I’m through with Amazon.
When I first launched my business, Amazon seemed like a great place to sell my 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free products. They’d give me a platform with the potential to be viewed by millions, if not billions of people, they’d warehouse my products and give my customers free shipping, and they’d take care of the accounting for me. Fantastic!
I set up my account and shipped the first inventory to Amazon. 100 each of five products. However, when the shipments showed up on the site, the quantities were all wrong. There were 83 of one product, 97 of another. Why? There was no way to find out, no one to answer my question. This was to become the standard for each one of the problems I had with Amazon.
Next, I started hearing from people that Amazon wouldn’t let them leave reviews. Reviews are the most important thing for a vendor – they determine how often (if ever) your products show up in Amazon search results. I had given away hundreds of dollars of products to bloggers, co-workers and others so that anyone who liked them could leave me a review – but somehow Amazon, with their access to every kind of data, rejected reviews from anyone with an IP address that indicated they lived or worked near where I did, or were connected by data trails to me in any way.
I tried emailing vendor support – an oxymoron if there ever was one – and got back nothing but unhelpful answers. Each time, it seemed like the person responding hadn’t even read what I wrote or didn’t understand what I was saying. When I tried writing back to clarify the problem, I got a warning email saying the incident was closed and that if I continued emailing them about the issue they would terminate my vendor account.
Any time I had a question or concern, there was no one to speak to and no one to write to. Amazon pushes vendors to their forums to solve problems, but the forums are mostly a lot of frustrated people comparing notes and trying to guess how to fix things.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I put in a removal order for them to send me back all of my inventory. And this was when Amazon really showed how little they care about their vendors.
When I went to pick up the boxes at UPS, they were in atrocious condition – partly open, dented, ripped and covered with tape.
I was pretty upset when I saw them – but when I got them home and unpacked them, it was what was inside that really shocked me. My carefully, lovingly created bottles and pots and tubes of products had been flung into the boxes with no additional packing material other than what I had wrapped them in.
They were just dumped into the boxes in a pile with no attempt to keep them upright or organized in any way. One of the shampoo bottles had been badly banged-up and had leaked all over the other bottles in that box. It was pretty gross.
Since then I’ve taken every single piece out, carefully cleaned the exteriors (which is fortunately is very easy when it’s just shampoo that they have on them), checked the contents to make sure they are fine, and organized them. I listed them on Etsy, which has (so far) been a thousand times friendlier than Amazon. They even encouraged me to put up links to my website and social pages – something Amazon categorically forbade.
And it feels good to be selling via a platform that has the same values as my brand. I may never succeed in making Bright Planet a household name, but at least I know I’m in the right place to try.