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Brands Waking Up to the Amazon Effect

Category : Blog

In a bold move, Nike has decided to pull the plug on direct retail with Amazon. Decrying that “Amazon is just a traffic aggregator that reduces friction in consumption… It doesn’t build communities,” Jefferies analyst Randy Konik hits the nail on the head.

The ‘community’ Amazon would probably express in rebuttal (if ever they answer the article) would be all the buyers attached to its service as well as its massive network of resellers who’ve long made a living conducting business on their platforms. But even looking at these groups, as an Amazon customer, I rarely interact with other buyers outside of reading some reviews which have been widely known to be plagued with fake booster testimonies for years. And it only takes one visit to the Amazon seller forums to see how disgruntled many of the sellers are with the lack of affect support and every changing anomalies putting to risk many seller’s way of life.

Two communities that are notably missing are the brand owners and manufacturers. Until recently, there really hadn’t been any true enforcement of Minimum Advertised Price to protect an IP’s value integrity, or counterfeit/copycat regulation, which are the two communities that don’t make as much vocal noise, but affect the platform drastically from on a day to day basis. As a matter of fact, in many cases, Amazon themselves are part of the ‘copycat’ community feeding off of sales metrics of items from other sellers and brands that can be easily white labeled and sold under any number of Amazon owned brand names. You can see a rather exhaustive list here , and this is from 2018. Probably many more have been added since.

As a long time reseller on Amazon, this has been a long time coming. Although Amazon has always been the golden marketplace for small entrepreneurs, in all honesty, its really just a platform that simplifies the process of facilitating a sale for a quick buck. Stay there too long, and you’ll get the community of listing leeches undercutting you on your own product offering in no time. Trying to promote a small business on this platform has become practically non-existent as Amazon has made it impossible to enable sellers to manage customer information, and put restrictions on what you can communicate to customer through messaging, packaging, and item listing. You can’t even put a return email address in your Amazon messages without the Amazon authority knocking on your virtual door. Speaking about Amazon authority, they are ruthless in their suspensions that are well known in many cases to withhold funds for months on end. With slow response time and criteria held at a highly ambiguous standard, filing an appeal for re-reinstatement is no simple task.

The articles above are absolutely correct in that Amazon is really only about furthering their own brand impression with little regard to any brand unless a hefty investment is made, but sellers don’t need to be subject to this type of treatment.

In Amazon’s defense, I do understand that their mission is to protect the consumer at all costs, but what they don’t seem to realize is that Brands, manufacturers, and sellers are also their consumers… of their services. They are treated so differently than the consumer side that in the long run, its a losing game.

Giving away the sales metrics of your products, no price control, no appearance advantage over competition, mixed within counterfeit and low quality products. Game Over.

Nike gets it. The one thing Amazon can’t sell other than for itself is a product’s brand. With that brand comes a real community completely dedicated to not the shopping platform, but the product makers, the rabid enthusiasts, and the influential fans free of copycats, counterfeits, and ‘fake’ fans. The brand isn’t in it for the quick buck, and those who invest a little more time to experience the brand, whether it be from attending a major release event or downloading an app, deserve a product that retains its value. That’s where your long term sales potential is: in the impression of not necessarily just the product, but the brand experience. When a company has customers live streaming and Instagram posting not their newly bought shoes, but the confirmation of purchase for shoes on a branded app, that’s momentum Amazon simply hasn’t figured out yet.

There will always be a space for business for Amazon, but I do feel other brands will follow suit behind Nike in the pursuit to preserve meaning in a company community and its long term loyalty of its clients. It won’t be long until many premium brands utilize Amazon like I was told by an old friend in the anime retail biz, ‘I only use Amazon to blow items out at deep discounts. The market is cutthroat with amateur sellers trying to make a quick buck. No money to be made by racing to the bottom.’




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Funko POP Disney’s Screen Slaver – A very computer relevant Disney villain dirt cheap!

Today I saw on my Report Round Up a crazy deal on a thought-provoking character from Disney’s The Incredibles 2 movie. The movie itself did quite a bit of mild virtue signaling, and an extremely well job at jabbing at some modern day social behaviors that I’ve caught myself on a couple of times (When did they change math?).

Outside of some unspectacular trope-ish super hero introductions, the initial enemy, ScreenSlaver, seemed a little generic with the ability to control people through hypnosis via screens, but as Elastigirl was zeroing in on the villain’s transmission, the villain’s monologue really struck a cord with me. It certainly got me thinking about society as a whole and how many are unconsciously manipulated through the addiction of instant access to images everywhere as made apparent when the masses finally realized that their surfing behavior was being profited on. Seriously, how else would Google have made its billions? Did everyone really think AdSense advertising was really random?

Sorry, digression… back to the figure…

I won’t ruin it here if you haven’t seen it already, but I will certainly give it a thumbs up to take the movie in at least once, and a thumbs up to buying the Funko POP Screen Slaver figure as its now on sale for less than $4 shipped on Amazon! This is ridiculously good.

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Post Halloween All too expected sale – Nightmare Before Christmas POP Figures

Category : Deals of the Day

As most would guess, the days after Halloween are riddled with sales on everything costumes, candy, and themed figures. One brand in particular that strangely never fizzled in the many years since its release is Nightmare Before Christmas. In all honesty, I never got it. The stop motion animation was a little off for me even in that time… I was more of a Ray Harryhausen fan myself, but hey, to each their own… and in this case, there’s an overwhelming majority in favor of Tim Burton’s feature. In that spirit, Amazon’s offering a special deal on the troublesome child trio that are so iconic to the image of the brand.

For under $20, get your hands on the Funko version of Lock, Shock, and Barrel! Unlike other Funko that i’m rather critical about (don’t get me started on the generic features of Soccer Stars line), these 3 turned out to look rather slick. Its a ‘Deal of the Day’ collection, so its not going to last passed this day. Happy hunting, all!

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Under-priced Funko POPs! Fortnite

Category : Deals of the Day

With the ravenous popularity of Funko’s POP Figure line, figure valuation for the collection will have a decent demand for the time being. Of course once people realize these figures aren’t in any way a decent representation of the licenses and personalities they love, the value will drop like a rock. Let’s face it: each Pop is essentially a figure of the same generic dude (lets call him Freddy) cosplaying as every character ever. They essentially scream to desperately be accepted as mainstay figures of any brand using the most basic, flat styles of designer vinyl collectibles. I mean, seriously, real fans of any major license would look to find something that truly defines the images that lay locked in their memory. POP’s are far from that. They are in my mind what I once called a ‘Quick Collectible’ akin to ‘Fast Fashion’ Cheaply made, generic in detail, quickly produced, and made in such a variety as to get something new daily.

Aside from my own sour taste of these figures, they’re still the most accessible, mobile, and affordable collectibles for a great deal of licenses because frankly speaking, most licenses aren’t worthy of figures. That being said, the purchase in rock bottom Funkos is still good for the time being from an investment point of view.

Here are some recent winners you might consider:

Fortnite is one of the hyper phenomon games that captured a generation. I consider generational because gamers my age don’t have the slightest urge to play, and we’re the seasoned veterans. When a license captures a generation, collectibles will undoubtedly become long tail opportunities. Fortnite may be one of the only licenses for specific age groups as its one of the only brands that has taken hold of major channels of exposure and promotion, namely the PC gaming and YouTube.

Fortnite POPs! for under $5 shipped!

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Nov. 5 2019 – Cult Movie Classic – Office Space

Ready to dress up your work office with some 3D flare? Looking to show your entrepreneurial spirit to all the Bobs? Post Bevis and Butthead / pre-King of the Hill, Mike Judge produced a thought provoking comedy that helped shape a generation’s thought of what success looks like in an era where professional duty clashed with duty to oneself.

Check out these Funko POP’s from the 90’s movie classic Office Space! For less than $4 shipped, you can have your very own flair laden maiden, Joanna, or the iconic Red Swingline endorsing Milton.

The Milton figure I feel has really good legs to grow in value as the special price on Bill Lumbergh has already passed and prices have gotten back to its MSRP.  Milton also had some additional features made by the director, so he’s got fairly more cultural recognition as a ‘staple’ character even though Joanna was played by the incredible beautiful and breakout star of the entire cast, Jennifer Aniston.

Grab them while you can, and maybe in the next wave they can include a Micheal Bolton and bat wielding Samir.

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