Play by the Rules
by Becky Trowbridge, on May 9, 2018
There’s a lot of information out there for Amazon merchants who are hoping to grow their businesses. Some of it is fantastic, some…not so much. In fact, there are some self-proclaimed Amazon experts who will teach you how to game the system for better short-term results. In the end, this can put your account in jeopardy and potentially cause irreparable damage to your Amazon seller reputation.
Do Your Research
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Something that was considered okay a few months ago might not be in keeping with Amazon seller policies tomorrow. (For example, incentivized reviews were part of the product launch strategy for many experienced sellers until the Amazon policy was adjusted in October 2016.)
In a more recent instance, some sellers have tried to get around Amazon's opt-out by using the word "[Important]" in the subject line of their messages. Abusing this workaround doesn't benefit anyone, even in the short term. After all, the purpose of the "important" message is to reach out in situations when it is critical to communicate directly with the buyer. If you send an "important" message asking an opted-out buyer to leave feedback or a product review, they're going to be furious. It increases the likelihood that you'll receive a negative rating, it's not a good customer experience, and it's very possible that the buyer will report you to Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") for violating the opt-out.
To help keep our users compliant with Amazon's policies and guidelines, we recently changed the settings in FeedbackFive so that "[Important]" cannot be added to our templates. Here at eComEngine, we take your Amazon business very seriously. We know how tough it can be to try to manage everything from reputation to inventory while trying to make sure that you’re following the rules, so we regularly share updates on our blog, in our newsletter and on social media to help you stay in the loop.
The last thing you want to see is a misuse policy violation message. To help you avoid that and keep your account in good standing, we wanted to review some common issues about what is and is not allowed :
What’s Not Allowed
As an Amazon seller, you cannot place orders for your products or provide any form of compensation to others for buying your items. This includes claim codes. Never ask for or accept fake orders. Don’t send items to recipients who do not order or expect them. (Who would do this? Good question. These folks are still trying to figure that out!)
Don’t attempt to manipulate your item’s sales rank or artificially simulate customer traffic. Using a third-party to try to improve the rank or reviews for your ASIN is not allowed. (Note: Asking for product reviews is absolutely okay, attempting to manipulate or influence those reviews is not.)
It’s also very important to consider your product catalog. All the information you provide should be relevant and accurate. Another thing to consider: Some folks have received policy violations based on their back-end keywords. Amazon states, “Adding product identifiers (brand names, product names, ASINs, and so on), even if they are your own, to hidden keyword attributes” is a prohibited behavior. You can learn more about all of these guidelines here.
What is Allowed
You can send feedback requests and product review requests, but there are a few rules to keep in mind. For example, never center your messaging around “positive” ratings. Simply ask for an honest rating and then put that information to work for your Amazon business. This is a great way to ensure that you are providing the product quality and level of customer service that Amazon and shoppers have come to expect. Using a tool like FeedbackFive to request seller feedback and product review ratings helps you quickly identify and resolve downward trends.
Do not offer coupons or discounts in your messaging, and be sure that there are no attempts to divert buyers away from the Amazon marketplace. Want a more in-depth refresher on feedback best practices? Check out this blog post that Liz Fickenscher and I wrote recently.
Keep Your Account in Good Standing
FeedbackFive is the industry's first reputation management tool, used to request feedback and product reviews for sellers in more than 100 countries around the world. Sign up today to try it free!