Amazon Third Party Seller War Tactics

The third-party (3P) marketplace on Amazon has been a competitive place for sellers since it opened. New strategies have emerged that make the competition on Amazon even more ruthless. These strategies combined with Amazon’s strict policy enforcement and difficult-to-navigate customer support create a high stakes atmosphere that can cost businesses their livelihood.
Amazon has been tightening up their policies surrounding fake reviews, they have even sued sellers for purchasing fake reviews. Some sellers have begun purchasing obviously fraudulent reviews for their competitors’ products, with the hopes of getting their competitors’ accounts shut down. Other methods used by sellers to shut-down seller accounts include:
  • Lighting a product on fire, taking a picture of it, and leaving a review stating that the product exploded
  • Hijacking a detail page and changing the product information
  • Selling counterfeit products
  • Writing poor “verified purchase reviews”
  • Clicking the “Report incorrect product information”
When a seller account is shut down, Amazon will often send a vague message to the seller simply stating that their account has been shut off. In order for account termination to be successfully appealed, the seller has to figure out which rule they broke and then provide details on how they will remedy the situation. To do this, the seller must interface with Amazon’s support staff.
Amazon support employees are judged on quantity over quality. Former amazon employee Rachel Greer stated that support employees need to complete, on average, 1 case every 4 minutes. If they start getting behind, they will start sending requests for more information. In order to get a case approved, the seller needs to quickly supply clear information, and give evidence that the problem will not rise again. The case also needs to land in the cue of an employee willing to invest the time needed to solve the problem. Without a changes in Amazon’s policies or support staff, current sellers are at a huge risk of being shut down at any moment.
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