Keeping On The Right Side Of Seller Performance On Amazon

hurdles with amazon seller performance
scott needham

October 7th, 2020

By: Scott Needham

Not All Large Sellers Have The Advantage

You’re not anyone on Amazon until you’ve been on the wrong side of seller performance. 

While obviously that’s not true, most sellers that have achieved scale on the platform have either had ASINs or their account shut down. 

My company BuyBoxer has sold over $300m on the platform and we have our share of run ins. Even Pattern (iServe), one of the largest sellers in the nation was suspended for a week in February of 2020.

Many feel like larger sellers get all the advantages, I’d argue the opposite: their exposure is larger.  

More ASINs can mean more problems. 

Look at our inbound shipments, 99.9% of our shipments are received with no issue, but those .1% have led to week long shipping suspensions with disappointingly low communication from Amazon.

Amazon Continues To Improve

I don’t wish suspensions on anyone.

The idea that others experience what we have makes me squirm.

It’s trauma. It’s sleepless nights. It’s often unfair. It’s what sellers have come to learn to live with.

If what Jeff Bezos testified to congress in July 2020 is true, they’re committed to getting better. I do have faith in Amazon and I have seen progress.

While many of the features have taken too long, I’m happy with anything Amazon does to help sellers stay afloat. I also applaud efforts they have taken to weed out fraudulent activity.

Here’s what’s new this year and how you can keep your business strong. The account health dashboard is way more alive than it was in 2018.

Now we have numbers and case tracking. Look at how colorful our dashboard is. After seeing this would you believe that I have more confidence now that we can avoid a suspension than ever before?

seller-performance-amazon

First off. I’m just glad that Amazon is now tracking this for us. In 2017, I would have paid handsomely for such a dashboard. We now know what’s on our account. 

We now have a “rating” system. More important than this though, Amazon is finally investing in keeping sellers above water. They now have an account health team. I can call them anytime I want. 

We recently had a price gouging scuffle in the wake of the pandemic. The individuals that I spoke with were very knowledgeable and gave me solid advice for our Plan of Action (POA).

amazon performance team

Amazon now has a process where they notify you if your account is “under review”.

This is up to three days to put together a POA. Again, I’m so happy they have this period.

It allows us to actually respond to the issue at hand instead of “guilty until proven innocent”. 

On top of this, in August I received a call that we had to address a restricted product or our account would be potentially put into the “under review” process. In other words, they helped us avoid this proactively.

I’ve always known that it’s in Amazon’s best financial interest to invest in us, the sellers.

That said, Amazon can and should do better. The long response times are unforgiving. The punishment often doesn’t meet the crime. Legitimate businesses are threatened daily.

What Can You Do?

Read The Policies

When’s the last time you read it?

I assure you that there’s more you can do. 

Every time I’ve lazily glossed over something, it’s come to bite us later.

Commit To Being White Hat

There’s an allure to many practices out there. 

Some claim to be white hat, when in reality they are gray/black.

Amazon is absolutely subject to manipulation, but if you have a good product with a good conversion rate, nothing will get in your way.

Be Proactive

At my company BuyBoxer, we invest a great deal. We even have team members dedicated to understanding these policies for our own seller account and for those of our clients in our growth agency.

We invest in our team to go to trade shows and pay for consultations with Amazon lawyers and consultants proactively so we always know the best strategies to approach Amazon compliance.

Think about what you’re doing now and know that you can do more.

Build A Relationship

If you’re a larger seller and can’t afford to spend much time with your account down, I would suggest building a relationship with a seller performance consultant. 

They can do an audit of your business, tell you about your exposure and then if your account goes under review you have someone to turn to. 

This isn’t the free option, but for those doing over 7 figures an easy investment to justify on top of the peace of mind. I personally think that Amazon businesses are more valuable because these services exist.

The Extra Work Has Tremendous Upside

If you want long term success on Amazon, this is the only approach. There is no other. 

Amazon will find you and will make life difficult if you do not adhere to their policies. It’s their platform and their 100 million engaged shoppers. 

That tremendous upside comes with extra work for us sellers. So step it up to make sure you’re on the right side of seller performance.

The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not always reflect the views of SellersFunding.