Amazon's customer satisfaction is going down

Amazon’s customer satisfaction is going down. Here’s why (from CNN Business)

With NY Mag’s John Hermann, author of The Junkification of Amazon: Why does it feel like the company is making itself worse?

PPC is such a moneygrab/cashflow for Amazon, not to mention that all the junk clutters the FCs and pays fees. Good sellers, of things that do move, are resilient and put up with the limited space, because if you’re making a dollar, you’ll be willing to sacrifice to keep making said dollar…

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In my 21 years on amazon I have never used PPC. I should not have to use PPC on a sales venue that I already pay high fees for every sale and $40 a month pro seller plan and $140 a year for prime. Amazon should want my items to sell irregardless just based on the item fees. What I see is gouging for more and more of what little the sellers already make and I will be damned if I will give them any more.

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I see nothing in this video which has not been discussed on the Amazon forum for years.

The NY magazine writer is no more meticulous, insightful or analytical than the sellers who come to the forums to complain.

Among the questions unasked are

  1. Is the drop in “consumer satisfaction” statistically significant?

  2. If it is, is it hurting the Amazon bottom line, or its growth?

  3. Although 3P sellers represent a majority of unit sales, do they represent a similarly large percentage of sales revenue and Amazon profits?

  4. Are the products being sold on Amazon significantly worse than those sold in stores?

  5. Are people who rely on Amazon reviews to decide what to buy, hopelessly ignorant of what they are buying? We know many Amazon reviewers are and have been for years, including those in Vine.

  6. Is PPC on Amazon or anywhere else a real marketing tool, or is it an extra fee for products which are in oversupply, and sellers who are weak competitors?

  7. Is Amazon too large for the size of the retail consumer market in the US?

  8. Are the idiots in the press ignorant of the evidence of strategic changes which are dramatically affecting many of the Amazon 3P sellers? We know many of the sellers have no clue why they are suffering.

There is a lot of crap on this site which is common with chains like Dollarama or Dollar General. Both chains are growing in spite of the low quality of the products. They are growing because of price and convenience. In many parts of the country, the drive to a Dollar General is shorter than the drive to a Walmart. And the time spent in the store is shorter.

There are Amazon who are buying and marking up that dollar store merchandise. Should they be stopped? Is it worth the effort of stopping them? Do they help or hurt the site, or are they irrelevant?

Those who know me know where my biases are. Those who can make a go of what I consider a strategy for failure can happily collect their profits and ignore my opinion. Those who cannot make a profit should consider whether I might be correct.

Although I have been accused of being an Amazon shill for years, I do not like Amazon. There are many items I would never buy on Amazon. I will usually buy from Amazon or 3P sellers I know. I will buy generic or off brand products that I can throw away when they disappoint. Even a trip to Kohl’s for an FBA return brings out hostility in me, as does a 40 minute round trip to the UPS Store.

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What was new and validating for me was that consumers are as (1) aware of and (2) annoyed by unfamiliar and unpronounceable “brand” sellers, as we are.

Does this mean Buyers will avoid purchasing from those sellers? Probably not.
Or that Amazon will crack down on bazillion sellers private labeling the one same generic item? No.
But did it give me a hit of validation? Yes. Yes it did.

I also posted this over on reddit, and a user there replied with this good article (title is TikTok but there’s a lot of Amazon):

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I see nothing to make me believe that the consumers are aware or annoyed in the video or the NY magazine article.

I see a writer who thinks they are.

I quick read of the Wired article shows me an anti-Amazon author, and perhaps an ideological issue. But politics are verboten as we all agree.

All the criticism could be true but there is precious little evidence the consumer cares one bit.

It could very well be that the growth of Walmart.com is fueled, in part, by the ability to easily ignore 3P sellers, but other than my own buying pattern, I can’t prove that either. But the comments of sellers on both Walmart and Amazon suggests it could be so.

Amazon is losing marketshare, but it was inevitable that even if they made perfect decisions they would. They were not a monopoly and the number of adequately capitalized competitors was growing.

I bet one of Amazon’s bean counters actually has a graph which projects what they expect, for use in predicting targets for cost reductions.

Amazon is exhibiting a company lifecycle which is taught in business policy courses. Unfortunately, the press is only educated in journalism.

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I remain convinced that the inner fighting between small potato sellers benefits the larger sellers and Amazon itself.

The junk that is overproduced and overstocked fails to fulfill basic supply-demand necessities, and so, the only way it moves is with overpriced advertisement, that benefits Amazon and that remains mostly invisible to the buyer (other than seeing that there are 100 pages of the same tchotchke). Maybe some buyers chuckle at the absurdness of there being 10,000 listings for kitchen spatulas, most won’t care, nor will Amazon.

Even Amazon with its millions of listings (I have no idea how many, but I think it’s estimated at 350 MM), is like any other business, and has a 1% of items that represents a disproportionate amount of their sales. On Amazon it may even be a smaller percentage, let’s just say that there are 100k listings that represent 25% of their sales, those are the untouchables, and remain unfaced by all the junk that pours in.

The problem that I envision for Amazon is stagnation. If there’s no upward mobility for items or sellers to crack that (hypothetical) top 100k, then there’s real problem.

If the fighting is left over the bottom 300 MM items, then on the words of Peter Cushing

YARN | This bickering is pointless. | Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) | Video gifs by quotes | 707df9ef | 紗

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Amazon has become a “cash cow”.

They cannot admit it because shares in a “cash cow” do not sell for the multiple of earnings Amazon stock does

This article in Investopia can offer some insights on “cash cows”

But Amazon is doing the things you do to keep a “cash cow” alive and giving milk.

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Their Customer support is becoming as bad a seller support.
They can’t even pass a message along correctly.

Example 1)

Example 2)

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It is just as cringe when they call.

I had a customer contact Amazon and her name is slightly unusual.

This customer service rep could not get this name right to save his life.

It was not a hard name, either. Three times, and spelling it for me so I could ship her an item, and this dick still couldn’t be bothered to say it right a single time.

Amazon does not want customers calling customer service.

They are doing their best to hide the phone numbers, and moving customers with problems to Chatbots.

They do not care about sellers who are FBM who do not choose to participate in CSBA or their buyers. They expect the buyers to learn to use the automated request a return.

Your priority is not Amazon’s priority,

I know of no public data on how much of Amazon revenue comes from FBM sales but suspect it is lower than what I would estimate.

I just placed a repeat order with an FBM seller. It was a retail chain which I have dealt with directly. It was in no rush and am not now. Order was fulfilled by Pitney Bowes Newgistics. Tracking was poorly integrated with Amazon. Order arrived late. Product was great, price was great and since their nearest store was across the border in Maine, I saved the sales tax.

Product was superior to the Chinese equivalent I had previously bought through FBA, but service was definitely inferior. Product arrived with a variety of off-Amazon offers for various retail outlets and websites which share ownership with this chain.

Since I know more than the average buyer about how Amazon works, I was not pissed at Amazon, but I could have been.

Did this experience hurt Amazon? Which would hurt more, the crappy Chinese product or this slow order?

Should Amazon invest in better policing, tighter metrics and more restrictions on sellers?

Damned if I know. I have insufficient data.

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