Unethical shortcuts can help you make money fast in any business, and Amazon FBA is no exception. If you want to know the fastest, easiest and possibly most questionable ways to make money fast on Amazon, there are plenty of people out there to advise you.
FBA full time is just not the place for that. Rebecca and I just do not want to do it.
Unethical shortcuts can help you make money fast, but at what price?
Unethical shortcuts can cost you your business, but more importantly, they will cost you yours integrity. Our good name and good conscience are worth more to us than any kind of money.
Here are a few ways to make quick money through Amazon FBA that we will never encourage you to do:
1. We will not encourage you to bend the Amazon rules in your favor.
There are a few teachers out there in the world of Amazon FBA who would tell you that it’s ok to bend the Amazon rules as long as you make good money on it and no one catches you. Some booksellers would say to you, “You know what, as long as the book looks close enough to be new, go ahead and list it as new – you’ll make more money that way.” But I will always advise you that bending the rules and cuddling about the condition of your stock is one of the worst things you can do as a seller.
You’ve heard me say it many times in previous blog posts and YouTube videos – when it comes to mode, round down, not up. If the packaging of a retail item is worn or torn, the item is not new. You can not write anything in the condition notes for a new item. You may not notice that the box is damaged, but the item is new. If the packaging is not new, the item is not new. This is the whole reason why the “used as new” or “collector’s item as new” mode exists. If you bend the Amazon rules this way, you will have your merchant account suspended sooner or later. Do not. It’s not worth it.
2. We will not advise you to contact other sellers about prices.
If you contact sellers of the same item as you and talk to them about agreeing on a price, you are not only breaking Amazon’s guidelines, you are breaking the law. The bottom line is this: pricing is illegal. You participate in price collaboration. If someone ever tells you that a good way to avoid the “race to the bottom” on a price is to contact all the other sellers and agree on a price, they will give you terrible advice.
3. We will not tell you to lie to Seller Central when it comes to repairing your feedback (or any other task).
One of the most common questions that arises for FBA salespeople is how to deal with negative feedback. Some people will advise you to just open a ticket on every single negative feedback and come up with something to get the feedback removed. Lying to the sales center is a terrible practice, and not just because lying is unethical. If you’re caught in lying by Seller Central – or worse, if you’re ever suspended and then you will be caught lying – your account will be marked that you tried to deceive Amazon. You will have a very hard time convincing Seller Central to believe you about anything from that point on.
4. We will not encourage you to take harmful shortcuts (such as drop shipping).
Yes, you can make a lot of money (and do it really fast) by dropping shipping to Amazon customers. Drop shipping is when you list an item as a retailer fulfilled on Amazon, but you do not actually have it in your possession to sell to an Amazon customer. When you get a sale, instead of sending it yourself, you order it from another online retailer and have it shipped to your Amazon customer. People have made tons of profits by selling on Amazon this way, but it is an extremely dangerous practice as a seller.
Drop shipping is so appealing because you never have to touch inventory. All you do is list. No shopping, no preparation, no shipping. It looks like a sweet way to make money, right? Wrong.
How many times have you personally made a purchase online and ended up having the wrong item shipped to you? How many times have you made an online purchase and not received the item within the time frame you were told to expect? How many times have you wanted to buy an item online, only to find the item sold out?
These things happen all the time with online retailers, and if you drop shipping to Amazon customers, it’s a matter of when, does not whose, it will happen for your customer. And when, does not whose, if it happens, your merchant account metrics will suffer. Drop shipping can be one of the fastest ways to get your merchant account suspended. More of my thoughts on drop shipping here.
5. We would never advise you to use a sticker-free combination with your Amazon inventory.
Commingling is not against the Amazon rules, but it is a shortcut that is meant to backfire on you. If your seller settings are set to sticker-free mixed when you send inventory to an Amazon warehouse, your item will be mixed (mixed together) with everyone else selling that item.
Let us e.g. say you are submitting an Iron Man DVD in new condition, which you can guarantee it comes from an authentic source, but if you interfere and do not have the item pasted with your unique seller account information, then your Iron Man DVD will be mixed with every other Iron Man DVD seller set up for sticker-free mixed inventory. This means that when a customer buys an Iron Man DVD from you, Amazon just sends the nearest Iron Man DVD to that customer, and not necessarily your exact Iron Man DVD. In this case. you must trust that every other seller of that DVD also shipped an item in new condition, which came from a guaranteed authentic source.
Sad to say, there are many sellers out there who are either intentionally or unintentionally trying to sell counterfeit items or used items branded as new. But if you interfere and the other seller’s counterfeit or used item is sent to your customer, you is the one who will get in trouble for it. Combination can save time, labels and printer ink, but do not do it. The risk to your merchant account is just not worth it.
After all is said and done, your integrity and your merchant account are worth more than any profit to be made by taking questionable shortcuts. Work hard, read Amazon’s guidelines, follow Amazon’s guidelines – these are my top pieces of advice for you today. Growing an Amazon FBA business is a marathon, not a sprint. Growing an Amazon FBA business is like cooking in a crockpot, not a microwave. I’m about finding ways to save money, outsourcing when you can, leveraging the precious resource of your time – but never, never, never if it means taking unethical shortcuts.
Ok, I’m done. Going out of my soapbox. Back to work, everyone. Make today profitable and full of success in life and business.
* updated to 2021
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