How to keep your Amazon account health metrics healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The Guardian, Amazon customers are spending almost $11,000 a second on its products and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented consumer demand, coupled with coronavirus-related changes to Amazon’s fulfillment practices, has created a myriad of account management headaches for brands selling on the platform.
For today’s article, we’re talking with Bobsled Account Specialist, Marija Granic, who has shared the most pressing challenges and best practices to overcome them.
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Hi Marija! Who is likely to be dealing with more Seller Support issues on Amazon right now because of COVID-19?
- Brands with products that are flagged as non-essential. Such brands are running into various operational issues/delays due to Amazon prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products.
- Brands that are being flagged for price gouging.
What are the main account issues on the rise because of COVID-19?
- Account being flagged for Price Gouging. It is reported that many sellers are being flagged for Price Gouging, which may trigger offer removal or account suspension. The initial announcement from Amazon provided some guidelines regarding Fair Pricing Policy, however, many sellers that were affected hadn’t changed their price for a long period (6+ months). Amazon released an Update on price gouging which included potential solutions for sellers who believe they were offering a fair price for a product that was suppressed by Amazon’s automated systems.
Above: Important information regarding price gouging | Screenshot from Seller Central
Above: Amazon Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy | Screenshot from Seller Central
- Shipment Creation and Fulfillment for non-essential items. Amazon disabled shipment creation for non-essential items on March 17 and confirmed that they are prioritizing high-demand products coming into fulfillment centers. According to the latest update, Amazon will continue prioritizing the essential products, however, they managed to increase the capacity and broaden the list of products that can be shipped to Amazon Fulfillment centers. The Restock Inventory page is now showing the list of products eligible for shipment creation – this list is being updated on a daily basis. Delivery windows are also being affected as Amazon is focusing on high-priority items to ensure the fastest delivery of essential items, which is causing delays (up to 1 month) for non-essential FBA offers.
- Performance Metrics/Customer Support when switching to FBM. Due to significant delays with FBA fulfillment, sellers are shifting to FBM where the seller is responsible for shipping products to the customers, providing customer support, making sure all the metrics are healthy etc. With FBA, Amazon will take the hit for any customer issues and your metrics will not be affected as Amazon is responsible for the fulfillment. Even though Amazon paused Account Suspensions for Order Performance for FBM sellers, there is risk of increased customer dissatisfaction which may result in a higher rate of negative feedback/reviews.
Above: Pausing Account Suspensions for Order Performance | Screenshot from Seller Central
- Several Programs/Features currently not available. Certain features/programs that help drive sales, reviews and increase visibility (like Coupons and Vine) are not available until further notice. This change may cause dissatisfaction with some Amazon customers who were expecting certain offers to be available.
- Return Window Extension. For orders placed on Amazon.com, most items delivered between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020, can now be returned until May 31, 2020. This may cause significant delays for eligible reimbursements.
Struggling to stay up to date on which programs Amazon has stopped, paused, and/or reinstated during this hectic time? Bobsled has developed a spreadsheet that summarizes all of the changes.
To get access to this spreadsheet, please click the link
below and we’ll send it to your inbox.
Which parts of the Seller dashboard should brands be paying extra attention to during the COVID-19 crisis?
- Performance Notifications
- Account Health
- Price Alerts
- Stranded Inventory
- Inactive Listings (you can filter the reason for listings being
inactive and find more information about the next steps)
Dealing with case management issues can be a huge timesuck. What are some best practices in terms of navigating Seller Support right now?
- Details. Try to provide as much information whilst being concise. If your message contains one sentence or ‘This is not working!’, it will take at least several back-and-forth messages for them to figure out what the problem is. Try to provide all the facts and avoid unnecessarily long messages.
- Supporting documentation/screenshots. Providing an image of an error is always better than trying to explain the error. Also, include any relevant notes within the screenshot, because otherwise it may take a while for Amazon support to identify the issue at hand.
- Calls. Try opening a case first, provide details and screenshots. If that doesn’t do the trick, use the call option (preferably during US business hours).
- Be persistent. Sometimes it takes several cases to resolve the issue. Eventually, there will be a person on the other side who can help solve the issue.
What are the implications of not effectively monitoring important operational tasks within your Amazon account?
Neglect can impact your account health metrics which may result in listing or account suspension. For example, some of the Amazon warnings need to be resolved within 24/48 hours. Therefore, it’s crucial that you monitor your account on a daily basis, and move quickly when an issue arises.
How should brands be adjusting their approach to Amazon account management during this pandemic?
It is now more than ever important to pay close attention to all the metrics, warnings, and updates from Amazon available in the News section of the Seller Central platform. If a certain program/feature is not working, check the page where the program/feature is located. If there are no updates about that particular feature, contact Amazon support periodically as they may be able to deliver helpful advice directly.
Need some additional support with your
Amazon account in response to COVID-19?
Bobsled’s Lite Amazon Account Management service could be just the thing you need. Let us jump in and solve your account’s day-to-day operational problems, allowing you to make some big strategic moves.
To learn more, click the button below.