Why you need to check your Amazon product descriptions before September 1st
From September 1st, Amazon is warning its Sellers that having any promotional or company details in product descriptions will lead to a suppressed ASIN in search.
The move is linked in to Amazon’s raising of the IPI minimum threshold requirement from 350 to 500 during the course of this year. Sellers with an IPI score below 500 will be subjected to storage limits from the start of next month until the end of 2020, which could affect your ability to sell on Amazon with FBA.
What is Amazons IPI Score?
Amazon's inventory performance index is a number between 0-1000 that's used to measure inventory health – capturing low inventory and excess inventory levels for your SKUs. Amazon's IPI can benefit both sellers and Amazon. Optimizing inventory will reduce lost sales and inventory holding costs for sellers.
On the Inventory Performance Dashboard, Amazon provides sellers with three specific steps to increase their score.
1. Excess Inventory suggestions to reduce your storage fees and carrying costs.
2. Restock recommendations to increase your in-stock rate.
3. Stranded Inventory actions to ensure your inventory is available for purchase.
1. Excess inventory and sell-through
The number of units for which the cost of holding your inventory would likely be more than the cost of taking action (such as reducing prices to increase sell-through or removing excess units). This value is based on product demand and your costs (including fees, unit costs, and cost of capital inputs).
Amazon offers a Manage Excess Inventory tool that helps sellers identify listings that may have excess inventory levels and provides data to help them get a better return on their investment.
To improve your excess inventory performance, you need to ensure you don’t send too many units at one time to Amazon ASINs that sell slowly. You also need to monitor your inventory age to avoid potential FBA long-term storage fees.
2. In-stock inventory
This is the percentage of time your ASINs have been in stock during the last 30 days, weighted by the number of units sold for each SKU in the last 60 days.
Amazon provides recommendations on what to restock and when. While staying in stock with the right ASIN can help increase a seller’s Inventory Performance Index, there is no penalty for not restocking a discontinued or non-replenishable item.
Seller tip: You can improve this metric by hiding recommendations on the “Restock Inventory” tab.
Although, deleting and closing inactive listings on a regular basis won’t improve this metric, it is considered good inventory management practice.
3. Stranded inventory
This is when products that are in Amazon’s fulfilment centres but are not available for purchase due to a listing problem. You should check for stranded inventory on a regular basis as you may need to edit a listing or create a removal order.
The full Amazon statement reads: “To provide a good customer experience, it’s important for your listings to meet our product attribute requirements. Please review our guidelines below before creating your listings.
“For Product Descriptions and bullet points, do not include your name, email address, website URL, company-specific information, details about another product you sell, or promotional language such as ‘sale’ or ‘free shipping’. Our listings policy also prohibits including seller, company, or shipping information on product detail pages.
“In order to create a better customer experience, we have begun suppressing listings from our store that violate Amazon’s Product Detail Page Rules, and Seller Code of Conduct. If an ASIN is suppressed for a violation, you will be notified through the performance notifications in Seller Central.
“You can fix the product information to remove the disallowed text through the edit link in MYI or via bulk update with feeds. Once the listing is corrected, your listing will be automatically reinstated within 24 hours and the ASIN will be active.”
Thompson and Holt managing partner Craig Gedey has urged Amazon Sellers to check their product listings now and be fully prepared for the change ahead.
Gedey explained: “If you find that you’ve got a suppressed ASIN due to non-product details in your descriptions, it’s time to get them amended now.
“The notion of product description on Amazon is that it should be solely about the product. So don’t include shipping information, marketing your business with Seller details or any other unnecessary information. This is what Amazon is clamping down on.
“Basically if you are not describing the product you are selling, the information should not be there. Amazon has pushed and push on this issue this year so it’s clearly something that is high on their agenda. They want to tidy up product descriptions, and introducing these kind of penalties will allow them to do it quickly and effectively.
“If you don’t want your business to be adversely affected, then check your IPI score and all of your product descriptions and make sure they meet Amazon’s standards as quickly as possible, but certainly before September 1st.”
How to Improve Your Amazon IPI Score
Amazon lists the top influencing factors in order of importance.
1. Excess inventory
3. Stranded inventory
4. In-stock inventory
You need to prioritise tasks related to cleaning up your excess inventory from Amazon’s FBA warehouse then take action on items that aren’t selling fast enough.
Amazon gives you recommendations which you should follow if you want to improve your IPI score. Go through each specific point and take action.
Recommendation suggestions include:
• Edit listing
• Create sale
• Update product settings
• Improve keywords
• Advertise listing
Has Your Amazon Account Been Suspended?
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free LiveChat to get your Seller business back online as quickly as possible.
Thompson and Holt are also offering a free months trial of their Monitor and Protect service to help sellers prevent a suspension of ASINs or an their account during the COVID pandemic, more information on how to protect your Amazon seller account from a suspension can be found here.