While Amazon was useful to get our product in front of a lot of eyes, it did not align with our ultimate goal to build our brand and community engagement.
We started our business journey by selling our travel blanket on Amazon in the United States because Amazon has such a large and easily accessible marketplace. Our goal was to get as many people as possible to see our creation and provide feedback.
After we sold half our inventory on their platform, we realized it was time to move to our own website and grow from there! These were the main drivers for our decision to move off Amazon:
1. High fees
Almost every interaction with their platform comes with a fee. These fees include storage fees, monthly subscription fee, selling fees (in total they took about ⅓ of our revenue).
2. Customer experience
When you make a sale, the customer is considered Amazon’s - not yours. We had extremely limited ability to follow up and interact with customers. Our goal is to build a community and make sure we are showing up to benefit our customers. We love interacting with you and learning what to create next!
3. Inventory Issues
Our biggest challenge selling on their platform was having control over our inventory. It took almost 6 months for them to return our blankets to us after we decided to move to our own website. Because we requested to remove our inventory, we were not able to sell during this time.
Finally, when they began to ship our inventory to us, they revealed that they were holding about 120 of our blankets for ‘research’. They would not disclose what the research was for, but they said the inventory would not be returned until their ‘research’ was completed. We spent hours on the phone with their customer service trying to get our blankets returned to us and no one knew what was going on or when it would be finished. Not ideal!
4. Creativity limitation
Being able to tell our story is huge to us and we realized creativity and authenticity would be limited on their platform.
5. Overall lack of control
Amazon receives all your data. This includes your sales, advertising and supplier info. In essence, you can do all the groundwork for a product and then Amazon has the ability to close your account, copy your product and add it to their own line of products. They have strict seller rules that are not always clear and are constantly changing. These rules are also largely enforced by algorithms, which can result in enforcement errors and negatively impact your seller account.
via @coingrams on instagram
We’re sharing this story from our own experience to offer insight for other small business owners or anyone who is wondering about the process of selling on Amazon. Keep in mind, some people have great experiences.
Selling through your own website can be a bit more work, but it is one hundred times more rewarding and you eliminate the risk of Amazon (or any other middleman) ripping you off entirely.
We would be happy to share more about our story so don’t be shy to reach out! DM us on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s chat!
LASTLY, during the holidays we cannot recommend enough supporting small businesses. From personal experience, getting a sale means so much. We appreciate you!