Amazon’s efforts to clean up product reviews have sent the problem underground. Fake reviews are still around, but are harder to detect.
This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com.
Amazon has had a fake review problem for a long time. Up until late 2016, Amazon allowed sellers to give away products in return for a review. Those reviews were “honest and unbiased”, at least according to the disclaimers that reviewers sometimes added.
Back then, many sellers used product giveaways to increase their positive reviews. Amazon’s algorithms acted on the review data, search visibility went up, and buyers bought those items more often. Everyone went away happy, right? Well, at least the sellers did.
Then Amazon prohibited all incentivized reviews, and the problem swiftly went underground. Incentives continued to be offered, but away from the official discount code system, so Amazon couldn’t see the activity at all.
Fast forward to today, and a whole black market ecosystem has evolved. It’s focused on manipulating the Amazon reviews and search ranking systems, using a vast range of nefarious techniques. Amazon’s ban, ironically, has resulted in a fake review problem that makes the old behavior look quaint by comparison.
D2C is a huge disruptive force in retail and logistics. Retailers are losing, brands are winning, and Amazon is laughing all the way to the bank.
This post is by Matthew Ferguson, Director of Business Development at ecommerce agency Emanaged and Director of Strategy at consultancy Rich Insight.
Business-to-consumer and business-to-business are old concepts in the retail industry. Stores sell to the final buyers, but themselves need to buy stock from manufacturers, suppliers and distributors. They buy from businesses and they sell to consumers. Historically, it’s always been done this way.
Direct-to-consumer, or D2C, is where brands cut out the middleman and sell their wares straight to the buyer. While this is great for us, as consumers, it’s causing alarm among many retailers and suppliers. If we can order online, why do we need to visit a physical store? If the brand or manufacturer is selling their product directly to us, what role do retailers and distributors have to play?
The last 5 years have been particularly dramatic. Amazon, once a humble online bookstore, has switched on its “beast mode”, causing competitors to adapt, adjust and at times simply freak out. Online marketplaces, led by Amazon, have changed the landscape and broken the conventional flow of products along a long supply chain from manufacturers to consumers.
In contrast to those traditional retailers and distributors, direct-to-consumer is a battle that Amazon just can’t lose. Here’s why D2C has Bezos laughing all the way to the bank.
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 Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team 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.
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.
Does improving Amazon listings help your competitors? And why can a higher-priced seller still win the Buy Box? Matt has the answers.
Readers’ Questions are in partnership with Emanaged and Online Seller Consulting.
I have been selling on Amazon for 3 years, mainly cosmetics. I have a few questions about listings and the Buy Box. Lately some of my listings have been suppressed due to not having a photo, but these were usually existing listings which already had photos attached. Should I add a photo? If I’m not winning the Buy Box, would it just help my competitors?
When adding my offer to an existing listing, how important are my own keywords if the listing is already selling strongly? Is there any way at all to promote my listings other than Sponsored Products ads?
Finally, I created a new listing but another seller is now getting the Buy Box. We both have the same feedback rating, but his price is double mine. Why am I not winning the Buy Box? Apparently price is not the issue!
— Galit L., Israel