By now, many sellers have experienced the pervasive problem of fraudulent sellers popping up on their product listing. This problem is bad enough since they have to be reported to get them to stop, which takes time and energy.
Rushdie has provided excellent advice and template on how to combat this as a seller (thank you for this) and has been very generous with his/her advice. A link can be found here: [https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=342636&tstart=0]
But now I’ve discovered that it may be starting to affect the inner workings of seller central and some of its features and algorithms. For us, it has been Lightning Deals. I have read elsewhere here that many sellers don’t like these deals because of the high cost and difficulty making money in them. There is truth to this. We were continuing with them as a loss leader to boost the product profile a bit.
But what happened to us seven weeks ago, is many of our previously approved upcoming deals started to be suppressed. In talking to customer service, we discovered that this was because the system wanted us to sell it an even lower price than we were selling it for, even though we were already almost 50% off retail.
So for example, we would normally sell a $24 product for $12.99 under a Lightning Deal. Then we discovered the interface would suppress it until we dropped the price to $7.90, which turns a loss into a mega loss.
Since we asked them to correct this 7 weeks ago, we get this message every other day from them:
“Greetings, Thanks for your continued patience. We are currently researching your issue in partnership with our technicians and will provide an update as soon as any additional information becomes available.”
I was hoping that they could forward this to the correct department so they could manually adjust the price upward to where we are losing a small amount of money, rather than forcing us to suspend the deals to avoid +major+ losses. At one point, the support thread was closed because of a canned “resolution” response that had nothing at all to do with our issue. For some reason, this still hasn’t been resolved which is disappointing. If anyone at Amazon (or anyone else) reads these posts, we can sure use your assistance, because we aren’t getting any via seller support.
But regarding the larger issue that affects everyone–that price of $7.90 stuck in my head. When I went to our product page for this particular product, we found two fraudulent sellers of the product. One that was selling the product for, you guessed it, exactly $7.90 with free shipping. See the attached image to get a visual of this.
This leads me to believe that these fraudulent sellers are actually devaluing the products within the A9 search algorithm and making it think that the $24 product is actually only worth $7.90. The LDs are in beta and automatically set these numbers, so it seems that these fraudulent sellers are giving the algorithm bad data to work off of, in addition to causing other tangible problems.
The first ramification of this, is our inability to do a lightning deal at a realistic price point. But it could have other very serious pricing ramifications too to all sellers that we are currently unaware of, which is why I am posting this to bring it to everyone’s attention–and to hopefully solve our own issue(s).
Edited by: SouthShore on Apr 3, 2017 7:43 PM