I aim to keep this case study up-to-date for readers of the books and Smart Insights readers who may be interested. In it we look at Amazon’s background, revenue model and sources for the latest business results.
We don’t recommend going after products that you think might sell well, or that you would just like to sell. You’re starting a business, so you don’t want to make a big business decision based off of a hunch. You want to go off the numbers.
A woman who had thyroid cancer was given a low performance rating after she returned from treatment. She says her manager explained that while she was out, her peers were accomplishing a great deal. Another employee who miscarried twins left for a business trip the day after she had surgery. “I’m sorry, the work is still going to need to get done,” she said her boss told her. “From where you are in life, trying to start a family, I don’t know if this is the right place for you.”
This is a big-sounding term for a very simple process: Buy products in retail stores at drastically reduced prices and resell them on Amazon. Sellers who do this keep a sharp eye out for retail clearance and inventory reduction sales both online and in retail stores. When they find a product that looks like a great deal, they use Amazon price scanning apps to check for profit potential. Scouting apps have a real-time link to Amazon and let you see what the same item is currently selling for, weighs the competition, and tells you if there’s room for profit. These apps even include fulfillment and shipping costs in the profit outlook.
One area where I think we are especially distinctive is failure. I believe we are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!), and failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment. Most large organizations embrace the idea of invention, but are not willing to suffer the string of failed experiments necessary to get there. Outsized returns often come from betting against conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is usually right. Given a ten percent chance of a 100 times payoff, you should take that bet every time. But you’re still going to be wrong nine times out of ten. We all know that if you swing for the fences, you’re going to strike out a lot, but you’re also going to hit some home runs. The difference between baseball and business, however, is that baseball has a truncated outcome distribution. When you swing, no matter how well you connect with the ball, the most runs you can get is four. In business, every once in a while, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1,000 runs. This long-tailed distribution of returns is why it’s important to be bold. Big winners pay for so many experiments.
I read about this same thing happening to another seller and what he did was so awesome. He did 2 things. First he raised the price of his product really high and then ordered it from that eBay seller. He placed 10 separate orders back to back. When the eBay seller went to buy and ship the product, he found out that he actually would be losing money. He didn’t want to have a string of cancelled orders because his metrics on eBay would be bad and they would ban him. He begged the guy to cancel his orders and promised to never do that again. The other thing the seller did was switched his Amazon listing to zero units available and again, he went to that eBay seller and made multiple orders back to back. When the eBay seller went to order from the Amazon seller, there was no inventory. So ta-da! You don’t even need to bother Amazon or eBay. Just take care of it yourself just like this seller did.
The result was the leadership principles, the articles of faith that describe the way Amazonians should act. In contrast to companies where declarations about their philosophy amount to vague platitudes, Amazon has rules that are part of its daily language and rituals, used in hiring, cited at meetings and quoted in food-truck lines at lunchtime. Some Amazonians say they teach them to their children.
Today Amazon is a titan of e-commerce, logistics, payments, hardware, data storage, and media. It dabbles in plenty more industries. It’s the go-to site for online shoppers and merchants alike, a modern necessity that independent sellers love to hate. Prime, Amazon’s signature $99-a-year membership program, has an estimated 85 million subscribers in the US, equivalent to about two-thirds of American households. To even call it an e-commerce company feels completely inadequate.
“The current market is not always a good indication of competitive harm,” said Khan in laying out for me her critique of the way the government goes about analyzing proposed mergers. “They have to ask what the future market will look like.”
Try to find someone who trusts you and will give you their product on credit. You can offer some guarantee in return. Another option if you are selling products rather than a service is to set up an account with a merchant site that charges a small commission for each product sold.
I just heard from an online business broker that amazon just put in the TOU that to transfer an amazon store (sell it) it now will go into a holding tank for 6 months while amazon checks it to see if it will approve the sale/transfer. During that time you cannot SELL anything! They have effectively rendered us unable to sell our store! Do you have any thoughts or comments about this? I’d love to hear them. All the more reason to do your own thing and not rely on Amazon.
Quality King has been named in more than 50 lawsuits because of its business practices, four times under the RICO Act, the racketeering statute designed to bring down organized crime bosses. Time and again, Quality King walks away, no matter the circumstances. There was the freighter full of Paul Mitchell products that went all the way to China, where much was resold and loaded onto another ship heading to the Netherlands before ending up in Ronkonkoma. There was the con woman who promised to distribute various product samples on college campuses and elsewhere, but sold much of it to the University of Quality King instead. She went to prison; Quality King was untouched.
Don’t list an item at a better condition than it is. You won’t get away with it. If a customer expects a “like-new” book, they won’t accept one with tears and highlighting and they’ll request a refund. If you aren’t honest, customers will leave negative reviews, which will make it very hard for you to sell in the future.
On a recent morning, as Amazon’s new hires waited to begin orientation, few of them seemed to appreciate the experiment in which they had enrolled. Only one, Keith Ketzle, a freckled Texan triathlete with an M.B.A., lit up with recognition, explaining how he left his old, lumbering company for a faster, grittier one.
With all the pieces in place, Pharmapacks’ growth continues to skyrocket. Vagenas just signed a lease on a new, 142,000-square-foot headquarters. Late last year, the company installed robotics and conveyor belts to help package goods, and it can now prepare 50 orders per minute. They are in talks with the grocery-deliverer Fresh Direct, to sell and fulfill orders for health and beauty products on its site. The company is already doing the same for Walmart.com. It is also working with two of its distributors–naturally, Vagenas won’t say who–to bring a white-label version of its site to mom-and-pop brick-and-mortar drugstores, so that pharmacies like Vagenas and Tramunti’s old one in the Bronx can deliver goods as fast as the big guys. After growing up on Amazon’s platform, Pharmapacks is concentrating on its own.
Note: The minimum $1.00 referral fee for electronic accessories, entertainment collectibles, and sports collectibles are void for merchants that pay the $0.99/ sold item fee (non-Pro Merchant Subscribers).
View your ratings and feedback routinely. This feedback is a valuable tool after you’ve sold your item. The more ratings you have and the better they are, the more likely future customers will be to buy from you. Review ratings on the “view your ratings and feedback” page in your seller account.
TT is common, which is basically a bank transfer (wire transfer). You can also pay by Alibaba, and some suppliers will even include something called trade assurance, which is really nice to get, because that ensures your shipment in case anything goes wrong.
Existing sellers on Amazon may be eligible based on their performance history and may view their current status at any time. Sellers not currently eligible for the program may request special exception for access. We will review your request and make every effort to contact you within 3 business days.
Amazon’s proposed $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods reignited concerns that the Everything Store has become a monopoly. Amazon is a brutal competitor but it has so far largely evaded antitrust scrutiny because in crippling competing businesses, it has also made life better for consumers.
Wait for an item to be sold. When one of your items is sold, you will receive a confirmation email from Amazon giving the details of the order. How long you have to wait will depend on the popularity of your item. Popular items will sell in a matter of a few hours (assuming the price is set just right to the buyer).
For pricing, you choose what you feel comfortable selling your item at. Personally, I searched for the item on Amazon, looked at the used items that were eligible for free shipping, and priced my item slightly lower than the lowest price available. I wanted to make sure that I sold my games quickly.
The contract provides access to the Amazon Business marketplace where organizations can purchase across 10 categories and more, including books, office supplies, classroom and art supplies, home and kitchen items, scientific and lab equipment, musical instruments, audio-visual and electronics, clothing, animal supplies and other hard-to-find products.
Write a detailed title, bullet points, and description. Take your time here, because this is what’s going to sell your product. Also include your main key words wherever you can because this will help your listing rank. As production comes to an end, you’ll also need to create a shipment in Amazon.
There is nothing about Tramunti that makes you think: lip-balm guy. He’s 33 years old and hefty, with a two-day scruff and a faded T-shirt wrapped around his torso. But he held the lip balm in his paw carefully, inspecting its lollipop-purple-swirl case like a savant.
What that means is that this code cannot be used in conjunction with any other codes. I’ll show you a customized messaging. We want to make sure that detailed page display text is unchecked, which it is by default but I just want to show you just in case Amazon changes this in the future.
For Amazon, which prides itself on its relentless consumer focus, the suggestion that its spectacular growth might not be in the public interest poses a particular challenge. Since it was published, Khan’s “note” has drawn more than 50,000 readers online — an extraordinary reach for a law review article. Her work has been cited by the Economist, the Financial Times, Forbes, Wired, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and she has appeared on major broadcast media. Last spring, she was invited to join some of the most prominent academics in antitrust law to speak at an economic conference at the University of Chicago.
So I’m going to link to a video in the description below that explains this in more detail. Once you’ve completed this starter, the only other thing that you have to do right now is set your price, and then you can come down to save and finish. Your listing will be created.
Retailing, however, is a sector, not a product market, the usual frame of reference for antitrust analysis. And other than books, Amazon’s original market where it maintains a commanding 40 percent market share, Amazon doesn’t have anything close to monopoly-like market shares.
Everyone that I spoke to who has had this happen to them eventually got their products back online. But the appeals process was grueling and tedious and some sellers had their products suspended for weeks.
If you’ve changed the number of boxes that you’ve got here, do make sure you print your box labels again. This will give you the PDF, which you can send to your supplier or freight forwarder. Once you’ve done that, hit complete shipment and you’ll be done.