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With Q4 quickly approaching, all Amazon sellers have one thing lurking in the back of their mind: that heart-sinking email notifying you that Amazon has placed your account under review. It’s no secret that 2020 has been a tough year on many businesses globally, and as we gear up for the silly season, you want to make sure your business is up, running, and ready to sell. The last thing you need is an unnecessary suspension. To provide yourself the best chance of keeping your account suspension-free, familiarize yourself with Amazon’s terms of service and abide by their rules. Below are important points to keep in mind when selling on Amazon during this holiday season:
1. Have the correct documentation
When opening an Amazon Seller Account, have the correct documentation clearly scanned and uploaded to allow for easy visualization checks by Amazon. No fingers or shadows should be visible on the scanned document. Take the photos in daylight and in an area of your home that doesn’t get direct sunlight. This will avoid any unwanted shadows. Place the documents on the floor and lean over the top of them to get the best angle. These documents are important, so take your time to get the photo right. You will also need to make sure all information uploaded is accurate and reflects the uploaded documentation. Before the busy season starts, go back through everything to ensure it is correct. Confirm that your business name and address is the same as what’s on your bank statement, passport, and driver’s license. Any discrepancies may result in your application for a Seller Account being declined, which means it will be over before you get started.
2. Be aware of and abide by, Amazon’s policies and guidelines
These guidelines are periodically updated, and you will receive an email notifying you of these changes. While it can be easy to overlook these emails or leave them for another day, make sure you are aware of any changes. If you’re in breach of Amazon’s content guidelines and safety infringement policies in any way, the chances of being suspended are very high. The product safety team is very strict. Instead of giving you a warning, they will suspend your Seller Account first, then ask for your plan of action. This is valuable time lost from selling your products. Make sure your products are not restricted or against Amazon’s policies and that your content is not misleading or inaccurate.
3. Remove any problematic products
Make a risk assessment and value judgment before you decide that you couldn’t possibly consider deleting a favorite product. While it may seem like it’s worth the risk to you, consider what would happen if your account ended up suspended and you were unable to sell any of your products. Is it still worth it? The busy season is not the time to be taking these risks, as it could come at a very costly price to your business after an already difficult year.
Related: How to start a multi-million dollar Amazon business with less than $2,000
4. Don’t choose products that attract negative feedback from your customers
While controversial products can have the capacity to sell well, they aren’t worth the negative attention they could bring to your business. This will lead to decreased account health, listing removals, warnings, and further scrutiny of your Amazon account. Of course, you don’t always have a say in how people respond to your product. But it is something you should keep in mind when you are choosing your products. If you are ever in doubt, run it by your target market and see what response it gets. This is the best indicator of how it might perform and be viewed by your customers.
Related: 8 Controversial Marketing Campaigns That Paid Off
5. Be proactive
Two-way communication with Amazon is the most important thing you can do to protect your account. Look at the information you are being provided by Amazon and your customers in relation to your account and products, and then respond accordingly. Stay up-to-date with all policy changes. Be aware of what people are saying about your business and the reviews they are leaving, and be present on your Amazon account. The best way to stay on top of things is to remain attentive and know exactly what is happening on a daily basis.
6. Double-check your keywords
It’s quite common for sellers to go overboard when they list their products by overloading on the keywords they choose. While this form of keyword stuffing may seem like a smart move to help you show up in search results, it becomes a problem when you start using keywords you shouldn’t. This is costly for your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. After all, if the keyword isn’t relevant to your product, then how much will you make from these campaigns? More importantly, to Amazon, this translates into misusing the search and browse section, and it can lead to a suspension. Ensure your keywords are relevant to your product and not misleading. Check your content and look for words that might be filler words, brand names, subjective, time-sensitive, misspelled, or redundant.
7. Outsource the tasks you can’t handle
With the global increase in Amazon Sellers, the competition on Amazon’s platform is increasing. Thankfully, this is something you can anticipate. Employ the help of specialists in the areas that are most important to you, or to those where you lack the knowledge. Plodding along and seeing how things go isn’t an option if you want to achieve. Spend your time wisely and remember that everyone is looking to make sales this season. Keep your prices on your products competitive to make them more appealing to prospective buyers and to increase your chances of achieving Buy Box.
Related: Guide to Starting a “Fulfillment by Amazon” Business
8. Velocity suspensions
When the sales of your product skyrocket, it can trigger Amazon’s algorithm. This will automatically provide a report to Amazon and can cause the seller account to be suspended. Don’t worry, there are ways around this. Seek professional advice and submit an appeal to Amazon to get yourself off suspension as quickly as possible. Of course, if you want to avoid the suspension altogether, your best hope is slowing down the sales of the product. But who wants to do that?
By taking the time to look over your Amazon store and going through each of these points, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy selling until your heart’s content this holiday season. All it takes is a little preparation and ensuring you put the time and energy where it is needed most. Happy selling!