Amazon presents brands with complicated problems that require swathes of time and energy to resolve. At the other end of the spectrum, other problems are significantly less complex, yet they still cause noticeable damage to a brand’s presence on the marketplace.
Armin Alispahic, Bobsled Project Manager, has outlined six common Amazon seller mistakes below.
1) Ignoring negative seller feedback
Amazon customers are able to rate your performance as a 3P seller and leave feedback. This is not to be confused with product feedback or product reviews which is when customers post their opinion about a product on the detail page. Seller feedback appears in your Seller Central account under ‘Performance > Feedback’ and is also visible publicly on your Seller Profile.
Above: Example of publicly visible seller feedback on a 3P Seller’s storefront
Potential customers can view customer comments and ratings which may significantly impact their decision to buy from specific sellers. Seller feedback also affects overall account health and is one of the factors that influences Buy Box eligibility and ownership.
A lot of negative seller feedback can be successfully disputed because Amazon has very strict guidelines about what should constitute seller feedback. This type of feedback should be about the customer’s purchasing experience, and Amazon will allow all sellers to remove all seller feedback that:
- Is focused on a particular product - this type of feedback should only appear in the format of product reviews
- Includes obscene or profane language
- Talks about customer service or fulfillment for Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) orders. Note: for seller-fulfilled orders, this type of feedback cannot be removed
Disputing negative seller feedback that falls under the above criteria with Seller support is a no-brainer for all 3P sellers on Amazon. This is particularly important for emergent brands on the marketplace, as many potential customers are likely scrutinizing your seller feedback very closely as they decide whether or not to take a chance on your products.
2) Ignoring buyer messages during weekends
As a 3P seller you are responsible for responding to any buyer messages that come your way in a timely manner. Amazon gives you 24 hours before an unresponded message starts negatively impacting your customer service metrics.
Similar to negative seller feedback, poor performance with response times can impact Buy Box eligibility and ownership. Not responding in a timely manner also increases your chances of receiving negative seller feedback, poor product reviews, returns and A-Z claims.
If sellers are unable to respond to messages in real time on Saturdays and Sundays, an auto-response tool should be utilized.
3) Inability to meet handling time requirements
When sellers decide to fulfill orders themselves by using Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) they can set their handling time to reflect their fulfilling capability. By default, the FBM handling timeline is set to 2 days. In order to avoid late shipments, customer complaints and poor seller metrics, it’s recommended that sellers adjust this period based on their internal fulfillment capacity so customer expectations are always met.
💡 Check out How To Outsource Fulfillment
4) Ignoring order defect rate
The Order Defect Rate (ODR) is a key measure of your ability to provide a good customer experience. The ODR percentage is calculated by dividing orders with a defect with the total number of orders over a 60-day period. For example, if you had 100 total orders over the most recent 60 days, and only 1 order had a defect, your ODR would be 1%.
An order has a defect if it results in:
- Negative feedback
- An A-Z Guarantee claim that is not denied
- A credit card chargeback
Amazon’s policy is that sellers maintain an ODR under 1% in order to sell on Amazon. An ODR above 1% may result in account suspension or deactivation.
Therefore, it’s crucial that all sellers closely monitor their order defect rate because this metric can have severe consequences on an account. Finding a satisfactory resolution with disgruntled customers should be the first port of call. Then identifying and fixing the root cause of any defect orders (e.g. faulty batch of products) should be the immediate next step.
5) Not prioritizing FBA
Brands that commit to FBA achieve much better results on Amazon compared to those that rely on FBM. This is because FBA orders are automatically Prime-eligible, meaning customers get free 2-day shipping.
Of course, it’s not always possible to maintain optimal FBA inventory levels. Due to the upcoming Q4 inventory restrictions, it’s going to be even more challenging during the final quarter of 2020, so having FBM as a backup option is hugely advantageous.
But simply put, brands that accurately gauge sales velocity trends, and send replenishment shipments to Amazon FCs in a timely manner to avoid FBA stock-outs, will observe positive trends in terms of product ranking and conversion rates over the long term.
6) Not analyzing overall account performance
Analyzing your Amazon account can be a very time consuming task. It also requires knowledge about all the important metrics that need to be analyzed.
However, every brand should be reviewing their account data on a monthly basis. The goal should be to identify some action items from the mountains of data Amazon provides you. For example, by completing a monthly review you may notice a discrepancy between your anticipated and actual net Amazon revenue, and realize that this is being caused by a high return rate or incorrect Amazon fees. Fortunately, there are many tools and services that can help you collect and analyze this ‘big picture’ data on your behalf.