The fact is that as of 2021, Amazon FBA and Walmart are officially dead for ecommerce dropshippers. If you’re currently a seller on Amazon or Walmart or you’re toying with the idea of using either as your sales platform, we recommend you move away from them and build your own sales infrastructure. The reason for this is revealed in a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, in which they detail how it’s actually often cheaper for Amazon and Walmart retailers to issue full refunds of products and let customers hold onto or donate them. This revelation can make both of these businesses detrimental to your dropshipping business in several ways. Read more about the state of business for dropshippers using Walmart and Amazon FBA in 2021.
What The Wall Street Journal Findings Mean for Your Business
The article in question discussed how retailers Amazon and Walmart, potentially followed by others in the future, are no longer requiring customers to return unwanted items. Those items technically belong to the retailers (as opposed to individual sellers). So those companies have the authority to give customers permission to keep unwanted items along with a full refund. Amazon and Walmart reason that it’s simply cheaper for them to let customers hold onto those items. But that can be harmful to business owners by tempting people to game the system. Customers who aren’t honest can hang onto items they’ve purchased while requesting a refund. This essentially allows them to get free products at the seller’s expense.
The article shows once again how ecommerce giants like Walmart and Amazon are really in control of sellers’ products and don’t truly have sellers’ best interests at heart. However, this isn’t really news at all. Many people may be familiar with the fact that, for several years now, Amazon has allowed customers to keep products rather than return them. This a long-held practice of theirs. The WSJ article simply helped raise even more awareness of this issue.
Losing Money From Unreturned Products on Amazon FBA in 2021
The problem with enabling customers to keep unwanted products — which in some cases may not actually be unwanted at all — is that this hurts sellers who could otherwise resell those products. And it’s worse than an inability to resell returned products. Sellers are also hit with fees that cause them to lose even more money when customers choose to get a refund without returning their items. These problems further emphasize how harmful those big retailers can be. They can be great for occasionally free traffic and sales, but you should avoid building your business through them.
Walmart and Amazon, along with other big names in the industry, may seem like a haven for sellers. They can use the platforms to push products and generate lots of sales. But it’s important to keep in mind that they’re only looking out for themselves. In short, the products sold through those channels don’t belong to the seller; they belong to those platforms. That means that Amazon and Walmart can do what they want with them. You forfeit control over your own inventory.
Do you want to make a profit and retain control over your products and business in general? Then make sure that your primary source of sales is your website. Setting up a sales funnel and developing a successful website that you actually own will ensure you don’t suffer from another retailer’s attempts to cut corners.
A Recent Surge in Returns for Sales on Walmart and Amazon FBA in 2021
Another recent article on PYMNTS.com talked more about the rise in product returns experienced with retailers (including Walmart, Amazon, and Target) throughout 2020. The new decision to allow customers to keep unwanted items was officially made as a result of an increase in returns that took place in 2020, with ecommerce packages seeing a 70% increase in returns compared to 2019.
Due to the pandemic and the subsequent inability to take items to physical stores, returning items became more challenging for consumers. The rise in ecommerce as more people turned to online shopping during lockdowns also led to more returns. Generally, online orders tend to lead to more returns than in-store purchases. Why? This is largely due to the hassle of having to return to the store after buying an item in person. Also, people may be disappointed or receive something different from what they expect when ordering a product online because they can’t see or try the product in person before purchasing.
Unfortunately, while Amazon and Walmart’s decision to let customers keep products they no longer want may be convenient for both consumers and those retailers, it’s a considerable loss for sellers.
Build Your Own Business Without Relying on Walmart or Amazon FBA in 2021
The best way to avoid the potential costs and headaches associated with product refunds and unreturned items is to stay away from companies like Amazon and Walmart. You don’t necessarily need to avoid them entirely. They can be beneficial in generating traffic for you and boosting sales. But they shouldn’t be your primary platforms.
Instead, build your own website and control the traffic to it. Develop a sales funnel that moves people along through the buyer’s journey toward a sale and upsell. Once you’ve built a solid foundation for your business and you’re able to sustain it, then you can consider branching out to outside retail platforms like Amazon FBA in 2021. The more control you have at the start, the more likely you are to succeed and grow. Then you don’t have to worry about what corporations are doing that may hurt smaller businesses.
Start with your own website and your own platform that attracts short- and long-term customers. Then you can leverage the power of larger companies to supplement your core efforts. The less you rely on a company like Amazon, the less likely they will be to negatively impact your business in a way that matters. You’ll always have that main source of sales to keep you safely afloat.
Consult With the Ecommerce Empire Builder Experts
Do you want to learn how to build a winning online business and succeed without Amazon, Walmart, or other retailers? If so, reserve your seat at our free ecommerce masterclass. We’ll show you how you can sell best-selling products online and create a full-time income using reliable ecommerce funnels to grow your business. For frequent tips and insights, visit my YouTube channel, too.