Retail

“They just don’t care”: This small business says Amazon Australia promised to help it with sales, then went silent

Emma Koehn /

Trike Bike

Source: Supplied

It’s been about a month since Amazon Australia directly contacted Trike Bike owner Michael Coates with offers to help improve his Marketplace sales, but the retail giant has been silent ever since and Coates says it shows how little Amazon cares about smaller retailers.

In April, Coates told SmartCompany he had serious questions about the Amazon platform, after forking out $3000 to hire a consultant to set up the Marketplace page for his adult tricycle business, but not seeing any sales.

After that SmartCompany article was published, Coates said he was immediately contacted by Amazon, with the retail giant making a number of promises to review his pages and provide assistance to improve Trike Bike’s rankings.

They checked the listings and said what we had was actually as good as you could get,” Coates says. 

However, in terms of other support promised to the business, Coates says despite the initial offers, Amazon has gone silent.

Trike Bike has still not seen any sales on the Amazon Australia platform, despite seeing consistent sales on eBay, through its own online store and via its retail shopfront.

Having been on Marketplace since its launch last November, Trike Bike says traffic to its pages is still virtually non-existent despite assurances this could be improved.

I expected them [Amazon] to follow through on it because they sounded concerned and disappointed,” Coates says. 

However, with other small businesses now contacting him with similar experiences, Coates believes there’s little chance the position of his business on the Amazon platform can be improved, and he intends to leave by the start of next month.

Amazon’s direct information to me was that if I stick with it now, I’m going to be one of the big players on Amazon Australia later. But that’s not going to happen if I never get sales,” he says.

Other smaller retailers have also expressed disappointment with the platform and how products get ranked when customers search for an item. Retailer Blue Seas Tackle Co told SmartCompany in April it had not seen a sale via Marketplace in months.

Coates says he’s seeing online sales across all platforms slow down this year, suggesting consumers with low wages “just don’t have the money anymore” to spend.

However, he says as Trike Bike continues to focus on the only things it can control, it’s disappointing the Amazon juggernaut doesn’t appear to be delivering for local SMEs.

“We’re continuing to offer good customer service and get our referrals through word-of-mouth,” he says.

“But I’m very disappointed now — it’s obvious now that they just don’t care.”

SmartCompany has contacted Amazon Australia for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

NOW READ: “Becoming Amazon China”: This small business has left Amazon’s Australian Marketplace after overseas sellers drowned out its products

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior SmartCompany journalist.

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