For Amazon, the buyer’s experience is all that counts. It is their main motto. Purchasing on their platform should be easy, fun and quick – whatever it takes to get the customers coming back for more. And they do. Since COVID-19, 70% of all sales have been through Amazon, who increased their profits by nearly 200% since the pandemic days. And that number is only rising.
Sellers enjoy the benefits of Amazon’s outlook on sales, but it also means they have to abide by Amazon’s policies at all costs, policies that are “enforced” in extremely strict methods such account or ASIN suspensions when products don’t meet their standards, enforcing insurance policies and also – product suppression.
Suppressed items, aka deactivated listings, happen when a seller places an item for sale that doesn’t hold up to marketplace standards and detracts from the buyer’s purchasing experience.
Let Amazon speak for themselves:
“Our research shows an improved shopping experience when listings have complete product information, with images, category (item-type), titles (parent titles), and price per unit (PPU)… …makes it easier for customers to find, evaluate, and purchase products. As a result, we will hide (or suppress) from search and browse non-media listings that do not meet certain standards. This means that a customer will not be able to find a listing in search if that listing is suppressed”.
But wait, here’s the good news!
Suppressions are not even close to the pain of Amazon suspensions and avoiding them is easier than avoiding Amazon suspensions, because you can usually tackle these issues on your own.
We’ll take you step by step to solve product suppressions and avoid the debacle of contacting Amazon Seller support. Here’s how:
- You might even not know you have been suppressed.
- What caused your Amazon Suppression?
- How do you fix it (fast!) ?
- Flagged by mistake? Here’s how to correct Amazon’s error.
You might even not know you have been suppressed.
When a product does well, it’s tempting to kick back and enjoy a piña colada – but an Amazon seller’s work is never done. It means constant maintenance: checking back on your listings to make sure they are up and running, that they haven’t been suppressed or even hijacked. If you slide off the rails of an Amazon Suppression and you don’t take immediate action, the result can be permanent product suspension, or even account suspension, until you sort things out. And it’s a pity to waste time and revenue for a problem that can be solved in less than five minutes!
What caused your ASIN Suppression?
If you are flagged, it means a specific product listing has crossed the line and breached Amazon TOS. Your listing can be suppressed for one of the following:
- The main image, or other images do not meet Amazon’s required terms and conditions, as well as product features, and product descriptions.
- Lack of detail in your title (excluding categories such as books, shoes or apparel.)
- Invalid/incomplete product information.
- A product title with more than 200 characters.
- If under the category of clothing or accessories: items with a title longer than 80 characters.
- You are listed under the wrong category.
- The product is prohibited from sale on Amazon. Even if you didn’t know it was prohibited!
- Amazon has reason to believe you are not the rightful owner of the product.
- Poor customer experience. Check your return report, product reviews and Voice of the customer to understand the common issues that are the reasons for your product suppression.
- Safety complaints, pesticides claims, etc. Check out Amazon category guidelines and Amazon TOS to learn more about how to list your product and avoid unnecessary suppressions.
How to fix your Amazon suppression?
Once you have discovered that your product has been suppressed, waste no time and take care of the problem as soon as you can. It’s easy and only takes five small steps:
- Go to the Inventory Tab in Seller Central and click on: ‘Manage Inventory’.
2. If you do have a suppressed listing, a ‘Suppressed’ button will appear. If none of your listings have this button, then all is well and you can go back to that piña colada.
3. But if one or more of your products is indeed ‘Suppressed,’ go to that listing.
4. May the editing begin…
Go through and edit listings that need more information, or click ‘Manage Images’ to fix those without product pictures. Every product listing has an Amazon Product Summary page, which lists out all of the suppression and quality issues.
4. Flagged by mistake? Here’s how to correct Amazon’s error.
Even if everything is hunky dory and you think you are within Amazon’s guidelines, you may still check your inventory page one day to find out an item is suppressed.
The reason why these unwelcomed mistakes happen, is because it’s not humans but algorithms that Amazon developed to flag products not on par with their rules and regulations. These algorithms can wrongly flag certain keywords or claims that are against Amazon’s policies. Examples include adult product, pesticides, any product identified as part of a gated category
If your product detail page has been suppressed, check the following places:
Stranded inventory occurs due to problems such as pricing errors, restricted ASINs and expired products, among other reasons.
If your listing has been classified as Stranded Inventory, the ASIN will be removed. The ASIN can be found in the ‘Manage Inventory’ page as ‘Stranded Inventory’.
Performance notifications are slightly more lenient, as you can still fix the issue while continuing sales. However, the product detail page might be removed from Amazon. Performance Notifications are resolved by submitting a POA (Plan Of Action) comprised of three parts:
- What was the root cause that led to the issue?
- What actions will you take to resolve the issue?
- What steps will you take to prevent future issues?
You can also visit your Voice of the Customer dashboard in Seller Central to check for any customer comments about that specific ASIN to see if Amazon is in line with the customer’s shopping experience. And hopefully within a short while after submitting your POA, your Performance Notification will be removed and your ASIN set free. We also recommended to view your product reviews and product returns report to learn more about possible issues related to your product.
Amazon’s TOS are not only vigorous but also ever changing. It’s important to be updated 24/7 with their regulations, or have someone check in with them to avoid unexpected (and unwanted) suppressions and suspensions.
Yup, for a third-party seller, the task of maintenance never ends, dealing with insurance policies, marketing, brand developing… If you have any questions about suppression, you can always reach out to Spott. Happy to help you make sense of it all!