SECRET DISTRIBUTOR: Is it time Amazon changed its ways?

Secret Distributor is back and not taking any prisoners. This month, the online giant Amazon has been rubbing someone up the wrong way.
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After hearing the recent news of a pricing tiff between Hachette and Amazon, I believe it is only a matter of time for the toy industry to follow suit very soon.

The other recent news of course, is Amazon allegedly selling fake Frozen merchandise and being apparently ‘unable’ to remove the items from sale.

Amazon is a pain in my backside, giving me all sorts of issues.

The first issue is pricing – where they are actually selling items online for less than they are buying them from us.

Just try to explain this to other retailers…I get several angry emails and calls every month from retailers who don’t understand how Amazon can be selling at that price.

On the continent, it is illegal for any retailer to sell at below cost, except during specific sales or in the case of stock liquidation.

Bringing a law in the UK about the timing of sales would certainly help and would also put a stop to all those TV adverts from sofa and kitchen companies – you know, the one’s who are in a perpetual sale mode.

More recently, I have discovered that Amazon has been buying the products I distribute exclusively in the UK from my global colleagues in France, Germany and Italy, etc. – i.e whoever is happy to do a deal with them on prices. Unbelievable.

But to be fair to my continental colleagues, they were not aware because it is an internal Amazon stock transfer.

The second issue is the fines incurred for missed delivery or non-compliant deliveries.

As most toy companies, we subcontract our warehousing and transport to a third party. We have a good handle on the warehousing, but transport has always been a difficult balance and you are always at the mercy of the delivery driver having a bad day.

At £500 a pop for late delivery, it is becoming expensive to do business with Amazon.

In the latest revenue recovering scheme, two of the Amazon distribution centres have started to check parcels for weight and anything infinitesimally over the 15kg mark is rejected.

Our warehouse manager found out that out of 175 parcels on a van delivered to Amazon, 103 were rejected. Two of those 103 were ours, so we are not the only supplier falling foul of this new ruling.

For a company that is still to deliver a profit, the sooner they disappear up their own black hole, the better.

Or, could they change? After all, even Ryanair had to make changes, so why not Amazon?

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