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Amazon Seller Survey reveals angst, advice and what matters most

It’s been more than a decade since I began successfully helping Amazon sellers face and resolve unjust suspensions and penalties. We thought it was a good time to ask sellers the latest about their Amazon experiences so we conducted our first-ever Amazon Seller Survey. In the last two weeks, we’ve received invaluable insights into the challenges and successes Amazon sellers face.

But let’s not beat around the bush—Amazon’s practices – and recent changes are alarming. There’s no rhyme or reason. Some sellers are being marched straight to the guillotine for minor mistakes, while others with somewhat reasonable explanations are met with, “Off with your head!” This flies in the face of what Amazon promised when it introduced the Account Health Rating, pledging to work with sellers to avoid suspensions.

Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for sellers to understand the current climate and adopt strategies to strengthen and safeguard their businesses. Let’s get to what sellers have to say.

What to expect in the first-ever Riverbend Consulting Amazon Seller Survey report

Amazon seller survey

The survey results share anecdotal perspectives directly from Amazon sellers. By downloading our Amazon Seller Survey report, you’ll gain access to:

✔Realistic expectations: Gain insights into sellers’ biggest Amazon obstacles.

✔Key insights and trends: Discover the emerging trends shaping the Amazon marketplace.

✔Benchmarking data: Benchmark your strategies against industry norms and best practices.

Using the data

The data presented in our Amazon Seller Survey report confirms much of what we’ve heard for the last several years (the good and bad). This report will help you by confirming that you are not alone in your Amazon struggles. Glean insights from the report to improve your selling efforts. Ideally, every seller reviewing the report can:

✔Strategically plan: Use survey insights to inform your decision-making processes.

✔Self-advocate: By recognizing that many sellers share your frustrations and confusion about Amazon policies, you can join forces to advocate for clearer and more consistent policy updates.

✔Educational resources: Share the report internally within your organization to educate your team on the current Amazon climate.

Amazon Seller Survey results: Highlights

Our Amazon seller survey reveals that selling on Amazon is no longer a set-and-forget endeavor. To succeed, you must be proactive, informed, and adaptable.

One of the most striking findings is the growing sentiment that selling on Amazon is becoming increasingly complex and costly. Many sellers report that the overall experience—from listing products to interacting with buyers—has deteriorated. Here are some of the survey’s key findings.

Amazon seller fees: The overwhelming burden

Amazon Seller Survey Challenges

A whopping 81% of respondents cited Amazon seller fees as their primary challenge. Amazon fees—ranging from referral fees, fulfillment fees to various storage fees—eat into profit margins, making it difficult for sellers to remain competitive and profitable. The constant pressure of rising costs necessitates vigilant financial management and strategic planning.

To mitigate the impact of these fees, you should:

  • Optimize fulfillment: Explore different fulfillment options and negotiate better terms.
  • Cost analysis: Regularly review and analyze all expenses to identify areas for cost savings.
  • Diversification: Consider diversifying your sales channels to reduce dependency on Amazon and spread costs across multiple platforms.

Intellectual property (IP) issues are a significant concern for 45.6% of sellers. From counterfeit products to unauthorized listings, IP violations can harm a seller’s brand reputation and lead to lost revenue. Navigating the complexities of IP protection on Amazon requires a proactive and informed approach.

You can address IP challenges by:

  • Monitoring listings: Regularly monitor your listings and take swift action against counterfeiters and unauthorized sellers.
  • Expert support: To protect your brand, partner with Amazon account health experts who specialize in e-commerce and IP infractions.
  • Brand registry: Enroll in Amazon’s Brand Registry program to gain access to tools that help protect your IP and enhance your brand’s presence on the platform.

Competitive pricing strategies

According to our survey results, developing effective pricing strategies is challenging for 41.8% of sellers. Pricing can make or break a sale in a marketplace as competitive as Amazon. You must find the sweet spot between competitiveness and profitability, often requiring constant adjustments and market analysis.

To master pricing strategies, you should:

  • Market research: Continuously research to understand competitors’ pricing and market trends.
  • Dynamic pricing tools: Utilize dynamic pricing tools that adjust prices in real-time based on competition and demand.
  • Value proposition: Focus on your unique value proposition to justify pricing and differentiate your products from competitors.

Perceived importance by Amazon

A striking revelation from our survey is that only 12.7% of sellers think Amazon views them as essential and valued partners. 87.4% perceive themselves as either somewhat necessary but mainly treated as transactions.

Amazon, eBay and Walmart lead the way

In the ever-evolving world of e-commerce, diversification is not just a strategy—it’s a necessity. Our Amazon Seller Survey report reveals that while Amazon remains the dominant platform for sellers, many also leverage other channels to broaden their reach and mitigate risks.

Amazon: The giant in the room

Unsurprisingly, Amazon is the top platform for our respondents, with 89.9% of sellers listing it as their primary sales channel. Amazon’s massive customer base and robust infrastructure make it a cornerstone for most e-commerce businesses. However, with great power comes great unpredictability. Amazon’s often capricious policies underscore the importance of not putting all your eggs in one basket.

eBay: Showing surprising strength

What might come as a surprise to some is eBay’s strong showing. With 51.9% of respondents selling on this platform, eBay still has a significant foothold in the e-commerce landscape. eBay’s flexible selling options and loyal customer base provide a valuable alternative or
supplement to Amazon, helping sellers reach different demographics and markets.

Walmart: Opportunities for growth

The Walmart marketplace is gaining popularity. With 44.3% of sellers using Walmart as a sales channel, the platform is clearly gaining traction. Walmart’s investment in e-commerce and its effort to compete with Amazon have made it an increasingly attractive option for sellers looking to diversify sales channels.

Communication woes

Amazon’s need for effective seller communication is another significant issue. When asked how Amazon could improve, sellers were clear in their demands:

  • Human support: Sellers want real humans doing real work to solve real problems. Bots don’t cut it.
  • Informed actions: Sellers urge Amazon to listen and research before acting on ASIN and account suspensions. Suspensions without proper insights are a significant pain point.
  • Balanced focus: Sellers believe Amazon should obsess about serving both sellers and customers, not just customers.
  • Consistent pathways: It is crucial to have a definitive and consistent path to Amazon account reinstatements, minus scripts and copy-paste messages.
  • Avoid knee-jerk reactions: One of our favorite responses within the survey results was “Stop shooting first.” Sellers urge Amazon to tailor responses to seller’s specific account issues and needs.

Business growth

The high percentage of respondents only expected a mere 0-10% growth, indicating that many Amazon sellers set modest expectations. While challenges may have increased platform-wide, business growth is still within reach—especially as sellers adopt a multi-channel approach.

Amazon Seller Survey

Amazon account suspension

In our Amazon Seller Survey report, one fear looms larger than any other: the dreaded Amazon account suspension. A staggering 63.3% of respondents identified this as their primary concern.

The fear is well-founded, as Amazon’s often sporadic and unpredictable suspension practices can bring a thriving business to a grinding halt without warning. Sellers walk on eggshells, knowing that a minor misstep could lead to severe consequences.

Contrast this with ASIN suspensions, which, while still a concern, are feared by a significantly smaller fraction of respondents—only 6.3%. This discrepancy highlights the existential threat that an account suspension represents. While an ASIN suspension is disruptive, it doesn’t always carry the same all-encompassing risk of total business shutdown as an Amazon account suspension.

Here’s the cold, hard truth: Amazon’s enforcement actions can be arbitrary and swift, leaving sellers with little recourse if they don’t have expert guidance. This is where partnering with reinstatement experts comes into play. At Riverbend Consulting, we stand firmly on the side of sellers and always do our best to navigate the process.

Looking ahead: The need for a robust approach

Given these challenges, it’s clear that relying solely on Amazon is a risky strategy. Here’s some actionable advice:

Diversify your sales channels: Don’t put all your eggs in one Amazon basket. Explore other e-commerce platforms like eBay, Walmart, and your own website to reduce risk and reach more customers.

Educate yourself and verify information: There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Always verify what you learn, especially from forums and unofficial sources. Did you know? The Riverbend Consulting Blog and Lesley Hensell’s LinkedIn account are the best sources for accurate, up-to-date Amazon information.

Adjust your expectations: E-commerce is a marathon, not a sprint. Growth takes time. Reset your expectations to align with today’s Amazon climate for long-term success.

Wake Up, Amazon executives

amazon seller survey riverbend consulting Source: Lesley Hensell, Co-Founder Riverbend Consulting

Amazon’s arbitrary and often harsh enforcement actions can devastate small businesses. If Amazon continues to ignore the needs of its sellers, the repercussions will be felt across the marketplace, reducing product selection and hurting consumers.

Turning challenges into opportunities

Despite the challenges, there are positive aspects to keep in mind:

✔Opportunity for innovation: Challenges often spur innovation. Use this time to rethink your strategies and explore new possibilities.

✔Growing e-commerce market: The e-commerce market continues to grow, offering endless possibilities for those who can adapt.

✔Community support: Numerous online communities and resources are available to help you navigate the complexities of selling on Amazon. Our own Riverbend Consulting blog and monthly newsletters are great resources.

✔Advanced tools and technology: Leverage advanced tools and technologies to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

✔Customer loyalty: Building strong customer relationships can provide a competitive edge and foster long-term loyalty.

Stop shooting first; download the report now

The Amazon seller survey provides anecdotal insights about what sellers endure on a daily basis. It offers a bird’s-eye view of today’s Amazon-selling climate. It’s our hope that the survey provides additional food for thought as you plan, prepare, sell and strive for ongoing success.

Selling on Amazon is challenging. If you thought you could adopt a set-it-and-forget-it business model, think again. With the entire marketplace shifting to meet demand globally, it’s not realistic to believe that what worked five to six years ago is effective today.

But success is possible with the right strategy, mindset and resources. By diversifying your sales channels, staying informed, partnering with Amazon account experts, and setting realistic expectations, you can navigate the platform’s complexities and achieve your business goals.

Amazon Seller Survey

Download the Amazon Seller Survey report now.

For more tips and expert guidance, visit our blog and join the conversation in the comments below. Let’s turn your Amazon seller challenges into opportunities for growth and success.

Amazon. Solved.

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