Amazon has announced to its sellers a new return policy that is sure to please the consumers but not so appealing to their merchants that do not use Amazon’s shipping facilities. The way this will work is that if a seller ships from their own location items that they sell will be included in their “automatically authorized for return policy.”
What is the automatically authorized for return policy? It means that the buyer will not need to contact the Amazon seller but will instead get an instant return label from Amazon to return the item. Unfortunately for the merchant, they won’t have the chance to talk with the buyer in hopes of clearing up any misconceptions about the product, perhaps user error or something very simple that the merchant can send to them, even something like a missing part.
Furthermore, the processing of the return labels will be an additional expense for the sellers.
So, what does this mean for affiliate marketing?
It’s no secret that a lot of merchants tip toe into affiliate marketing through Amazon. It’s appealing because it provides thousands of shoppers swiftly; however, it also includes hundreds of competitors so lower pricing is almost inevitable to make sales. On top of the lower pricing is the commission fee paid to Amazon for being part of their marketing, which can be quite high. Now, on top of lower prices and high Amazon fees, the sellers or merchants will be losing more revenue with the automatically authorized for return policy and the chance to actually provide customer service to their buyers.
This may be a great time for those merchants looking to stay or join in the Affiliate Marketing industry and have the control over their own pricing, return policy and prove their customer service. Joining one of the larger name networks where there are thousands of affiliates will give them instant exposure to sites that are wanting to promote their products. In addition to the networks there are also other outlets they can join like FMTC that are packed with affiliates waiting to join quality merchant programs.
Normally there are just low one time fees to join a network and very small commissions based on their sales and commissions to their publishers based on their sales. The merchants are in full control of refunds and shipping costs. They are able to offer competitive coupons or sales and have a fabulous way to communicate through those networks to their affiliates who in turn will share with their buyers.
Customer service is extremely important to consumers, which is why Amazon is proposing this new return policy. However, with it they are essentially taking the authority of the sellers/merchants away and while it looks great for Amazon, it does nothing to inspire a relationship between the buyers and the sellers themselves. In fact, this policy could be more detrimental to its sellers/merchants relationship with buyers than helpful.
If you are currently selling on Amazon and do no have an affiliate program, now is the time to investigate your options in affiliate marketing.