If you have been an Amazon Seller for long enough, there is a chance that you have already received the dreaded email from Amazon, Inc. Within is contained the most frustrating five-word sentence known to Sellers:
Your account has been suspended.
The initial response is, of course, panic. You’re missing out on sales every hour you’re not selling!
You can put your worry at rest, however, because today, we break down the most common causes of suspension.
Keep reading to learn what you can do to get your storefront back up as soon as possible in the case of an Amazon Seller Account suspension.
Long gone are the days when Amazon would spell out for you exactly what went wrong that triggered a suspension. Now, even if they receive an incredibly vague ASIN about their suspension, Sellers are still likely expected to comb through the Terms of Service (TOS). In addition, they may also need to examine their sales and product history to determine precisely why Amazon decided to remove its selling privileges.
With some exceptions, Amazon Sellers are often handed suspensions for one of three reasons:
- Selling a banned or restricted product in their storefront. If this is the reason your account got suspended, you probably knew it was coming. Illegal materials, or products directly opposing Amazon TOS, are a one-way ticket to suspension or even an immediate selling ban.
- Not holding up their end of the bargain. Operational metrics track an Amazon Seller’s defect rate, late shipment rate, and cancellation rate, among other statistics essential to consistent quality customer service. If you often ship products later than you claim or fail to ensure that your products remain in good condition through transport, Amazon may notice. Double-check those notifications on your Amazon Seller Central dashboard to ensure you’re up to snuff.
- Sales that are not entirely up to par. This one is the trickiest category of suspension because it can be hard for you, as a Seller, to control. If your sales take an incredibly sudden nosedive, Amazon may get suspicious.
Just because your account has been temporarily suspended does not mean you should immediately throw in the towel. Below, we go over the next steps to get your storefront back.
These things happen.. While the stats are not publicly available, some estimate that thousands of accounts get suspended each year. You are not a terrible Seller or necessarily in any long-lasting trouble.
Note that even multiple suspensions do not spell doom for your storefront. There are often ways you can remedy the situation and get your account back up and running.
The most straightforward remedial course is submitting an appeal. To do so, navigate to the Account Health page of Amazon Seller Central (under the Performance tab) and click “Reactivate your account.” From there, you will be taken to a set of instructions on submitting a plan of action.
Plans of action are not simple apologies to Amazon, Inc. for violating some obscure portion of the TOS. Instead, successful plans of action contain three critical pieces of information that reassure Amazon that they need never be concerned about your Seller account again:
- Cause: Identify what you understood to have gone wrong that made Amazon suspend you in the first place. Use as much phrasing from Amazon documentation as possible. Naming an exact cause tells the person reviewing your appeal that you are both on the same page.
- Swift action: Spell out what steps you have already completed on your Seller dashboard to resolve any outstanding issues. Those notifications will not go away on their own!
- Preventative measures: This portion is the actual plan part of your action plan. Step by step, write down precisely what you will do in the future to nip whatever problem your store faces in the bud. For example, will you invest in better packaging? Enlist help with fulfillment? Communicate more often with customers? When it comes to this part, the more information, the better.
It should come as no surprise that Amazon is sometimes just plain wrong. Perhaps, poor performance is being caused by malicious actions from competitors. In this case, it is possible to submit documentation of such activity in the same portal through which you usually send your plan of action.
Sometimes, however, you may find that your plan of action is flawless, and your response times are immediate, yet your plan is still denied, or your appeal is ignored entirely. When this happens, Sellers can request an escalation to Executive Seller Relations. This, however, is not an advisable move under most circumstances. Escalation usually results in more hassle with no significant improvement to the chances of getting your account back.
Many Sellers don’t have time to haggle with Seller Relations or wait for someone to approve their action plan. This has led some to enlist the help of reinstatement consultants for navigating the language and hurdles of Amazon selling. These professionals often have unique insights and experience handling suspension appeals. Their services, however, can get pricey, so choose wisely!
Whether you’re recuperating from your first suspension or trying to avoid ever getting handed one altogether, there are things you can do now to avoid unnecessarily losing sales for weeks at a time.
An essential item on your to-do list is resolving any outstanding notifications on your Amazon Seller Account Health dashboard. These pop-ups inform you of any service or product issues Amazon cares about. They are also your best indicator of how close you are to a possible account suspension and more notifications mean more problems with your store.
More broadly, checking on your sales and reviewing trends is always a good idea. For example, if you’ve noticed a strange dip in purchases of a particular product, double-check your customer reviews and address any issues you find in your investigations. In addition, consider pushing marketing materials for any items that may be underperforming or temporarily retiring products that consistently drag down your sales numbers.
Find Professional Assistance
Navigating ecommerce on any platform, Amazon or otherwise, can feel confusing and unnecessarily frustrating. That’s why you need help from experts in multichannel commerce management.
At StoreAutomator, we offer the listings and product management to help you understand where your business stands and the analytics and insight you need to dream of the future. Our extensive knowledge base and a team of professional marketing and integration experts are here to support you and your brand as you grow.
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