint a very rosy picture. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. So hopefully Amazon gets this worked out and all sides can be happy. There’s always going to be that fringe that are never happy with their working conditions and their working rights. But thankfully we live in America where if you don’t like your job you can always find another job. So hopefully again, this will get worked out. It’s going to affect us as sellers if it keeps expanding because if warehouse workers are walking out and they’re protesting, Amazon’s going to have harder time fulfilling our products to the buyers and they’re already having a lot of trouble. So having more trouble is just going to cause slower shipment, slower deliveries, slower checking in of our products.
Todd Welch (07:05):
So hopefully this can get worked out and resolved. I’ve read other articles that say Amazon is doing a lot of testing and stuff at their facilities. You never know what is spin and what is truth and what is marketing. But you know, I would like to think that Amazon is trying to help their employees. So hopefully that’s the case. We’ll keep an eye on this story and see how it develops, but very interesting news for sure that’s going to affect us as sellers one way or another. All right, so now the third story, probably one of the biggest headlines, and I’ve seen a lot of talk about this online, a lot of debate as to what it means. This is from Geekwire. Amazon reportedly use third party seller data to research and launch its own product. So basically Amazon is taking our data, your data and using it against you to create their own products and sell their products against you.
Todd Welch (08:08):
There’s a lot of opinions online that, Oh, see I told ya you should never sell on Amazon. I’m so glad I stopped selling on Amazon or never started. They’re stealing your data and using it against you to compete with you. And my reply to this has been, well yeah, of course Walmart, Target and every other retailer has been doing this since the dawn of retail. If you go into Walmart, you go into Target, you’re going to see generic Walmart products, generic Target products, generic JC Penney products or wherever you’re at. This has been going on for a long time. They see the products that are selling well. So they create a generic product. You ever go to your grocery store and look at all the products and there’s always the generic products. They’re taking the data from all of the other products who are spending tons of money on advertising, creating a generic version of it and selling it.
Todd Welch (09:08):
So while this is the biggest news that’s out there, everybody’s talking about it. I don’t see it as an actual issue. I mean we all already knew this was going on. It’s been happening forever. Amazon is just now doing it online and they did say that they weren’t doing it. So that’s kind of where this story comes in and where kind of the distrust of Amazon comes in. But we all knew they were doing it. All of the Amazon basic products that are out there, those are popping up and replicating products that are selling well. So we knew this was happening already. I don’t have as much problem with this as I do with, for example, Amazon giving an Amazon basic product, the Amazon choice badge, because they’re, they’re basically favoring their own product over other people’s products, so that bugs me a lot more than this.
Todd Welch (10:06):
Now for my own part, I don’t buy Amazon basic products as much as possible, even when they’re cheaper. I just bought batteries. I go to bought Amazon basic eight pack of batteries for eight bucks, but instead I bought a four pack of Energizer for like seven something because one Energizer probably works better and two, I just don’t want to support Amazon creating knockoffs of their products. So you need to decide what you’re going to do. Personally, I don’t think this has any reason to get too freaked out. Of course, this is going on. It’s been going on in retail forever and Amazon is just continuing it online, but it’s definitely a big headline. So let me know in the comments if you’re over on YouTube, what you think of this. If you’re listening to on podcasts, let us know on our Facebook page, go to amazonseller.school/Facebook.
Todd Welch (11:00):
Let us know there what you think of this news story as well. I really want to know your thoughts on this because it’s a really big story. Alright, and the next news story is another big news story in my opinion, and this is from Reuters, it says Google drops the charges on shopping service to counter Amazon’s surging ad sale. So if you’re not familiar with how Google makes most of its money, they make pretty much all of their money or the largest amount of it from advertising. A lot of it on search, but they also have a shopping search, which basically they’re aggregating products from different website and you have to apply to have your products listed in there. And then in the past, if your product was going to show up in search, you had to pay basically an advertising fee to Google to show up in those search results.
Todd Welch (11:57):
So in my opinion, it made Google shopping not very relevant because it was only showing products from websites that paid to be in that search result, but now because Amazon is stealing so much of Amazon’s advertising revenue, basically a lot of the shopping revenue is going over to Amazon and doing Amazon ads. Google has decided to drop its fee that it charges people to include their products in their shopping service and instead you’re going to be able to pay for like headline ads or to get listed first and things like that. Of course those will show up as sponsored ads, so it’s going to be more search result like Amazon shows where they have the sponsored products mixed throughout and at the top and at the bottom. Google is going to be very similar to that and this is really big news for anyone who sells their products outside of Amazon or even if you sell on Amazon, you could potentially open up a Shopify store and now aggregate your products onto the Google shopping service, use the Shopify plugin to auto fulfill those sales on Amazon so you could potentially have another platform to sell on and it also is going to provide more competition to Amazon.
Todd Welch (13:26):
Anything that competes more with Amazon is good for us because Amazon then has to respond to that by helping their sellers be more competitive. They don’t want to start losing sellers. This is probably not going to cause that much, but it could a little bit. There are some people who just don’t like Amazon and so they have their third party website or not their third party website. They have their own eCommerce website and now opening up Google shopping is going to give them another platform to sell their product, so definitely direct competition with Amazon and anything that competes with Amazon is a win for us. Plus. Now you can list your products for free on Google where you had to pay for before. So this is just a win win for e-commerce. Next up from BBC news, U.S black lists five Amazon foreign websites.
Todd Welch (14:21):
So essentially the United States has put five Amazon websites in UK, Germany, France, India and Canada. They’ve all been added to a notorious markets register and basically they are being accused of facilitating the sale of counterfeit and pirated products. So there’s no legal binding to this or anything like that. It’s basically just a registry, but it does put some pressure on Amazon. And of course there’s a lot of black market and counterfeit and pirated products on Amazon. We all know this on the U.S market as well as international. So putting a little pressure on them I think will be a good thing that Amazon needs to step up. It’s policing of these activities. I’m a legitimate seller. I only sell legitimate goods, black hat people, pirated products, counterfeit products. They hurt all of us. They hurt the buyers, they hurt the seller. So while there’s no legal ramifications to this, it’s going to be a black guy for Amazon and going to put some pressure on them to clamp down on that more.
Todd Welch (15:37):
Now, I’m never a big fan of government getting involved in free markets myself, but putting pressure in a way like this on Amazon and alerting the news to this and the world to this like they didn’t already know, right? But it’s a good thing because it’s going to force Amazon to more likely take note of this and do something about it. They need to do something about it. They know it, we know it now it’s on this notorious markets registers so they know it as well and hopefully it will put more pressure on them to stop the black hat tactics that are out there, counterfeits and pirated products and things like that. And that leads us right into our final news article and this is a big one as well. This is from RetailDive and it’s Amazon testing live video calls to vet third party sellers.
Todd Welch (16:38):
So this is really awesome. Basically what they’re doing is when people open up a new seller account, they’re going to have live video calls with the person opening up the account to make sure that all of their information matches up. Not only the words, but the face to the identification of the person opening the account so that they can help limit the black hat people on there and make sure an account doesn’t get banned and then they just open up another one. So again, another tactic to clamp down on those sellers who are Blackhat sellers selling pirated counterfeit products, stealing listings, selling products that they’re not supposed to be selling. So all of this is good for us, legitimate sellers because it’s going to start making it harder for those illegitimate sellers to get on the platform. They’re going to have to jump through more hoops.
Todd Welch (17:38):
It’s never going to go away completely. There’s just too much money involved for this to go away completely. But the more pressure that Amazon puts on this, the more hoops they make people jump through to make sure that they’re legitimate, the better, in my opinion, because that way the platform will have less black hat sellers on it and more good sellers so that we can keep growing the platform, sell more products, and have respectable platform because if the buyer is don’t trust and respect Amazon, then they’re not going to buy from their sales, aren’t going to keep going up. So very important. Very good story. Perfect place to wrap up the news for this week. All right, so there you go. That is the Amazon news. I hope you guys enjoyed that. You guys really enjoyed the first one that I did, so doing it again, going to keep doing it in the future.
Todd Welch (18:34):
Let me know in the comments, your thoughts on the Amazon news this week around. If you have any opinions on these news stories, if you’re on a podcast, make sure you head over to amazonseller.school/Facebook and leave your comments on our Facebook page and let me know what you think of the stories that we talked about. Head on over to amazonseller.school/22 for all the show notes, all the links and a transcript if that’s something you’re interested in. And of course for all of our other videos that we have with that, this is Todd Welch with the Amazon Seller School signing off. Happy selling everybody.