The Merge Nightmare

Glenn is a reader and regular commenter on Tamebay and sometimes he writes for us, sharing his experiences as an ecommerce trader. Today he shares his experiences of merged listings on Amazon:

MergeAnybody who has ever bought or sold on Amazon will be aware that many products are duplicated and that identical or very similar listings often exist for one product. There are several reasons for identical listings, some legitimate and some not. Apparently if a product is ‘Manufactured’ by a different manufacturer then the product listing isn’t considered duplicate.

When I listed an item of nightwear on an existing product page I received a rather snotty email from the company director stating that although my product might look like theirs it was not the same product, because their product had their own brand label and was manufactured solely for them. Civil action for breach of “intellectual copyright” i.e. the photographs was threatened and I backed down and created a near identical product listing. The product was identical in every way except the label and their photographs were ten times better than mine. I would have loved Amazon to merge the two listings, but apparently they are considered to be different products.

There are however hundreds if not thousands of duplicate listings where a seller has decided that the existing listing isn’t for them and they create a new product page. When you see the quality of some listing which include text like “Free postage”, “No returns allowed” or other totally inappropriate wording in the title you can understand why a seller might wish to create a new product listing page.

There are also many duplicate listings which Amazon decides to merge and therein lies the problem.

I have experience of one product a ‘Fruit of the Loom’ shirt being merged twice with another ‘Fruit of the Loom’ product and it took about 6 emails and several telephone calls to get the products unmerged. This product was merged, unmerged and then merged and unmerged again. Time and effort I could have used more productively.

Unfortunately things aren’t much better when two identical products are merged. Ideally the other product is merged with yours, but it could easily be the other way around and your product is merged with somebody else’s. If you are not happy with any of the text or images or any other part of the merged product be prepared to write emails to Amazon requesting they amend or correct matters.

The most common fault in my experience is that a products size or colour variation is shown twice i.e. your size and colour and also the other person’s size and colour. A potential buyer looking to select a particular size and colour is given two options and either option will only contain the product of one seller.

One solution is to permit sellers to create new product listing in “draft” and that the listing doesn’t go live until approved by Amazons catalogue team.