As the largest online retailer in the world, I thought I could trust Amazon.com-not only with my inventory but with my business. After careful consideration with my business partner and a few months of research, we knew we wanted to start our e-commerce business with Amazon for a few reasons.
Our first reason was Amazon’s commonality and popularity amongst retailers. People know Amazon like they know Google. In fact, no one hardly says, “I’ll search on line.” Instead they say, “I’ll Google it.” Similarly, Amazon.com is a popular and common place to buy online.
Our second reason was visibility. We could have constructed our own website, but with having a new startup and building a brand from conception meant that we would not likely get enough online traffic. Frankly, no one knew our company or had ever heard of us so we wanted a platform that would give us visibility.
Our third reason was convenience. Amazon.com offers businesses shipping and handling. One ships its items to an Amazon warehouse and Amazon will ship the items to the buyers and even handle any returned merchandise.
Here we are, almost 3 months later and we still do not have our highly visible and common Amazon market place . However, 3 months ago, we did our due diligence. We called to check upon the status of our items every week and to know why they were not online. Did our items get delivered to the warehouse? Yes.
But then we got the news that no business owner wants to hear: your items are missing. Missing?! How can they be missing when they were delivered? Since Amazon.com did not have that answer, we were put under pending investigation, which meant, we had to keep calling them because outside of speaking to an Amazon.com agent on the phone, we only received automated emails.
We were very frustrated as you can imagine. Our first business was sitting somewhere for no one to see, not making any money- a complete violation to the first rule of business. Further, since our merchandise was seasonal for summer, time was just ticking away from in season to out of season. We were certain that by the time Amazon got it together, consumers will have moved on to a style more contemporary.
At the one and half month point, we had nothing- no online space, no hyperlink- and the news got worse. We were then told that two of the warehouse workers were caught on camera stealing our merchandise. We were very upset yes, but temporary relief set in. At least we knew our merchandise have a home and we can start the reimbursement process; process being the operative word.
The process of speaking to Amazon as a seller is a monotonous one. You start by calling their 1-888 number also known as the number to the front door. This number is not a direct number that designates your relationship or the purpose of your call as a buyer or a seller or a prime membership member. This number just calls Amazon and next you listen to the automated operator. Then afterwards you get to speak to an agent to verify your information. Only after about five to six minutes are you transferred to the correct department. But this happens every single time we called to get an update on our inventory. So you can imagine our level of frustration going on for 3 months now.
As you can imagine, Amazon is still charging us its monthly fee for work that it is not doing so we are livid. Finally we call back and get more bad news: your items have been found. To our disbelief of this new information that contradicts the Amazon thievery from the previous month, the Agent assured us that he will send us photos of our items in the warehouse but we have yet to receive them. It has been 1 week and counting.
I reached out to other entrepreneurs and business owners and some of them recounted their horror stories with Amazon.com. Not only have others experienced theft, but damaged items as well. When I asked about recourse, they said it took a long time because Amazon likes to work on its own time. Imagine that.
Is my entrepreneurial spirit dampened? A little bit. Amazon has been so unprofessional in our business dealings. They have charged us to lose money. We have no virtual market place as promised by Amazon and frankly, we are not even sure if they still have our items.
So while we wait to figure out what our next move with Amazon is concerning our merchandise, we have researched and found other online market spaces where business owners can do business.
In no special order:
2. Big Cartel
These are just to name a few but check out this list of 20 e-commerce shops here. Make sure to do some research about the market space and find out the pros and the cons from people both buyers and sellers that have used the service.
We are so done with Amazon.com.