Tips to Avoid Amazon Account Suspension
When’s the last time you checked your Seller Performance Notifications on Amazon?
If you answered, “Two weeks ago,” it’s time to be more vigilant, because those issues can result in you getting your Amazon account suspended faster than you think. Recently, CPC Strategy experts have noticed a trend in suspensions involving content.
“Amazon has been increasingly enforcing their product content policy as it pertains to titles, images, back-end search terms, bullet points, and descriptions. We’ve seen this in the form of both ASIN suspensions and, if violations persist, full account suspensions,” says Pat Petriello, Senior Marketplace Strategist at CPC Strategy.
So what’s the next step for Amazon sellers?
We sat down with Petriello, Ethan Pilkenton-Getty (Manager, Marketplace Channel Operations), and Jeff Coleman (VP, Marketplace Channels) to discuss how sellers can stay within the guidelines and avoid a full account suspension.
What’s the best way for a seller to avoid suspension?
Pilkenton-Getty: By adhering to all of Amazon’s content guidelines and policies.
The difficult thing is that Amazon’s requirements are sometimes vague, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation and subjective analysis. That’s where we see a lot of issues start to stem.
If you find yourself having to explain why your action technically is allowed, it probably violates the spirit of the law and will eventually run afoul of Amazon’s policies.
How can sellers deal with these issues quickly?
Pilkenton-Getty: Usually, Amazon will give you fair warning, especially if you’re a first-time seller. My advice would be to keep a very close watch on your Seller Performance notifications. That’s where Amazon directly messages you for product-specific, listing specific, or account specific issues to give you a heads up on anything that puts your account in danger of suspension.
Keep in mind if you’re under a suspension warning, you’re going to be “under the microscope”. A lot of sellers may get away with [issues on their account] currently, but once they’re notified, and don’t correct those problems—and this is particularly true for repeat offenders—the leash is a lot shorter. And after multiple account suspensions, Amazon can make it virtually impossible for you to ever open your account back up.
Coleman: When making your case to Amazon for account reinstatement, don’t get defensive or accusatory, and don’t treat the person on the other end of the line as if they’re the cause of your problem. They’re just another person responding to your request, so get them on your side. Explain what happened and share what steps you’re going to take to correct the issue so it doesn’t happen again. In other words, give that person a reason to support you.
What are the most important pieces of content to pay attention to?
Pilkenton-Getty: Anything that’s customer facing in the SERP holds more weight. So for an image or a title—both which get more exposure to customers or browsers—Amazon’s going to take priority on correcting those. And Amazon really wants people to adhere to their content rules for Lightning Deals because those get a lot of exposure.
Is Amazon paying more attention to content and other seller issues right now?
Pilkenton-Getty: It’s a bigger initiative in 2016, more of a focus on improvement to their customer experience—more consistency. Or maybe there’s been an increase in inaccurate information that’s creating poor experiences. I don’t know where it came from, but we’ve definitely noticed it [at CPC Strategy].
Petriello: While the policies themselves haven’t changed, this is a continued move by Amazon to provide cleaner, clearer, more consistent, and more professional product content to Amazon shoppers.
Coleman: Amazon is always looking to do what’s in the customer’s best interest & improve the customer experience. Late last year, reviews were a hot topic, this year the focus is more on content. Predicting what they’re going to look at next can be difficult, but as long as you ensure that your strategies keep the customer’s best interest in mind then you’re going to be on the right side of the next thing that draws their attention.
What are some next steps for both vendors and 3p sellers?
Petriello: For Sellers and Vendors, this means that it’s crucial to revisit their product content to make sure it adheres to Amazon policy and to check the Seller Performance notifications section of their account to make sure there are not existing violations being levied against them.
Pilkenton-Getty: This issue is more 3P specific because there’s a different [listing] approval process for Amazon vendors. First, sellers should look at their listings for content quality. Sellers should also pay close attention to performance metrics, especially if they’re FBM [(shipping Fulfilled by Merchant)], because that’s another place you could get a suspension if you’re not performing at the really strict standards that Amazon expects. Don’t raise the alarms, but constantly keep watch on those tabs. Catching it early is usually the best way to ensure you don’t get your Amazon account suspended.
Learn more best practices to avoid getting your Amazon account suspended in our recent posts:
- How to Optimize Your Amazon SEO & Product Content
- Maximizing Your Vendor Relationship with Amazon
- How to Protect Your Amazon Product Listings & Brand Name
Have you already been suspended by Amazon? Stay tuned for our upcoming interview with an Amazon Sellers’ lawyer.