Birkenstock To Stop Selling On Amazon (@levynews)
Plagued by counterfeits and unauthorized selling on the online shopping site, the sandals company will no longer supply products to Amazon in the U.S. starting Jan. 1. Additionally, Birkenstock won’t authorize third-party merchants to sell on the site, according to a letter the company sent to several thousand retail partners on July 5.
And from a previous piece on CNBC, also by Ari Levy:
Earlier this month, CNBC.com reported on the scores of legitimate sellers that are hurting because fraudsters are knocking off their products and utilizing tactics such as paying for reviews, jumping into their listings and taking advantage of loopholes in Amazon’s logistics system. For example, Amazon commingles inventory from distributors at its fulfillment centers, so authentic products and fakes can get mixed together.
This is all stunning and despicable, and I wonder if Jeff Bezos even gives a shit.
It’s curious why this isn’t a bigger story. Amazon’s reputation has been dinged for years, first by reports of its ruthless personnel management practices (whether or not many of those practices are ethical is up for debate):
- New York Times - “Jeff Bezos and Amazon Employees Join Debate Over Its Culture”
- New York Times - “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace”
- Salon: “Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers”
- Upworthy: “The Truth Behind Amazon’s Success? It’s Kinda Evil.”
- Seattle Pi: “Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Amazon.com”
But this could be much worse for Amazon. Are you going to feel confident buying something on their site knowing you might get a knock-off? And if you are a business, are you going to tolerate damage to your brand?
The dependence that so many businesses have on Amazon is a major reason why the company hasn’t suffered financially from the counterfeit surge. Amazon’s global network of warehouses and data centers, coupled with a highly sophisticated and efficient delivery system, have produced consistent sales growth and drawn the love of Wall Street. The stock is up 52 percent in the past year and is trading near $743.
Many companies have gone all-in with Amazon and are completely reliant on them as a commerce and fulfillment platform. Birkenstock is apparently in a better position than most. As stated in the latest CNBC piece, it is privately-held and is experiencing a revival in the market, so it can walk away from Amazon and see how things go.
I buy things on Amazon occasionally, but I look for alternative sources first, and I do that more frequently than I used to. And going forward… even more frequently.