Affected by the wave of Amazon bans, what happened to the sellers who were banned from more than 200 accounts last year?
In June last year, Tian Wei, a post-95s Amazon seller, was banned from more than 200 accounts for manipulating comments and violating platform policies. In July, he prepared 5 accounts to continue operating the original category. After selling houses and cars to extend the life of the company, 10 months later, he still completely withdraws from the original category.
In April of this year, Tian Wei sold out his account reluctantly, and the scale of his Shenzhen company also dropped sharply from 300 people at the peak to 5 people.
However, as a young cross-border boss, Tian Wei did not give up the field he was familiar with, but started from a brand new category and "started from scratch" on Amazon. However, this time, Tian Wei seems to have a deeper understanding of cross-border e-commerce business.
Drop into rock bottom!Shenzhen post-95 sellers sold out all Amazon accounts
On the last day of 2021, Yien.com released "Accounts with annual sales of 800 million are blocked! Shenzhen sellers rushed into Amazon's headquarters…" In the article, the Shenzhen seller Tian Wei had more than 200 Amazon accounts blocked in June last year, and the store was deducted as much as 200 million yuan.
Tian Wei operates adult products and has his own factory. Taking advantage of the east wind of cross-border e-commerce, his company has developed rapidly in 2018 and 2019, of which the sales in 2019 reached 800 million yuan. The company in Shenzhen responsible for e-commerce operations Together with the employees at the Zhejiang supply chain end, there are more than 700 people.
In June 2021, all accounts of Tian Wei's company were blocked by Amazon overnight for violating the platform policy, and the brand was also banned. In order to save himself, Tian Wei rushed into Amazon's Seattle headquarters, but to no avail, he sold 3 suites and a car in Shenzhen to continue the life of the company.
In July, Tian Wei, who lost all accounts, prepared 5 Amazon accounts and continued to operate the adult product category, but it did not achieve results, and the company's business went from bad to worse. Many problems have put Tian Wei in a difficult position.
First of all, the raw material prices of the Zhejiang factory supplying Tianwei rose sharply. Under the epidemic, the raw materials shipped from the United States were hit by the rising sea freight prices . Later, due to the domestic epidemic, the factory could not ship normally, the production capacity was greatly reduced, and the supply of raw materials was greatly reduced. Chain costs have risen sharply.
Secondly, it is difficult to improve the ranking of the company's new accounts and obtain traffic after the operations such as swiping orders and reviews cannot be performed. Due to the special category, the platform has certain restrictions on advertising, so the operation of new accounts has not improved for a long time.
Finally, manpower and financial resources still need to be invested in the operation of the new account. After the Amazon account ban, the 200 million funds of Tian Wei’s account are still in a frozen state, and the problem of capital turnover is a fatal blow to the company.
At the beginning of this year, Shenzhen encountered an epidemic again. At that time, Tian Wei failed to return to Shenzhen in his hometown in Hunan. In March, he had a hunch that the five Amazon accounts he was running were not in a good situation. The actual situation was there, and the order data was also visualized, and the follow-up situation could be imagined. Tian Wei faintly felt that on the Amazon platform, perhaps it would be impossible for him to become a human being.
Therefore, Tian Wei in his hometown tried his best to find a way to save the company. After selling the house and car in Shenzhen, Tian Wei planned to sell the real estate he had purchased in his hometown in Hunan. In his own words, although the real estate in his hometown did not It is worth a lot of money, but it can help the company to support it.
While selling houses to supplement the company's finances, Tian Wei tried to open up other sales channels to increase orders. I heard from my peers that there is a market for live broadcasts like in China, and there is also a certain market abroad. Tian Wei, who has no English foundation, did not hesitate too much, so he plunged into this track and opened an account for live broadcast.
The editor asked him tentatively: "Can foreign consumers understand the English you speak?" Tian Wei said: "With simple Chinese-style English, foreigners can still understand. How can there be an order in the first place?"
Accounts need to accumulate slowly, as do traffic and orders. After a few days of live broadcast, Tian Wei still got nothing, and this channel cannot be done overnight to quickly make up for the decline in Amazon's orders.
When Tian Wei tried to save the company at home, many employees of his Shenzhen company had not yet finished the Spring Festival holiday. To a certain extent, the company account was also neglected. Various reasons piled up and became the "last straw that broke the camel's back". .
Later, the epidemic situation improved, Tian Wei returned to the Shenzhen company and began to plan the next step. In the end, he decided to close all Amazon accounts.
After struggling for about 9 months, Tian Wei's company's 5 new accounts for the adult human were unsustainable. In April this year, he sold out all the Amazon accounts in one go, and he was determined to completely remove the adult human. Get out.
According to Tian Wei, the five Amazon accounts sold a total of more than 20,000 yuan. After selling all Amazon accounts , Tian Wei's company's Amazon business had basically stopped in April. At this time, it was only about 10 months before all his company's accounts were blocked by Amazon.
Under the tide of Amazon 's title, Tian Wei's company fell directly to the bottom in just 10 months.
The number of employees in the Shenzhen company has plummeted from more than 300 to 5
In fact, Tian Wei's company has been downsizing since the account was banned in June. At the beginning of this year, Tian Wei left more than 30 employees responsible for e-commerce operations in Shenzhen , mainly responsible for Amazon and domestic Pinduoduo business.
In April of this year, after the Amazon account was sold, the company naturally did not have so many manpower needs. On April 23, Tian Wei clearly remembered this day. All employees who were willing to stay on that day could choose to stay, and employees who were unwilling to stay were compensated by the company in accordance with the labor law.
At the end of April, there were only five people left in the Shenzhen company responsible for e-commerce operations. At the peak of this company, there were more than 300 people, and now it has been greatly reduced to 5 people. These 5 people are mainly responsible for the domestic e-commerce business Pinduoduo.
What happened to Tian Wei and his company may be a microcosm of many sellers who were banned from accounts last year. Under the circumstance that the accounts are blocked and the funds are frozen, the companies of these sellers are struggling to support. Some companies have reduced the scale by improving personnel efficiency and streamlining products. After a few months or half a year, the company has no capital turnover. ability, it is difficult to sustain it for a long time.
At present, Tian Wei still has 200 million funds in the more than 200 accounts blocked by Amazon . When it comes to the 200 million funds, Tian Wei is very helpless: "Because it involves illegal swiping, my account is now judged as a second swipe by Amazon. If I swipe the first time, the Amazon platform will freeze the funds for 90 days, and the follow-up funds will be slow. Come back slowly, if it is the second brush, there is basically no possibility of your funds coming back, which is equivalent to being sentenced to death.”
Tian Wei introduced that because he was waiting for the funds in the account to solve the urgent needs of the company, he consulted lawyers and some colleagues, and the reply was all: 200 million funds basically could not be recovered. This loss can only be borne by oneself.
The same is true for Tian Wei’s colleagues who have had their accounts blocked like him. Nearly a year has passed, and most sellers ’ accounts blocked by Amazon have not been unblocked, and the funds in the accounts have not been recovered.
At present, Tian Wei has not seen any cases of unblocking of peer accounts and funds. Tian Wei introduced that everyone was anxious to get the money back in the account, but everyone consulted the cost of the lawsuit. One account cost about 100,000 yuan. If there are more than 200 accounts, this is a lot of money. The point is that the lawyer in charge of the lawsuit cannot guarantee that your account can be unblocked and the funds can be unfrozen. When there is no hope of unblocking, who wants to pay an extra fee?
When it comes to the issue that the funds may never be recovered, Tian Wei does not complain as much as he imagined. He said that life is full of twists and turns, and there are always profits and losses in doing business. It is like playing a game. Since you are in the game, you must afford it. Faced with the fact that you cannot change, you have to accept it, and then work hard to change it.
At present, Tian Wei is also constantly seeking changes. After selling all his Amazon accounts, he has not given up on the field he is familiar with. Instead, he moved Amazon's operations from Shenzhen to Humen, where he continued his cross-border e-commerce business. But this time, he made a big change.
Change the category track and return to Amazon
The category of adult products is the hardest hit area. After the incident, Tian Wei and many other factories and merchants sought a way to survive. Considering the particularity of the original category being difficult to promote, some sellers decisively changed the category. Tian Wei continued to struggle in this category for more than half a year, but there was still no improvement. He could only give up operating adult products on Amazon, and finally joined the army of replacing the category track.
At present, Tian Wei's new company near Humen Wanda has opened for less than a month, and the team building is still in progress. Taking advantage of Humen's supply chain advantages, Tian Wei's company has set the main categories as 3C, clothing and daily necessities, and still ships through FBA.
Compared with the previous focus on adult products, the "grocery store" opened by Tianwei's company is obviously a distribution model. In the context of the high-quality model in the industry, this change seems to be reversing. But Tian Wei didn't care. He frankly said that now he is a porter.
Its Humen company currently has 10 accounts, each with about two or three categories, to do the preliminary category and product testing work. "It used to be a boutique product, but now it's a distribution store. There are many products in a store, and new products are constantly being added every day. If there are products that perform well, they will be advertised."
Regarding the distribution model, the industry mostly thinks that this is just a pile of product types, which is big but not refined. The company that does distribution will be detained as "not motivated" to some extent, and even distribution operations are in the chain of contempt for boutique operations. under. The distribution model is declining day by day, and it seems to be out of date.
Tian Wei does not deny the value of the boutique model, he knows that there are certain thresholds for making a boutique. When the seller itself has an advantage in the corresponding category, or the powerful seller has mastered the core technology of the product and can carry out exclusive sales, it is natural to take the boutique route, and the product will even form a brand premium. However, if there is no technical barrier, it is difficult for the product to have a real moat, and it is difficult to avoid being imitated or even surpassed.
The positioning of the boutique is high. In Tian Wei's view, distribution is a more pragmatic thing for new sellers who are new to the industry, or sellers who don't have a lot of capital and technology.
"A small seller who has just entered the business, he doesn't know which one is better to sell. Anyway, he can always place an order when I distribute the goods. One account makes seven or eight orders a day, or ten orders. If there are more accounts, the total shipment volume is ok. . Once you have one or two hits, you can continue to put these products on the shelves. This is the same model abroad. You said that the distribution is outdated? He is actually not that fast, unless the sellers are already very introverted. "
However, Tian Wei is also very clear that the distribution model can only make a small amount of money, and it is difficult to earn big money. The categories it is currently doing are significantly less profitable than the previous adult products, and they can only earn ten yuan or twenty or thirty yuan per order.
For distribution sellers, the biggest risk is the accumulation of inventory that takes up a lot of money and eventually overwhelms the company. At this point, Tian Wei's burden is much lighter.
After the industry's reputation as a big seller, it is often possible to get the billing period from the supplier. "The supplier will willingly put the goods to you to sell, and this is what the big seller looks at. The payment is made once a month, and the payment will only be paid when the product is sold, and the unsold items will be placed there. Put the goods with me first, and then you can settle the payment after you sell them, and then the customer's money is also given to him, which is equivalent to earning the middle money." Tian Wei also follows this model.
When some products sell well, you can prepare some goods to FBA; for products that do not sell well, you can ship them after placing the order. "Think about it, you have hundreds of products a day, and each product has 5 or 10 products, so how much capital do you need. You only place an order when you have an order, and your financial pressure is very light, except for labor. What's the cost?"
In addition to Amazon, Tian Wei's cross-border business is also doing Alibaba International Station, which are two channels he is relatively good at.
Pay attention to platform rules and stay in the cross-border circle
Tian Wei is a seller who has been educated by the market. After paying a huge price for stepping on the red line, he paid more attention to the platform rules and began to act within the framework of the rules.
About a year ago, Tian Wei's original more than 200 accounts were blocked. The main reason was his large-scale brushing, which began to explode after the platform began to deal with it.
Tian Wei introduced that the adult product category cannot be advertised directly on Amazon, but can only be implanted through a third party, and this kind of advertising is expensive and the effect is not good. After some exploration, most sellers of the same category believe that the effect of swiping is better. This operation is very common in the industry, and different merchants are only the difference between more and less swiping. Because of this, many such sellers have been purged in the wave of bans.
Now that the category has been changed, Tian Wei has put aside the original set of brushing operations.
Taking daily necessities as an example, sellers can increase exposure by placing advertisements normally. It is neither necessary nor in line with platform regulations, and the cost is high. It costs at least 40-80 yuan to swipe an order, and it is more feasible to use this money to put in advertisements to attract traffic.
"No matter which platform it's on, people make a platform (there is a cost), and now there is no free traffic, and there is paid traffic. Just like if you spend money to rent a house, I have to pay the house, and there is no rent for open-air street vendors. It’s just called prostitution, but if I advertise, I pay to buy traffic, which is legal and legal.” Compared with the previous dance on the tip of a knife, Tianwei’s current business model is obviously much less risky.
After the account ban incident, most sellers avoided brushing orders. In order to reduce the risk of lightning strikes, many companies have completely banned order brushing and began to insist on pure white hat operations. However, compared to the previous wild stage, the operational space for operators is much smaller. Smashing advertisements to rank rankings has become the highlight of operations, and advertising bidding on the platform has risen.
"Everyone is advertising, and the ones with the highest prices go up. Now they don't swipe orders, but the traffic pool is so big. If you want to rush forward a little, the advertising costs must be higher than others. There are only a few pages per page. If you want to rank in the top 20 or even higher, an ad will cost at least a few dollars to click, and if it is too low, it will definitely not open.” Tian Wei said.
The current business development is very different from the previous one, but Tian Wei adapts quickly. After all, regardless of the category and business model, profitability is the key. This post-95s seller who has suffered a lot of ups and downs has made many people feel emotional, but he still has plenty of time to correct and expand his business.
In the same period last year, there were not a few adult product sellers who were banned like Tian Wei, but even if they suffered this heavy blow, they still believed that cross-border business could not be lost, and the only thing to think about was how to continue.
Tian Wei also thinks so. He is very optimistic about cross-border e-commerce. This is an industry that has become popular in recent years, and it is also the general trend of cross-border trade in the future. He will continue to work hard in the cross-border circle.
The sellers who have been involved in the wave of titles before, have reached the tens of billions of sales, and have placed sales of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales. Judging from the financial report data of the top sellers, the impact of the title is still huge. Tian Wei believes that these big sales will take at least a year or two to gradually recover. There are also industry views that the "rehabilitation period" of big sales will be as long as two or three years, or even longer.
In contrast, some smaller companies don't even have the chance to buffer, their previous investments are cleared with one click and they have to start from scratch.
In contrast, some smaller companies don't even have the chance to buffer, their previous investments are cleared with one click and they can only start from scratch. Such as Tian Wei's company. For this platform rectification, some people were terrified, and some people who pursued compliance applauded. Whatever the trigger, Amazon's iron fist stunned the seller base.
Now on Amazon, many sellers say that the profit decline is serious, and the business is very hard compared to the previous two years. But outside the circle, the epidemic has impacted many industries, and the cross-border e-commerce industry led by Amazon still has a strong appeal. "A lot of people around me still think Amazon makes the most money," said one seller.
The upward development of cross-border e-commerce has also instilled confidence in practitioners.
According to data from the General Administration of Customs, China's cross-border e-commerce import and export volume in the first quarter was 434.5 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 0.5%, of which exports were 310.4 billion yuan, an increase of 2.6%. Industry-related support policies are also being released. Recently, the Ministry of Commerce, together with relevant departments, has studied policy measures including facilitating the return and exchange of cross-border e-commerce exports, which is of great benefit to promoting the development of the industry.
Overall, cross-border e-commerce is still fertile ground.