Amazon Seller Performance:
Amazon is the best platform for sellers for a variety of reasons. Many sellers make their living off of selling products on Amazon and it’s a huge opportunity to build a sustainable business. Although Amazon is great, it’s extremely strict on how sellers perform on their platform. You may get away with being lackadaisical and undisciplined in other platforms, but Amazon will ban accounts without hesitation for sellers that don’t meet their requirements.
Maintaining good seller performance is one of the most important jobs an Amazon seller has. By maintaining the metrics Amazon has set out for sellers, you can keep your account in good standing and continue selling. In contrast, failure to do this can result in a temporary account suspension and possibly a permanent account suspension.
Maintaining account health
You’ve heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. There is no place where this phrase is more applicable than your Amazon seller account. Can you get your account reinstated if you’re suspended? Sure, but it will take days and maybe weeks to resolve and this makes you lose a ton of sales.
By maintaining good account health from the beginning, you can minimize the chance of your account being suspended significantly. Sellers, especially new sellers, can maintain their account health by understanding Amazon’s guidelines and adhering to them.
You can check your account health by going to seller central, clicking on the performance tab and then clicking account health.
There are three main sections that influence your account’s health: customer service performance, policy compliance and shipping performance.
Customer service performance: The customer service performance metrics exhibit how well your customer service is as an Amazon seller. The main factor that Amazon looks at for customer service performance is order defect rate. Order defect rate is determined by three factors:
- Negative feedback: Amazon considers negative review as when a buyer leaves 2 or less stars on a review after purchasing a product.
- A to Z claims: A to Z claims occur when a dispute between a seller and a buyer is not resolved. This involves Amazon because the customer will call upon Amazon to settle their dispute with the seller.
- Chargeback claims.
Sellers can minimize negative feedback and A to Z claims by avoiding common reasons why customers may leave negative feedback and A to Z claims. Two the primary reasons why this occurs include lack of communication and how returns are handled.
Generally, sellers should respond to buyer’s inquiries within 24 hours. Lack of doing this may cause a customer to leave a bad review. Additionally, handling a return professionally will help buyers leave great reviews and avoid the need to escalate to an A to Z claim. Improving communication and handling of returns are two of the best ways to lower order defect rate.
The third factor in order defect rate is chargebacks. Chargeback claims occur when a buyer reaches out to their credit card company in attempt to chargeback a product they have ordered from a seller. When chargeback claims occur, sellers have a few options in terms of action:
- Immediately issue a refund
- Present your case to the credit card company via Amazon. This allows you to explain in detail what occurred and an Amazon investigator will take a look at the case.
All chargeback claims must be responded to within 7 days or Amazon may take that money from your account. The target order defect rate that Amazon recommends for sellers is <1% on all orders.
Product Policy Compliance
Product policy compliance helps sellers become aware of intellect property (IP) issues, product condition violations and product safety violations related to their account. Intellectual property claims often occur when brands reach out to Amazon because a seller may have a listing that is using the brand’s intellectual property. Amazon takes these claims very seriously and violation product policy compliance guidelines will often result in a listing being taken down and it can also have an account suspended.
Sellers must be aware of the IP laws surrounding the products in which they sell. Before selling a product, sellers must do research to ensure their product is compliant with IP regulations. If a product is removed from your listings, you should follow Amazon’s appeal process to get it reinstated. The likelihood of reinstatement increases dramatically if:
- You have invoices from a valid supplier
- Verify all applicable safety compliances are being followed
Sellers can manage product policy compliance issues on seller central. The dashboard will provide a timeline of any pending appeals for issues like IP claims. It’s important to address these issues to avoid listings being taken down or the entire account being suspended.
The third factor in account health is shipping performance. There are four metrics that are important to shipping performance on Amazon:
- Late shipment rate: The late shipment rate is the percentage of orders that were shipped after their expected shipping date over both a 10-day period and a 3o-day period. Late shipments will hurt sellers’ accounts because they can result in more complaints and negative reviews from buyers. Amazon expects all sellers to have less than 4% late shipment rates for all products sold. Anything higher than 4% can lead to account deactivation.
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: The pre-fulfillment cancel rate is the percentage of total orders that a seller has cancelled in a 7-day period. This includes all order cancellations initiated by the seller. Amazon requires sellers to have a pre-fulfillment cancel rate of less than 2.5%. Rates higher than that can result in account deactivation.
- Valid tracking rate: Valid tracking rate measures how often you use correct tracking numbers on orders. Without providing the correct tracking numbers, customers won’t be aware of where their package is and how long it will take for their package to arrive. Amazon requires sellers to have a valid tracking rate of over 95% over a 30-day period. Having a valid tracking rate of less than 95% can result in account suspension.
- On-time delivery rate: The on-time delivery rate is the percentage of orders that buyers receive by their estimated delivery date. The estimated due date is derived from confirmed tracking information. Failure to meet on-time delivery rate metrics by Amazon won’t result in suspension immediately, but it will cause negative effects like negative reviews and A to Z claims.
It’s important to note that sellers that use Amazon FBA don’t have to worry about these metrics. With FBA, Amazon handles all the shipments and the seller is not responsible for any errors that could occur. Sellers that opt to use merchant fulfillment for their shipping have to meet all of the shipping requirements set by Amazon. By meeting these metrics your account will stay healthy and you can continue to sell on Amazon. This applies to sellers that use FBA 100%, any items you sell by merchant fulfillment will be subject to meeting these metrics.
The three main factors affecting your account health (shipping performance, policy compliance and customer service performance) will determine whether your account stays active or if it gets suspended. We’ve talked about maintaining the health of your Amazon account, but what happens if your account gets suspended? Over the course of your journey as an Amazon seller, it’s very likely that you may get your account suspended. Here’s what you should do:
Carefully read the email from Amazon:
It can’t be stressed enough for sellers to really read what the email from Amazon is stating. If your seller account is banned, you will immediately receive an email from the seller support team. The email will say something like “Your Amazon Selling Privileges Have Been Removed”. This is an automated message, but in the text of the email, it will state the reason why your account was banned. It’s extremely important to relax and digest what the email is saying before impulsively replying to it.
Don’t submit your first appeal quickly: Submitting your first appeal quickly is one of the worst mistakes you can make as a seller. If you have no experience before with suspensions on Amazon, it may make sense to you to just reply as quickly as you can to Amazon to get your account reinstated. The Amazon seller performance team deals with thousands of suspended accounts daily and they will quickly glance over your appeal if it’s not done correctly.
You need to get all of the information in order and write out your appeal as best as you can before submitting it. The chances of your account being reinstated will continue to drop with each following appeal, so getting it right the first time will save you a ton of time and money.
Take responsibility: When dealing with Amazon on a suspension, the last thing you want to do is blame Amazon. Amazon generally requires a plan of action regarding the reason why you were suspended. Taking responsibility for your mistakes (even if it’s not technically completely your fault), will show Amazon that you recognize your error and they can work with you to resolve the issue. You should clearly state that you take responsibility in your appeal to Amazon.
Start preparing your appeal/plan of action: Once you have relaxed, it’s time to take a measured approach to getting your account back. You need to prepare the best appeal possible to maximize the chance of your seller account being reinstated. Your appeal should:
- Identify issues identified by Amazon: Your appeal needs to clearly state why Amazon suspended your account and that you take responsibility. If it was multiple issues identified, state each issue and what happened with each briefly. For example, if your account was suspended for late shipment rates, you can state the shipment rate you were at and that you take responsibility for that.
- Include actions taken/will be taken: After stating the issues that got your account suspended, state the actions you have taken to fix them and the future actions you will take as well to ensure it won’t happen again. This is a crucial part of the appeal and without it your appeal will likely be rejected
- Keep it brief: The Amazon seller performance team sees a ton of appeals daily. They may spend a maximum of 5 minutes on your appeal. By clearly stating what went wrong, how you will fix it and any documents they need in a brief manner, you make their job easier.
As hard as it is to hear, you’re on Amazon’s time. Many suspensions can take weeks or even months to be reinstated. After submitting the best appeal you possibly can, all you can do is wait on Amazon to reply back to you. Calling the seller support number won’t do you any good because they are not associated with the Amazon seller performance team. The seller performance team is the only team within Amazon that handles suspensions and they can only be reached via email.
Bombarding them with follow-up emails will only make it harder to get reinstated. You really need to exercise patience with this process and trust you did your best. You need to also be very careful with the amount of appeals you submit because after a while the Amazon seller performance team may stop responding to all of your contact efforts.
Professional reinstating services: One option you can explore if your appeals are being rejected by Amazon is to pay a company to do the appeal process for you. There are some companies that specialize in getting Amazon sellers’ account reinstated. Although they are pretty costly, it can be your last resort if everything doesn’t work out. It’s important to remember that these services cannot guarantee your account being reinstated.
You can pay them and Amazon can still reject your appeal. If you have money to work with these companies, asking for their help on the first appeal is probably the best chance you have to get your account reinstated. If you search on Google “Amazon account suspended”, they’ll be a few companies at the top with ads that help sellers reactivate their accounts.
How to contact Amazon seller performance?
The best way to contact Amazon seller performance is via seller central. If you go to seller central, there’s a “help” button in the upper right hand side. Once you click on it, you will see a variety of options including case logs, seller forums and get support. If you click on case logs, you will see any open cases for you including suspensions or you can create a new one. If you click on help, you can submit a general inquiry and seller support will typically get back to you within a day.
That covers the basics of how Amazon seller performance and suspensions work. To learn more about how to appeal suspensions, check out this video here.