Spotlight on…Chaim Morgan
Business Name and Position: Refund Sniper, Director of Business Development
Number of Employees: 13
Location: Headquarters in Woodmere, NY, with office in Monroe, NY, a team in Israel, and a satellite office in Clifton, NJ.
Years in Business: 5plus
What is Refund Sniper?
We are a team of specialists who help our clients, who are Amazon sellers, identify and recover refunds from Amazon. We accomplish this by analyzing their data and monitoring their inventory, lost and damaged goods, and returns to ensure maximum refunds. Our software also keeps track of their products to ensure that every item is accounted for- either in the hands of the customer or credited back to our client’s account.
What’s the story behind your company’s launch?
Noah, who is our founder and CEO, used to be in the wholesale spice business and also sold spices on and to Amazon with Seller Central and Vendor Central. For those who know Noah, he is a real numbers guy. As he would review his sales, he began to realize that the numbers simply did not match up. Noah began to tinker with the various reports that were available on both platforms and began realizing that there were quite a bit of discrepancies that would account for the gaps in his numbers. He began filing cases with Amazon and began getting reimbursed by bringing this data to their attention! Then, for amusement, he did it for a friend on their account and was met with equally surprising results. Then for another friend, then a relative…and before long, Refund Sniper was born. He has since sold out of the spice business and now operates Refund Sniper full time!
Who is the typical Refund Sniper client?
The typical Refund Sniper client is anyone who has sold anything on Amazon through Seller Central or to Amazon through Vendor Central. We have no specific target customer in terms of account size or sales volume. If your account is active and has or had sales data in it, we will audit it!
Why would a seller need your services?
There is a lot that can go wrong with a seller’s inventory once it hits Amazon’s warehouse that can cause discrepancies. Inventory can go missing in the inbound/receiving stage; it can get damaged or lost in transit between fulfillment centers or at a fulfillment center; it can get disposed of incorrectly; or it can simply go discrepant or missing. The problem is that the data is spread out over multiple reports that need to be pieced together to understand what happened with every unit of inventory! Sellers generally do not have this knowledge, or they are simply too busy trying to build their business and do not have time or resources to start reconciling inventory.
What type of strategies do you use to increase awareness and development of your business?
Great question! Most of Refund Sniper business comes by way of referrals or word of mouth. We have a very generous referral program that awards a $250 Amazon gift card referral bonus for every account referred to us that signs up to use our service. Some people refer business to us without even realizing it and are thrilled when they find a surprise $250 Amazon gift card waiting for them! I am very active on LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is a powerful platform in the business world and has the potential to drive lots of business if leveraged the right way. I know some fellow LinkedIn members say they get 25 – 40% of their business through that platform! I do my best to post content of value that is relevant and also entertaining, which helps get the Refund Sniper message out there.
Trade shows have fallen by the wayside for the time being, so we participate in some virtual shows and networking events. Refund Sniper also works with lots of agencies to host virtual presentations where we discuss Amazon refunds and reimbursements, and also topics that pertain to overall Amazon e-com profitability.
A lot of this is also about education. Many sellers are not even aware that Amazon could lose or damage inventory that would not be reimbursed without a specific claim. Other sellers think that this is all about “missing from inbound” (the first step where products can go missing or rouge when they get in the warehouse door) ,which they can reconcile themselves and are shocked to learn that there is so much more to the reimbursement scene than that.
What risks are sellers taking by using Amazon as a platform?
Let me begin this by saying that Amazon is one of the most amazing opportunities to have ever hit the business world. Amazon is an extremely powerful tool if leveraged correctly. Amazon is like a machine with many moving parts, and all the various parts need to work in sync in order for the machine to work properly. Anyone can sign up to sell on Amazon. Just thinking that you will sign up for Amazon, send in some products, make some sales, and turn a profit is not a very realistic approach. There are a host of places where profits can bleed right out the back door including PPC (pay per click) fees for not following protocol, incorrect details entered for a listing, and of course, unaccounted for inventory. There are reputable companies out there that can help sellers in any of these spaces which helps ensure overall profitability.
What are the best products to sell?
As far as profitable categories go, that is always changing. Home and kitchen products have done historically well, as did sports products, and toys and games. However, many of these markets are saturated and might be difficult to compete in. The best advice I have is for sellers to do their homework and make sure they are crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s before launching an Amazon business.
What other online platforms do you deal with?
We have been asked if we can audit Walmart and some other e-com platforms. We choose to work specifically in the Amazon seller and vendor space only. We are not looking to be a one-stop shop for all things reimbursement and refund related, but rather are looking to bring the most value to customers in the Amazon space.
What are some common issues that arise in recovering refunds and inventory?
There are times that Amazon requires supplemental documentation in order to approve a claim, like a stamped bill of lading or an invoice. Many times, sellers simply do not have that information and therefore the claims will get denied. When running an Amazon operation it is really important to maintain records of all your documents which can prove useful down the road.
One of the big issues with Amazon’s seller assistance platform is that there is little continuity of service. The person who looks at your case the first time will likely not be the same person who reviews the case if it requires another round of back and forth. This is why Refund Sniper has compiled years’ worth of data to understand exactly what Amazon is looking for in its reimbursement cases so we can ensure maximum results on the first round.
How do you analyze a merchant’s inventory?
We perform audits on a quarterly basis. Once a quarter we take a look at the data that goes back a full 18 months. We compile all the data, analyze it, piece it together, run it through our proprietary algorithms and create a comprehensive list of every single potential discrepancy found that relates to the seller’s inventory lifecycle. We want to ensure that every unit sent in by the seller during that 18 month period, is accounted for either in terms of a sale, return, damage, loss, discrepancy, or reimbursement. Once we find those holes in the picture, we bring it to Amazon’s attention to get them reimbursed. If you think about it, every quarter is audited five to six times so we ensure that not a crumb of unaccounted for inventory is left behind. This is really all about the Amazon data and how you approach it, and Refund Sniper has a really deep understanding of that data which yields maximum results.
How do you handle disputes between sellers and Amazon?
Refund Sniper does not involve itself in disputes between Amazon and a seller. We are well-versed in Amazon’s terms of service and only dispute or claim reimbursements on what is considered reimbursable by Amazon.
How much mishandled inventory have you recovered?
We have over 2000 accounts and have recovered millions of dollars’ worth of unreconciled inventory. Because we do not discriminate on account sizes that we service, we have seen audit totals as low as $2, all the way up to well in the six digits. To think that some sellers are not reconciling their inventory and leaving that behind is just mindboggling. In some cases, the reimbursement audits can account for a company’s entire profit.
How has online selling changed during? Has it become easier to do what you do?
Amazon has literally taken over the retail world. When the platform started, Amazon sellers were a handful with very little competition. Today if you do not sell on Amazon, you almost certainly know someone that does. Once COVID-19 hit, the demand for e-com shopping has gone through the roof, which translates into more issues that relate to inventory accountability. However, as Amazon continues to grow and evolve, their terms of service and various rules continue to change. Refund Sniper constantly stays on top of the most up to date industry info so we can assist our clients in the best possible way.
What advice do you have for someone looking to build a business on Amazon or any other online platform?
Increased competition today makes it all the more challenging for a seller to actually turn a profit on Amazon, or on any platform for that matter. Make sure you do proper research and have the right team around you to ensure your profitability. Speak to people who are doing it. Start slowly – one product, then two, then three – as you gain a better understanding for how it works and where the issues are you will ensure a better chance at success. Finally, once you decide to do it, give it your all. Don’t hold back! There are loads of successful sellers out there and you can be one of them, too.