A grumpy customer can easily ruin an Amazon seller’s day. Customers on Amazon pay much attention to the ratings and reviews than the product details. One negative review means a loss of £500 in my business, for example. So, it is natural that the seller goes into a panic mode on receiving a negative feedback on their product page.

If the review happens to be unrelated to the product, it is even worse, like this:

Product review on Amazon delivery
Product review on Amazon delivery

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As a seller, to keep you in peace, here are our top 5 tips for handling negative reviews:

#1. Believe in “Customer is always right” principle

Yes, we are in a world where some customers are becoming cheeky and pries for refunds through negative feedback. Believe me, not many of them are like that. I have come across customers that tried to help me by informing about a potential defect.

Almost 99% of the times, the customers have their real reasons to be grumpy about your product. Focus on improving that little problem and get back to them politely that you will improve it. Trying to prove that they are wrong on a public domain like product reviews section is only going to increase the chances of losing further sales. Nobody likes a negative customer service.

#2. Speak to the customer first when the review is not product-related

Customer left a review of a delivery issue on a product page? Or anything similar? Yes, they are absolutely wrong. They are confused between leaving a feedback and leaving a review.

If they have left the review with their name on, match the order and get in touch with them, trying to explain that it is really not a product issue and they can move their feedback to seller feedback (from where you can remove later). Explain that you are a small seller (if you are!) and their little act goes a long way in sustaining independent small businesses.

Odds are that they will not listen to you at all, but worth a shot.

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#3. Handling anonymous reviews

If the customer left the review anonymously, and if you want to open a dialog with them, there are 2 ways to find the matching order:

  1. Use an order-review matching tool. There are plenty available. Just google “product order review match amazon”. The match 90% of the times.
  2. Contact seller support explaining that you want to get in touch with the customer to resolve the issue. Most likely they will help you match the order. If one agent does not help, raise another support ticket.

#4. Contact seller support to remove the review

If you believe that the review is not related to the product or that the language is abusive, raise a seller support ticket. If one agent does not help, raise another, but not more than 2 times, as you will lose your privilege to access seller support.

Product reviews are handled by the Community team in Amazon, and they are very strict about their review guidelines. Unless the review is abusive, they will not remove it. So, seller support is helpless. Getting any help from them is a 50-50 chance.

#5. Gain more positive reviews

Your product is dear to you and you know it is the best. Ask around or use your favourite tools aggressively to get more positive reviews, which likely will obscure the effect of the negative review.

BONUS TIP: Use a seasoned consultant’s help

Bad review on your dear product is stressful. You will lose your cool with the customer if you deal with it yourself. Use a seasoned seller’s help. Check out our hand-picked consultants to help you handle this.


#1. Bunch O Balloons

How many of you have come across Bunch’O Balloons? I bet you must have seen them and probably used them on a sunny day.

They sell $100M a year! How did they start? A simple Kickstarter campaign asking for $10K. They eventually got a whopping $926K in pre-sales. The good thing is they delivered on time too. They are extremely successful today, but here are the 3 main things they had it absolutely right:

  1. A sure-fire product, proven a little in the market already, with a patented design
  2. Genuine campaign content with clarity on timelines of delivery: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bunchoballoons/bunch-o-balloons-100-water-balloons-in-less-than-1
  3. Post-campaign commitment delivered

Ssh. They used an agency to get all this right 🙂

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#2. Pebble

Pebble is the pioneer of smartwatches wave well before iWatch. They shot off the roof after their Kickstarter campaign where they asked for $500K and got $20M!

They lost their glory now, but by then their success was huge and inspired a wave of startups.

Is it good for small startups only?

Absolutely not. Crowdfunding campaigns will be hugely positive to be used as a launch strategy as well as a scaling strategy. Many companies like Swytch Bikes have used crowdfunding to bootstrap their designs, whereas companies like Pebble used them to catapult their market share.

In the right hands, crowdfunding campaigns can provide you a loyal base of committed customers.

Join us in the next webinar with Jes Bailey from Crowdfund 360. We will discuss more on this.

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Remember Google Glasses?

Your team has designed a new product, but it is not selling on your traditional sales channels.

Or as a new business, you have a brilliant product idea, or have a prototype done, but you do not know how to go about selling it to the masses.

You think you are alone? No. Feel at home. Even Google struggled (still struggling) to launch Google glasses.

Launching a new design is like walking on the tight rope. You need to take the risk with enough practice guided by people who has already done that, leveraging on today’s hot platforms. Here we list the top 5 platforms that can help you reach out to your ideal customers faster and cheaper (relatively!)

#1. Amazon

Not surprisingly, this is option #1. Almost 70% of the people look for what they want directly on Amazon. If your product has a search term that is commonly sought by your ideal customers, Amazon is a great deal. This platform allows you to quickly set up a listing and test the waters. It needs proper analysis of the market in Amazon, budgeting, and a careful incremental approach to manage stocks. Use our consultants, if you have not launched before.

Unfortunately, if your product is so unique that it will not be sought by general terms by your ideal customers, or if you are short of marketing budget, you are out of luck on this platform. Read below for further platforms.

#2. Crowdfunding

Did you know there are 75+ crowdfunding platforms just in the UK? The key platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo has proven successful for many big brands. Remember Pebble smartwatches campaign. Success stories galore, but the hard reality is that 90% of the campaigns fail to deliver.

In these platforms, people buy people, not just products. As a business owner, you should stand in front of your brand, have an interesting backstory, and proof that you are a real deal.

People are paying to get their products probably next year. Trust and communication is important. Nowadays, there are exclusive agencies for crowdfunding campaigns charging starting from £5000 😳. There is work involved indeed, and if done well, the benefits are huge, as you end up creating your amassed customer base in quick time.

Join in our webinar with Jes Bailey from Crowdfund 360 to listen more on how well to leverage these platforms.

No time today to sign up for our webinar?

Like our page and we’ll keep you posted.

#3. DIY

“Build a website and a facebook page. Customers will come flocking. Your product is just plain awesome”, they said.

It does not work like that, unfortunately. Today’s customers are inundated with choice. You will need to go through a ladder of:

  1. KNOW: My potential customers can easily discover me and my brand
  2. LIKE: My visiting customers have enough reasons to truly like and be surprised about my brand
  3. TRUST: My liked customers have enough reasons to trust that I will deliver my promises in my product

Each step takes time, money, and effort. Building a social media page and great following does not warranty that they will buy. It is like a movie star asking his fans to vote for him in an election.

If you have deep pockets to support yourself and the business for 6-12 months, including paying for agencies and freelancers, it is worth the pursuit.

#4. Angel investors

This is the least sought out option, but the most plausible. If your product has a universal appeal to scale globally, certainly seed investors will be interested in investing a little money to bootstrap your idea. The bootstrapped money could be used for creating a crowdfunding campaign or social media campaign. What is more important is that the relevant investor will be bringing great advices for your industry. Use a platform like F6S or AngelList to network and find the relevant investor. It does not cost money, but meticulous time.

#5. On the road. High street, may be!

You think I’m joking, but not. This is the easiest means to test your products with potential customers. You can directly get feedback from them. Many malls and councils provide very low cost pop-up shops. Utilise them especially during festive seasons.

If you think, some high street brand can stock your products, and if you have the budget to acquire and distribute stocks, you can approach them directly. Listen to Al, a director of Coconut Merchant stocked in the likes of Tesco, in this video on how to go about approaching them.

That is not the end of the list. Be creative and find ways to reach your customer. Either a bazooka or a sniper-shot approach. It is your choice to find them, but plan with people who have done that, to save your peace of mind. Good luck with your launch.

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Excerpts from this section of the meeting:

Zamir: We are in a lockdown at the moment? Are you still on a lockdown in China?
William: The lockdown has been lifted. We are very free to roam around now.

Zamir: What is the situation of manufacturing right now?
William: Compared to 2 months ago, now it is a lot better. 80% of manufacturing is back to normal.

Zamir: Of that 80%, are they all manufacturing the same goods as they did before? (Is there a shift in the kind of products?)
William: 70% of the manufacturers are overseas manufacturers. They are all producing the same goods definitely.

Zamir: Has the demand reduced?
William: Yes, the demand from clients has reduced, but we are in full capacity. We are asking workers to stay at home. So it is a bit of a challenge to get more orders. So, it is the best time for businesses to go look for a supplier.

Zamir: Are you able to travel freely to acquire samples and visit factories?
William: For 3 weeks now, it is all open.

Zamir: Have you noticed any restrictions on exports?
William: We have not noticed any restrictions. It is all the same as before COVID-19.

Zamir: In summary, things has returned back to normal and positive.

William: The only problem at the moment. The logistics are delayed and costly.
Zamir: Just after this, we are speaking to Westbound Global logistics, and we will bring this up to see what their opinions and thoughts are.


Meeting coordinated by: Premkumar Anand
Meeting designed and hosted by: Zamir Cajee


The answer here is no, you do not.

One of the most important steps in running a business is how to run the business. Let’s explore two of the main ways: sole trader vs a limited company.

Sole trader

Advantages

Simple

You are the business. Any money that the business earns belongs to you, and you can spend without having to worry about salary and dividends.

In terms of tax, you just need to register as self employed with HMRC (you can be self employed and employed at the same time if selling on Amazon if your “side hustle”.

You will need to register and complete a self assessment for income tax purposes at the end of the year.

Cheaper to run

Your accountancy fees will be lower as a sole trader compared to running a limited company.

Easier to extract money out of the business

Any money the business earns is yours to spend.

Greater degree of privacy

Unlike companies, you don’t need to publish your accounts at Companies House.

Disadvantages

You are the business

Any legal action against the business will be against you personally, the debts of the business are your debts. This is the most serious disadvantage of running as a sole trader.

Makes your business appears small(er)

Some suppliers/customers may only wish to deal with limited companies.

Limited company

Your limited company is a separate legal entity. Money that the company earns belongs to the company, and not to you as the owner/shareholder of the company.

Advantages

Your liability as a business owner is limited to the amount you have invested in the business. If the business is sued, the business is in trouble, you personally are not.

At higher levels of revenue, a limited company is more tax efficient than operating as a sole trader. In total, looking across all taxes, it is more tax efficient (less tax is paid) to run through a limited company than as a sole trader, particularly as you turnover increases.

Disadvantages

A higher level of administration, more time consuming and expensive to run.

The company will have to deal with Companies House and HMRC, dealing with statutory accounts, corporation tax returns and annual returns. In addition, if you are a company director and are taking money out of the company you will still need to register and complete a self assessment at the end of the year.

You will need to spend a high level of time dealing with the administrative side of things, and your accountancy fees will undoubtedly be higher when running a limited company compared to operating as a sole trader.

More complicated to take money out of the business.

You are running an Amazon business to make money. But the money belongs to the company, and you will need to extract it either by paying yourself a salary (which will involve your company registering for PAYE) or paying yourself dividends (which needs profits and cash in the business). The company can loan money to its directors, but this has tax consequences.

Conclusion

If you are starting out, it’s probably worth testing the waters as a sole trader rather than as a limited company. Once your business starts to grow, and your idea of trading on Amazon is bearing fruit then its certainly worth operating as a limited company. However, it is worth spending some time to understand the consequences of operating as a limited company and what you can and cant do if operating this way.

For further advice or for a free consultation, please get in touch with AllianceCA, chartered accountants based in London and in the cloud. We would be happy to speak to you about the best way to operate your business. Either send an email to info@allianceca.co.uk or call 0203 151 2354 and quote “AmazinSellers”.

[NOTE FROM AMAZINSELLERS]: The content and opinion of guest blog posts is fully that of the individual authors. AmazinSellers Ltd does not assume any responsibility for the advices provided by the authors.


Sufia, one of our star members explains how experimenting helped her find the right product to start with. It is especially important for beginners to embrace experimenting to avoid disappointments later in their business journey.


Listen to Daniela Margoi and Vik on their individual eCommerce journeys leveraging on Amazon FBA.

Daniela Margoi focuses on a sports niche based on Germany market. She is marching towards EUR 400K revenue this year and looking forward to double that next year. Listen to her speaking about the balance she has now between family life and the business.

Vik has a fantastic back-story of how it all started reading a book on a long flight. He has built a business mainly focussing on Amazon US with just 2 products and brewing more than $10K revenue per month.