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Selling products on Amazon is associated with daily challenges. For this reason, in this article I will describe some of the more common difficulties encountered when selling on the online retailer's platform. In many cases, selling on and through Amazon is described as straightforward and hassle-free, which in my experience and that of my customers is often not the case. If you are planning to sell on Amazon in the future or are already selling there, I would like to make it easier for you to assess the current situation with this post.

In this article, the focus is on the problems/challenges. I cannot always provide blanket solutions, as solution concepts often depend on the individual sales situation and cannot be generally adopted. However, one approach is to do everything possible, wherever possible, to prevent the situations described from occurring in the first place.

1st FBA delivery not stored or partially disappeared

The first problem I describe is that it can happen that when products are shipped to an Amazon warehouse, they can "disappear" during storage, even though the products have been accepted by Amazon. The delivery status can be monitored in the delivery plan. Among other things, it shows how many products have been received. The quantity received should always match the specified shipping quantity. Once the products have been received, they are taken to the designated storage location. Unfortunately, in a few cases, the products are misplaced and then lost during this process.

You will find out about this at the latest when you compare the number of products ready for dispatch with the number of products received. In some cases, Amazon proactively notifies you that products have disappeared. 

The good news is that in most cases Amazon will find the missing products. If this is not the case, Amazon will pay for the damage incurred up to the value of the product. 

2. rate of late deliveries due to synchronization errors above 4%

A regularly occurring problem is exceeding the 4% rate of late deliveries. This problem only occurs with retailers who organize shipping independently and not via Amazon FBA rule. Exceeding the 4% rate of late deliveries can lead to the seller account being temporarily deactivated. The deactivation is particularly annoying if the products are shipped on time but the tracking number is submitted to the Amazon system too late. Amazon also includes the late entry of tracking numbers in the late delivery rate. Especially for sellers with high sales figures, the tracking numbers are not entered manually but automatically. Unfortunately, it has often happened that synchronization errors have occurred, which has led to the tracking numbers being entered late.

Account deactivation is of course very annoying and costly, and if this also happens due to a synchronization error, you are doubly annoyed.

For this reason, the connection should be checked regularly to avoid unnecessary late deliveries.

3. account blocking due to revised payment information (bank details)

There are numerous reasons for temporarily blocking your Amazon account. One reason, even if it only leads to temporary account blocking in very few cases, is the submission of new payment information. Some sellers have had their Amazon account temporarily deactivated in the last 12 months due to new payment details. I suspect that this is a security feature introduced by Amazon to prevent unauthorized third parties from entering bank details to redirect sales to another bank account.

To ensure that your Amazon account is not deactivated, the change of bank details should be discussed with Seller Support in advance.

4. negative product reviews that describe a different product

The importance of product reviews in the Sale of products on Amazon I don't need to emphasize this. It is therefore all the more painful when a product receives a negative product review, but the reviewer actually describes a completely different product in the review.

Since most customers look at product reviews cumulatively, incorrect bad product reviews have a negative impact on sales performance. 

What options do sellers have if such a rating is given?

  1. Contact Amazon support to check whether the review should be deleted.
  2. Publish a comment below the product review and explain the facts of the case; this will hopefully result in the reviewer removing their review themselves.

5. hardly any impressions when displaying your own advertisements

You have uploaded your first products to Amazon, written optimized product texts and even integrated new product photos, only to discover that your own product is barely displayed when the ads are shown. This is annoying and frustrating, as neither Amazon nor the Google search results have an answer as to why this might be the case. 

Instead of burying your head in the sand, you should try the following things if your product ads are hardly generating any impressions:

  1. Does the product to be advertised have the Buy Box? Products without a Buy Box cannot be advertised!
  2. Do you sell erotic products or other products for which no advertisements are displayed? Please check the registered product category here!
  3. Are the keywords that should be displayed for your products also in the Product listing included? If not, then you should include the keywords.
  4. Check the possible search volume of the specified keywords using the Brand Analytics function to determine how popular the selected keywords are. The search queries may simply be very low in the current month.
  5. What CPC have you entered and what is the suggested budget from Amazon? You may need to adjust this!
  6. If all else fails, create a campaign that only contains the product to be advertised and select the "Increase and decrease dynamic bids" bidding strategy. You should also book the keywords with the match type "Exact Match" and name a CPC that is as competitive as possible.

6. product information on product detail pages cannot be changed

A very common annoyance is that sellers want to adjust existing product information and then do so via the Seller Central backend, but the information is actually neither removed nor adjusted. One reason for this can be that the submitted product information does not correspond to the style guides. In this case, the product data should be prepared in such a way that it conforms to the style guide. 

Another option is to submit the change requests via the contact form under "Edit product detail page". The use of the stock file can also lead to the product data being transferred from there - Amazon sometimes prefers the submission of product data via the stock file to manual processing in the Seller Central backend.

7. products are not indexed and therefore cannot be found

You've uploaded products to Amazon and now the sales can start? But only if the product can be found! However, products can only be found if they are indexed. However, it regularly happens that products from Amazon not indexed and therefore cannot be found. Therefore, you should always check whether your own products are included in the index, especially for new products.

If this is not the case, it may be because the products are not Style Guide-compliant or because the products have not been entered in any category. Both points should be checked to ensure that the products are indexed! 

8. no extended brand content and brand store despite brand registration 

The great advantage of brand owners selling on Amazon is that they have the option of creating a brand store with the so-called Enhanced Brand Content. In some Amazon accounts, however, it happened that despite successful brand registration with Amazon Brand Registry, it was not possible to create the brand content. This is usually due to a faulty link between Brand Registry and Seller Central and can be rectified relatively easily by contacting Brand Registry Support.

9. Loss of the buy box in the event of price increases

The Buy Box is a mystery, especially for new sellers on Amazon - sometimes you have it, sometimes not. If prices are raised too aggressively, the Buy Box is almost always lost. The loss of the Buy Box results in fewer sales and a drop in ranking. To prevent this, possible price increases should be implemented in several smaller steps - this way the buy box is not lost.

10. lack of functionality for creating product variants

When creating product variants, Amazon specifies which types of variants (color, size, flavor, weight, length, etc.) can be created. Unfortunately, not all of the product variants requested by the seller are always available, meaning that your own products cannot be created as variants. As an example, I can mention travel cases with and without a power bank - the variants with and without a power bank are not provided by Amazon in this case. Unfortunately, this means that variant products have to be displayed individually.

For some types of variants, at least similar forms of variation can be used. For example, a seller of decorative cushions can incorporate the different designs as color variations in order to present product variants.

11. outstanding payments from customers and the reservation of products for 21 days

One problem that rarely occurs but can cause problems, especially for higher-priced products, is the reservation of products for pending orders. If a customer orders a product but has not yet confirmed payment, Amazon reserves this order for a total of 21 days, after which the product is released again.  

What is the problem? Imagine you sell products with a high sales price (> €500) and you only have a small amount of stock. Now you receive several orders for which payment is still outstanding while the products are reserved. This can result in products being displayed as sold out even though orders have not yet been confirmed.  

12. creation of a new seller account due to a change in the company form

The type of company or the name of the company is changing and you want to make the changes in the Seller Central account? I'm afraid I'll have to put you off, because you'll have to create a new Seller Central account instead. Amazon does not provide for changes to the company name or company form. This means that all products and advertising campaigns must be duplicated and transferred to the new account. This also means that your seller account will not have a seller history, which means that the Buy Box may have to be recovered first.

Unfortunately, there is no other way out than to create a new Seller Central account.

Conclusion:

The 12 points I have listed are of course only a fraction of the daily problems and challenges that sellers complain about on Amazon. To sell successfully on Amazon, you need strong nerves and a thick skin, as there are always problems and the system is nowhere near as stable as Google, for example.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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