With the world of eCommerce continuously changing and evolving, navigating through the marketplace and its ever-changing policies can confuse the most experienced online seller. Especially when receiving an Amazon product suspension.
Once you get an ASIN suspension notice, the next steps you take will be critical. Let’s examine what’s the best way to go about this in these stages:
What is an Amazon ASIN?
Each item listed on Amazon is paired with a unique code called an Amazon Standard Identification Number – hence the acronym, ASIN, essentially a code of 10 digits comprised of numbers and letters.
ASINs are crucial for tracking items in your Amazon store and cataloguing index pages for searching, as well as ensuring that shoppers can find your product on Amazon.
If Amazon receives any suspicious information regarding an item, the seller will immediately be charged with performing an ASIN violation. The item in question will cease to be listed and if the right steps are not taken, your sales will come to a hard stop followed by an Amazon store suspension.
It wasn’t always this seemingly draconian. There was a time when Amazon used to send warning emails to sellers performing ASIN violations without coldly shutting down their stores. Sellers were expected to make the appropriate adjustments on their own and to bring the item back in line with Amazon’s terms and conditions. Unfortunately, these warning emails fell on deaf ears.
When Amazon saw that sellers were ignoring their required self-adjustments, off came the gloves. They immediately started suspending individual ASINs, without, however, shutting down their account. (Unlike the consequences of an Amazon store suspension.)
But even with the seller’s store still up and running, an ASIN suspension can still be disastrous if your best-selling item is frozen in its tracks. Furthermore, after receiving an ASIN suspension, the right action must be taken. Failing to do so, or receiving denial to your appeal will possibly result in the final suspension of your entire store. An ASIN suspension is the beginning of a snowball, which must be stopped while still at the top of the mountain.
Let’s examine how we get these ASIN suspensions. You may find that you are out of line with Amazon’s policies without even knowing it!
Here are a few examples of actions that lead to receiving that dreaded suspension mail from Amazon:
As new sellers, it can be quite overwhelming to be hit with a million Amazon policies and guidelines while creating ASINs. Let’s admit it: we all press “agree” to iTunes terms and conditions, without going through that tome of legalese.
This should not be the case with ASIN suspensions. Because Amazon will not provide an explanation regarding why you received your suspension notification, we have to do the deep investigations ourselves. So let’s go through these ASIN fundamentals, and what can cause these suspensions.
Reasons for ASIN suspensions:
1. Creating a double ASIN
Let’s start from the basics: Even though generating an ASIN looks easy, the ASIN itself, that 10-digit code, can already get you started on the wrong footing if incorrectly done. Before you create the ASIN, be 100% sure it doesn’t already exist. Even if you innocently create the duplicate ASIN, the Amazon suspension will stand firm.
2. Misusing an ASIN variation
When a family of products come in different colors, shapes and sizes it’s called a “parent-child relationship.” You may receive an ASIN suspension if there’s a “breach in their relationship” for example – adding a child variation under a parent product which is not an authentic variation (i.e. being completely different from each other) or updating the parent’s product detail page only to remove its children.
3. Expired products
Be very aware of your products’ expiration dates whether it’s dog food or protein bars. Failing to place an expiration date on your products will bring Amazon to refuse your inventory at the fulfillment centers or, worse, suspend your account.
Travis Marziani, a third-party seller on Amazon selling protein goods, had literally one bad review claiming (wrongly) that the had received an item which had expired. This led to an immediate ASIN suspension, just as he was in the process of selling his company. Sales froze and the buying process of his company came to a halt.
⭐ In addition to the required expiration date stamps, all items in the marketplace must have a shelf life of more than 105 days. Anything lower, and the items will be subjected to disposal.
4. Knock off the knock-offs.
Amazon has been flooded by third-party sellers selling fake items sourced from unvetted manufacturers. Like everything else in life, choose your production partners wisely and avoid getting suspended for selling knock-offs!
5. Safety concerns
This is one of the biggies. One of the reasons Amazon installed their safety policies, as well as their demand for liability insurance, was the rise in safety accidents. Check out this eye-opening article about the Amazon marketplace in this Wall Street Journal investigation, where thousands of products were discovered as unsafe, improperly labeled, and banned by federal regulators and agencies. Amazon doesn’t tolerate selling products that may cause harm to a customer.
A lot of sellers have tried to take a ride on COVID-19. If you mention “COVID-19” or “pandemic” in your ASIN titles, make sure they are pre-approved by Amazon.
7. High NCX – (high Negative Customer Experience)
A high return or defect rate can demote your account health, which can lead to an ASIN suspension. If the NCX rate on one of your products is higher than the rate for similar items, Amazon will send a suspension notification. The product will immediately be unavailable for purchase. It is crucial to review and address the customer feedback that raised the high NCX flag.
8. An item identified as “adult” or “pesticide”
Any item that even indirectly seems like a pesticide or has keywords that lead to pesticides, such as “owl pellets” and “eczema clothing”, will be immediately taken off your listing. Amazon settled a case with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to require sellers of pesticides to go through the proper training in order to sell their products.
The same ASIN suspension goes for X-rated movies, magazines, and sexual aid devices that are listed in an inappropriate manner. Images of any product that contains graphic content must be hidden with censor strips or obscured to conceal the adult subject matter.
9. Gilding the lily: overly-promoted titles
A majority of sellers want customers to think their product is the best, but that doesn’t mean they can claim it’s the best. Titles with the words top-rated, best-selling, ‘most amazing’, ‘FDA approval!’ and even ‘15 percent off!’. These titles must be substantiated by a note in the text linking the claim to a study, publication, or any other evidence. Avoid gilding the lily. Stay simple with your item descriptions.
SUSPENDED? HERE’S THE SOLUTION:
From the second you are hit with a surprise suspension, Spott has your back. We know how to resolve appeals rapidly and make sure your listing is back online as quickly as possible – so all you need to focus on is your bottom line.
Prevent falling into the pit of Amazon suspension by letting us provide you with automated auditing so you are constantly in line with the small print of Amazon’s ever-changing, ever-evolving terms and conditions. We are on it 24/7. This way you can work without worry and never be threatened by a suspension.
We track Amazon’s enforcement activity and identify potential problems with your listings before they’re classified as a violation, and provide real-time suggestions for quick fixes.
To stay ahead of the pack, you need to be constantly updated and ready for changes. It is critical to perfectly word your PoA to Amazon, as the tiniest misstep can cause Amazon to deny your appeal.
Us TOS experts can help you every step of the way. We know the ins and outs of Amazon policies and have our finger on their ever-changing pulse. Instead of facing this sea of legalese and waiting long periods of time with frozen ASINs, we can quickly resolve your suspension case so you can just focus on ever-widening the golden road of online selling.