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How to Remain Suspension Free on Amazon

by Liz Fickenscher, on July 8, 2016

Amazon account suspension is a top concern for many merchants. In this webinar, eCommerce Nurse and former Amazonian Carina McLeod discusses how to stay suspension free by managing your seller performance.

Recap written by Becky Trowbridge

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.

Be a Suspension-Free Amazon Seller

Remaining suspension-free is top of mind for many Amazon sellers. Carina McLeod, former Amazonian and current CEO of eCommerce Nurse, shared her tips for staying in good standing in a recent webinar.

Finding Success on Amazon

Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) is a customer-centric company. Amazon is highly skilled at developing customer trust and loyalty, and it truly guarantees every customer an excellent shopping experience. To help sellers succeed, the company has established performance targets that merchants must meet. Failure to hit these targets could result in a loss of selling privileges or even an account suspension.

To be a successful merchant, you have to consider the way Amazon thinks about offering a great shopping experience. Look at your Amazon business in terms of long-term sales, not short-term transactions. Amazon’s viewpoint is that a happy buyer will become a loyal customer. A seller needs to keep in mind that all decisions Amazon makes are about the customer, including speedy delivery time and items that are easily available.

Monitor Your Seller Central Account

The best way to avoid suspension? Provide good customer service and pay attention to the Performance Checklist in your Seller Central account to see how Amazon rates you according to certain metrics.

These metrics show every aspect of your Amazon business. What’s helpful is that this can make you aware that a problem might exist. For example, your refund rate metric allows you to track returns and see what type of items are returned. If you realize that a certain item is being returned, it’s time to look into why this is happening. Could the item be low quality?

You can also make changes if you realize your metrics are not where you’d like them to be. Consider the Cancellation Rate/Late Shipment metric. Fulfillment dates can be changed from 1 to 2 days to about 5 days if needed. It’s understandable that you want to stay competitive, but you also need to meet a customer’s expectations by providing a realistic shipping time.

The On Time Delivery/Valid Tracking Rate metric is one that can really help your business. Provide your shoppers with the tracking number to help avoid delays and potential customer service concerns. A customer won’t be messaging you asking, “Where is my order? Does it have a tracking number?” This protects you, too, because if a customer says that something was not delivered and they want a refund, you have proof-positive that it was indeed shipped and delivered to them.

There are other helpful metrics to monitor including: Order Defect Rate, Contact Response Time and Return Dissatisfaction Rate.

Be Watchful of Policy Violations

One of the best things you can do is to start getting to know Amazon’s policies. Not following these guidelines means that you run the risk of losing your seller privileges.

Here are a few of the most common policies that sellers have trouble with:

Not listing products correctly – This is a very common violation and can actually be an error. A new merchant might do this if they don’t understand how to properly list their products. But some sellers actually do this on purpose to avoid the competition on a product.

Listing restricted products – Most realize that items such as firearms and alcohol are prohibited to sell on the Amazon marketplace. But if you want to sell beauty products, you do need permission from Amazon before doing so.

Feedback solicitation – Amazon does encourage merchants to get honest feedback. Any attempt to manipulate the process, including providing special offers, is not permitted.

Whether you are brand new to the Amazon marketplace or have been selling for awhile, it’s a good idea to review these policies often.

Stay on Track by Monitoring Your Performance

As mentioned, Amazon has targets they want all merchants to reach. If you don’t reach the targets, you run the risk of a suspended account. The best way to stay on track is by monitoring your performance.

Reports are helpful, because then you can look deeper into this issue. If one of your products is doing much better than another, then you would look at the Performance by Product Group report to learn more.

You’ll find reports in the following areas:

  • Tracking and delivery
  • Customer service satisfaction
  • Return dissatisfaction
  • Order quality report
  • Performance by product group

In the webinar, Carina McLeod gave some excellent advice about what to do if your account gets suspended, as well as how to create a clear, effective appeal. You only get one chance to appeal a suspended account, so it’s important to be informed. Keep in mind that Amazon frequently reviews your account’s performance. Sellers are most often given 60 days to improve. You can always appeal an account suspension to Amazon.

McLeod reminds us that we all can learn a lot from Amazon. The company has been successful for a reason. Their customers trust them and are very loyal.

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