As a shopper, the Amazon Marketplace is great as I have access to a wider set of products with Amazon standing behind the orders in terms of customer service. Tracking inventory and orders though must be more challenging for Amazon than just fulfilling their own inventory. Case in point -- my son has just got excited about Transformers Animated, which came out in the 2008 timeframe and thus related merchandise is hard to find. I ordered a "Pack of 4" Transformers Animated band-aids from an Amazon marketplace vendor, whose inventory was being "Fulfilled by Amazon" and thus was eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime (of which I am a member). I received only 1 box of band-aids instead of 4 and I called Amazon customer service. They pro-rated my refund since I received only 1 of the 4 boxes that I was supposed to receive. I noticed on the web site that there were 5 more in stock -- I kindly suggested to the customer service representative that they check those 5 to see if they are sitting in inventory as 1, or as packages of 4. Because if they are sitting in inventory incorrectly they could have 5 more orders fulfilled the same way with 5 more customers' children upset not having a Transformers Animated band-aid to cover a boo-boo. The customer service representative said they did not have the inventory and could not check it. Hmmm. What does it mean to be "Fulfilled by Amazon"? At least I tried to help the next 5 customers who purchased the same product.
Frustrated Shopper Suggestion
Providing a marketplace for shoppers puts additional onus and burden on the marketplace provider to make sure inventory and fulfillment go smoothly and to have operational processes in place to review and correct issues. As a marketplace provider, are you actually making money from these additional orders, or are you losing money due to customer service representatives needing to be involved in the management of the orders?