As an Amazon seller, I'm sure you'll agree that an account suspension email is one you'd like to avoid at all costs.
Problem is, while the majority of sellers don’t set out to violate any rules set out by the marketplace, all too often an innocent mistake can lead to Amazon suspension and a long battle to regain seller privileges.
So, how do you avoid the dreaded email?
In short, by adhering to Amazon’s high standards.
While you can find some general guidelines for preventing account suspension here, before anything else it is crucial that you’re not getting caught out by poorly managed back-end processes.
More specifically, you need to ensure that your inventory management, order processing and order fulfilment aren’t putting you at risk of overselling, late shipments or any other factors that can impact your seller performance.
To help you avoid this, we have detailed some of the key steps you must take below.
1. Avoid overselling at all costs
Despite being a common mistake that occurs as businesses begin to scale, overselling can prove costly.
In fact, it’s one of the quickest ways to land yourself with a suspension on Amazon.
After all, the delay in updating stock levels across each sales channel, whenever a customer places an order, puts you at risk of selling more stock than you physically have.
And that's before you consider the risk of human error that can occur as a result of manual stock control.
The reality is, as soon as you begin to expand and sell across multiple sales channels, it becomes almost impossible to run your business in this way, and overselling becomes a constant risk factor.
Fortunately, inventory management software can help to eliminate overselling altogether and subsequently prevent Amazon account suspension.
More specifically, a centralised inventory management solution enables you to automatically sync your stock levels across each of your sales channels and warehouses, preventing you from selling more stock than you have available.
That’s not all though.
If you need to transfer stock between warehouses, advanced inventory management software will further enable you to list your products as unavailable during transit to prevent them from being sold.
You should also have access to both past and present sales data, meaning you can better understand your customer’s buying behaviour and use these insights to accurately forecast when to reorder your Amazon stock.
The more sales you make, the better chance you have of improving your seller performance.
2. Prevent product spoilage
It’s important to minimise the risk of stock becoming obsolete or damaged and therefore unsellable on Amazon.
Product spoilage could lead to a whole host of back-end inventory management issues, such as stock shortages and delayed order fulfilment, resulting in negative customer feedback.
What’s more, if Amazon considers your products to be a safety violation, you will find yourself suspended almost immediately.
In fact, out-of-date perishables and damaged goods would almost certainly fall into this category, so you must take the precautionary steps to prevent this from happening.
One such step is to apply the First in First out (FIFO) method.
First in First out (FIFO) is a supply chain best practice which refers to the sequence in which inventory is booked and dispatched from your warehouse.
By applying the FIFO method, you’re able to batch products by their expiry date, so that your oldest stock is dispatched first, thereby reducing the risk of perishable goods becoming obsolete. This is particularly important if you sell goods such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals or cosmetics.
In addition to this, you can also prevent non-perishable items from being kept in storage for too long and ending up tarnished or damaged, which is another factor that could lead to negative customer feedback.
3. Prevent delayed order fulfilment
Let's start with the fact that a Late Shipment Rate (LSR) of more than 4% on Amazon puts you at risk of account deactivation.
So, with this in mind, it is crucial that you're doing all you can to ensure your orders are shipped on time, every time.
The good news is that inventory management software makes this possible.
More specifically, the right solution will ensure that your orders are processed and fulfilled quickly, and without error.
That's not all though.
The best platforms will even allow you to automatically route your orders to the closest warehouse, helping speed up fulfilment.
In addition to this, an automated inventory management solution should also send the order tracking information from your shipping courier directly to the sales channel, keeping customers in the loop and in turn boosting satisfaction.
4. Prioritise FBA and FBM orders
While the ability to reach Amazon's most active and loyal customer base can do wonders for boosting your sales, it can't be ignored that having Prime-eligible status comes with higher expectations surrounding fulfilment.
In other words, if you fail to meet these delivery expectations, you risk your chances of being suspended.
So, how can this be avoided?
In short, by opting for a system that can prioritise certain orders.
If you're using Fulfilment by Amazon then you can rest assured that your orders will be automatically routed to an FBA warehouse for fast delivery.
If, however, you have been approved to fulfil Prime-eligible products yourself as the merchant (FBM), then you will need to have the processes in place to ensure these orders are identified and dispatched first.
Advanced inventory management software ensures that this happens.
Provide a great customer experience for your Amazon buyers
Ultimately, automated inventory management helps to ensure your listings are accurate, your products are not damaged, and that your orders are delivered without delay. Each of these are crucial steps in preventing Amazon account suspension.
We’d love to hear about your experiences – please share in the comments sections below.