The 10 Biggest mistakes Amazon Sellers will make in 2020
Selling on Amazon means you are signing up to a host of rules, regulations and guidelines to abide by in order to gain access to a huge worldwide marketplace.
It is often said that selling on Amazon is a privilege not a right, and the company’s customer-led focus means that it expects businesses to tow the line when it comes to Amazons Business Solutions Agreement.
Stepping outside of them can lead to an Amazon account suspension or deactivation, but many of those indiscretions are avoidable.
Craig Gedey is the managing partner of Thompson and Holt, who specialise in getting Amazon Sellers back online at Amazon as quickly as possible, if they find themselves suspended. He has seen every conceivable error during his time working on Amazon platforms, and has picked out the 10 most avoidable mistakes that he sees on the site.
1. Register more than one Amazon Seller Account
“This is an issue that Amazon enforces strictly. Sellers must not operate multiple accounts without Amazon’s prior approval, or they can find themselves land with an Amazon Seller Ban. Amazon’s guidelines state: ‘Operating and maintaining multiple Seller Central accounts is prohibited. If you have a legitimate business need for a second account, you can apply for an exception to this policy.’ Yet we still see examples of Sellers ignoring this. They can be detected by identifying the same IP address, using the same bank information, tax ID or address. If you are caught doing this you’re facing an immediate Amazon Seller Ban it simply isn’t worth it.”
2. Include sales or coupons in your product title
“This is another clear Amazon policy violation that can lead to deactivation. Avoid title information including things like “25 percent off” or “lowest price”, because it can be seen as being promotional. Stick to simple descriptions of the product you are selling.”
3. Buy Amazon fake reviews
“A number of investigations and reports have emerged this year, suggesting that buying and selling fake reviews is actually becoming a thriving marketplace of its own. It might be tempting but avoid it - if you’re found to have done this (and there are clear tell tale signs) then you're going to end up suspended.”
4. Sell inauthentic items
“This is something that Amazon rightly takes very seriously, stating in their guidelines that ‘If you sell counterfeit goods, we may immediately suspend or terminate your selling privileges and destroy inventory in our fulfilment centres without reimbursement’. Because it is such a consumer-driven platform, they are always keen to protect the customer in every way possible. So don’t run the risk of an Amazon inauthentic suspension.”
5. Sell restricted products
“Amazon’s policy is very clear on the prevention of the sale of illegal, unsafe or restricted products, including those only available by prescription. If you sell any of those items, you immediately risk an Amazon Seller Ban. It pays dividends to familiarise yourself with Amazon’s policies and lists of prohibited items - and then to avoid them.”
6. Fail to address intellectual property complaints
“Intellectual property law deals with the enforcement of patents, trademarks and copyrights. What usually happens is that when a rights owner makes a claim against a Seller, Amazon first notifies the Seller of the complaint. Amazon will often remove the listing for that product and instruct the Seller to work out the complaint with the rights owner. Make sure you deal with the issue at that stage, because ignoring those warnings could quickly lead to an Amazon seller ban. If the intellectual property complaint is not resolved it can result in an Amazon account suspension and you will need a very good Amazon intellectual property appeal and action plan.”
7. Have an Amazon Late Shipment Rate
“Amazon Seller Late Shipment rates are a fairly common reason for suspension from the site, but probably one of the most avoidable. Keeping good records and being up to date with how your account is performing in terms of shipping are common sense ways to avoid being suspended.
“When an order is confirmed as being overdue for shipping by three or more days, Amazon considers it to be late. The number of orders that are confirmed to be late, divided by the total number of orders in the given time period, provides the Amazon Seller Late Shipment rate for that time period.
“Shipping and delivery times and performances are absolutely integral to Amazon’s business plans, which is why they set such stringent markers for how you should be performing. But as long as you’re organised and on top of the way your Amazon account is performing in terms of shipping, falling foul of Amazon Seller Late Shipment rates should be something that you’re able to avoid.”
8. Sell offensive or controversial materials
“In this case, familiarising yourself with their full terms and conditions over Offensive and Controversial Materials is highly recommended. There is an element of subjectivity, because Amazon can use their own judgement to decide whether items fall under that category. But knowing the terms will help - and our advice at Thompson and Holt would be to steer clear of items that you think might breach them. It simply isn’t worth the threat of suspension in the vast majority of cases, and given recent public controversies, their systems are likely to become stricter in coming weeks and months.”
And two common mistakes that could see your Amazon suspension continue after writing a Plan of Action
9. Copy and paste generic Amazon Appeal Plans from the internet
“The last thing that Amazon investigators want to see is generic online responses when you’re trying to get your business back online. They are extremely well versed in these and it throws up major red flags for them when what they want to see is how you’re going to rectify your own mistakes. Instead put together detailed information from your own case, stressing that you’ve identified the issue and explaining how you will avoid it being repeated in the future. Structure wise, your Amazon Appeal Plan should include an introductory paragraph, the description of the issue, your action steps to avoid repeat and a closing statement.”
10. Criticise Amazon’s systems in your appeal
“Another big pitfall to avoid in your Plan of Action. Your Amazon Appeal doesn’t need to include your own personal analysis of how the company works, what they are doing wrong or how their systems have been particularly unfair to your company. Instead, you need to accept responsibility for the suspension you’ve been given, and use your Amazon Appeal to show how seriously you are taking your response to it. Focus on your own situation, not any Amazon systems.”
If you have found yourself the victim of an Amazon Suspension, contact Thompson and Holt Amazon Appeal Experts for a free LiveChat to get your Amazon Seller business back online as quickly as possible.