But, of the many factors that make buyers flock to Amazon, one of them is the number of sellers with a wide variety of products and the assurance of quality. The platform is crowded and fiercely competitive. To stand out, it is imperative to get the product listings, among other things, right, if not close to perfection. Not doing it right can lead to worse outcomes than poor sales.
Incorrect listings—for example, wrong product categorization—are a guarantee that the products will remain buried and undiscovered. Listing in the wrong category, uploading restricted products, or mentioning incorrect UPC or ASIN could lead to account suspension even before you make your first sale.
Here are six tips that will help you not only avoid such ramifications but also ensure that your products are discoverable, ultimately leading to more sales.
Certain categories are ‘gated’, in the sense that you need to get approval from Amazon to be able to sell products within these categories. This is done primarily for quality control and to prevent counterfeiting.
If your product does fall into one of these categories, make sure you have the requisite documentation before you get down to selling. In most cases, you may simply be asked for an invoice from any of your suppliers. In certain cases though, you may be required to provide trademarks and product certifications, or any other documentation that Amazon may ask. This could be about proof of your knowledge or expertise about the products you are dealing with. Make sure you get the nod before you begin selling to avoid getting penalized.
After you’ve obtained the requisite permission, ensure continuous compliance with the policies and guidelines for the gated category.
Small issues can lead to big consequences. Let our experts help you.
2. Upload the correct file
Listing products is tedious, whether you are uploading them one by one or in bulk. This can result in incorrect files being uploaded or a wrong template used. You can outsource this task to experts who know the ins and outs of the process and can do it most efficiently. Or you could rely on an in-house team if you have one.
Either way, you need to create an Amazon seller account. You can then upload products in bulk using a suitable template. It is straightforward but not foolproof. There are a few knots that you have to untangle. Which template do you select, for example? The answer depends on what you are trying to do.
- If you are uploading products with all the relevant information and attempting to create new listings (ASIN), it’s highly recommended that you select the “Category Specific File Template.” This, of course, requires you to zero in on the category your products belong to and download the requisite template. For example, if you are selling “Home Decor” products, you now know what to do. However, ensure that you have the requisite details, including the title, product type, and brand name.
Did you know? ASIN, the Amazon Standard Identification Number, is used by Amazon for uniquely identifying and listing a product.
- On the other hand, if you are simply adding products to existing ASINs, as in, those already there on Amazon, use the “Inventory Loader” or the “Listing Loader” file template. Using either of the two, you can enter/modify product ID, SKU, quantity, and price. Since the existing listings would already have titles, and probably descriptions too, you don’t need to enter all the product details as you do for new product listings.
- Lastly, you could simply be making changes to the price, quantity, or other information in your existing listing. If that’s the case, use the “Price Quantity” file template and you are good to go.
Amazon product upload, when done in bulk, could lead to an unwarranted mismatch, with different products being matched with ASINs associated with altogether different listings. As a result, you could receive orders for a product that you no longer sell. You will then have no option but to cancel the order, to the annoyance of buyers. Or you may ship a wrong product and face the ire of customers.
Fortunately, such occurrences can be prevented.
- For starters, use a category-specific file and let go of the listing loader.
- If you deal in groceries or fragrances, and/or your products come in different sizes or varying packs, be extra vigilant of the variants. The chance of the mismatch occurring is relatively high in this scenario.
- Another way to avert product-ASIN mismatch is to use a category-specific file and create a new listing with a new product ASIN. Do keep in mind that this is just a band-aid solution and can become counterproductive. Moreover, there is an upload limit that you have to keep in mind.
Several brands are restricted to exclusive sellers. This could be because companies may have special agreements with Amazon that prevent third parties from selling their products, or they may have exclusive partnerships with one or more sellers. There is no exhaustive list and the brands that are restricted keep on changing. But compiled lists exist online, which are periodically updated.
Note, however, that a brand on the restricted list does not necessarily mean that all products within that brand are restricted. The restriction may apply only to certain products or product lines. Listing such products may not result in immediate suspension—or ever—but doing so will cast a shadow on your seller account in the long run.
5. Be extra cautious with restricted products
What is restricted and what isn’t depends on regions and regulations. But certain items are better avoided universally. Alcohol, drugs, contracts and guarantees, human parts and burial artifacts, and weapons and explosives—these should not be anywhere near a list.
If you, say “accidentally,” list a product for which you do not have permission from Amazon, remove it right away.
Staying clear of non-permissible goods that you are not authorized to sell cannot be over-emphasized. But keeping abreast of the nitty-gritty of all regulatory rules—of Amazon’s as well as concerned authorities’—can be a challenge.
Delegating the task to experts who know the ins & outs and are aware of which brands are restricted is advisable. They can provide professional Amazon listing services and ensure that your products not only are compliant with the guidelines but that they get maximum exposure.
Nevertheless, should you decide to forego Amazon product listing specialists and take the matter into your own hands, make it a point to comb through all your products and ensure that you are not listing any of the following:
- Samples or trial products
- Warranties (to be sold along with the products)
Do keep a tab on your inventory, and make sure that the products your customers are looking for are in stock—mark them as not available otherwise. If you are “drop shipping” from a supplier, it becomes all the more important for you to ensure that the orders are duly fulfilled. Repeated or frequent cancellation is not only a sure way to deter customers, but they can also bring your account under the radar of Amazon leading to suspension.
Doing the same things repeatedly won’t bring results. Doing differently will.
Help is just an email away
Amazon has strict rules and guidelines in place. These may make listing products on its platform more cumbersome but they’re for the good of consumers as well as sellers. It is these that make people flock to Amazon. This is so because with online eCommerce, reputation and trust are paramount.
The intricacies of the rules of course make selling on its platform vexing and can sometimes be dispiriting. But they should not be a deterrence. Reach out to us at email@example.com and we’ll help you move in the right direction.