Selling on Amazon can be a lucrative business venture, but it is not without its challenges. From dealing with suppressed listings to seeking approval to sell in certain categories, there are many hurdles that Amazon sellers must navigate. In this article, we will explore ten of the most common problems that sellers encounter on Amazon, including issues with product listings, competition for the buy box, and the complexities of selling on multiple marketplaces. Whether you are a seasoned Amazon seller or just starting out, understanding these challenges can help you better navigate the platform and achieve greater success in your business.
1. You are required to submit ASIN’s
ASIN stands for Amazon standard identification number and every product has to have one. It is how the product catalogue is produced and is an attempt at trying to prevent multiple listings of the same product. If a specific product is already on Amazon then you will be unable to list the product as new and instead must search endlessly through the catalogue to find the existing one. If the product does not exist then you will have to create a new product and submit a UPC (unique product code) - only then will have Amazon supply you with an ASIN. As you can imagine this is time consuming especially if you have multiple products to upload and if you are making the products yourself then it becomes even more challenging.
2. Product listings get removed
It is not uncommon to receive emails from Amazon stating that listings have been suppressed, removed from the buy box due to another seller offering the product at a cheaper price or from not having the correct permissions.
3. You have to seek approval to sell in every category
If you list a product in one category, you will need to ask Amazon for approval to sell for that item. After you are approved you will be able to continue listing to that category without issue but if you wish to sell a different type of product that belong in a different category you will have to seek approval again before you can sell in that new category. This adds to the frustration as a seller and is something that is not an issue when selling on other marketplace platforms such as eBay or Etsy.
4. You need permission to sell branded products
In some cases you will be asked to provide a proof that you are allowed by manufacturer or distributor to sell a specific product and typically Amazon will ask that you provide an invoice that states a specific number of units before you are able to sell it.
5. Sometimes the catalogue malfunctions
We have had it so many times when we check a sale and our product image and title has changed to a completely random item that we are not even selling, this results in us having to cancel the order, getting penalised and the customer being unhappy with the poor service, this is of course Amazon’s fault but the buyer and seller are the ones who miss out.)
6. Customers can open an A-Z claim
Even if you work with the customer to resolve issues, if the customer makes a complain to Amazon customer service, this usually results in the customer keeping the goods, getting a full refund and you get penalised with a strike on your account which lowers your reach for the other products you are selling.
7. Every product listing is based on rank
if you sell lots of product your rank increases but if you have not sold one yet and the category is flooded with similar products you may never sell.
8. You have to compete for the buy box
competing for the buy box typically means unless you are willing to sell the product at the cheapest price, you will not be able to sell it. If you are sourcing the product and have the best profit margins then its great but if your competitors are able to get the product cheaper than you, your chances of selling that particular item is slim.
9. Selling on other marketplaces is not straight forward
(In comparison to selling on eBay where you can select an international shipping price, on Amazon you will have to register on the Amazon German marketplace, and every marketplace for each country you wish to ship your product too, and also you will need to add custom pricing for each country, this can be a huge hassle.
10. Amazon valid tracking rate issue
These ten problems only just scratch the surface of what it is like to be a seller on Amazon, some other issues that you might face is difficult customers who abuse buyer protection, unhappy customers who wish to return a product, changing tax laws, changes to fee structures, and poor customer service with Amazon when there is a problem.
Up next: How to sell a product online