With the annual sales of more than $100 billion and over 250 million customers worldwide, there is no doubt that Amazon is the king of e-commerce. The platform has built-in trust, buyer’s information is saved, and the Prime members enjoy the benefit of 2-day free shipping. All these qualities make Amazon the toughest competitor on the e-commerce market.
Amazon is a platform where the sellers gain their customers’ trust with their own effort. It is obsessive about providing its customers with the best possible shopping experience and hence, the sellers must do everything they could to keep the customers happy. If a customer is unhappy with you, it means Amazon is unhappy with you; simple as that. But there are certain scenarios that could force Amazon to suspend your seller account; and not just because you made a customer unhappy! One day you log into your Amazon account only to find out that Amazon has suspended your account. Why? Well, there are many reasons for it. Account suspension means that all your funds are held hostage and you can no longer sell on Amazon.
Of course, you can file for account reactivation, but it could take months and it would be intelligent of you to avoid the suspension in first place. In this post, we will discuss Ten Things That You Must Know to prevent your Amazon FBA seller account from being suspended.
#1 Poor Seller Performance:
For Amazon, customers come first, and they have created a platform that ensures maintaining the trust of millions of customers. For achieving this, Amazon has established performance standards for all its sellers and enforces these standards vigorously. The performance tarts are based on the late shipment rate, pre-fulfillment cancel rate, order defect rate, and perfect order percentage. This is where the sellers run into trouble. The company takes customer satisfaction very seriously and if it is compromised, you can expect an immediate reaction from them.
You can stay out of trouble if you monitor your Amazon account health using the Customer Metrics tool in the Seller Central. Consider the following;
- Perfect Order Percentage:
The perfect order percentage is when the products/orders get delivered without any delay, that is, all the sales apart from refunds or charge-backs divided by the number of orders within the 3-month period. This performance target is exclusive to US sellers only. Amazon states that the order percentage should be 95% or above but some sellers find it difficult to maintain it because many returns occur due to buyer error.
- Late Shipment Rate:
You can calculate late shipment rate with the number of orders with consignments that are not confirmed by the expected shipping rate. Or dividing the order numbers with delayed shipping divided by order numbers for the same period. The late shipment rate should not exceed 4%.
- Pre-fulfillment Cancel Rate:
You can calculate the pre-fulfillment cancel rate by dividing the total number of orders with the number of orders canceled by you (seller) after the shipment was confirmed.
- Order Defect Rate:
The order defect rate is the percentage of the orders that received negative feedbacks, service credit card chargeback, or an A-to-Z Guarantee claim. Your order defect rate should not exceed more than 1%.
If you fail to meet the performance standards, Amazon will notify you about it and will probably give you 2-3 months to improve it. If you fail to improve in the given time, Amazon will suspend your seller account.
#2 Seller Policy Violations:
When you are setting up your Amazon Seller Account, you are agreeing to the policies and agreements established by the company. Ideally, when you successfully log in to your Amazon account, it is assumed that you have read through and understood all its policies. But where it gets complicated is that Amazon tends to change its policies and regulations as it grows.
The constant policy updates can go unnoticed and you may face the music for it. Therefore, it is extremely essential for you as an Amazon seller that you keep yourself updated with the policies. Violating the policies can lead to account suspension. The best way to avoid this is to audit the product information to ensure it obeys Amazon’s latest policies.
If you are selling on Amazon FBA, constantly check out their updates and news section for any fee adjustments, policy changes, etc.
#3 Selling Restricted Products:
As a seller, you cannot sell everything on Amazon. Certain categories are prohibited while some require pre-approval. In addition, Amazon can also prohibit the product types that fall under ‘allowed category.’
The restrictions are placed to ensure that the products/category meet Amazon’s morals, ideals, and superlative quality for product inventory and information.
Before you sell on Amazon, you should be aware of the products or categories that are banned or restricted to be sold on Amazon. Please note that just because you don’t see any reason why any product should be restricted or another seller selling the product doesn’t mean that you can sell it on Amazon as well.
The policies of Amazon are not always logical or obvious, but trickier as they are always changing. Today you are selling hundreds of approved products, and tomorrow, one of your products could be restricted from being sold. This could lead to ban or account suspension.
#4 Abnormal Account Performances:
When you are new to Amazon, the first three months of your Amazon store are very crucial. It is the period when most of the sellers are spending time promoting their products. Nevertheless, despite all the efforts, the conversion and flow rate are comparatively low. And during this period, if your sales are soaring and your products are selling blindly, it can raise an alarm stating that you are using unethical ways to sell products on Amazon.
If this happens, Amazon can send your warnings. Hence, it is important that for the first couple of months, you should deal with your sales in a controlled manner so that your growth can be gradual.
On the other hand, a series of unanswered questions, delayed reply, and fluctuation in sales can also raise an alarm and your seller account will be exposed to getting reviewed or even suspended.
#5 Use of Underhand Methods to get Reviews:
Practicing legal ways to get Amazon reviews will save you from getting your seller account suspended. If you are an Amazon seller, there is one thing that you can’t get away from – the Rules! Amazon has made rules to make things fairer for everybody. Well, we know that it can be limiting but these rules tell you how you should present and sell your products on Amazon.
You should understand that luring the customers to review your products positively just to get good ratings for increasing your sales is a negative approach and once Amazon finds out, your selling days on Amazon will be over. Giving away free stuff, unnecessary discounts, and more are not a good way to increase your sales and attract better customer reviews. Legality is everything and you must play by it. If you take on shady means, Amazon can boot you from the site.
#6 Contravening Amazon Listing Title Rules:
There are numerous circumstances that contravene Amazon’s listing title rules. They include;
- Having a replica or duplicate of other vendors listing including description, pictures, title, and other information belonging to other brand vendors is simply an act of rights infringement and could lead to account suspension.
- Displaying fake information about the manufacturer, promotion, pricing, and freight and logistics costs that is not related to your product is also an act of infringement and Amazon may suspend your account for that.
- Inaccurate product graphic information and description.
If you make your listing a part of the above-mentioned circumstances, the Amazon will put your account under an audit and there are chances that your Amazon seller account will be restricted or suspended. Hence, it is necessary that you fill the real and correct product description and other information in the Amazon listing title specification. It will not only save you from a suspension but also ensures consistency.
#7 Opening More Than One Seller Account to Sell the Same Products:
This is another reason that raises an alarm when you are selling on Amazon. Amazon provides every bit of help when it comes to setting up an account and selling products. But still, selling on Amazon can be nerve wrecking. If your sole account gets banned or suspended, it could destroy your online business. This is the reason why many sellers think about having another Amazon seller account to which they can fall back to.
However, maintaining and operating multiple Amazon seller account is prohibited unless you have legitimate business requirements for another account. At the end of the day, it is all about making the right decisions for your Amazon business. The risk of operating more than one Amazon seller account without the approval is obvious – you will get suspended or worse – banned.
If you want to operate another seller account, you must request and provide an explanation of your legitimate business plan. Consider the following while requesting a second account.
- Your existing account must be in good standing along with excellent customer metrics
- You should have a separate bank account and an email account for the new account
- You must not intend to sell similar products in both the accounts
Amazon will send a response to your request within 2-3 days. If it says that you can open another account, feel free to create one. And if don’t, try to improve the customer metrics of your existing account.
#8 Obtaining UPC Code through Informal Channels:
As you will be selling physical products online, every product you sell should have a unique Universal Product Code (UPC). These codes are essential as it helps Amazon to identify the products and convey information to the retailers and distributors.
Using informal channels or an automatic generator patch to obtain UPC for your products can put your Amazon seller account at a greater risk of being suspended or banned. There are chances that other vendors and sellers might complain about your UPC. Once Amazon knows what you did, it can lead to suspension or restriction of your seller account.
Therefore, as a seller, you are advised to buy UPC from regular channels like GS1.
#9 Lack of Relevant Product Certification:
There are certain products that require certification by a certified body to be sold on Amazon. Products like medical equipment, personal care products, protective equipment, toys, machinery, etc require safety certification. Certification is a way to safeguard yourself and your business in case if someone tends to report that you are selling fake products. You can show the certification to Amazon if such scenario happens. In case if you don’t have the proof or any certification that the product you are selling is legitimate, then Amazon may suspend or ban your account.
Before posting pictures of the products in your shop, Amazon will ask you to provide the certification that states your product is 100% authentic. Failure to which, you risk your Amazon account getting a warning or being suspended.
#10 Ignoring Warnings:
This is one thing that you should never ignore. Amazon may send certain warnings regarding your dealings on Amazon. As an optimistic seller, you should always consider the warnings even if they are minute. However, suspensions or restrictions often happen even if you heed warnings. But ignoring the warnings will increase the possibility of your Amazon Seller Account landing in the trashcan.
Suspensions are very rare, but it does happen. Once your Amazon seller account is suspended, you will find it difficult and very expensive to recover from it as all your funds will be held hostage. However, Amazon will eventually end your suspension but by that time, your business will be crushed, and you will have to start from the beginning. On the other, if you are suspended, there is a possibility that you will get back on Amazon but if you are banned, then the probability of you doing business on Amazon is very less.
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