Amazon India & differential sellers policy

Update (04/4/16): Amazon India did not budge and hence I gave up on them, at least for the time being. Chose to concentrate my energies on Flipkart, where we are listed and kicking!

Update (23/3/16): Shortly after writing this article, I wrote to Amazon’s Chairman Jeff Bezos and appraised him about the situation. I am happy to say that he has instructed the executive seller support team to look into this matter. Hope to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible so that i can get selling on Amazon India!

Amazon Indian SellersAs you know that I launched my new Health / Beauty product startup “Satthwa” less than a couple months back and the response has been great! We gave out free samples of our Premium Hair Oil to a lot of people (selected from a contest on Facebook) and we are happy to say that the results they have achieved have increased our sales from word of mouth.

Currently all our sales come from our own website but I wanted to put our product on as well and hence we started the process of getting it listed on it.

Usually anyone can just create an account on Amazon as a seller and get selling within an hour, especially if the product they want to sell is already listed on Amazon. In our case, we were going to sell in the category “Beauty” which is a restricted category and need a few days before Amazon manually approves new sellers on it. Along with that we also wanted to register our brand “Satthwa” with Amazon as we are the owners of the brand and this gives us more control over it.

The process took a couple weeks and finally after all the documentation, we were able to list our product and to be on the safer side, we wanted to tweak our listing and make it accurate / credible before we formally announced our foray on Amazon, turns out this wait was a blessing as just a couple days into the listing, Amazon decided to remove our product without any warning. After contacting the seller support agent, I got to know that they think we are in violation of their terms as our listing mentions “Hair Fall Control”, “Hair Regrowth Oil” terms.

Now how do we sell our regrowth hair oil, without mentioning what exactly it does? Though i understand the position of Amazon that there could be a lot of “brands” trying to mislead people by selling their products under false pretexts but that’s what Amazon reviews are for, if a product gets enough bad reviews, they should take it off the shelf. However taking an approach like this from the get go, pushes back genuine sellers. In a country like India where the government does enough damage to make sure that companies have a tough time starting up, we surely do not need a private company who is a “ecommerce enabler” to hold us back.

As for the Amazon policies, I have seen that it varies from seller to seller. If there is a product which is selling a lot with a lot of reviews. Amazon let’s them bend or even break their rule when it comes to the “Claims” & “Guarantees” which the brand makes, however for those who are new to selling have to abide by different rule set.

This is what precisely a market place should not do. It creates unwarranted monopoly of bigger brands and good smaller brands keep fighting to stay afloat.

With so much money being pumped by Amazon into advertising and getting new sellers on board, I certainly hope for equality in policies amongst many other things!