Posted on Apr 14, 2022 by The Exodus Team
I want to be real clear here, I am not anti Amazon. Exodus as a company is not anti Amazon, heck we are certified sellers on Amazon. I personally make frequent purchases from Amazon because it's simple and efficient. Amazon offers a tremendous service, they sell us time.
However, buying trail cameras and hunting related products from foreign entities on Amazon creates a really big problem for you, the hunting industry, and wildlife. Make those same Amazon purchases from a "hunting" industry brand and these problems are a lot less apparent. So let's dive in....
THE VACUUM EFFECT
Foreign companies drain the hunting marketplace and community. We consider this to be a vacuum effect, as revenue leaves industry brands, the impact of your purchasing dollars on the entire hunting landscape shrinks. Less money towards conservation efforts, less product donations, less efforts to help public lands, the list goes on and on.
Think of it this way, what companies donate product or financially support your 501c3 like the National Deer Alliance, Pheasants Forever, NWTF, RMEF? I can promise you it's not the foreign entities selling on Amazon. The companies within the hunting and outdoor industry do...Companies like Exodus, Moultrie, Covert, etc....these companies and companies alike are the brands who keep our industry afloat. Exodus alone, contributes 1% of our gross revenue and 1% of our labor costs to conservation efforts.
This is a really important point. Every dollar being pulled out of the marketplace by foreign Amazon vendors is slowly killing and diminishing the hunting marketplace, which eventually leaves you the consumer at a disadvantage. This obviously, doesn't happen overnight but years of consumer behavior supporting Solo Sun, Wosobo, or XYZ company will force the major hunting brands to alter the product offerings, it will squeeze them financially which will not only impact their overall spending but also conservation efforts and support.
Even outside the immediate hunting industry, even with these products mainly being manufactured overseas, the impact on the local economy is still a large footprint. There's logistical jobs intertwined, there's real estate revenue pushed into the local economy, there's numerous other impacts on the local economies not to mention the actual work force within the actual company.
At the end of the day, all trail cameras are coming from overseas, so let's just get that out there. Yes, even companies with "MADE IN THE USA" are sourcing the vast majority of their product overseas and doing assembly here.
ZERO AFTER THE SALE SUPPORT
For so many trail camera users product support and customer service is high on the priority list. In fact, Exodus was launched with the mission of having best in class customer service as one of our competitive advantages! When you purchase anything from Amazon, especially from foreign sellers and or companies, the lack of after the sale support is a real pain point.
In the consumer electronic world, there will always be issues. Maybe you get a lemon, or maybe the product has a software bug...it happens. When it does happen you need to be able to speak with someone who can help. With foreign Amazon sellers, that doesn't happen. Nor are you likely to ever see a software update pushed out.
I know there's an argument that folks are purchasing "cheap" cameras as consumables and if they don't work they simple get pitched. However, looking at the big picture around the vacuum effect, we are all better off if these consumable cameras are being purchased from Tasco or Wildgame...In today's world the $50 trail camera options are plentiful.
A big flaw within Amazon and how consumers see products is that reviews are very heavily weighted in product rankings. For example if you were to do a simple search around the keywords "trail camera", the products that are shown organically are typically product listings that have a ton of reviews. With the advancements of Amazon's marketing platform, you are also served sponsored products - just to be clear these are bought impressions.
Knowing that reviews are king on Amazon, foreign companies literally give away free products to people who are willing to leave a positive product review. We, ourselves, get countless emails and social messages from these factories and Amazon sellers who are attempting to build out review strategies...These are fake, don't buy into it. Consumer behavior is much more geared towards leaving negative reviews vs positive reviews. Taking time out our busy lives to leave positive feedback is not all that common. Looking at thousands of all 5 star reviews and positive feedback should be an instant red flag!
So how in the heck does all this happen? It's relatively simple. The contract manufactures located overseas that are used by US companies to build products also have in house development teams. They develop knock off products, manufacturer them, and then use Amazon to retail them under some DBA. Because these companies are completely vertical (they own the entire process), they can sell on Amazon for the manufacturing cost they would sell to a company like Moultrie, Exodus, etc.
With all of this said, if you are still set in stone on buying one of these whitelabel cameras or products, even with all the negative consequences just go to Ali-Express and save yourself some money. There's absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing trail cameras and other hunting related items off Amazon, but for goodness sake...support the industry brands that support you!
Author: Chad Sylvester Exodus Co-Founder/Owner