(Especially in Q4!)
Do you know what can make the difference between an Amazon account suspension or clean account health? Ignoring problems that show up on your Account Health dashboard and brushing aside performance notifications for closed listings takes you down a troubling path.Sellers often wait until their entire account is suspended to invest in solutions.
Unfortunately, Seller Performance teams often ignore numerous suspension appeals or take a long time to respond. To protect your Amazon business, I recommend countering problems as they come along to reduce the odds of a temporary or permanent deactivation. We’ve witnessed the financial duress that often results when Amazon comes out nowhere to take an account down. Sellers who are ignoring signs of trouble force Amazon to step in and take action.
Some sellers push jarring performance notifications out of their minds because they don’t know why they received them, assume it’s a “glitch” or are simply unsure how to reply. “We only sell brand new items, sourced from a good supplier. How can it be inauthentic? How can it be Used (sold as new)”? Is one regular comment. The answer may be as simple as one or two buyer complaints about anything less than a 100% new looking product.
Keep Seller Performance team Eyes Far Away from You
When it comes to Best Practices for keeping policy teams off your back, things get complicated quickly. As many sellers have learned the hard way, investigators sometimes take aggressive action on accounts in order to justify the time spent reviewing them. Suspensions result from an over-eagerness to attack problems with one sweeping action instead of sending warnings to stop a seller from trending downward and creating more bad buyer experiences. If a Seller Performance investigator misses a chance to take you off the site, they may be punished.
If it takes you five attempts to address Seller Performance concerns with a viable POA, then you are doing something wrong. Worse, it may wreak havoc later on, if Amazon investigators scroll through dozens of annotations showing how many chances you had to get it right.
Correspondence with Seller Performance needs to be tight, direct, and concise, with format and space considerations taken into account. Make sure you know the right way to write a plan of action.
We’ve got 5 tips to help you understand how to keep your account healthy in Q4.
Tip #1 Don’t leave unresolved performance notifications sitting in your Account Health dashboard, waiting to cause later harm. Even if you don’t plan to list and sell those items again.
If an investigator lands on you and needs to start digging, he or she looks for data clusters or patterns regarding buyer complaints. If you don’t plan to sell the items again and already sold out of or removed the inventory, then great. Compose an appeal to Seller Performance indicating you’ve sold the core issue. If you think you can just delete a listing and forget it, Account Health Dashboards say otherwise. Your next investigation may uncover a batch of unresolved item quality complaints that you failed to act upon.
You must demonstrate your proactive efforts to identify problems and fix them before Amazon flags them for you. Once Seller Performance sees that you know what to do, and know how to demonstrate it to them, they appreciate the information enough to reinstate, in most cases.
Tip #2 — Watch your ASINs for item condition complaints.
Whether or not the flagged ASINs are your top sellers, don’t disregard problems on ASINs they don’t care too much about, usually because they don’t represent high revenue earners. The issue with that approach is that Seller Performance won’t always look at your account the way you do. They’ll identify problematic ASINs and fail to see your attempts to troubleshoot. It undermines their confidence that you’ll know what to do to prevent future complaints and it leads to full account reviews for other potential problem ASINs.
If they think you take this approach each time your listings, inventory, or supply chain problems create bad buyer experiences, you’ll queue up for full account investigation. That puts the fate of your Amazon account into an investigator’s hands, and nobody wants that.
Tip#3 — Don’t assume Amazon has it wrong, or that you simply had a whiner buyer or competitor taking shots at you.
Review them closely and analyze what Amazon wants from you. Think like an account investigator, like I was for several years. It helps you understand their interest in pattern detection, data clusters regarding buyer complaints across multiple ASINs.
Communicate effectively and within a short amount of space?
Don’t just say you had buyers unwilling to pay for return shipment costs. Amazon knows already that buyers may come up with an excuse to complain about the quality of your products to avoid burning cash shipping it back. They hold everyone to the same performance quality metrics knowing full well what outlier buyers may say. If they detect a pattern of problems, they will not accept those explanations, excuses, stories, or accusations, even if it looks like it did happen in a few cases.
What to do when you receive buyer complaints about item quality?
Is there something you need to change on the detail page to enhance buyer understanding of the item?
- Pull inventory and inspect it for defects, or signs that the product detail page may not match it 100% in all respects.
- Check out the Return reasons to see what buyers complain about. Identify any patterns of trouble before Amazon flags the product for review.
- Prepare to email Seller Performance with a Plan of Action, in order to get blocked listings reinstated. Present a solid POA with, as applicable, any documentation they’ve requested to review your appeal.
Tip #4 — What does your supply chain documentation look like? Will Amazon accept your invoices, or be able to verify your supplier?
Amazon often requires acceptable invoices and verifiable supplier information due to an authenticity complaint, whether or not that complaint refers to your products as “fake” or “counterfeit.” When Seller Performance conducts an account-wide review, they typically flag a few ASINs and tell you that buyers complained that your items didn’t exactly product detail page info in one way or another. Pursue an ASIN-level data review and clear up what could be the origins of the problem, because once when Amazon flags a few ASINs, messaging asking for a POA within 72 hours could follow soon after.
If Amazon questions the legitimacy of your products be ready to present all supply chain documentation and to defend product authenticity. If possible, have a letter from your supplier proving legitimate sourcing and describing the business relationship you have with them. It makes the most sense to have all of this ready to go in advance, since they could ask anytime.
Tip #5 —– Don’t give them an easy reason to suspend you by making poor choices.
Keep in mind that your choice between fulfilling batches of orders at a loss versus cancelling the orders and hoping for the best isn’t really a choice. A spike in cancelled orders will trigger at minimum an investigator review and likely an automated suspension, depending on the severity.
Amazon reacts poorly to stories that cite unresolved warehousing issues, poor product inspection by suppliers, or anything else that leads to late shipments, cancelled orders, and an overall bad buyer experience. Metrics exist to be met, and nothing more. For example, imagine if you faced having to cancel a string of orders due to a low- priced product error or technical glitch in your fulfillment software.
If you need to email essential information in an appeal to Seller Performance, do you know how to communicate effectively and within a short amount of space? Don’t expect them to accept excuses, or blaming your buyers for making up a story to get free returns or refunds.
Keep that account health healthy! Appeal Policy Warnings or ASIN-level actions promptly, but also with relevant details citing specific action items.