According to a report in Bloomberg, Amazon invited 1,500 merchants to the event to network, have face time with Amazon executives and attend seminars on how to best reach worldwide customers through its crowded marketplace. Bloomberg noted this was the first time Amazon had launched an event of this type.
"They need to get sellers to subscribe to the Amazon religion," said Chad Rubin, co-founder of eCommerce management software company Skubana. "Amazon has gotten so large and so anonymous for sellers — this event helps make [it] more personal. It's trying to show sellers it cares about them."
The report noted that third party merchants account for nearly half of products sold on Amazon. With Walmart, eBay and Alibaba courting sellers that have grown frustrated with Amazon, the eCommerce giant is putting on the charm offensive. The event in New York aimed to create partnerships with more merchants, as well as keep the ones already using the platform.
"We know the seller appreciates a chance to meet with a face of Amazon and get answers to questions," said Tom Taylor, senior vice president of Fulfillment by Amazon. "We want to make sure this event is valuable for the seller."
Bloomberg reported earlier this month that some of Amazon’s merchants, frustrated with the inability to stand out in a crowded shopping marketplace, were turning to rival Walmart, which has been growing its online merchant business. Rewind a few years, and the idea that merchants could sell things through Walmart would be unthinkable. But, though the retail company is struggling to grow its business offline, it’s starting to see online successes.
Amazon, on the other hand, has a reputation among merchants as the angry and demanding landlord. The eCommerce giant has kicked merchants off its marketplace platform due to customer complaints and is charging more in fees and advertising requirements in order to get a sale. There’s also the issue of overcrowding on Amazon, which has merchants raising concerns about their ability to make a sale. Walmart is emerging as what Amazon was 10 years ago — an opportunity — and it's luring merchants who want to make a sale and a profit.