Monitoring your authorized retailers


While I was researching a fairly mundane household product, I came across the manufacturer’s website. The site was nicely done, aside from a bit too much Flash, and I quickly reached the Find a Store page. I noticed that their products were carried by Amazon, so I went to Amazon to check it out.

Unfortunately, Amazon itself only carried a small and random selection of the larger product line. If you wanted the rest, you had to get them from the goofy Amazon partners who charge hefty shipping fees. I didn’t buy anything, and the experience left me a little bit confused. If the brand lists Amazon as a recommended place to get their products, shouldn’t Amazon carry the majority of those products?

From Amazon’s perspective, they’re probably applying the same rules as for any other products. Perhaps the items weren’t selling, so they replaced them with different ones from another manufacturer. In cases like this, the onus is really on the manufacturer to keep tabs on the stores they list as “recommended” or “authorized” retailers. Ideally, the brand would set up a periodic schedule to check up on their retail partners, e.g. once a month. They would make sure the right products are actually being offered for sale, with proper images and descriptions.

It might not be practical to do this sort of audit for many different sellers, but it should be worthwhile to run through the process for your top two or three retailers. Otherwise, you may see unexplained drops in sales due to problems on the retail side of things, as those retailers take the traffic you send them and push someone else’s products instead.