Small businesses embarking upon the big, bad world of Amazon selling will realize quickly that the competition is fierce. It’s so intense that there’s a constant price war going on. Amazon changes product prices an average of 2.5 million times daily to maintain the platform’s competitiveness.
- Some SellerEngine services may be worth it to a small business if the circumstances prove them to be a good ROI
- SellerEngine provides helpful tools for small e-commerce and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) businesses with an excellent return on investment (ROI)
- Profit Bandit can be particularly useful for product research and retail arbitrage for a small business, on and off Amazon
- The account services are too costly for a small business or new Amazon seller and generally not worth the expense
- Small businesses may derive as much or more benefit by building an e-commerce store on a platform, such as Shopify, instead of selling exclusively on Amazon
What Is SellerEngine?
SellerEngine first developed an automated repricing tool for Amazon and introduced it in 2002, just a few years after Jeff Bezos started the online marketplace. This was right after the dot-com bubble burst. Before thinking about creating software to automate inventory and pricing, SellerEngine founder Ioan Mitrea sold books on Amazon.
Mitrea later gave Amazon sellers Profit Bandit and Sellery — tools primarily designed to help sellers stay competitive through efficient repricing and inventory management.
SellerEngine also offers the following services designed to keep sellers in good stead with Amazon and avoid suspension:
- Account monitoring
- Account rescue
- Business coaching
- Listing reinstatement
SellerEngine currently has offices in three countries: the United States (Portland, Oregon), Romania (Bucharest), and the United Kingdom (London).
Determining SellerEngine’s Worth for Your Business
SellerEngine services might not be worth it for most small businesses, especially those just starting as Amazon sellers. Unless you sell big-ticket items, you’re unlikely to make back even the $750 for Account Monitoring.
SellerEngine offers everything that an Amazon seller will need in terms of account and product management. However, the only criterion for determining if it’s worth availing of their tools and services for your business is the return on investment. Will you be able to make back what you spent?
Investment in the tools is easier to justify. The Profit Bandit is almost a simple choice at $9.99 a month. Even if you don’t sell on Amazon, you can use it to find sellable products and be competitive in the general market.
SellerEngine Plus also provides a lot of value for most Amazon FBA sellers as an inventory and FBA management tool and the price tag is reasonable.
Sellery is also a possible winner if you sell many products on Amazon that would take too much time to reprice manually. Since you pay a percentage of your gross sales ― barring the $50 minimum ― the assumption is if you don’t make money, you don’t have to pay (too much). Of course, if you only sell one or a few items, the $50 might not be worth it.
When Might SellerEngine Services Be Worth It for Your Small Business?
That isn’t to say that SellerEngine’s services have no value. In the right scenarios, you might be able to justify the costs.
One scenario is when you’re a new seller and need guidance. Business Coaching can be helpful for new sellers, and since it’s an on-demand service, you only pay for what you use. If you’re not a new seller, but always getting in trouble with Amazon, Business Coaching might be just what you need.
That said, you might find that spending the $400 an hour for Business Coaching on Amazon training courses instead is better. The courses aren’t cheap by any means, but they’re comprehensive. You can also visit Amazon communities to get answers to your questions from active and experienced sellers.
Another scenario where SellerEngine services might be worth it’s when you have inventory. If you have a huge quantity of one product in the FBA inventory with a suspended listing, you might be able to justify the $750 for the Listing Reinstatement if the costs of removing them are higher.
The same applies to the $2,500 fee for Account Rescue if you have many FBA product listings under a suspended or closed account.
What Does It Do for Your E-Commerce/Amazon Business?
As an e-commerce company selling on Amazon, you might find Seller Engine’s tools and services very attractive, thanks to what they claim they can do.
While the company seems to deliver on most of its promises the only drawback is the prices of some of its services. Let’s look at some of these tools and services.
A desktop Windows application for inventory management, you can use it for order management, product listing, FBA shipment and listings management, and product research — all these on a single dashboard. SellerEngine Plus helps sellers stay competitive by comparing sales rank, selling prices, and more for products from your distributors. The subscription is $49.95 a month.
You might want to check out other inventory management software to compare them with SellerEngine Plus. ShipBob, for instance, is a free order fulfillment software with built-in inventory management that integrates with Amazon. You pay per fulfillment and see the price right on the website.
A mobile Amazon scouting app, you can use Profit Bandit for retail arbitrage and product research. Sellers can check if they can buy products easily from Walmart or other local stores and sell them on Amazon at a profit. A Profit Bandit subscription costs $9.99, and the tool is also included in the SellerEngine Plus subscription.
Ironically, SellerEngine is known more for Sellery than SellerEngine Plus because it’s the all-important repricer that works in real-time. Once it’s customized, the web-based tool can do the following tasks automatically:
- Monitor competitor prices
- Reprice products faster than Amazon
- Manages strategies such as undercutting competitors, using sales velocity to adjust private label product prices, adjusting prices for FBA items depending on age to avoid storage fees, and more
An impressive tool with many features, sellers can access it by paying 1% of their gross monthly sales―a minimum of $50 and a maximum of $2,000.
Akin to suspension insurance for Amazon sellers, subscribers to Account Monitoring benefit from the following:
- Daily checks on the account health
- Resolution of Amazon notifications
- Reinstatement of closed listings
- Addressing account suspensions
- Monitoring of performance parameters
- Advice on process improvements for better scores
- Managing negative feedback
The “premium” for the Account Monitoring service will set you back by $750 a month.
Account Rescue is an as-needed service for reinstating a suspended Amazon account. Sellers availing of the service can expect the following inclusions:
- Account activity review
- Discovery of cause for suspension
- Creation of reinstatement appeal letters (as many as necessary)
- Creation of plan of action
- Temporary customer support management to improve metrics
- Coaching on best practices
The Account Rescue standard service is $2,500. Addressing a 24-hour response time suspension drops the price to $2,000.
Amazon can be finicky when it comes to customer service, so closed or suspended listings are common. The Listing Reinstatement service takes over the reactivation process for you and SellerEngine claims a 97% success rate.
The process and inclusions are similar to the Account Rescue service. The price for this service is $750 per notification.
SellerEngine depends on its years of experience dealing with Amazon to offer Business Coaching to new and clueless Amazon sellers. The service primarily deals with assessing a case to identify needs and issues, answering questions, assisting with solving problems and advising on best practices.
The Business Coaching service will cost you $200 per half hour or $400 an hour.
Selling restricted items and brands is one of the reasons for suspension on Amazon. While you can request a lifting of category or brand restrictions Amazon may deny it. The Ungating service, which includes reviewing invoices and certificates, assessing unsuccessful requests, pointing out issues, and drafting a new request will come in handy but set you back $450 per brand or category.
Expanding to other Amazon marketplaces might seem like an easy decision, but the logistics may be complex. Signing up for the International Expansion service takes care of the following:
- Setting up an Amazon account in the new marketplace
- Providing a list of Amazon fees
- Explaining local taxes and registration requirements
- Helping add value-added tax (VAT) into the pricing
- Providing sample calculations of product costs
- Helping get permission to sell in restricted categories
- Setting up an international bank account through Payoneer
- Providing unlimited email support
The service costs $450 per marketplace but, as of this writing, SellerEngine has suspended it due to high demand.
What to Do Next?
While Amazon Prime sellers have some advantages, they must still compete with other Prime sellers. To remain competitive, they must continuously adjust their prices, based on competitor prices. Sellers can choose to do repricing manually, which is tedious and time-consuming, or use repricing tools like SellerEngine.
Overall, SellerEngine tools appear to hold their own when it comes to helping sellers stay competitive, especially small businesses. However, SellerEngine services focusing on monitoring account health and reinstating suspended accounts or listings might not be worth it for small businesses.
As you can see, much of your success as an Amazon seller depends on your strict conformity with the rules and whims of the platform. However, you can avoid a lot of these problems by simply not selling exclusively on Amazon.
As a small online retailer, you have as much chance of turning a profit through another e-commerce platform provided you choose the right one. For instance, Shopify has 29% of the market share in the U.S. and more than 1.7 million sellers, making it a significant competitor to Amazon.
Shopify isn’t an online marketplace like Amazon, so setting up your online business on the e-commerce platform gives you more freedom and less stress. And while you might be able to sell more on Amazon, you cannot discount the fact that the costs involved are higher.
Overall, SellerEngine provides handy tools and services for Amazon sellers. However, while the costs of the tools are “value for money” for your small business, its services aren’t.