I'm writing this as an awareness article. I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer but I spend many days and nights thinking about this topic.
Many paintball retailers (including www.trademygun.com
) sell on Amazon. Amazon is a huge marketplace that attracts millions of buyers. When you buy something from Amazon you always pay Amazon. When you receive the item it may have been shipped by Amazon or by the Retailer (like trademygun).
There are at least three types of companies that own the inventory that is being sold on Amazon:
1) The retailer (like trademygun)
2) The Manufacturer (in the paintball world a good example is Virtue)
3) Amazon (they actually buy inventory from places like Valken, Kee, etc)
In the business world it is common practice to have a Manufacturer sell to a Store (ie, the distributor, middleman, etc) and then have the store sell to the consumer.
I think it's wrong for a Manufacturer to sell directly to the consumer.
So let's get back to Amazon.
As previously noted, I therefore think it is wrong for the Paintball Manufacturer (like Virtue) to sell on Amazon. They are selling to our customers.
Is it ok for the Paintball Manufacturer to sell to Amazon ?
I think most Paintball Manufacturers consider Amazon a customer / store (like Walmart for example). I hate to agree with them but they are probably right.
I could go into a dozen reasons why I would disagree, but instead I'll just point out a few things that are note worthy. These are my opinions and may not be 100% factual. However, I've sold online since 1998 and spend my life researching online sales related trends. I think most of my points are accurate.
1) Amazon.com is just another website. Amazon is in the business of using other stores to figure out high velocity selling items. They make at least 15% from every sales dollar sold on their website (and they never have to own the inventory). As soon as these great selling items are found out, Amazon sources the products for themselves. They have all the data they need to make BIG buys and get the very best price. Amazon then takes control of the "buy box" and essentially shuts down all the other stores selling the same item on Amazon. Now instead of making 15% on the sales price, they make much more (they sell at retail just like our stores).
I wish I would have thought of this. Genius.
2) Amazon will always have a cost advantage over a store that sells on Amazon. Amazon doesn't have to pay the 15% fee charged to the other stores.
3) Over time, Amazon will put all the other stores out of business (on amazon.com). As soon as they pick up a product from a mfg, the store that was selling the item stops selling it.
As you can see this is a real puzzle.
If stores stopped selling on Amazon, Amazon would never find the best selling items and therefore wouldn't take over the sales on said products.
If Manufacturers stopped selling TO Amazon and ON Amazon, their loyal stores (The Paintball Fields and Stores that Keep This Industry Alive) would keep a sales channel that is slowly being stolen from us.