Challenges I encountered in Amazon FBA:
If you’ve just started to binge watch the mountains of Amazon FBA content on YouTube, then I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that achieving success with Amazon FBA when you start selling is a walk in the park that doesn’t involve stress, problems and failure.. and that’s because the majority of Amazon FBA videos that you come across online are taught by people that want to make it seem as though selling on Amazon is the easiest thing in the world that doesn’t involve problems at all.. but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, despite me being an Amazon seller for years and selling over 300,000 products to customers and generating over a million on Amazon, I’ve made countless Amazon FBA mistakes, sometimes with repercussions so severe that I’ve been seconds away from giving up. So to show you that failure on Amazon happens to everyone if you’re currently experiencing challenges yourself, or if you just want to know what selling on Amazon can REALLY involve, let’s run through my biggest Amazon FBA mistakes and how I solved them.
Sued For Patent Infringement!
In the first half of 2019, I launched my second product on Amazon, and after just 4 months of selling it was already generating me nearly £70,000 in a single month. Life was good. Until one fateful day, I loaded my phone up and saw an email from Amazon that turned my entire world upside down. My best selling product has been permanently removed from sale without any warning whatsoever. After calming myself down and reading the email in detail, I saw that another company had made a formal complaint, stating that my product was infringing on a patent that they owned – something that I was completely unaware of.
At this point I was in shock and was at a complete low because I had around 2000 units of this product in stock and knew that unless I found a resolution, my Amazon FBA business would crumble and fail. So I reached out to the complainant based in Germany, apologised for my error, and asked if I could please sell out of my remaining stock. The answer was a firm no, and a request for me to send a huge lump sump amount as a result of patent infringement. I was gutted – and that’s when I thought, if I can’t recover this situation, there’s no other option but to close down the business and accept failure.
But because I’d experienced taste of success with Amazon FBA before and I knew just how sweet it tasted, there was no way I was going to give up and accept failure. I did some research online about ways to resolve patent infringement, and following that made a proposal to the patent holder that would give them a small upfront payment and an additional amount for each unit that they allowed me to sell.
After about 2 weeks of email exchanges, despite initially being convinced that my Amazon FBA business was about to fail, the complainant agreed to let me continue selling until I ran out of stock, which gave me my listing back and the opportunity to have the product’s design changed so that it wasn’t infringing on their patent anymore. Problem solved.
Banned From Selling On Amazon!
Whilst I’d love to say that nearly getting sued for patent infringement is the only time I’ve failed on Amazon… it’s not. It’s just one of my many Amazon FBA mistakes. Another time, I was happily selling on Amazon, making a nice daily profit and feeling generally pretty upbeat. All of a sudden, I received an email from Amazon saying my bank account details were invalid, which I thought was pretty odd given I’d been using it just fine since I started selling. After logging into my account I was greeted by a huge message from saying I’d been banned from selling on Amazon due to giving invalid bank details. I immediately panicked and somehow made things worse by starting to change things in my account, adding new bank details and even more, which then resulted in me getting another email saying I was also banned for failing verification. Oh sh*t.
Despite my bank details being very much correct and it being obvious that this was an Amazon error, I was still convinced that failure was on the cards, particularly when I kept getting auto responses from Amazon in a different language whenever I emailed to see what was happening. But, like any entrepreneur knows – failure is not an option. So I kept being persistent and continued to chase, and after sending in a scan of my bank statement and praying to the Amazon gods for forgiveness, my account was reinstated and I was allowed to sell again on Amazon. Hooray.
Trading Standards Banned My Product!
Another time I encountered failure with Amazon FBA… of all days, was on my wedding day. This one was a real low point for me. I was having a nice leisurely stroll through the park just before getting married, when I decided to check how my Amazon sales were doing. Rather than being greeted with the lovely big orange sales bars that you see on the app, instead, I was shown a love letter from amazon telling me that they’d removed one of my best selling products from sale for a safety related reason.
At the time, this warning didn’t cause me too concern because a lot of my products are in the electronics category so amazon do quite frequently remove listings automatically if their safety documentation needs refreshing – which I can easily provide. So, fortunately I was able to get married and then go on honeymoon without it being on my mind too much.
However, on the 4th day of being on honeymoon, I was greeted with another email that once again turned my Amazon selling world upside down. It was an email from Trading Standards saying that THEY were the ones that requested that my product was removed from sale, because when they’d inspected it at customs, it had failed their safety tests. And this immediately panicked me and caused fail sirens to go off in my head.
After I’d calmed myself down and read their email in more detail, I couldn’t believe it – the reason the product had failed their tests, wasn’t because of a safety issue, it was because of an issue with the labelling on the product itself, which me absolutely fuming, because it was basically some absolute gremlin that had snitched on me and caused me to lose my listing and possibly thousands of units that I could no longer sell.
Just like with every other times that I’d been close to failure, I calmed myself down and put my solutions hat on. In this case, there wasn’t much I could do other than to accept that it was my fault the product didn’t have the right labelling on it, and then recall all of the units from Amazon’s warehouse to a storage facility, and then along with my wife, sticker on the symbol that Trading Standards said was missing on to over 3000 units. A complete pain that took around 6 months to gradually fix, but a hard lesson learnt – get inspections, and make sure your packaging and product have all the mandatory markings.
Attacked With Fake Reviews!
The first product that I ended up selling on Amazon, became a fairly big success within just a few months – having made £30k in monthly revenues after just three months – all with a nice 30% profit margin. It was an amazing feeling to have when I realised that thousands of strangers from around the country were choosing my product over others, but unfortunately, my competitors weren’t too happy about that and as a result started attacking my product with 1 star reviews – one after each other. In total, my product got hit with 12 1-star reviews, which pretty much killed my product’s sales. Over the course of 2 weeks, my sales went from 50 a day all the way down to pretty much zero, which was gutting, especially given I had over 2000 units in stock that id just paid for, which now weren’t selling at all.
I was really feeling sorry for myself and just about to accept failure, until I decided that I was not going to let the bullies beat me. Once I’d done a bit of investigating, I discovered a number of groups where people were getting paid to leave bad reviews on listings – absolutely outrageous. And this is what my competitors were doing – paying strangers to try and bring me down, which only made me more determined to beat them. So I collected all of the evidence that I managed to find, put together an email and sent it off to Amazon with all of my proof – and within a week, the reviews had been removed and my sales eventually returned to normal. Not a nice experience whatsoever, but I prevailed in the end, despite being this close to failing and giving up.
Over the past 5 years of selling on Amazon, I’ve dealt with multiple events that looked like they were about to completely destroy my business and cause me to fail. But, because of my commitment to success and my tenacity, I’ve never let bullies, competitors, bots and trading standards win – I’ve always found a solution to turn things around despite it being incredibly hard at the time. And whilst each occasion that I’ve encountered failure has felt like I was being taken to hell and back, as of today, they just feel like blips that haven’t ultimately impacted my business’s overall success. Because of that I’m so glad that instead of giving up and accepting failure for each time something bad happened, I found solutions, fought the problem, and won.
Now I’m not saying that would I want to go through any of my past failures again, but I’ve no doubt that as my Amazon business continues to grow, there are going to be many more failures and challenges to come – it’s just a part of business. Understanding and accepting that business comes with highs and lows is something that helps to keep you grounded and focused on improving at all times, and whilst some of the Amazon FBA sellers and gurus out there try to hide this business model does provide lows, you should know that for every success story that you hear and see, behind that will be stories of fails, stress and pain. But the difference between a winner and loser in this game, is the winners don’t give up when they experience fails. They find solutions, so that the only possibility left is to win.
So if you have experienced failure yourself as an Amazon seller and you’re thinking of giving up on because it’s not as easy as others seem to be finding it – please don’t! I promise you, that if you keep going and looking for ways to improve, you will be rewarded by your efforts – just like I have.
I hope you found my Amazon FBA mistakes and failures entertaining and motivational and you now understand that my path to success hasn’t been down to experiencing no challenges at all, but due to a refusal to ever give up over what I see as a once in a lifetime opportunity that is hugely rewarding. So don’t give up, find solutions, and I’ll see you next time.
If you want to know more about my Amazon FBA journey, here’s My Honest Amazon FBA Review (4 Years!). If you want to know more about the challenges I encountered, here’s The Top 5 Challenges of Selling on Amazon and How to Overcome Them.
If you want to learn how you can create an Amazon FBA business yourself, then check out my free training where I run through my exact 5 step strategy that I’ve repeatedly followed to continue launching successful products.
Or, if you’re ready to begin your journey and want to start with the best chances of success and be mentored by me, check out the Smashers Academy.