Follow the Money

by | Jun 28, 2018

One major mistake many Amazon sellers make is to assume that other people are watching out for them in their business. Whether it be their supplier, their bank, or even Amazon itself, some people make the mistake of thinking that these types of partners will watch out for you and have your best interest at heart.

Spoiler alert: THEY DON’T.

Nobody does.

It’s a sad reality, but it is absolutely true. Nobody will watch out for your business like you will, and none of your partners will place your business and your best interest ahead of their own. It simply isn’t going to happen.

Why? Money and incentives. Will your bank understand your intentions on a transaction or just “not charge you” fees when their own tellers make a mistake on your account? Nope. Will your supplier find the typing error in your product insert, or upgrade you to glossy, thicker cardstock if they find out the pricing is the same? Nope, never. Why? Because they have their own priorities and incentives in place. Some people are shocked to find that Amazon is not an easy place to sell or that they are not sitting, waiting and ready to help you however they possibly can to help you be successful. Why is that?

Amazon, your bank and your supplier all have one similar goal: make as much money as possible. If you took some time to truly understand how each of them turns their efforts into revenue and profit you would quickly see why they focus their efforts where they do, and why you are not a major part of that process. Understanding how someone generates a profit on their transactions is crucial to helping you align the incentives of people with whom you work.


Who Benefits?

Consider this example: when purchasing and shipping your product to Amazon, do you use custom printed, retail-ready packaging? Do you provide magnetic sensor tags for anti-theft? Do you utilize blister sealed packaging? No, you don’t. And you shouldn’t. Why? Because on Amazon, nobody is expecting those things. If you walked into Home Depot and saw a product in an e-commerce poly mailer with no packaging, no inserts, no marketing materials, would you be less likely to buy it? Of course you would, because those things are a necessary piece of the puzzle for selling in retail and consumers expect and demand it, as well as the Big Box stores. On Amazon, however, those things are not a necessity, they are a nicety. Which means that you likely aren’t utilizing them as they are expensive and unnecessary to making your sale. For your business, you understand that the efforts of creating those materials may not directly lead to revenue and profits and therefore, for your business, those things will most likely not happen.

This is true of any business, partner, or service provider you choose to utilize. They have their own reality of what makes them money, and what will generate the greatest revenue and profits.

It is YOUR job to ensure that those incentives are well aligned with yours. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with different results than you expected.

There is a latin phrase, “Cui Bono”, meaning “Who Benefits?” This is similar to our own phrase of “Follow the Money.” If you take the time to correctly identify the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) with all of your partners and service providers, you can better align the incentives between you and them to ensure that you are always on the same page. One thing to remember: it’s okay if someone makes money on your business. Don’t be afraid to spend money wisely with the right service providers. Be cautiously paranoid–not pessimistic, not overly paranoid–just cautiously paranoid knowing that whomever you are entrusting part of your business to is not going to watch after your business like you do!

Bottom line: Follow the money, see who benefits and align everyone’s incentives to make sure that people have the proper incentive to watch out for your business. 😊

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