The truth is, that Amazon is a retailer that has a very low threshold for entry and very high standards for customer expectations. Claiming to be the world’s most customer-centric company, Amazon strives to ensure that every customer always has the best experience when shopping on the website. And it does so by placing extensive policy and complaince requirements in place that all sellers are required to abide by.
However, understanding and ensuring compliance with all of Amazon’s policies can be challenging and most brands learn only after their listings have been suppressed, the detail pages removed, or accounts suspended. The reactive approach in this case results in missed sales and lost revenue.
Therefore, it helps to have insight into what some of Amazon’s core policies are so you can have a proactive rather than reactive approach to ensuring compliance.
Working with many clients, team Accrue has supported many businesses in appealing policy violations and proactively avoiding them. We have put together a list of common mistakes that sellers often make that can get their accounts suspended. We share this list with an explanation of how you can resolve these issues below. Read on 🙂
Successful Selling on Amazon: Common Mistakes to Avoid
Finding a list of what to do to get the ball rolling for your Amazon business is easy. But figuring out what NOT to do is where things can become a bit more challenging. And understandably so as Amazon has a wide range of policy and compliance requirements. Sellers are supposed to know and abide by each one of them to make sure they can continue to sell on the platform without any issues. And that can be a bit challenging sometimes.
Here’s a quick list of practices sellers must steer clear of to ensure they can continue selling successfully on Amazon:
Selling Counterfeit or Inauthentic Products
Fake products are becoming a rising issue on Amazon. The online retailer reported that it disposed off a whopping 6 million counterfeit products just last year. This figure is enough to give you an idea of the scale of counterfeiting issues on Amazon and also the severity of Amazon’s response to it.
Amazon strives to maintain its quality standards to ensure it delivers a positive customer experience. And customers hate fewer things more than fake products being sold as original.
Therefore, Amazon has strict policies in place to ensure that no counterfeited or inauthentic products get to the customers and is quick to act when it notices a policy violation. Failure to abide by Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting policies can result in account suspension. Amazon can also hold back on remittances/payments or dispose off the inventory in its possession.
In worst cases, Amazon can also pursue a lawsuit against sellers involved in selling counterfeited products.
Why would someone sell fake products on Amazon knowing the severity of consequences for such actions? But the thing is, many times sellers might be scammed into selling fake products by their suppliers. So, it is vital that you source your products from reliable suppliers.
Intellectual Property Violations
Amazon is also big on ensuring it can help its brands protect their intellectual properties and has stringent policies in place to minimize violations.
There are three types of intellectual properties on Amazon including:
Violating Amazon's Intellectual Property (IP) policies can result in consequences ranging in severity. You can get IP violation warnings, get your listings taken down or account suspended for non-compliance.
Try to proactively avoid copyright and patent infringement by ensuring that you have the necessary permissions and licenses to sell your products on Amazon. Also, cross-check your content to ensure that it does not share too many similarities with other brands to avoid trademark infringements.
Customer reviews are an important part of the sales process and vital to Amazon’s pristine and precious customer experience. Therefore, the company cannot stand anyone trying to manipulate customer reviews to try and get sales going for their products.
Purchasing Amazon reviews or approaching customers and bribing them into removing a negative review or leaving a positive one may all count under review manipulation and result in Amazon punishing your account. Directing your off-Amazon customers to review products they bought from your own website on Amazon may also be looked at as potential review manipulation and result in a violation.
Review manipulation may also lead Amazon to withholding your remittances and payments or suspending your account.
Amazon can also pursue a lawsuit against sellers trying to manipulate customer reviews, in which case, the seller may end up losing more than they may have earned with fake and forged reviews.
With review manipulation being completely of the chart for all successful Amazon sellers, what is the right approach to getting good reviews? A valuable product delivered with top-notch customer experience is a must. You can also enroll your products in Amazon’s Vine program to help kickstart reviews for your new products.
Success on Amazon boils down to a few things and an optimized listing is one of them.
A good product listing is one that complies with all of Amazon’s Listing Policy requirements and is retail-ready to offer a positive customer experience.
There are a few basic policy requirements that Amazon expects all sellers to comply with when building or updating their listings. First and foremost, and it goes without saying, make sure your listing describes your product accurately. Try not to claim benefits that your product does not deliver. Talking about claiming benefits, avoid any unsupported claims and offering health-related benefits as this can trigger Amazon’s system and your detail page may be removed.
As tempting as it may be, avoid using ALL CAPS in titles and bullet points and ensure that both these elements are within your category’s prescribed character limit. The character limit for titles may vary from category to category, so make sure to cross-check it before updating your titles.
Also, ensure that your images comply with Amazon’s image guidelines. Any other visual content, including A+ content and listing video must also be in complete compliance with Amazon’s policies to ensure a healthy, safe, and undisrupted selling experience.
Late Shipment and Order Defect Rate
The majority of Amazon’s sales come from its third-party selling partners. Therefore, Amazon’s prestigious customer experience, which the company works so hard to maintain, depends on how well these selling partners serve the customers. To ensure that they serve well, Amazon has set some metrics in place that track a seller’s customer service and prompt Amazon to act when it falls below Amazon’s high standards.
Late Shipment Rate (LSR) and Order Defect Rate (ODR) are two of these metrics.
LSR is measured in percentage by dividing the number of orders that were shipped late by total orders. LSR greater than 4% can put your account at risk of deactivation.
ODR represents the percentage of orders that were returned due to defects such as incorrect, missing, or damaged items.
High ODR means that customers are frequently returning products and may be a sign of poor customer service.
This is why, the threshold is a bit tighter for ODR as Amazon does not tolerate an ODR higher than 1%. High ODR can result in Amazon suspending your account or reducing the brand’s visibility to ensure customers don’t engage with a brand that sends out defective products.
While high LSRs can be avoided by optimizing the shipping and delivery process or through leveraging FBA, ODR needs to be maintained by taking some additional steps.
First, make sure your listing accurately describes the product so the customers know exactly what they are getting. This will minimize returns due to inaccuracies.
Next, always respond to negative customer reviews and address all customer concerns promptly.
Offering fast and free shipping and ensuring that your products are valuable for the customers are two sure-fire ways to maintaining LSRs and ODRs within the safe zones.
Unfair Pricing Practices
Amazon wants to maintain its reputation as the online retailer that people trust will offer a wide range of products at the lowest possible price. This is why, it has its own Amazon Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy in place to ensure that the platform can continue to offer customers the best possible prices.
While this is great for customers, complying with Amazon’s Fair Pricing Policy can be challenging for sellers, especially the ones selling with low-profit margins.
Amazon compares the prices of products being sold on the platform with other prices available to its customers. And if it notices that a product is being sold for cheaper on some other platform, the company punishes the seller by taking away the Featured Offer, popularly known as the Buy Box from them. Missing the Buy Box leads to the sellers not getting sales credit and suffering potential revenue losses.
In some serious cases or instances where the practice is being repeated, Amazon can also suspend or terminate the brand’s selling privileges.
While Amazon claims to punish products that are priced significantly higher, sellers being penalized for Unfair Pricing Practices when their products were priced on a couple of dollars more on Amazon than on other platforms is not unheard of.
Therefore, it is best that you stay safe and make sure your products are priced fairly (read lowest possible) on Amazon so you can continue to benefit from Amazon’s wide reach and massive customer base.
Selling on Amazon comes with lots of benefits. You get to interact with millions of customers and leverage tech-advanced advertising and analytics tools to upgrade your marketing efforts.
However, ensuring that your brand can continue to enjoy these perks is demanding. You have to proactively ensure that all aspects of your Amazon business, from listing to shipment and pricing are compliant with Amazon’s strict policies.
At Accrue, we help our brands ensure compliance with Amazon’s policies so they can continue to sell and grow without disruptions. We also help our clients appeal against policy violations and scrub their accounts and listings to remove any elements that might be triggering Amazon’s system into flagging the account or suppressing the listing.
Facing suppression/suspension issues? Talk to us. Let’s get your brand up and running on Amazon.