If you’re in the party of “What is a Temu?” Fear not, we’re here to get you up to speed! Temu is a website and app owned by Chinese tech giant Pinduoduo Holdings (PDD) that launched in the United States in September of 2022. Since that debut, Temu in the US has already been involved in several major controversies and Temu sellers have created quite a few problems for other ecommerce experts.
The Temu website and app serve as an ecommerce marketplace for sellers, much like Amazon. However, Temu is based on the business model of selling low-cost, unbranded goods to consumers. After running an ad twice during the 2023 Super Bowl with the tagline “Shop like a billionaire,” and boasting incredibly low prices for items, Temu gained traction with consumers. Temu’s app now has over 16.5 million daily customers, a low number compared to Amazon’s whopping 50 million, but significant considering that it increased by over 10 million users in less than a year.
Double Trouble: Attack of the Cloning Temu Sellers
Like Amazon sellers, Temu sellers own independent businesses that simply sell through the marketplace. While it has been obvious since its initial launch that Temu intends to compete with Amazon by using aggressive discounting, recently Amazon sellers have begun making claims that not only is Temu competing with their storefronts, but they’re also stealing and cloning them.
Last month Wired ran an article where they interviewed Amazon sellers whose storefronts have been cloned onto the Temu platform without their permission. Sellers shared that everything from images and descriptions of the product to photos of testing certifications are being duplicated in Temu listings. And cloned listings have shown up to 50% cheaper prices than their original counterparts, causing traffic and sales from the original listing to plummet.
Sellers who have experienced this cloning have filed complaints with Temu and reached out to Amazon for help, but have yet to see any real attempt at resolution. An Amazon spokesperson said that they “strongly condemn this type of criminal activity,” and encouraged sellers who believe their product information or images are being duplicated to contact Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit. Temu, on the other hand, has only responded to complaints by asking for more information.
On top of this, Wired also reported that Temu is pressuring its sellers to undercut prices in order to compete with Amazon. In the same article, Wired shared claims that Temu is losing an average of $30 per order in its attempts to break into the American ecommerce market and become a serious competitor to Amazon.
How can Temu afford to do this? By putting pressure on their sellers to lower prices and use gimmicks, such as free gifts in exchange for positive reviews. As most ecommerce sellers know, these types of strategies are explicitly banned by Amazon and largely frowned upon by the American government.
Amazon vs. Temu: The Reality
So the question remains, should Amazon sellers be worried about Temu?
It’s hard to tell exactly what will come of Temu, especially considering its already rocky start in the US market, but it is important for Amazon sellers to remain vigilant. Many sellers who have seen their listings cloned report coming across the clones inadvertently, while doing competitor research. Now, however, that the practice is known, it’s wise for Amazon sellers to search for clones of their listings on Temu by looking through categories of your products and searching for their names or key descriptors.
If you come across a cloned listing there are several important steps to take:
- File a complaint with Temu and request that the clone listing be taken down.
- Contact Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit.
- Seek legal counsel, if you feel like it’s necessary.
While there is no guarantee that Temu will take the listing down or that Amazon will take action against Temu, it’s important that the documentation process has been completed. This is especially important if you decide to seek external legal counsel.
Many sellers who have experienced cloned listings have also reported a drop in sales, which they attribute at least in part to the duplicates on Temu. Amazon has also decided to exclude Temu from its competitive price searching algorithm, as it does not meet Amazon’s strict fair pricing policy requirements.
In order to stay competitive in the ever-evolving ecommerce market, and stay ahead of Temu competitors, it’s important that you are continuously updating and refreshing your listings for best results, prioritizing SEO for marketing to drive traffic, using a pricing strategy that makes sense for your business, and ensuring that you have a healthy buffer of funding to optimize your profits.