Category Archives: Uncovered

Amazon’s Internal Teams: What They Do and Why They Matter

From Seller Support to Notice Teams, Chris McCabe and Leah McHugh give us the lowdown on the Amazon teams that matter most to marketplace sellers

This post is by Chris McCabe and Leah McHugh. Chris is a former Amazonian and founder of ecommerceChris.com, and Leah is an ecommerce consultant with ecommerceChris. ecommerceChris shows sellers how to keep their accounts healthy, or, if the worst should happen, how to get their account back from a suspension.

When something goes wrong with your Amazon account, the first thing most sellers do is call Seller Support. The majority of the time, this doesn’t achieve much, and causes even more frustration – unless you find their hold music soothing!

If only there was a guide to Amazon teams. Who should you call, and when? Can you even call the right people?

Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together your crib notes on the Amazon teams – what they do, what they don’t do, and how to reach them.

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Sales Tax and Amazon FBA: Have We All Been Getting It Wrong?

Alex Knight interviews attorney Paul Rafelson about US sales tax for Amazon FBA sellers, and the MTC’s amnesty. Should you opt in?

As you may have seen, sales tax is a rather hot topic for Amazon sellers at the moment, following the Multistate Tax Commission’s decision to hold a US sales tax amnesty for online sellers.

With the October 17th deadline looming, there is much debate about whether Amazon sellers are even liable for sales tax, and whether they should make a voluntary disclosure under this amnesty. This week, I spoke to Paul Rafelson, a state and local tax attorney, to get his opinions on both of these topics.

What Paul said surprised me, as it was very different to the orthodox view of FBA and sales tax. Ultimately, he believes that Amazon sellers who fulfill their orders using FBA may not be liable for sales tax at all. His contention is that sales tax “nexus”, usually the key consideration for Amazon FBA sellers, is actually irrelevant, because Amazon itself is the “retailer” under sales tax law and should be responsible for collecting sales tax themselves.

We also talked about the MTC amnesty, which Paul believes Amazon sellers should not comply with because, in his opinion, it is a bad policy, based on a weak understanding of the realities of selling on Amazon. He also fears that if sellers comply, they could be hit with further taxes, such as income tax and franchise tax, and end up crippled by a huge compliance burden.

You can watch the full interview with Paul above, and we’ve also included a full transcript of the conversation.

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Crazy Customers and Bad Buyers: 10 Ways They Infuriate Sellers on Amazon and eBay

Wild threats, manic changes of mind, outright lies and childish acts of spite. It’s just another day at the office for online sellers.

If you ask a marketplace seller what infuriates them, a few things might come up. For example, trying to contact Amazon’s internal teams, anti-competitive behavior from their rivals, or making sure they comply with the ever-changing rules. But none of these can touch the level of annoyance, frustration and anger caused by bad buyers.

The majority of buyers are genuine. They order from you, pay promptly, and receive their goods with no fuss. But when bad buyers come along, they leave a trail of stress in their wake. Whether they’ve threatened you with negative feedback, made a false “item not as described” claim or cancelled their order after you’ve shipped it, the end results are usually the same – time, money and stock going to waste.

We’ve seen a lot of stories in the forum and blog from exasperated sellers, and distilled them here into the top 10 ways that bad buyers infuriate online sellers.

Thank you to Web Retailer members for your frank and insightful blog comments and forum posts.

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My Top Five Tactics for Rapid Product Testing on the Amazon Marketplace

Product selection isn’t about hitting the bullseye first time. It’s about experimentation, data and trying again. Danny McMillan explains his approach.

This post is by Danny McMillan. Danny is an international public speaker, private label seller and host of Seller Sessions the weekly advanced marketing show for Amazon sellers. Danny has been a guest speaker at The Smart China Sourcing Summit in Hong Kong, The European Private Label Summit, The Private Label World Summit and Private Label Days to name a few.

Imagine the situation: you’ve decided to sell a new private label product on Amazon. You find a supplier, agree the details, and place an order with them. You receive the units, create a great listing on Amazon, get some Sponsored Product Ads running… and then the problems start.

Your product just isn’t selling. Maybe your average cost per click is three times what you expected. Maybe your product turns out to be inferior to your competitor’s version. Or maybe there is simply no market for it and the units won’t move whatever you do.

These kind of problems are common, but can often be avoided. If you test the product and the market before committing to a big order, you can discover and fix a lot of problems, and change your approach before taking on stock. This is an organic method, based on testing a number of different factors in your chosen product category. Your results may differ if you are planning on a large scale launch with hundreds of giveaways.

There is a misconception that product testing is costly and time consuming. That doesn’t have to be the case, as you will see in this post. I’ll show you some of my favorite product testing hacks, which will help you generate rich and accurate market data, create better products more quickly, and carry out sample tests to save you a lot of money further down the line.

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The Best Free Amazon Keyword and Product Research Tools

Alex Knight walks us through the best FREE research software Amazon sellers can use to help their sourcing and marketing efforts

Earlier this year, I did some research on the best free eBay selling tools to help me sell a rather gnarly collection of gnomes. This process made me realize just how useful free tools can be for online sellers and I was keen to provide our readers with an Amazon equivalent. So, I donned my deerstalker hat and began tracking down some useful free tools for Amazon sellers.

I focused my search on tools specifically made for sellers. This excludes software like CamelCamelCamel and Keepa. While they are undoubtedly useful pricing tracking tools, they are essentially shopper-focused. Instead, I’ve included tools that provide Amazon marketplace research data, whether that’s in the form of keywords people are searching for, sales estimates or pricing advice.

All the tools included in this article are free to use. By this, I don’t mean that they offer a free trial for a few days, and then make you spend your hard-earned bucks. These tools all have “free forever” versions where you can access the same features, day after day, without ever being asked to pay.

For each tool I’ve identified what it does, how it works and why you might want to use it. There is also a walkthrough video so you can see each tool in action.

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