Selling on Amazon part 1 (a trip to IKEA)

I’m guessing most of us buy stuff on Amazon? It’s great, right? The search function is so easy (and brings up relevant results), you can find almost anything you want, it’s often cheaper than anywhere else, customer service is great, plus delivery is easy, quick and often free. Selling on Amazon however, is is a completely different experience.

Amazon Seller Central

The ‘back-end’ (for want of a better term, although perhaps it is the best way to describe it, as it’s been a massive pain in mine) is called Seller Central. It’s vast, it’s confusing, I can’t work out how to navigate it, the help section isn’t very helpful and customer service is hit and miss. So completely the opposite of what I was expecting from Amazon.

The best analogy I can use to describe it is going to IKEA. It seems like a good idea, you’re maybe even a little excited (surely that can’t just be me). You manage to park, then you get inside and realise it’s huge and you’re not entirely sure where to find the one thing you went for. Oh cr**p, where do I start? I know, I’ll just walk and hope for the best. Ooh, everyone else seems to be going up that elevator. That must be right, I’ll follow them. So off you go, but before long the excitement wears off and you’re bored of looking at bedrooms much more glamorous than your own when you only came in for a milk frother and maybe some meatballs. You can see signposted shortcuts and you’re not sure whether you should take them, or if you’ll miss something, so you just keep following the arrows around and around and around…

You spend a lot of time looking at things you don’t want and don’t need. They have strange names that you can’t understand or remember. (So a chest of drawers is a Malm? Who knew.) You spend another 20 minutes looking at cushion covers, before ending up in kitchenware – your destination all along. You’ve almost forgotten why you’re there in the first place, you’re tired and your feet hurt, but you can’t give up now. Ooh, is that a packet of clippy things for carrier bags, for 99p?! I probably need those. I’ll pop them in my bag.

You eventually find your milk frother, get to the checkout really quickly as you’re bored now (if you’re lucky enough not to have to locate an item in the warehouse), pay for all the things you might not need/want (although some did get discarded along the way) and get the heck out of there, wondering how on earth you just lost 3 hours somewhere you don’t even like that much and whether or not you’ve got a bargain. Then you vow never to return – until you next need a spatula, or something.

But wait – it’s not over. (If you’ve made it this far, please bear with me, it soon will be.) You get home to discover your milk frother is broken. Oh no! So you contact customer services who tell you it’s all your fault, you chose the wrong one anyway and you’ll need to come back and repeat the entire process if you’d like a working milk frother that you’re happy with. (Remember this is an analogy – and not a real example of IKEA’s customer service, which I have never actually experienced.)

Rant over

As one of my objectives was to help people who might want to do sell on Amazon, I appreciate that this rant probably isn’t very helpful. Plus, it’s mainly been about Ikea. (I’m in a rant-y mood today, after being shouted at by a 3-year old for the majority of it.) So, my next post will be a follow up, with what I’ve learnt so far (actually about Amazon Seller Central) and what you really need to know. Because, honestly, the whole thing is vast and there seem to only be a few really important things you need to know to get started.

The whole point of this (possibly overlong and convoluted post) is that Amazon Seller Central is all of the things I’ve noted above, but I think I’ve made it to at least having stock in the warehouse and a page to sell it. So if you’re in the same boat, I can hopefully help you.

P.S. Amazon, if you’re reading this, please don’t be offended. I love being able to buy massive cartons of Water Wipes that arrive the next day, order presents last-minute (oops, forgot again!) and watch Goliath and Life in Pieces on Amazon video. I just wish selling with you was the same lovely experience. Sorry. I still love you though.