I have to start off by saying that I apologize for leaving you hanging from the last post. I kinda felt like the people who write a two part episode of Criminal Minds or NCIS.
Now back to my story:
Now that you have heard my suspension side of the story, it’s time to explain why this actually happened to my account and what I had to do with all of my inventory.
To say that Amazon is having a witch hunt on sellers would be placing the blame onto someone else. I have taken a very deep look into exactly what happened to my account and I realized that I was actually the one to blame (Yes – You heard me say it – IT WAS MY FAULT). As I stated in my last post, I “followed” most of the rules. I also pushed the line of some of the rules and it caught up with me.
AGAIN – AMAZON DIDN’T CLOSE MY ACCOUNT OUT OF NOWHERE
I BROKE THE RULES AND WAS PUNISHED.
Here is where I messed up.
I grew too fast
I started off as a small time seller who was very picky with the products I sent in for resell. I would make sure to pack every box up perfectly and handle every return or questions. As I rapidly grew, something had to give. I did not have the right quality control methods in place and I took more and more risks. I was more concerned about the volume of products I could ship to Amazon than the quality of those products. I also stopped taking the time to check out each listing for accuracy when I was uploading 300 different SKUs at a time. I was setting myself up for failure and I had no idea that I was even doing it. All I saw was the increase in sales and the increase in profit and I would say to myself, “Amazon doesn’t seem to mind that I sell this way.” I needed a Gibbs head slap (for you NCIS fans).
I ignored the signs
You know those little performance notifications that you get? I ignored those. When I started shipping in more and more inventory, I simply assumed that those would go up proportionally. I would say: “Oh yeah – my bad” and just go on with my life. Looking back, each one of those should have been a wake up call. I should have taken the steps right then and there to fix the issue instead of just assuming everything would be a ok.
I didn’t listen
I am a firm believer that you should listen (and surround yourself) with people who are smarter than you. Although I was in a million Facebook groups, reading all the material I could on selling, and having mastermind groups, I still didn’t listen to the basics that people preach to new sellers (for some reason, I thought I was the smarter one). Things I should have listened about are:
- Don’t use Commingled Inventory – I used it from the beginning and I paid for it. When you don’t have control over the inventory associated with your account, you lose control of your account. It’s as simple as that.
- Take the extra step in prepping – I followed the mentality of: “Throw it all in a box and let Amazon sort it out.” That is not the right way to think at all.
- Check every listing for accuracy – And now I check every single bit for every single product.
- If an ASIN has an update, make sure it is correct – I think this is a big spot where I had issues. I would get and delete these emails and never look at the changes.
I didn’t read the rules
Ignorance is not bliss – especially in the business world. I never actually sat down and read all of Amazon’s rules (since this incident, I am now very well versed in all things Amazon and rules). I would just go by things I heard on blogs and in Facebook groups. I never took the time to learn for myself. That is one of the biggest mistakes I made. In order to follow the rules, I need to know what exactly the rules were.
I thought I was something
I was selling around $1,000 a day on Amazon and I had plans to triple that in the upcoming months. I honestly thought that I was an asset to Amazon. I was increasing their bottom line and making money doing it. This was where I was dead wrong. To Amazon, I was not even a microscopic blip on their radar. Amazon would still continue to be Amazon with or without me as a seller.
I also forgot that the customer is always right and Amazon has a business model that stands behind that idea. To Amazon, a happy customer is way more valuable over their lifetime than a seller. Sellers can come and go, but there always have to be customers to purchase through the platform. I had to step back and think of the experience I would like from a company like Amazon – I realized I wasn’t providing an Amazon level experience and was actually harming their brand. It was in the best business interest of Amazon to remove my selling privileges.
My thought of the exact reason I was suspended
I had an unlucky streak with 3 items that I was selling. For one of the items, the listing got switched from one unit to a pack of 3 (and I didn’t catch the change) – This was bad because I had over 100 of these in stock and got all sorts of angry customers. I should have seen this one coming, but I just went about my business. Another product ran past the expiration date (I had 45 units in stock) and I forgot to pull them out of inventory (didn’t have the right system in place). These kept getting returned and once again I had angry customers. The other bad item was an electronic item that kept being returned for not being in the right condition (some Polaroid Printers). I didn’t get them sent back to me, so they went in an endless cycle of returns. These weren’t the only causes of my suspension, but they were three major events that happened right in a row. If I would have paid attention to the signs, I might have been able to correct these issues and not have had my account suspended.
In the final post of this series, I will be explaining the process I went through to start selling on Amazon again. That should be up next week 🙂