'Splain This To Me - Slowly, As If I Were A Small Child

Presented for your consideration - an Amazon pitch to use Amazon’s logistical network to fulfill orders from OTHER platforms (Mall-Wart, Stupify, et al) BECAUSE IT WILL BE PRIME DAY.
Sooooo… thinking about this real real slow… on the day that Amazon tries to be as overloaded as possible with orders that it must quickly deliver, they want me to ALSO ask them to do fulfillment for sales on other platforms because “Prime Day” will somehow also increase sales on those OTHER platforms?

Huh? What?

And wait a second, 11 may be a prime number but 12 sure as heck is NOT a prime number - how can the 12th be a “prime day”? I’ll ask yet again - “Can Amazon do math?” evidence says “no”.

prime_propaganda

Yeah none of it makes sense.

I don’t currently have Amazon Prime, and I’m unlikely to try to take “advantage” of Prime Day specials – but other platforms have deals around the same time to compete with Prime Day. I may shop some of those.

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I get that there are competitors to Prime Day, but why on earth, as a smart Seller, would I use MCF to fulfill my Prime Day-competitive sales from other sites?!

This just feels like Amazon trying to grab every last possible cent out of Prime Day, and they don’t care if they suck at MCF or get Sellers bad feedback elsewhere, as long as they get paid some percent of Prime Day-adjacent sales.

#moneygrab is all Amazon’s “great ideas!” are.

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Here’s my perspective. Keep in mind -

  • I am not a Prime member
  • I do not use FBA
  • I do not trust (ever) anything Amazon says or does

Here’s what I think Amazon wants you to hear

Dear Seller,

We know that competing platforms (ie Walmart) offer sales at the same time as Prime Day, but they aren’t as good as us, so when you/they run out of inventory over there, we can step up and fill in that gap so you can keep making sales, even if it’s off our platform!

(This sounds a lot like the Miracle on 34th Street strategy of if Macy’s doesn’t have it, send the customer to Gimballs, and they’ll love us so much for putting people before profits, we’ll sell even more)

What they are actually saying

We know that, when sellers send their inventory to FBA for Prime Day, sellers will be upset with us if it doesn’t sell. We’re worried that could happen, so we’re trying to come up with ways to move more inventory so sellers will be “happy”. If they pay us more (MCF fees) to help us fix our Prime Day failure, that’s even better for us!

This is one of the challenges of FBA, and the timing of Prime Day and Walmart+ Week. If you have 200 pieces of a product, and ship 50 to Walmart and 150 to FBA, but then have 70 people who want to buy it on WM and 120 on Amazon, you’ve lost sales because the inventory you needed to have on Walmart is sitting in Amazon’s warehouses.

Amazon is claiming they can fix this for you, but what it sounds like they’re trying to do is prevent you from splitting your inventory 100/100 next year and sending more to Walmart instead of Amazon.

And wait a second, 11 may be a prime number but 12 sure as heck is NOT a prime number - how can the 12th be a “prime day”?

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: That made me laugh out loud. So true! (and so funny)

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It is really simple …

Amazon wants to pad the stats (and the coffers) so, in the days after Prime Day, Amazon can announce how much of a success the event was because 1) they made more money and 2) they moved more product than they have in past years.

Thus born a new Amazon promotion (gimmick) of having sellers use MCF for off Amazon sells during the Prime Day period.

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I’m sorry…

Yes, I understand the overt “messaging” and the self-serving agenda subtext that was so eloquently described by our colleagues above.

My question boils down to "Do they really think we are so stupid as to NOT see through this as a way to take up every seller’s time, attention, and inventory?

Speaking of sucking the air out of the room, I had to write FIVE messages over a simple single-case shipment that was said to be “not received”, but somehow had been received at the first FC, and transferred to another FC, so “counted and confirmed” and a count of zero ain’t gonna make it round here, as our product is NOT neutrinos or “dark matter” (which are admittedly very hard to detect) . But they force ME to “send” them the proof of delivery from UPS, THEIR “partner carrier” to prove that the case was delivered to the first FC, even though their own records show the transfer to the 2nd FC…

…and you want me to send you MORE inventory? Hogwash! I am reduced to sending EACH CARTON as a stand-alone shipment with its own shipment ID number, just to keep the claims process for the inevitable losses simple!

arrrgh! Hulk ANGRY, Hulk SMASH!

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My question boils down to "Do they really think we are so stupid

Yes. Because many of us (not the SAS ‘us’, but the overall selling population ‘us’) are. :grimacing:

arrrgh! Hulk ANGRY, Hulk SMASH!

You’re on fire this morning. :laughing: :fire:

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There is also more at risk for Amazon for volume now than before, as they are more reliant on their own logistics system than ever before, meaning they are not hamstrung by the performance of USPS and UPS. Getting a logistics system at full capacity is where the big money is at.

A parked truck/airplane is not making money, and are a killer of logistics systems if underutilized.

Their current problem is their receive center performance on the West Coast, with extensive delays of almost a month.

Yes, let’s talk about “killer” - I’ve seen these van-jockeys drive, and it is not a pretty sight! :slight_smile:

Just wait… Working through a listing video nightmare at the moment that makes a lot less sense than this.

Full story coming in the future once this is resolved. Amazon playing games and we are playing them right back.

My takeaway is that Amazon wants ALL of your inventory in their warehouse because they would prefer that it sells on Amazon during Prime Day instead of later via one of your other channels. Since they can’t say THAT, they try to convince sellers that by sending everything to Amazon, it will somehow increase sales and improve the fulfillment process on their other sales channels… :roll_eyes:

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Agreed.

Let us also not lightly overlook the increase in MCF fees which has produced some consternation in various discussion venues…

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There’s no doubt in my mind, based on experience that being FBA does increase sales. Not sure how anyone can logically argue that it doesn’t. Unless you are selling super big / super heavy products or selling in a niche that is so small, FBA is 100% the way to the most possible sales / highest conversion period.

The increases in MCF fees are literally insane. It’s cheaper to do it ourselves now. Not sure what happened here as I know Amazon was pushing really hard on this and then jacked the fees up.

The only logical explanation is their efforts to build this business failed miserably and their miscalculation of what the program was going to be failed to live up to economies of scale expectations.

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Seconded.

Seems we’ve all seen exactly that same movie a time or more before, dadgummit.

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Keep in mind their core demographic when coupled with higher margin - factory direct importers. They can hammer the margins (rightfully so) for a Chinese manufacturer by tacking on fees for AGL, then Amazon sales fees via FBA, then all non Amazon via MCF.

Every random manufacturer in China can tap Amazon to enter the American market with little to no effort other than a simple office address 10,000 other sellers use for their tax ID.

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Yes, Amazon is embracing the “Yellow Peril”, and cutting out the middleman for cheaply made landfill-ready plastic crap, going factory-direct.

So, if you are buying from China, and selling on Amazon, your days as a profitable seller are numbered.

But I do not think the factories in China are any less smart than us, so they will figure out how to sell to Mall-Wart and (via US fulfillment houses) eBay, too. Amazon is NOT the cost-effective fulfillment approach, they are the EASY fulfillment approach when they are the sales platform.

They have done nothing to drive the 3rd-party fulfillment out of business, in fact, I am looking at going 100% 3rd party fulfilled “FBM” rather than “FBA”, simply because Amazon loses so much inventory.

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OK… The issue has been resolved so here’s the story and it’s a long one so enjoy and learn a thing or 2 from it.

In early June I had a video production crew out to the facility for the day to shoot the entire process of our production so we can tell our story of scale, quality, professionalism.

We spent $15K for 7, 60 second videos for the listings, 7, 30 second videos for video advertising, and 7, 15 second videos for social.

They are basically all the same in terms of visuals (other than the product shots) and voice over is identical with only one exception (capsule product / tablet product).

We scheduled the shoot for the day that we were both bottling and had a batch in compression (tablets being made). The tooling is all the same for 6 of 7 products so we took finished goods of everything else and put them on the line like they were being manufactured. Some really cunning planning on my end went into this over the last few months. My partner had a capsule product running that is the same size and color of our new item and we mocked up bottles with labels on them.

They came exceptionally well and we were sooooooooo excited to have something that literally looks like a million bucks. Shot with drones and $75K cameras.

Finally wrapped up the editing process last Wed. I handed off the advertising versions to our PPC manager for submission and I took the listing videos to submit myself.

The 7th product isn’t ready yet (it’s new), so I submitted 6 of them.

5 were approved and 1 was rejected for medical claims. There aren’t any medical claims… The video that was rejected is our #2 seller. Bummer.

While I was trying to figure out wth to do about this, I noticed that the thumbnails on all the videos were a shot of the tote that holds the blended powder before it gets mounted on the production machine. Not very sexy… Noticed I could edit the thumbnails, so I got on the phone with my partner and we selected a screen shot from each video to be the thumbnail.

Took some time to create those thumbnails from the capture and began the process of uploading them. Once I hit save, those 5 approved and published videos went back into review. :man_facepalming: :man_facepalming: :man_facepalming:

My brain automatically goes into panic mode but then I am like - “Amazon is a smart company right - the only thing that is going back into review would be the change (the pretty thumbnail I made” - no biggie.

6 hours later 2 more videos were rejected (50% of our videos are now shot to hell). These 2 and the original rejection. Of course our #1 seller is one of the two. Now I am :poop: my pants aggressively. Did we just flush $15K down the toilet???

SAS manager is beside himself on Amazon’s actions but of course he can’t do ■■■■ about it.

I panic and go back to the editor and have him pull out the only 1 thing that could be misinterpreted as a claim for our best seller video. Now the video is 55 seconds. I resubmit it.

6 hours later it’s rejected for medical claims AND revealing personal information or requesting buyers reveal their PI. At this point I begin to lose my mind, literally. Nothing new for an Amazon seller.

In the meantime, all of the 30 second videos (ALL OF THEM) are approved for advertising. Notice here that Amazon doesn’t really care when something you submit can make them money. There are those ethics again shinning brightly for all to see.

Then I hatch a plan to change the file names of the 3 rejected videos and just resubmit them again. At this time, I figured out that I could change the thumbnails upon initially submission (wish I knew this on Thurs).

12 hours later, the video that was originally rejected was approved and our best seller video and another video were rejected for a second time. Keep in mind that these two videos were initially approved and only got rejected because I changed the thumbnails.

Changed the file names for the 2 remaining rejected videos again and submitted them. I was watching this like a hawk, like 24 hours a day. As soon as they were rejected, I deleted the submission and submitted it again under a new file name.

6 hours later, our best seller video was approved - PHEW! Just in time for Prime Day…

Deleted the remaining rejection at 3AM this AM and submitted it again, under a new file name of course. It was approved about 45 mins ago. We are all set with the exception of 1 more video I need to submit once that listing is completed for our new item. That video is totally claim free (these were too but this one really is)… Not expecting an issue but I know how to deal with those issues now. Just play the same games that Amazon plays. It’s fun in hindsight.

It is insane how broken Amazon is. One team rejecting, another approving. Approved videos being rejected just because you change a thumbnail.

If anyone is going to do videos for your listings, remember this. Be careful.

Of course I started doing lots of research on this once it happened to us and I saw plenty out there that got rejected for a lot less in categories that you would never think there would be a problem. Recommendations from those people were to start over.

That was not an option for us with the $ and time spent and I can’t stand failing for no reason when I know we’ve done nothing wrong and everyone else in my category does a lot worse and gets away with it seemingly every single time.

Nightmare over and some lessons learned.

ETA - I went back to the original version for our best seller… haha

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I really wish AZEthos was still around to (a) advise during all the rejections (even though you got it figured out) and then (b) bask in your cleverness (because you got it figured out!).

This sucks.

I don’t consider what you did to be a “workaround,” by the way. You submitted and resubmitted in good faith but then had to adapt to a broken system. You weren’t trying to circumvent actual rules.

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That’s correct. 2 of the videos that were rejected were originally approved!

The 3rd was nearly identical - only the product shots were different.

I never thought I would say this after all we’ve been through on Amazon but this was the single most frustrating experience ever. Even more so than that time that our best seller got yanked for days for no reason.

That’s not a worry anymore because Amazon seems to have retired compliance bots in my category if you can believe it or not. I am seeing sellers get away with ■■■■ that would be unimaginable a year ago. Wild Wild West. It’s all about the $

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