How to Avoid Suspensions on Amazon, Part III

Losing your selling privileges is common in the Amazon game, as thousands of sellers are suspended each week on the world’s largest marketplace. For the past six years I have helped hundreds of sellers both reinstate their privileges as well as avoid potential suspensions. During that time I have learned every angle to maintaining account health. Here are a few quick tips when it comes to sourcing that will help you stave off account health issues.

1. Source directly whenever possible. I’m not telling you that you can’t be successful buying from retail outlets. However, you have NO relationship with the brand. Smooth selling these days has a lot to do with authorization to sell. Setting up accounts with authorized distributors and manufacturers is a much better strategy for long-term success, and it's much easier than you think!

2. Take the time to vet your sources. When choosing a vendor you first have to make certain the supplier is reputable. This means verifying that they are officially permitted to sell the products you are looking to source. So, for example, if you are buying hammocks made by American Eagle, the vendor needs to have the official authorization from American Eagle to sell to you and for those products to be sold on Amazon.

3. Obtain permission to sell. I suggest transparency when approaching new souring relationships, as it will save you headaches in the long run. Your vendors should know you are purchasing to sell on Amazon. They should give you permission to do so, or you shouldn’t sell. With the rise of brand protection agencies and rampant IP complaints, you are putting yourself in a precarious position when you don’t have permission to sell, and that WILL eventually adversely affect your account health.

We would love the opportunity to help you grow your Amazon business. We offer a wide-range of client services, including appeals, ungating, coaching, and much more. If you have a need for help, whether it is regarding account health, suspensions, or reaching new goals, please contact me. I take pride in developing lasting relationships with my clients which result in lasting profits!

How to Avoid Suspensions on Amazon, Part II

To keep growing your Amazon business, you must pay attention to your account health. This requires discipline and intention, as Seller Performance is constantly monitoring all sellers. As a successful Amazon seller and adviser in this game, I want to give you the best possible advice I can from my experience so you can avoid interruptions and setbacks.

Here are a few quick tips when it comes to INVOICES that will help you avoid suspension:

Make certain the information on your invoices matches the information on your seller account. Attention to detail is key here. If your address on file in your seller dashboard does not exactly match your invoices, Amazon could reject your invoices when you use them to appeal. What does this mean? Do not use your warehouse address with sourcing vendors if your office address is what is listed in Seller Central. This also means every period, dash, abbreviation, and even your middle name (or lack thereof) should match exactly between the two. A little extra effort to make certain every jot and tittle is accounted for could save you hours of hassle later on down the road! If you need more help with invoices or you aren’t sure if you’re doing it right, I created a helpful tip sheet you can find here. It walks you through what to do and how to do it. You have to be systematic in your approach to invoices.

When purchasing, use the card on file in your seller account whenever possible. Many sellers have employees who make purchases on behalf of the business. While this isn’t a problem in and of itself, it can be a source of problems when you aren’t using the card that is on file in your Amazon account. It's a lot easier on sellers to use one card for all purchases because attempting to explain to Seller Performance that your employee used a card that is not on file (or easily traced back to you) can be a headache.

Develop a system to quickly locate invoices. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen many sellers with account issues who have never taken the time do this. The likelihood of Amazon asking for invoices at some point in the future is high, so you should plan for it. Keep invoices dating back at least one calendar year, and keep them in an organized file where you can quickly and easily find them. I remember one call in particular when a seller received a Performance Notification while he was on vacation. He didn’t have anybody left behind in the office and he was really the only one who could find a receipt or invoice in his disorganized system anyway. He had no way to comply by providing a response within 48 hours because he couldn’t supply the invoice they were requesting. Don’t get stuck in this type of situation.

If Amazon asks to see your invoices, notate them by hand. Never digitally alter an invoice, as it is one of the surest ways to get them rejected. Circle your business address and clearly mark this as your company. With your supplier information, clearly identify it as well. Note the ASIN in question, circle it, then write the ASIN next to it. Use a legible pen.

A little planning can save you hours of time, and potentially, hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in lost revenue. The healthiest Amazon accounts practice prevention with intention! If you need assistance with your Plan of Action or any other account health related issues, please contact me. We have a ninety-five percent success rate with POA submissions!

How to Avoid Suspensions on Amazon, Part I

The fact is, many Amazon suspensions ARE AVOIDABLE. Here are a few quick tips when it comes to ACCOUNT HEALTH CASES to help you keep a healthy seller account:

Address every case, and quickly. Many sellers ignore the cases in their account health dashboard, but what they do not realize is that the cases count against them. Seller Performance keeps a tally of every issue in your account. This means each time you fail to address a problem, the stack of marks against you grows, inching you closer to suspension. Just because you don’t know how to deal with a problem doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address it. Make it a policy to address every single case!

Always communicate with a humble tone which puts the buyer. I can’t tell you how many times I have witnessed sellers who put themselves in a bad situation with Amazon because they communicated with anger or defensiveness, either toward Amazon themselves or a customer. File this under Appeals 101-ALWAYS humbly apologize for the problem and NEVER blame a customer.

Give Amazon the exact information they are asking for. If Seller Performance asks for the root cause of the buyer complaint, it is your job to do the research necessary to determine why they complained. You must convince the representative who reads your case that you understand why the problem occurred, and demonstrate how it will not happen again. You must be as specific as possible. I always advise clients to look at the issue from every angle, then address every variable in the equation. If your issue is product condition, address the source, the sourcing methodology, your quality controls, your software, your research methods, and even your employee training. Most of the time, appeals are lost because the seller does not give the information Amazon is asking for, and this is wholly avoidable with just a little effort.

Don’t just delete the listing and remove your inventory. Many sellers believe this fixes the problem, but it actually does nothing to resolve the underlying cause of the problem or give Amazon a reason to believe it won’t happen in the future. You must make verifiable changes to the way you do business, then explain how you did so in simple terms. This will give you the best chance of avoiding the same problems moving forward, and hopefully, help you avoid suspension as well.

Selling on Amazon can be a puzzle at times, but you are not alone! Ecomsellertools is here to help your business thrive. We have won 98% percent of the appeals for our clients over the past six years, and we can help YOU reinstate your ASINs and your account selling privileges. Don’t hesitate to contact us, as the small investment could very well mean the difference between a beautiful future of profits or time on the sidelines.

When to Hire Professional Help For Your Plan of Action

Plans of Action are a part of selling on Amazon. I wish they weren’t, but unfortunately, they’re very common. I started consulting for suspensions and Plans of Action not because they are fun and enjoyable, but because they are a reality, and many sellers need help with them, whether they realize it at first or not. The process of reinstatement can be a lengthy one that requires hours of thought, research, and determination. Without the knowledge of how to navigate this process, many sellers fail to win their appeals.

In a perfect world, a template would exist on what to say to Amazon to win an appeal, but this is not a perfect world. Each individual POA is a wholly different scenario which requires a unique strategy. Therefore, it is difficult to offer blanket advice for winning an appeal.

If I were to offer one piece of advice it is this: if your POA is addressing a simple problem containing very few variables, your chances of writing a successful appeal on your own are far greater. So, what qualifies as simple? Your root cause should be 100% identifiable and quantifiable. Many appeals are not so simple. Amazon typically suspends sellers who have issues which reach deeper, and affect multiple parts of their businesses.

I don’t often recommend sellers submit more than one or two appeals on their own. Here is the main reason why: if you fail to win your appeal, it counts against you, and it will be more difficult to win, even if you have to hire an appeal service. In other words, unless you have experience in this area, you are rolling the dice by submitting your own appeals.

Let me put it to you this way, in the form of two scenarios:

*Plan A: Zero up front, but 90% chance of $5,000.00 or more in lost revenues due to your business being suspended for six weeks, with a decent chance you will lose your selling privileges indefinitely.

*Plan B: $1500.00 up front cost with a 95% chance of success. Minimal lost revenue. Greater account health overall for the long term, lessening your chances for future suspensions.

So when is the right time to hire an appeals expert? My honest answer is BEFORE your first attempt. But for certain, if you lose your first appeal, or do not hear back from Amazon, it is vital you get the second try correct. DO NOT, under any circumstances, resubmit the same POA after an initial rejection or no response.

I don’t believe in making empty promises or false guarantees. I don’t promise people I can get them reinstated, even if I almost always can. What I can promise is through the process you will receive the tools and information necessary to have a healthier business overall moving forward. And I can pull from a very successful track record from my work with clients since 2014.

I do my very best to give each seller the attention that they deserve. I care about each person I work with, even to a fault. I invest my time and energy into winning these appeals because I take the job personally.

This is how I run my own business, how I consult, and how I approach Plans of Action.

If you are confident you can win your appeal on your own, please do so. If you want a much better chance of winning, give me a shout. And for certain, if you have lost your first appeal do not hesitate to contact me.

What To Do When You Are Suspended

I have seen it countless times. One minute an Amazon business is thriving and making great profits. Then, BOOM! Amazon suspends the account.

It can be both terrifying and maddening.

It causes incredible anxiety, and in their panic, sellers start making desperate decisions.

Losing your head when Amazon suspends you is natural, but acting out of emotion can only make things worse.

Hundreds of clients have come to me in this heightened state of emotion, convinced they are going to lose their businesses. Yet, I have been able to help nearly every single one of them get reinstated, so long as they were willing to follow one, simple piece of advice: adjust your mindset before taking action.

Reacting to a suspension with fear, anger, or desperation is the most surefire way to lose an appeal.

Approaching the situation with the proper perspective goes a long way toward guaranteeing reinstatement.

Here is the basic advice I give every seller who comes to me with a suspension:

First, STEP AWAY and give yourself some time to catch your breath. Don't write your Plan of Action when you are upset or angry. Do whatever is necessary to get your emotions under control. Distract yourself. Go for a run. Hit the gym. Engage in a healthy activity that will reset your brain. In doing so, you will be able to adopt a positive mindset. Use this an an opportunity to affirm yourself that you can solve this dilemma one way or another.

Secondly: Once your emotions are under control, you are ready to be proactive. Use the downtime away from selling for contemplate the reasons for the suspension. Evaluate your operation from top to bottom. Physically investigate your inventory. Look at your budget, and analyze your finances.

Third, Formulate a plan on how to fix what is broken before even thinking about responding to Seller Performance. Develop alternate strategies in the event your selling privileges are lost for a month or more. Begin your Plan of Action by thoroughly researching the root causes, as this is the most important step in the process. Be exhaustive in your digging. Look at your feedback, returns, account health cases, messaging, and sales reports. ONLY write your POA after determining the root cause, after having looked through every area of your account.

Although it may seem like it, an Amazon suspension is NOT the end of the world. You can recover from it. In most cases, as long as sellers adopt the proper attitude, not only will they be reinstated, but their businesses will thrive like never before.

You simply need to view your suspension as an opportunity, rather than a crisis. This is the perspective you must adopt for long-term success.

If this is your second or third suspension, keep in mind that all suspensions are different. Don't assume you will be reinstated a second time if you were successful on your own the first time. Second and third suspensions can be much more challenging to resolve.

If your first POA is denied on the first attempt, consider the help of a professional. Keep in mind, not all suspension service providers are equally proficient or successful. We have achieved reinstatements in 98% of cases.

If you are dealing with a suspension, feel free to schedule a time to review your situation at any stage by contacting us here.

Also, check out my new book Amazon Plans of Action: Proven Tactics for Winning Appeals here.

Interview with Quincy Lin of Qiklists for the New Book AMAZON PLANS OF ACTION: PROVEN TACTICS FOR WINNING APPEALS

Great interview where Scott discusses Plans of Action and Account Health. Scott has just released his new book AMAZON PLANS OF ACTION: PROVEN TACTICS FOR WINNING APPEALS. If you are in need of help with an appeal, please see our services page for special deals on Plans of Action and more. To purchase the new book on Amazon, please visit here.

How to GET SUSPENDED from Amazon

I realize this post is a bit ironic and somewhat comical, but you would be amazed how many sellers actively do these things thinking they will not suffer the consequences.  If you are trying to get suspended by Amazon (which I know you are NOT), you will want to do one, or several of, the following things.

*Do the bare minimum.  Selling on Amazon is actual work, and you must be willing to pay attention to the details on an hourly basis. If you are not willing, you will not be selling for long!

*Don’t pay attention to your account regularly. Sounds obvious, right?  But even if you are 100% vested in FBA, this is not a set-it-and-forget-it business model. Customers and inventory will need regular attention!

*Think you are invincible because of short-term success. I have seen this one countless times. Amazon selling is volatile, and if you are not intentional, your short-terms profits can disappear in a matter of moments.  

*Prioritize profits over Amazon policy. Overcharging is a quick way to land on Seller Performance’s radar.  

*Think you have total control of your account health. Control every variable you can. But inevitably, because Amazon is not a perfect system, you will encounter issues outside your control. Plan for this.

*Cut corners on product condition. Don’t sell items that are new if they are not. “Damaged, but still new” is a fast ticket to buyer complaints.

*Rush when packing shipments. The time you save rushing through the packing process will be lost when faced with the problems this approach causes.

*Approach your Amazon business as a get-rich-quick scheme. If you are looking to make a fast buck, Amazon is not the place to do it in 2021.

*Fail to get permission to sell your products from the manufacturer/authorized distributor.  If you fail to do this step, you are open to IP complaints.

*Submit a fake invoice for ungating. Almost all ungating services will give you fake invoices. Though it may be a cheap, fast option it is not worth losing your business over. Invest in a legitimate ungating service, or contact me for help.

*Fail to respond to Amazon when they ask for a Plan of Action. Ignoring direct communication from Amazon will only result in a loss of selling privileges.

*Fail to be absolutely certain all of the information on your account matches the information on your vendor invoices. It can be easy to forget to double check this, but it will cost you in the long term.

*Fail to thoroughly read a product detail page before listing. Amazon listings often contain errors and fine print most sellers don’t catch in their desire to list quickly. This can lead to suspension faster than you think.

The point: don’t think you are invincible.  Plan for stormy weather and famines, because they are a reality in this business. Run a tight ship and spend extra time on the details, because not only will that save you time and hassle in the future, it will also help fireproof your business.   Check out the new book Amazon Plans of Action: Proven Tactics for Winning Appeals and purchase here.

The NEW BOOK, Amazon Plans of Action: Proven Tactics for Winning Appeals from Scott Margolius is NOW AVAILABLE exclusively on Amazon