If you’ve lost control of unauthorized retailers selling your products on Amazon, you’ve probably had a few, “Oh, crap!” moments—although, “Oh, CRaP!” would probably be more accurate.
CRaP isn’t just the snarky Amazon acronym for “Can’t Realize a Profit.” CRaP has real implications for manufacturers who do business on the eCommerce giant’s platform. So, how do you sell an unsellable product? How do you avoid products CRaPping out?
Pattern’s here to walk you through your eCommerce strategy when your unsellable products have CRaPped Out.
What’s CRaP, really?
Essentially, CRaP products don’t make Amazon enough money and are therefore deemed as unsellable products.. They’re usually low-cost, high-weight products that don’t ship well (shipping is one of Amazon’s largest costs).
CRaP products also tend to have prices that are in constant flux because of deal-matching across eCommerce sites. Amazon will match the low price, other eCommerce sites will lower it again, Amazon matches it again, and suddenly the product is unprofitable (to Amazon and to the brand), said Whitney Gibson, Pattern’s Lead Enforcement Partner at Vorys.
“Amazon declares, ‘It’s not even worth going to further price concessions. We’re in a state where we can’t even make a profit off this, we don’t even want to sell it for you.’ And so it stops purchasing the product from the manufacturer and now the manufacturer is stuck with not being able to achieve the sales it wants on Amazon,” Gibson said.
When CRaPp happens, Amazon reacts in a number of ways to save its own margin (much to the manufacturer’s chagrin).
Amazon won’t help CRaPped out products sell.
Normally, Amazon wants to help brands sell their stuff; they win when brands win. But when a product is CRaPped out, Amazon doesn’t want to lose any more money on it by continuing to sell and promote the product.
The listing still stays active on Amazon (being sold by third-party sellers), but Amazon no longer sources that product and loses money, said Garrett Bluhm, Pattern’s former VP of eCommerce.
“Oftentimes the prices will go up on that product, and if that happens, oftentimes Amazon suppresses those Buy Boxes so it becomes a little bit more challenging to actually purchase those products,” Bluhm said.
Eventually, Amazon drops CRaP products. (!)
Yep. It really could be as bad as that sounds—if you have CRaPped out, unsellable products and don’t take action, that is. When a product stops making sense for Amazon to sell, they’ll drop it completely, thereby destroying your eCommerce strategy.
“In summary, a CRaPped out product is when Amazon comes to the brand and says, ‘We can’t make a profit from selling this product anymore and so we’re not going to carry it for you anymore,’” Gibson said.
Yikes. However, not all is lost. There’s quite a bit you can do to prevent “Oh, CRaP” moments, (although that’s a blog post for another time).
One of the best things you can do is to enforce MAP (Minimum Advertised Pricing). Through our partnership with Vorys, you can get your sellers MAP compliant and avoid the dynamic pricing that eventually leads to CRaP. Talk with us by filling out the form below to learn more.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.