Whether you’re new to Amazon or a seasoned seller, you may be surprised to learn that you’re making a costly mistake or two on the platform.
Amazon keeps a tight rein on its sellers to ensure it maintains its positive reputation. If you start to tarnish that reputation with some of these mistakes, you may run into some issues down the line.
Some of these mistakes can lead to bannable offenses, while others may not harm your relationship with Amazon, but can still cost you visibility—resulting in fewer sales, which means less money rolling in.
Here are the most common mistakes made when selling on Amazon:
Scenario: you don’t want to miss out on any sale, so you make sure your products are listed as “in stock” on all your selling channels...
The problem is now your inventory count is inaccurate, and you’ve sold items that you no longer have.
Many people incorrectly believe this is no big deal; they assume that they can just cancel the orders, or maybe send a delayed shipment. But either of those alternative options disappoint buyers, and that’s a big no-no with Amazon.
If you oversell, you will be penalized. If it happens too often, you could even be banned from the site altogether.
You can prevent overselling by staying on top of your inventory or by utilizing a third-party tool that can handle syncing inventory across multiple shopping channels.
2. Incorrect, Incomplete, or Un-optimized Product Data
The more information you provide to Amazon, the more likely you are to appear in searches, and naturally, the more likely people are to buy from you.
Yet, product data mishaps continue—and will continue—to be common.
A lot can go wrong with your product data. There can be so much of it (especially for those with a large product catalog), it's all subject to change, and small inconsistencies can go unnoticed.
You want to make sure your product data is as wholesome and complete as possible.
Inaccurate listings—both incorrect and/or incomplete—will perform poorly if they're not outright rejected. And those that are "good enough" are basically guaranteed to underperform.
Set yourself up for success and treat every product listing with heightened care. Good product listings can be comfortably left alone until you know something has to be changed. You don't want to create a scenario where your "good enough" listings are indefinitely waiting for more of your time.
That's not to say properly setting up your catalog, or going back to revamp your whole product catalog is a quick process.
Product data management can be time-consuming, particularly for those large-catalog sellers.
However, there are ways to efficiently provide complete product data.
Rule editors, preformatted templates, and importing data from other sources with a third-party tool like GoDataFeed saves a lot of time and guarantees accuracy. With a few clicks, you can fill-in-the-blanks and increase your odds of providing the information Amazon and shoppers are looking for.
3. Incorrect Unique Product Identifiers
Even though this technically falls under the previous mistake, it can't be overemphasized. You products' unique product identifiers (UPI) must be accurate or you'll run into problems.
Amazon and most other shopping channels rely on UPIs (GTIN, UPC, ISBN, and ISSN) to properly identify what you're selling.
An incorrect UPI leads to a completely incorrect listing if Amazon doesn't just reject the listing as a whole.
It's simple: double check and document your products' UPIs. They're not subject to change and are important for all channels.
4. Poor Quality Images
When you can’t see or touch a product in person, images are the next best vetting medium.
If images are low-resolution, pixelated, too small, or lacking sufficient detail, shoppers are likely to consider a seller that does a better job visually displaying their product's features and benefits.
The best Amazon listings don’t just rely on a single image to display the product. They showcase it from multiple angles, show it in use, and highlight special features.
Hire a product photographer and/or look to the questions and answers section of your products and similar products.
Ask yourself: "What questions are people asking that could be answered with images?"
People won't buy a product they have questions about, but they'll jump at those that leave them convinced with pictures alone.
5. Not Using Deep Categorization
Shoppers can use filters to find the product they need. This feature works excellently, as a simple product search can yields hundred of relevant, but not quite ideal products.
However, filtering can also exclude ideal products that sellers have not properly categorized.
The fewer categories your product is listed in, the fewer opportunities it has to appear.
Your product technically may fit just fine under “Patio, Lawn, & Garden,” but that means it will only appear in that one category. If you list it under “Patio, Lawn, & Garden > Outdoor Décor > Outdoor String Lights,” it will now appear in three categories. That can make a big difference in terms of visibility.
Do some digging and make sure your products go as deep into their respective categories as possible.
6. Not Collecting Sales Tax
Whether or not you collect sales and local tax on Amazon, you’ll still need to pay them.
That means if you don’t collect them with each sale… your accountant may have an expensive surprise for you at the end of the year.
Here’s the good news. Amazon will handle collecting sales tax on your orders for a small fee. Just fill out “Tax Settings” in Seller Central, and make sure you remit those tax payments as required by law in your area.
Don't set yourself up for that costly surprise.
7. Slow or Poor Customer Service
If you want to win that coveted buy box, you need to focus on your customer service.
There are two main pillars to delivering great customer service: direct communication with buyers, and fulfillment.
If there is an issue, respond to customer messages immediately. When you reply within 24 hours, you are 50% less likely to receive negative feedback.
As for fulfillment, there's more room for error if you handle it all yourself. If you are not relying on Amazon for fulfillment (FBA), then do regular reviews of your fulfillment process.
Aim for perfection, because some things always find a way to go awry. Aside from factors not related to customer service, in order to win the buy boy, you need to:
- Keep late ship rate below 4%
- Keep order defect rate below 1%
- Keep pre-fulfillment cancel rate below 2.5%
Focus on delivering top tier customer service.
Don't leave your customers hanging; be as communicative as possible. And switch to FBA if you can't consistently achieve near-perfect fulfillment on your own.
8. Not Encouraging Customer Feedback
Avoiding negative feedback is great, but you also need to encourage positive feedback.
The primary way to do this is by directly communicating with buyers after each sale. Gently nudge them to leave a review and ask them for any feedback to help make your product or customer service better.
Don’t forget to check on those customer reviews regularly. If your products are good and your customer service is ideal, many will yield useful information for improvements or shining testimonies. In other cases, you may have opportunities to fix issues for confused and/or distraught customers—which can sometimes yield amazing reviews.
Ultimately, Amazon’s main concern is keeping their (and your) customers happy. The better you can do at that, the better off you’ll be with Amazon and potential customers.
Polish your listings, acknowledge your limitations, empower and inform your customers, and strive for perfection. The closer you get, the better off you'll be.