10 Questions to start your discussion with a 3rd party Seller

Experienced third party sellers know the ins and outs of selling on Amazon. Working with one can free you up for other tasks your brand requires. Here are 10 good starting points to discovering which seller is the best fit for you.

1. Can you tell me about your company and how you work with Amazon?

Here you’re looking for someone who didn’t just start last week by putting up a few items from the Target sale shelf. You want someone running a legitimate registered business, operating in sync with all Amazon policies and procedures. 

2. Do you have a website?

Yes, hopefully they will. If they don’t have one (yet), they will be able to direct you to listings of products they sell, along with A+ content pages and storefronts they’ve created (when working with brands with registered trademarks).

3. What categories do you sell in?

It’s best to find sellers that specialize in certain categories -- not the jack-of-all trades that tells you they’ll sell anything in any category. There are quite a few categories that require approval and more than 40 categories total. No one can do everything well.

4. Has your Seller Central account ever been suspended or revoked?

Of course, the ideal answer here is no. However, we are all human and Amazon also makes mistakes. If they did have a suspension, ask what happened. You’ll find out quickly if this is someone who takes responsibility for mistakes and how they handle difficult or challenging aspects that are part of owning a business.

5. Do you purchase products wholesale?

Here you’re looking to discover the model they are working under. Are they making their margins between the wholesale and retail price (less Amazon fees)? Are they handling prep, packaging and freight? Or are they outsourcing some aspects and charging a percentage for their services and expertise.

6. How do you prefer to work with brands/companies like mine?

This is a great way to begin to open up the lines of communication more fully. See how they express themselves, what their priorities are, how focused they are, and if they are open to your ideas. Most of all: do they listen well and respect your perspective? Do you get a good sense that you could work together for the long term?

7. How do you determine which products of ours are best to sell?

It’s good to learn the process a seller uses for research. You’ll also find out if they partner with any other companies or experts that could help them with optimal keywords or sales volume. Does it seem important to them that you’ll each come out ahead, meeting both company’s margins?

8. Do you have references of other companies you’ve worked with?

Sellers should definitely have them and be willing to share contact names, emails and phone numbers. However, keep in mind that everyone starts somewhere. If they are responsible, educated and a go-getter, they could be a newbie and a keeper.

9. Are you a one-stop-shop for Amazon or do you partner with others?

Partnering with others is a good sign that they value teamwork. It also shows they can cooperate and let others lead in individual areas of expertise. Even 3P sellers need to outsource tasks. There are a lot of moving parts in dealing with Amazon and handling it well. Asking this also gives you an opportunity to contact their partners to inquire about their relationships.

10. What are your requirements for working together?

Always good to know upfront. There may be minimum order quantities, deadlines, and/or additional fees depending upon the services a seller offers. See if your prospective partner is flexible and open to the best way you can partner together for a mutually beneficial Amazon experience. One that boosts BOTH of your bottom lines.

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