Everything you need to know about Amazon Sales Velocity suspensions
Updated: May 16, 2019
Amazon sellers have been left confused and frustrated after experiencing account suspensions following the running of online promotions to boost their product sales.
Many of these have been down to an update by Amazon on their Sales Velocity policy - so what do you need to know in order to avoid this measure, or to deal with it quickly should it already have happened?
Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey has studied the changes, and here outlines four key areas you need to understand when dealing with what is a relatively new issue for Amazon Sellers.
How does Amazon Sales Velocity work?
Craig Gedey explains: “As with many of Amazon’s rules and regulations, this has been implemented to protect both customers and sellers.
“Amazon’s own website describes it ‘As a means of protecting customers, Amazon monitors sales velocity - the number and dollar amount of a seller’s transactions during any given month’.
“The issues have been arising when an account - often aided by a promotional giveaway or significant discounts - shows a major surge in sales over a short period.
“You are also more likely to be picked up by their system if this is something you carry out soon after launching your business on Amazon’s platform.
“All sellers begin with the same limit, which are then based on 28-day cycles. If your business has a major sales boost, particularly in those first 28 days, it can trigger a review by Amazon’s Seller Evaluation Team.
“They are in place to search for what are known as ‘black hat ranking techniques’ - illicit tactics that we have seen a rise of on Amazon in recent times. They are done to get a quick boost to sales and create an edge over competition, but involve breaking the rules.
“Again, it’s important to understand that stopping these tactics is being done to help you - it would be unfair to your business if a rival was using ‘black hat’ techniques to gain a quick and easy advantage.
“It may be that your business has not broken the rules, but those sales spikes will alert the Seller Evaluation Team and that’s when you could be facing suspension.
“Recent studies have shown that new accounts are more prone than others to coming under this scrutiny, as a promotion can see relatively low sales become high ones rapidly.”
The Amazon review stage
Thompson and Holt’s Gedey says: “Again, it’s first of all worth referring to Amazon’s own description of the process.
“They say that: ‘If at any time during an evaluation we find that your current sales volumes or inventory are not supported by buyer feedback or an established sales history, we may place your account under review. If your seller account is placed under review, a temporary hold may be placed on funds in your account, and we may suspend your listings’.
“This can be a daunting time, especially for businesses new to to the site and unaware of Amazon’s processes.
“If you have been doing everything within the rules then ultimately you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, but it can still be a difficult and frustrating period.”
What should I do next?
Craig Gedey of Thompson and Holt continues: “We recommend that if you have been suspended while operating within the rules, you show Amazon as much detail of your sales as possible.
“That includes how long you’ve been trading for, your anticipated months sales, addresses of your retail locations, where you source your products, and tracking information for recently shipped orders. Even links to other sites you sell on can help to establish your credibility as a business.
“Amazon have this process in place to stop illicit practises - if you have been doing things by the book it’s now up to you to prove that to them and get back online as quickly as possible.”
How can I avoid Amazon Sales Velocity suspensions?
Craig Gedey concludes: “The most important thing to remember is that it’s not which promotion you’re running that will trigger the Amazon process, it’s how fast that brings your sales in.
“Trying to trick the system to gain easy quick wins is something that can quickly land you in trouble.
“Have a look at the uses of PPC (Amazon Sponsored Products) Advertising, as that is less likely to trigger suspension algorithms, while still improving both your sales numbers and Amazon ranking. It’s a much safer way than attempting other, perhaps cheaper shortcuts.
“If you do find yourself suspended and confused both over why and what to do in order to get back online as quickly as possible, then contact one of Thompson and Holt’s vastly experienced Amazon appeal advisors through our website.”