When e-commerce started, it was anarchy. It was self-governing. There were no rules, so it was like a modern jungle. You could buy counterfeits, weapons, prescription drugs, and gasoline. It became a playground of unscrupulous and shady entrepreneurs and shoppers.
Since online shopping has become more and more popular, eCommerce platforms, including Amazon, worked so hard to control online illegal activities.
Amazon Seller Policy in a Nutshell
Amazon is a huge blessing to online shoppers. It provides consumers a plethora of options. You can find just about anything on Amazon for a reasonable price – from paint brushes to limited edition watches. The retail giant also gives its customers the best shopping experience.
The ecommerce leader is also a blessing to sellers, too. It has provided many brand owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their business and earn massive revenues and profits.
Amazon is a playground of many honest, driven, motivated, and conscientious entrepreneurs. On the other hand, it has attracted a few unprincipled and unscrupulous sellers, too. This is the reason why the retail giant has stringent selling policies.
If you’re new to Amazon, here’s a list of the most important policies that you should strictly follow:
1. Do not register more than one Amazon seller account.
Having multiple seller accounts is strictly prohibited. However, if you have a legitimate reason to have another account, you can apply for an exemption to this rule. You have to explain why you need another account. Keep in mind that you need separate bank accounts and email address for each seller account.
2. Avoid placing your website on your product description page.
Amazon has a controlled online shopping ecosystem so you cannot use it to increase your website traffic.
3. Do not misrepresent yourself.
You have to be honest. Your account information must be truthful and up-to-date. Do not use another brand’s trademark. You must also post accurate product specs and photos.
4. Do not sell products that can harm Amazon handlers and shoppers.
There are a lot of products that are completely legal, but can potentially cause accidents. These goods can potentially harm both shoppers and handlers.
You should avoid products that contain harmful materials such as toxic gas, explosive substances, infectious substances, and radioactive material.
5. Act fairly at all times.
Refrain from engaging in black hat optimization practices. Do not post fake positive reviews on your listing. You must also avoid doing activities that can damage another seller.
6. Do not sell smudged, unclean, and damaged products.
Customer satisfaction is Amazon’s utmost priority. This is why you should make sure that your products are in top shape during delivery.
7. You should strictly follow Amazon’s listing content guidelines.
You must avoid posting obscene or pornographic content. Do not include links to your (or other businesses’) website and email addresses. You should also avoid posting time-sensitive information, such as lectures, seminars, and tours. You must not use your product detail pages to cross-sell your products.
However, there’s sort of an exemption to this rule. A feature called Amazon Brand Store actually allows you to push certain items to customers – such as best sellers, products that do not sell, or new product lines.
To maintain your selling privileges, you must remain honest and professional at all times. You must represent yourself and your products accurately. You must remain professional in contacting buyers.
Amazon Code of Conduct: Things That Can Get Your Amazon Seller Account Suspended
The eCommerce giant is committed to creating an efficient and honest business environment. This is why the following seller actions and activities are strictly prohibited:
1. Diverting the transactions or buyers to your website or any other online selling platform
Amazon has over 300 million users, so it’s a great marketing platform. A number of entrepreneurs do not want to pay Amazon a cut of their sales. So, what they do is they merely use the world’s biggest online selling platform as a marketing tool and then they divert the buyers to their website to avoid the fees.
Trying to direct the users to your own eCommerce website can get you into trouble and can lead to penalties.
If you want to maintain a great relationship with the online shopping giant, you should not circumvent its sales process. Avoid placing email addresses and website links on your product detail pages.
2. Sending inappropriate and unsolicited marketing emails.
You are not allowed to send unsolicited marketing emails to your Amazon email. You should only use email communications to assist customers with their inquiries and issues. Sending newsletters or promotions via email is strictly prohibited. You should also avoid adding website links and logos to your email communications.
But, take note, that you can upsell through email as long as it answers the customer’s question or it can help resolve his complaints and issues.
3. Having multiple seller accounts.
Don’t be greedy. As mentioned earlier, each seller should only have one Amazon account. But, if you have a legitimate reason to open a second account, you should log in to your seller account. Go to Contact Us. Click on “selling on Amazon”. Select your account and click on “other account issues”.
Provide a detailed explanation as to why you should have more than one account. But, as mentioned earlier, you must have a separate bank account and email address for each seller central account. Also, each account must sell different sets of products and services. For example, if your first seller account sells yoga mats, you can use the other account to sell yoga pants.
Plus you must also hit the target for the following performance metrics:
Order defect rate
Return dissatisfaction rate
Valid tracking rate
Amazon can block your seller access if you consistently upload huge amounts of data.
5. Posting fake reviews and feedback.
More than 88 percent of online shoppers read product reviews before they make a purchasing decision. In fact, 86 percent of customers hesitate to purchase a product that has bad reviews. This is why it’s important that you get good reviews and ratings.
Amazon wants to preserve the integrity of its feedback, review, and rating system. This is why posting fake feedback and reviews is strictly prohibited and can get you into a lot of trouble.
6. Manipulating the sales rank.
The retail giant only gives the coveted Amazon’s Choice badge to best sellers. So, to increase their sales rank, a lot of sellers place fraudulent orders for their own product.
Manipulating the sales rank is strictly prohibited. Placing the words “best seller” in your product title and description page is also not allowed.
7. Black hat SEO practices
SEO or search engine optimization is the process of bringing a listing on top of the search engine results page (SERP) through strategic keyword placements.
White hat SEO practices are allowed. But, black hat SEO practices such as using internet bots or paying for organic clicks are prohibited.
8. Misuse of Amazon’s product customization program
You are allowed to sell customizable products. But, using the product customization to circumvent policies is restricted.
The following activities are not allowed:
Offering warranties or promotions as part of customization.
Showcasing products like laptops, personal computers, tablets, and video game consoles as customizable products. You can’t add the following products under the customization program.
9. Using misleading business name.
You cannot use a business name or a trademark that already belongs to someone else. Let’s say that you have your own brand of sneakers. You can’t use Nike as you’re not affiliated with the company.
10. Giving away customers’ phone numbers and other personal information.
If you choose to fulfill your own orders, you’re going to get the customer’s address and phone number. You are not allowed to share this information with someone else. You are also not allowed to use this information for your marketing and promotional campaigns.
You should observe the following customer personal information policies:
Dispose the customer’s data after processing your customer’s orders.
Monitor who in your company has access to customer’s information. This will help you prevent information leaks.
Do not share customer information with a third party organization.
11. Charging excessive shipping fees.
Charging unreasonable shipping fees violates Amazon’s fair pricing policy.
12. Selling restricted products.
Amazon prohibits dangerous and illegal products, such as guns, ammunition, alcoholic beverages, sky lanterns, loosely packed batteries, human parts, pets, exotic animals, and theft devices.
Before you start selling your products on Amazon, check the Amazon seller restrictions to make sure that you’re not violating the retail giant’s policies.
There are more than a million Amazon sellers. It’s a highly competitive environment. Some break the retail leader’s policies just to get ahead.
Keep in mind that you may lose your selling privileges if you break the Amazon seller code of conduct. If you truly want to be one step ahead of your competitors, it’s best to hire an Amazon marketing agency. A reputable agency can help you navigate the biggest online selling platform and make sure that you’re not violating Amazon’s airtight selling rules and policies, like us--Marketplace Ops. Let us know how we could help you.