What did selling on Amazon used to be like?--that is, "back in the day."


#3

I only go back to 2008

Most noticeable change is my average price of a unit sold has gone from $35 to somewhere around $20.

Personally, I have reduced the number of categories I sell in, to those which have the lowest customer service requirements.

I have always done better here than Ebay. Received adequate support from Seller Support when I have needed it.

Shipping costs more, not unique or surprising, but we have improved our packaging, lowered out shipment weights and eliminated items which are not economical to ship.
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#4

I can only speak from our own experience selling on Amazon for the 12th year now.

I absolutely whole-heartedly cannot stand how many More Fraudulent, Lying, Scamming, Manipulative and Idiotic Buyers/Scammers are out there…being Granted a refund by complaining the most, lying the most, and even with documented proof, the Seller loses shipping and is out totally or impacted negatively and the buyer/scammer/liar gets to keep your item and gets their money back!

I still very much enjoy over-describing an item so it’s listed correctly and you receive it in better condition and gift-wrapped and fast.

There is much better people in this world that negative I still believe and I can only do my best!

fight the scammer buyers and report them always AND ALWAYS BE THANK-FULL AND GRATEFUL FOR THE AMAZINGLY GOOD PEOPLE OUT THERE TO CHERISH! WISH YOU GOOD LUCK ON WHATEVER YOU DO OR DECIDE TO DO…EBAY TO ME SEEMS FAR BETTER AN OUTLET TO SELL ON, MUCH LOVE!


#5

I started here in 2005 and eBay well before that. I still remember being able to go through all of electronics on the bay in about an hour …

Not as many sellers so slightly better

Of course now it’s higher … but relatively minor

No comment …

No big difference. People will always want something for nothing.

I’m still on the old “I can manually transfer” so quite happy. Of course new accounts have automatic and it depends on the account type

Sales have outpaced eBay but a large amount

RA was killer back in the day …

JMO


#6

And Amazon Auctions …


#7

Did you read the thread title or the original post?

Kind of rude to hijack the thread so early on just for more griping about Amazon.


#8

Hi: I’ve been selling on the site since October 2001. Profitability has gone way down, primarily because of brainless listing changes: no details for media products listed as “new.” No direct contact with buyers. Automatic refunds, etc. Domestic shipping is proportionately the same. Seller support was in-country back then, and terrific. Since it’s been outsourced to foreign countries, support has turned into pretty much of a nightmare. Most buyers are decent people but there is always a small percentage who are fairly crazy, borderline rage-aholics. The payment structure is still decent. And one cannot compare this site to ebay for a primary reason: People who are basically looking for bargains will usually shop on ebay. People who want what they want, and they want it NOW, regardless of price, will shop here. That said, prices have risien on the bay recently. Both sites charge fairly high commissions/fees. Nothing is quite as good or as profitable as it used to be (I’ve been on ebay since 1997.) I’m glad you asked these questions. Best, writerinresidence


#9

Hi: I’ve been selling on the site since October 2001. Profitability has gone way down, primarily because of brainless listing changes: no details for media products listed as “new.” No direct contact with buyers. Automatic refunds, etc. Domestic shipping is proportionately the same. Seller support was in-country back then, and terrific. Since it’s been outsourced to foreign countries, support has turned into pretty much of a nightmare. Most buyers are decent people but there is always a small percentage who are fairly crazy, borderline rageaholics. The payment structure is still decent. And one cannot compare this site to ebay for a primary reason: People who are basically looking for bargains will usually shop on ebay. People who want what they want, and they want it NOW, regardless of price, will shop here. That said, prices have risien on the bay recently. Both sites charge fairly high commissions/fees. Nothing is quite as good or as profitable as it used to be (I’ve been on ebay since 1997.) I’m glad you asked these questions. Best, writerinresidence


#10

More change in a negative way since the Chinese came on board. What was only a minor problem prior to that is now rampant

Counterfeits
Listing Hijacks
Defensive buyers
profits down and costs up
1 Million products listed overnight that never ship - But steal the buy box
So much time wasted keeping our listings valid after hacking and hijacks of the catalog


#11

Before people wax too nostalgic about the good old days – there weren’t any good old days as far as Seller Support is concerned.

Yes, it was possible to find a really good one, and the odds were slightly better than they are now, but that’s about the only change.

The whole site was so buggy Terminix would have thrown up their hands in despair. So, one waited a few weeks before attempting to report a particularly debilitating bug, because getting Amazon to realize you were reporting a site problem took weeks – and by then the problem would be fixed anyway.

Messages to support were NEVER read until well into the process. All replies were to the first contact were auto-generated based on keywords, and were useless.

There were no good old days with Support.


#12

The arguments were great fun. Now . . . Booooooring. Time for a nap.

Staci19


#13

I started selling on amazon in 1995 on what was then called “Marketplace” and I sold used books and Beanie Babies.
It was a part-time hobby then, and extreme fun, finding and shipping things internationally with minimal effort/work in the 90s. The forms and rules for international shipping have changed faster than amazon has changed, in my own opinion.

In the 90s, the rules were fewer, the customers a delight, the risk low, and the profit margins high. But the traffic was also low. It is my impression that in the 90s, customers bought and paid for things they wanted and I can’t remember a return until about the year 2010. Since 2010, every year my return rate is higher.

My perception as a third party seller now in 2018, is that the risk now is pretty high, the profit margin is much lower due to market conditions and competition, but the opportunity to build a business with amazon has never been greater. I would say now is a great time to partner with amazon and I can’t imagine a time where there was a wide open track for new products to be added to its catalog, and for unlimited earnings, if you are willing to take the risk and do the work. It is much harder to list things than it was 20+ years ago. Amazon has become a household name and a mainstream way to purchase nearly anything. People simply love, love, love amazon, and so do I.

Best of luck in however you decide to proceed!


#14

It used to be profitable to offer international shipping and sell overseas from the .com site.

For the first 6 years we were selling on Amazon (BMVD) we had shipped to 26 different countries.

Unfortunately, due to postal rate increases and the current cost of international shipping (and the fact that Amazon has not increased it’s shipping allowance to keep up with the rise in costs) we no longer offer international shipping.


#15

Small “hobby” book seller on AZ for 19 years - use profits from book sales to supplement income.

There are more book sellers using “scripted” descriptions than back then, more sellers who do not seem to use AZ guidelines for conditions. Many more “penny sellers”. Far more fellow sellers who have lots of negative feedback and thus muddy the waters for good sellers who pay attention.

Seller support used to be excellent. Phone calls, reps who spoke English. Not many “scripted” email replies. These days trying to get assistance from seller support is an exercise in pure futility.

Shipping rates are set by the USPS. Amazon shipping services have been excellent. Much easier than driving to the Post Office twice a week.

The forums used to be much better - useful information from experienced sellers, many of whom have left over the past few years and now with this new forum.

Compared to Ebay - Ebay is not a good platform to sell books, imho. In general Amazon is easier to use, everything is handled in one place - list, buy shipping, get paid. I do not like Paypal and that is one big reason why I don’t like Ebay as much.

I used to sell DVDs and CDs - those are no longer possible here. Many reasons for this, changes in how music is sold, listened to, etc. As for DVDs the fake sellers, where ever they are from, killed a good marketplace for good used DVDs.

For the most part I still like selling here. I still check the forum for information - I can usually find what info I need already posted.

Kelly at Tahoe


#16


BELIEVE IN YOURSELF as well as be true to yourself, do your best, the forum CAN DEFINITELY BE HELPFUL&POSITIVE GOOD ANSWERS and you can always learn from your mistakes and you’ll find your path - nothing else matters…AGAIN, BEST WISHES IN ALL YOU DO & GOOD LUCK!

Moderator Edit (Jake@SellerSupport): External URL Removed


#17

I started here in 2002, selling used books and media. VHS tapes too sheesh.

At that time 3p sellers were not able to sell items in new condition. One pound by priority mail when it was first initiated by the post office in the 90’s was $3.20 anywhere in the country. Two pounds I think was $4.20 or so.

Sometimes when listing some uncommon book or cd, one would come across a pending pre-order on the listing page, giving you the option to instantly sell your item at the buyer’s pre-order price which was often quite high.


#18

I have been selling books (formerly CDs and DVDs) on Amazon for over a decade, earlier than that on eBay. I have seen some changes.

Profitability: Much better back then. The fees were lower. I could also find inexpensive books more easily, as there were fewer people looking for them (for a while, everyone started scanning books like crazy, that seems to have subsided somewhat). There was more competition in terms of the number of sellers, but it did not seem ultra-competitive like now because the big betterthriftHPBgoodwill sellers were not a problem back then like they are today.

Shipping: Slightly more expensive today, but Media Mail comes with tracking now, which was extra back then. The $3.99 shipping charge did not cover the cost of shipping back then and still does not today. If Amazon would accept USPS tracking numbers as proof of delivery, things would be much better, but as it is shipping is an area where things have gotten slightly better.

Seller Support: Mediocre at best then; atrocious today. I will not romanticize the seller support people who were around back then; they were not very good. The fact that the current ones are even worse is amazing, because I thought seller support was bad a decade ago.

Buyers: More scammers today, but there were some back then. With no tracking on Media Mail, it actually made it somewhat easier on scammers, because sellers had no idea whether something had been lost or scammed. Today, the fact that everything is tracked just makes sellers angry because we know we have been scammed. Amazon always has had the buyer’s back, not the seller’s. Feedback was more emphasized back then. I got between 5% and 10% to leave feedback when I first started on Amazon. Today it is about 1%.

Payment structure: I can also manually transfer still, but rarely have I had to do so. Fee structure on the other hand was certainly better back then. Amazon’s fee increase last year was just greed, exactly what sellers have come to expect.

Vs. eBay: Hard one to answer. eBay had many more buyers and sellers back then and was a bustling auction marketplace. I rarely listed anything that did not sell first time, and I was not one of those $0.99 auction sellers. However, you could sell things on Amazon for more money, closer to retail price; it would just take longer. eBay went downhill for years, so much so that I gave it a break for a couple of years. But, for me, eBay has almost become better than Amazon in the past year. I am doing brisk business there while my Amazon sales have actually been declining since August. It could be that so few sellers have stuck with eBay that there is less competition. But what I do know is that eBay has less in fees. Selling a $20 book on eBay will see me make $2 more than selling the same book for the same price on Amazon. I can also still sell CDs and DVDs on eBay. All in all, Amazon has pretty much always been better than eBay.

Everyone generally sees the past with rose-colored glasses, but I think Amazon had a rosier tint to it back then.


#19

Started selling online in the fall of 1997 and I remember the pre-PayPal days on eBay when buyers used to snail mail Money Orders for payment!
Hard to believe that was 20 years ago!


#20

I have not been on eBay twenty years, yet (2002 was my first year, starting selling a little bit later), but I too remember checks and money orders. PayPal put a lot of people off eBay for a while (some forever), since we had gotten along just fine without eBay taking more of our money for the “privilege” of using PayPal.


#21

Over the years changes I have noticed are increased fees, increased scammers, increased returns, increased supposed INR’s, decreased seller protections…

As for ebay- sales have gone down there while they increased here…

Ebay backs the seller with tracking for proof of delivery, amazon well…

Support at Ebay exists…here, well…

I used to really enjoy really selling here all the time, now, I enjoy the days I don’t have someone ripping me off


#22

Don’t forget the auctions. Those were pretty cool.