What are the 2013 trends that affect Amazon and particularly the Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) seller?
The FBA Cat is Out of the Bag
Amazon started FBA by reaching out to a few select sellers and inviting them into this “test” they were running. The next step was to allow sellers to apply and request entry. At this point almost anyone can start an FBA business and Amazon is actively promoting the program and reaching out to more and more sellers. In addition, there are a plethora of books, podcasts and Facebook groups promoting FBA selling; mine among them.
FBA is now mainstream and it’s a secret that isn’t going back in the box. So my advice to sellers is to embrace the competition and let it sharpen you as a seller. Don’t overbuy any one item so that when other sellers arrive you can liquidate quickly if needed. And always, always be researching and lining up more inventory ideas.
The FBA Listing Quality Plunge
The second trend is the “eBayification of Amazon.” Yes, you read that right. I know the phrase you are familiar with is the “Amazonification of eBay,” but I’m introducing “The eBayification of Amazn” as an explanation for the phenomenon we are experiencing on Amazon right now. I’m speaking of the slowly increasing number of Amazon buyers that are very price sensitive, often leaving nasty negative feedback claiming price gouging and such. I’m speaking of the increasing number of Amazon catalog listings with unprofessional pictures, mis-spellings in the titles, and just poorly crafted descriptions. Yes, the merging of the marketplaces has begun in earnest. My advice? Stand above the crowd. Make sure your listings on Amazon have professional photos even if you have to provide them and carefully check your titles and descriptions.
About pricing my advice is simply to do your best. I do not find ANY evidence of price gouging on Amazon. If I was selling water or gasoline to the victims of Hurricane Sandy and charging ten times the retail price, THAT would be gouging. Pricing a hard to find doll, Lego set or Webkinz that high is NOT gouging, it is market pricing. No one NEEDS these items; they are a luxury.
In conclusion, nothing is certain in the Amazon selling world but change. Stay flexible, stay true to your beliefs and make sure you are enjoying your job.
Have you noticed any new challenges in your FBA business this year?