Struggles You Will Face When Learning How To Sell On Amazon
You may not want to think about this stuff, but if you’re getting into it, learning how to sell on Amazon, and you’re going to make a success of it, you need to have a realistic view of the facts. I’ve been selling on Amazon since 2015 and I’ve created a massive online business, but I have had my share of setbacks – but I’m still here selling on Amazon. I’m not here to discourage you, I’m here simply to share the reality of Amazon FBA in 2018 because it’s changed so much since I first started three years ago
I’m going to give you a valuable insight into how things have changed and how they continue to change. It’s so important to have an open mind and stay ahead of the curve.
Check out the video below…
One of the first things you will be faced with is the initial verification process, which could take some time. Amazon don’t seem to be very quick nowadays to verify anything. They can put your account into verification and that can be agonizing when you just want to get going.
Brand and Category Restrictions
If you’ve already started, you’ll know all about this. It’s a real disappointment when you find a great product but you’re not allowed to sell it because that brand is restricted on Amazon. Categories of product are also restricted. For instance, you can’t just start selling groceries, for instance.
Most people start with toys and games, but now, there is even gating within that, such as toys for infants. I had to get approved for beauty, health and personal care and groceries, and that takes verification, which takes time. However, toys was just an open category and you had free reign; now there are more restrictions regarding brands and types of toys even.
As you gain more experience and more time selling on Amazon, becoming ungated does get easier, but it can be frustrating at first. Sourcing can be tough when you’re just starting out. Finding a profitable product only to find out it’s gated is really like a punch in the stomach. This, unfortunately, is just a part of Amazon life and as you go through the process of learning how to sell on Amazon, this will definitely hit you too.
Operating as a Limited Company
If you go from sole trader to limited company, or just start out as a limited company, there are hoops to jump through. I had to make the awkward transition from sole trader to limited company as I got larger. This took an 11 day suspension at the time, and I hear that this has got even tougher. Amazon are very quick to action and suspend an account now and ask questions later.
When it comes to anything to do with your account settings, name, beneficiaries and identity, be very cautious of changing anything. Even, in my experience, something as simple as a phone number or an address will most likely land you with a suspension while they re-verify your account – and that can take a while to do, as mentioned earlier.
When you’re starting out with a new account, there is a verification threshold. If you’re lucky enough to make $50,000 in your first month, don’t expect to be able to receive that money instantly. Amazon will want to verify absolutely everything about you before handing over the money. In the long run, Amazon are just protecting themselves and if you are genuine, you will receive your money. Amazon just don’t want anything shady happening on their platform.
Amazon require details to verify people who you have working on your Amazon seller account. When I first started, I had employees logging into my Amazon all over the place, but these days you need passport details and things to identify the people who are accessing your account.
When I first started, Amazon were very quick to remove negative feedback compared to now. When I got my first piece of negative feedback, I had to contact Amazon three or four times, but eventually someone at Amazon removed the negative comment. Now, that is not the case. If you try to remove customer feedback and it gets rejected, you cannot just request again.
I touched on things earlier that might get your account suspended, but I want to go into the suspension process a little more. Amazon will suspend your account at some point. It can happen because they want to verify some information, they think you’re selling something counterfeit or you’re selling a product that contains an ingredient for which they have a policy against. It has happened to me.
When this happens, it’s not for a specified period of time. You have to try and get in touch with the relevant team and show either that Amazon are incorrect and you’ve done nothing wrong, or you need to provide an action plan to ensure that it doesn’t happen again if you have made a mistake.
There is not a lot of transparency in the process. If what you sent them is not up to scratch, they merely reject your request to be reactivated and don’t tell you what you can do specifically to become activated again. When you’ve got money tied up in the business, and especially when you have employees in your business, that can really freak you out.
If Amazon suspends me, for example, I have employees and a lot of money tied up in this Amazon business, so the lack of timescale when there are account issues is very frustrating to say the least.
These things comprise the hurdles you will face as you’re learning how to sell on Amazon as you go. These are great examples of how Amazon has changed over the years, and a sign of how it will continue moving that way in the future.
Sourcing and Purchasing
You will come across problems purchasing in bulk from some stores. Some stores have limits to how many items you can order, and if you order in bulk, you may get orders cancelled. These are often hard to legislate for and can take you by surprise. You will see, as you discover how to sell on Amazon, this is not a smooth-sailing path. Sourcing products is a real challenge and you have to just keep trying everything in order to be successful.
You will get products returned, through no fault of your own. I have had a box of chocolates returned with no chocolates inside. I have had the tags from a toy returned with no toy. Amazon provide refunds for customers almost no questions asked at first. This can mean a hit on your business in the short-term. That said, these problems can always be resolved.
How Amazon Has Changed
Things like getting ungated in categories have become so much more difficult. When I wanted to become a verified seller of groceries, I was able to just use a supermarket receipt as proof my products were genuinely acquired.
Now, things have changed. You need wholesale invoices for the products you list in groceries. Selling toys even, you will be asked for proof of purchase from a reputable retailer to show your products are genuine. Luckily with toys, you can still use a receipt from a recognized toy shop as proof.
Amazon are always trying to cover themselves, and that makes things harder for sellers sometimes. Amazon has every right to be careful, and it’s because of that that the model is sustainable, but it really can be a challenge as a seller.
It Never Ends
It feels like every week, you come across a new problem. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new will crop up.
Although I’ve mentioned countless struggles, there are so many positives, which I advocate in many other videos. Amazon are shipping your products to customers so you don’t have to. They have a platform to sell on so you don’t have to. They’re transporting your products in the middle of the night while you sleep. They’re shipping my products right now, while I talk about how difficult it can be sometimes.
Amazon is truly amazing. For every negative, there must be five positives. If we listed pros and cons, I know which side would have more. I think you just deserve an honest insight into what it’s like to use Amazon as a platform if you’re just learning how to sell on Amazon now or are just starting out.
Don’t let it discourage you. If you’re open and genuine, you will be fine. You will hit these struggles, but if you are legit, you will overcome them. They will cause you some anxiety, but you CAN make it work!
Let me know in the comments if you have anything you’re struggling with, either while learning how to sell on Amazon or if you’re already underway!
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