How Channel Advisor helped destroy my small business
22 Aug 2016
I have been very keen to finally get around to writing this honest and factual account of the experience I have had with the Channel Advisor (CA) multi-channel system. I wanted to warn small businesses of the risks, problems and obstacles that can seriously deteriorate your online business. I built up my business painstakingly with Channel Advisor but in the end it helped to ruin my company.
I joined CA in 2007 to support my successful and fast-growing online business. I was painted this picture of a super-powerful system that would do everything for me, reducing staff dramatically. Not only did it take months just to get to grips with the system, it nearly took years to actually figure out how everything works. I also encountered a host of issues from bugs to system errors.
I added CA to my Amazon account and it caused nothing but problems with my Amazon listings. CA kept corrupting the ASINS, merging ASINS with other ASINS, causing catastrophic results. Customers were receiving the wrong items, which is a nightmare especially when using FBA, and your Amazon account can easily be suspended for these listing issues. When I contacted Channel Advisor Support, they kept saying, “We are sending all the correct data to Amazon; this is an Amazon issue.”
This was not true.
This is the dark side of Channel Advisor, and if I had known about this beforehand, I would never have got involved. The problems with Channel Advisor never went away, in fact I found they kept getting worse. Everything is so overly complex to learn, you need a professional IT department really when using this system. Every time I had an issue with CA I would contact their support team, of which most are actually dreadful to say the least.
Channel Advisor is so overly complex it is impossible to outsource work at an affordable rate! The problem with Channel Advisor is you end up spending hours every month dealing with their bugs and issues. Amazon told us on several occasions, ‘We do not recommend using third party software like Channel Advisor.”
This problem went on for years; I even hired developers costing tens of thousands to sort out all the issues. Bear in mind that the only developers trained in Channel Advisor charge 60 euros an hour.
My websites were doing amazing before I set up premium store websites with Channel Advisor, which I did so I could have everything handled by one system. This was when all the trouble started. I had one premium webstore for the retail side of the business and another for the wholesale. I received nothing but problems; customers could not check out, there was no error notice explaining what was happening, and my SEO deteriorated dramatically, destroying my profits. This is enough to take any director to their knees.
Channel Advisor refuse to accept responsibility when things go wrong, and they leave you to pick up the pieces, which costs you several hundreds to correct over time. Also, once you spend years with Channel Advisor it becomes too complex to leave, and this results in damaging your bottom line!
I could go on and on but I really don’t want to bore the readers. I have also decided to remain anonymous as I don’t want any assault against me personally. I just want to let other businesses know to avoid Channel Advisor at all costs – stick with a more simple system that can be outsourced at a reasonable cost, such as Magento or other similar systems.
Where am I now?
I have started my business again from scratch, using Magento, and I have found great people to help run my system. I cringe when I see I wasted tens of thousands just fixing problems created by Channel Advisor. Now I can relax, sleep well and feel confident about my new business that I have full control over.