News & Insights
7 Signs your Amazon Business is Unhealthy (and the best ways to fix them)
Establishing a healthy Amazon store demands paying close attention to how you set up your account, which products you sell, how they are sold, and, of course, your interactions with customers. Maintaining healthy performance indicators is key for keeping your brand in good standing, at times requiring immediate action to remedy critical issues to avoid account suspension or worse, termination.
Poorly managed brands reflect badly on Amazon, and the company can move quickly to avoid that. In fact, extremely unhealthy Amazon brands and those that willfully ignore seller policies may face total removal and a permanent ban from returning.
In addition to the loss of sales that accompany these disciplinary actions, Amazon also retains the right to destroy inventory in their fulfillment centers without reimbursement and to withhold payments indefinitely. Sellers dealing with restricted product categories encounter even higher stakes since selling illegal or unsafe products via Amazon can lead to legal action, including civil and criminal penalties.
Thankfully, while Amazon may suspend a failing or neglected business from selling on the platform, they will often offer the brand a chance to appeal or create a plan of action to remedy the situation. That’s why you must be prepared to keep a watchful eye on the health of your Amazon business, to recognize the signs that something is wrong and to act promptly before Amazon imposes further sanctions. Below are seven places to start.
#1 An “At Risk” or “Critical” Account Health Rating
One way to know for sure that your Amazon business is struggling occurs when Amazon makes it clear via their Account Health Rating (AHR). Launched in 2020, the AHR feature is designed to help you stay on the right side of Amazon’s selling policies. It uses a variety of metrics from your brand’s sales activities to flag the deficiencies you need to address. Among the benchmarks they monitor are:
Order Defect Rate – Less than 1% of your orders during the previous 60-day period should result in negative feedback, a valid A-to-Z Guarantee claim, or a credit card chargeback.
Cancelation Rate – Amazon requires sellers to avoid initiating cancellations and complete at least 97.5% of their orders when they are seller-fulfilled products.
Late Shipment Rate – Brands that manage shipping on their own must meet their expected shipping date at least 96% of the time.
Valid Tracking Rate – 95% of your customers need to receive an accurate tracking number for their order.
On-Time Delivery Rate – Your orders should arrive when promised more than 97% of the time to be eligible to offer the fastest delivery options on your listings.
These, along with your responsiveness to negative feedback and compliance with Amazon’s product policies, all impact your business’ AHR. Accounts without problems will enjoy a “Good” rating, while brands failing to meet expectations in one or more categories will be labeled “At Risk” of a suspension or “Critical” in cases where immediate remediation is required.
As you can see, many of the most severe pitfalls regarding your Amazon Health Rating target brands who self-fulfill their orders. Keeping your business healthy relies heavily on a well-managed supply chain and coordinated shipping operation. Alternatively, sellers can opt for the Fulfillment by Amazon model. Either way, many moving parts will need to be closely monitored and well-executed, preferably by an experienced team.
#2 Dropping or stalled Amazon sales
Without question, the foundation of a healthy Amazon store is its sales. Creating a successful Amazon business is complicated, and maintaining it effectively is time-consuming. If you begin to experience a downward trend in your sales, or they appear to stagnate, chances are good that it’s a symptom of an unhealthy account.
A decline in sales is often due to a product’s inability to reach the top of Amazon’s organic search results. While the factors influencing the algorithm are diverse, they align closely with your Amazon account health.
For brand owners, one additional tool Amazon offers for keeping your sales on track is Brand Registry. Sellers of branded products with an active registered trademark, or who are awaiting approval of one, can secure a distinct advantage by enrolling in Amazon’s Brand Registry. Benefits of Brand Registry include stronger brand protection, more control over your visual branding on the site, invaluable search and reporting tools, and other methods that can significantly improve your conversion rates.
#3 Shoppers have a lot of questions about your products
Your product listings should be engaging, detailed and thorough. When they’re not, you can expect problems. Confusion about your product’s attributes is often signaled by customers seeking more information from you to guide their purchase decision. If you find yourself answering many inquiries from prospective customers or discovering reviews that discuss a surprising aspect of your product, you likely have work to do.
Amazon’s A+ Content makes it easy to address many of the issues that can lead to this confusion. Your product listings should clearly address elements such as size, color and function – not force customers to hunt for the information – and this enhanced product details section gives you more real estate to proactively answer commonly asked questions.
Dedicate adequate time to analyzing your reviews, particularly the negative and neutral ones, along with your customers’ questions, to find where you’re falling short. Once you have identified the problem areas, you can determine which descriptive tools – such as better images, new videos, or more effective copywriting – will help you tell your brand’s story in a compelling way. It’s not easy, but anything less will mean unrealized potential.
#4 Unauthorized competition is hurting your bottom line
Establishing a healthy Amazon business is imperative to claiming the coveted Buy Box. And one of the biggest threats to possessing this powerful feature is competition from unauthorized sellers who infringe on your product offerings. Violations of intellectual property, counterfeiting or acting in defiance of Minimum Advertised Pricing agreements can all cause significant harm to your business. Of course, Amazon offers a path to report these fraudsters, but the damage they cause can be difficult to overcome.
Rather than risk losing the Buy Box to unauthorized sellers targeting your products, you need a platform management plan that identifies and addresses the dangers early on. Monitoring your products’ ASIN and becoming familiar with removing illegitimate sellers are imperative to counter this problem.
In many cases, having an ally on your team who has dealt with unauthorized competition in the past and knows what Amazon requires to remove them can drastically improve the likelihood of a speedy resolution. But, more importantly, it can minimize the impact these unauthorized sellers can have on your sales.
#5 Customers are unhappy
A failure to meet customer expectations can quickly destroy your business, particularly in an online marketplace such as Amazon. Negative product reviews can impact your organic rank among the search results even before a shopper discovers your product detail page.
As we detailed in one of our previous blogs, there are ways to use negative reviews to your advantage while taking steps to avoid encountering more in the future. You should have a plan to encourage a steady flow of reviews, monitor them as they arrive and respond to concerns from customers appropriately. Making it a priority to utilize Amazon’s A+ Content advantages mentioned above can also contribute to the overall quality of your reviews and substantially improve the health of your Amazon account.
#6 Too many listings
It may seem counterintuitive, but having too many listings is, in fact, a common problem for novice sellers. Optimizing the health of your Amazon account means taking advantage of the site’s listing variation tools. A disorganized product lineup that relies on separate listings for items that should be part of a variation relationship results in a mediocre client experience and missed opportunities for sales.
Listings need to be created with data accuracy and utilize the proper variation structure to ensure the correct items are being sold and are easy to shop. Merging listings can increase your products’ ability to rise to the top of Amazon’s algorithm rankings and simplify your customers’ search for the right item. Understanding how to best use the parent-child product relationship and when it makes sense to merge listings requires an ongoing and strategic focus on your brand’s offerings and those of your competitors.
If you think your listing tactics are hurting the health of your Amazon account rather than growing your sales, it’s probably time to make a change. You’ll need to set aside sufficient time or find a partner like Amify, who can help you review the status of your current listings and develop a new approach for the future.
#7 Your brand has a poor reputation
For sellers of private label brands and those that self-fulfill, your customers’ satisfaction with your service can be as important as their experience with your product. The consequences of an unsatisfactory customer experience can lead to negative feedback on your seller account in addition to a poor product review.
If you have a recurring deficiency, particularly if it’s related to your customer service, shipping practices or item descriptions, you could be putting your claim to the Buy Box at risk due to a declining seller rating. Reversing such a trend requires a two-pronged approach.
First, similar to bad product reviews, you should try to address the problem directly with a dissatisfied customer using Amazon’s response options. A sincere effort to resolve the issue can go a long way toward regaining that buyer’s trust or having them revise their evaluation.
Equally crucial to your business’ growth, you should take steps to eliminate the conditions that led to critical feedback. Weak product descriptions, shipping delays, or poorly packaged item will continue to result in negative feedback but can be solved if you’re willing to make the effort.
How Amify Can Help
The experts at Amify can offer a proven roadmap to successful Amazon platform management. It begins with a well-executed onboarding process that establishes your account, streamlines your listings, and ensures your customers can find them. Then, rather than become overwhelmed by the breadth of knowledge and experience that selling on Amazon can require, you can trust us to monitor and optimize your brand.
Our Operations team is composed of generalists and specialists who constantly evaluate a brand’s account health and take action to resolve any issues. The team is closely connected to the Client Success lead, who is responsible for ensuring we focus daily on the success of your business, while Content and Performance Marketing experts help drive sales. By leveraging our skills and relationships, you can enjoy more effective advertising, create a better customer experience and increase profitability.
Reach out to Amify today to schedule a free Amazon Quality Assessment and discover how we can work together to strengthen the health of your Amazon business.