A common subject in the forums is retail arbitrage, the practice of buying items at retail sales or close-out events, in such retail stores as Walmart or Best Buy, and then listing those products for sale on Amazon. Recently, probably because of Amazon’s increase in requiring brand-gating or approval to list in certain categories, its Seller Performance Team has been refusing to accept retail receipts as proof of authenticity. This can result in a suspension of a listing or bring an entire seller account to a halt, a devastating occurrence that requires a second look into this common practice.
There is no official Amazon policy on the subject, which may be why the “get rich quick” seminars still tout it. This is the reason why many clients, when I advise them retail arbitrage is a thing of the past, they often argue with me. The writing on the wall shows that I am correct.
Amazon is gating more and more brands every day, and now has subjected sellers who are already selling in certain categories, to apply for approval to list products in those categories, and one of the things they ask for are “invoices or receipts.” Make no mistake, however, the word “receipts” does not mean that they will accept a cashier-printed receipt from WalMart or Target.
Chances are that any recognized brand, such as Samsung, Apple, Nike or Adidas, is off-limits and selling it is an unreasonable risk unless you are buying from an authorized wholesale distributor with full resale rights. More and more brands are being added every day. A non-comprehensive list can be found here.
My advice to Amazon sellers about retail arbitrage? Don’t do it. Convert your supply chain to a wholesale supplier. Otherwise, the next time your account is placed in review, you may have to call someone like me.
Kenneth Eade www.amazonsellers.attorney is an Internet lawyer, specializing in Amazon Appeal of Amazon Suspension.