Apple Sells Products via Amazon, Tightens Resale Market

Amazon Marketplace, a third-party seller network worth about $250 billion, has long been the go-to platform for online entrepreneurs who refurbish and sell old Apple computers. But the Mac resale sector has gone up in smoke since Apple and Amazon struck an agreement to limit sales of Apple products only to “the largest companies” and authorized providers. Amazon Marketplace is “the preeminent place” to sell products, offering logistics and shipping unlike competitors eBay and Walmart, as well as Overstock and Etsy.

The Verge reports that, “companies that want to sell Apple products through Amazon now have to meet one of two requirements,” the first being the purchase of “at least $2.5 million” worth of refurbished computers every 90 days from Apple or via “a retailer with more than $5 billion in annual sales, like a wireless carrier or big-box retailers like Target or Walmart.”

The second option is to become an authorized reseller via Apple’s process, which the company has not yet spelled out. But, currently, to become an Apple-authorized repair provider “requires a physical retail space for customers to enter.”

The deal with Amazon gives Apple a “splashy landing page full of listings with its own name under them that the company controls,” which helps the company “tightly control the products and the pricing.” Forrester analyst Sucharita Kodali noted that, “Amazon needs brands … [and] will go to pretty drastic lengths to get access to those [products].” The company’s primary way of acquiring brands was via third-party resellers. That, said Kodali, has drawn the scrutiny of the brands themselves which “want to control more of their presence online,” especially on Amazon.

With this agreement, “Apple and Amazon benefit while knocking out millions of dollars worth of business for small sellers.” Apple continues its rules governing resellers and repairers and gets to shut out what it considers to be “rogue merchants.”

Amazon wins by being able, finally, to sell Apple products online and “gain insights” into Apple’s online business. “Amazon has always said it’s agnostic between first- and third-party sellers, but it probably prefers first-party more because it can control the relationship and because they own margin information,” Kodali said.

The deal between the two companies, however, does not include Apple’s HomePod, a competitor to Echo. Amazon “would not comment on third-party sellers leaving the platform, but it did recommend that any individual or business looking to sell refurbished products try and qualify for Amazon Renewed.”