Following the recent problems with Amazon & Repricer Express (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-30475542), there’s a valuable lesson to be learned about the importance of properly designing and testing software, which in itself derives from proper requirements capture at the start of the exercise. These are lessons for Amazon and/or Repricer Express to learn (although with their combined resources they should already know better), just like anyone else who is commissioning bespoke software development (or customisation) for their business.
In this instance the enforced use of a simple stop-loss minimum price setting in the software would have stopped the problem ever occurring, and it would not have been hard to design in. An image on the Repricer Express website suggests that the facility already exists.
There’s a secondary lesson to learn for any business that’s planning on signing up to use someone else’s software of course, and that’s to understand your business requirements and make sure they’re met by it before you sign up. In this instance a simple requirement would have been “Don’t sell product at less than cost price” and then set things up accordingly.
If your business requirements are not met in third part software, then look for ways to mitigate possible damage. This could be contractual, or (as in this instance) simply moving fulfilment to be handled elsewhere (with a sanity check in between) would perhaps have solved the problem. And if the software you plan to use does have the facility to do what you need, make sure you take the time and trouble to configure it properly.
Unfortunately it looks as though many small businesses will be paying the ultimate price for these failures.