Amazon sellers launch the Online Merchants Guild

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It was revealed last week at the Prosper Show in Las Vegas that Amazon sellers are being invited to join an Online Merchants Guild with the aim of providing a collective voice for Amazon merchants. The spur for the initiative is the threat of an online sales tax in the USA which has spooked many online retailers. As it stands, opposing an online sales tax will be the first priority for the new organisation. It’s reported that just about 100 businesses have expressed an interest in joining the Guild.

The brains behind the guild are Chris McCabe, who is a former Amazon employee and runs the consulting firm Ecommercechris.com and Paul Rafelson, a Pace University law professor. At the moment it appears to have a purely US focus.

The Online Merchants Guild is an organization run by online merchants like you. Our primary purpose is to advocate for what’s in the best interest of all of our members, and to represent our members when our community faces challenges that significantly impact their business. Today, we find that our biggest challenges in 2018 are sales tax, intellectual property and trade policy. Tomorrow, the challenges we face might be completely different.
– Online Merchants Guild website

Fees for membership vary and are dependent on the volume of online sales you make, with the lowest tier costing $100 for businesses selling up to $100k per year. But bigger businesses will be required to pay more. You can find the costs on the Online Merchants Guild website.

There have been attempts to establish similar organisations in the past for online merchants but they have tended to have narrow user bases. Two key challenge face such endeavours. Firstly, such a diverse group of retailers have variable needs and establishing priorities is difficult. They also require that marketplaces recognise the organisation as a legitimate lobbying organisation and that’s not easy.

18 Responses

  1. Looks like a way to line the pockets of ecommercechris. What exactly do you get for a $25000 a year subscription?

    No thanks!

  2. Is this a not for profit organisation? This needs to be disclosed and made clear from day one.

  3. silly sods
    if their doing it for money ,amazon will just pay them off
    if they start to cause an itch

  4. Just to talk about the Online Sales Tax thing.

    As a seller in the UK who sells into the US via online marketplaces from the UK, a barrier to growth (via warehousing in the US) in the US is the complex Sales tax system.

    Amazon currently add sales tax to all orders that we send to Washington State.

    Its my understanding that Amazon collect it and pass it on.

    We do not get the tax, and therefore do not have to do any returns.

    So, if this was rolled out country wide, it would break down the barriers for me to do more business in the US.

    I am not sure this is the same as the Online Sales Tax that is being muted, but if it is, its something that i would like to see.

    In a trip to Atlanta earlier this year, my bill actually showed a “beer tax”, not really relevant to this thread, but i thought it quite amusing.

    In a general Sales Tax scenario, i would also welcome it as a blanket decision country wide because then every seller (or marketplace) would have to charge it and account for it and, in theory, no seller would have a tax advantage when setting prices.

    One thing i have learnt when trying to expand into the US.:

    Whilst they are the capitol of capitalism, its only on their terms.

  5. some form of a blanket online sales tax is inevitable ,
    for the revenue its just such a rich and obvious picking to ignore

  6. I think it is totally ridiculous to suggest that joining a trade organisation is a waste of time and money. RAVAS and VATfraud.org have had enormous success combating firstly the Channel Island LVCR scam and then the Chinese fraudsters. Both are not funded and essentially do it for free. I have run RAVAS for years and I’m pretty much close to not going any further with it for free ….. so stop moaning grow some balls stop relying on individuals who do this for nothing and get together with a properly funded trade body unless you want to continue being abused by those who can afford it. You need people directly engaged with Government and that costs money. RAVAS supports this idea and wishes OMG well provided it does not end up in anyone’s pocket. Paul has already done a good job in the USA .

  7. northumbrian ” we decide how useful and who ,
    were not funding Crusades’s and political agendas cart Blanche” Yes you do that by joining it….

  8. thats why were not joining it
    we are in business to pay the rent not rule the world

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