It’s the notification any online marketplace seller dreads: the account suspension email.
Be it from Amazon, eBay, or any other channel, even a temporary loss of selling privileges can be a crippling blow to an eCommerce merchant caught unawares.
What often occurs when a suspension takes place is first outright panic. This is followed shortly thereafter by a surge of emotions concocted of a heady mix of fear, anger, and soul-crushing angst.
It is in this moment when sellers must resist the instinctual impulse to respond irrationally and instantaneously to their marketplace partners with a knee-jerk reaction response, which more often than not will do more harm than good for any odds of reinstatement.
A marketplace usually suspends sellers as a result of performance ratings dipping below required standards or due to a severe policy violation. Whatever the reason, the key to getting back in a market’s good graces is to first take a deep breath and think through your appeal response PRIOR to clicking the send button.
Over the years here at Monsoon, we’ve witnessed hundreds of seller suspensions for various reasons, and bar none the successful appeals were ones brought to us for advice on how to respond before it was too late.
While suspension notices can often be ambiguous and lacking actionable detail, there’s often enough to go on by analyzing performance metrics and customer feedback to derive what triggered a suspension.
The start of the process should be to collect all the facts and data you can to offer proof to the market that the issue that predicated the suspension can be proven otherwise, or at the very least that it was an anomaly not apt to be repeated.
What sort of evidence can you use to state your case? Often this can be as simple as providing records such as shipping carrier tracking numbers and/or delivery confirmation details.
Did a buyer tell the marketplace you didn’t ship an item or didn’t provide excellent customer service? Your postage records and email history can give you all the ammunition you need to refute claims that don’t hold merit.
The markets can and will listen to reason, but tangible evidence will speak in far greater volume than ranting about the injustice you’ve endured.
After you’ve gathered the necessary data to present your case, don’t be like me in this article and try to write a manifesto.
Instead, focus on presenting a quick recap of the issue, how and why it did or didn’t occur, and provide your evidence in a clear and concise manner with a plan of action of how the issue is now resolved and how you will prevent recurrence of similar issues in the future.
- Be quick and dirty, and use bullet points.
- Don’t take it lightly.
- Be diligent and respond promptly (after you’ve consulted with us or another neutral party).
- If a market asks for follow up documentation or information, do your best to get it to them quickly and completely.
While the marketplaces do care about sellers being successful, the downtime caused by a suspension is far more detrimental and potentially financially devastating to your business than theirs.
This is not callousness on the part of the markets but simply the reality of the nature of the business you compete in. There are other merchants ready and willing to take your place if you fail to meet the standards set by the markets, so don’t take your selling privileges for granted.
From that perspective, be rigorous in your approach to the appeal and your chances of reinstatement will increase exponentially. Even if only for a few days, the loss of market share from any of your revenue streams can be debilitating, affecting cash flow, payroll, purchasing, and many other parts of your operation.
Did a server crash or loss of internet connectivity result in orders not confirmed with the market? Did an unscrupulous competitor try to sabotage you by leaving negative feedback? Did you receive a listing policy violation and fail to remove it from your inventory or list of items eligible to relist?
These are just a handful of common suspension-causing concerns that can not only be remedied after the fact, but well before by implementing best practices that will avoid these issues from cropping up in the first place.
Your business is important to you, your employees, and to us. You are not alone, and we are here to help. If you’re an existing Monsoon customer, don’t hesitate to contact us when the chips are down, we know the house rules and can help you win fair and square. And even if you’re not a current Monsoon customer, give us a call – you will soon see that partnering with a long-time marketplace management vendor can be tremendously helpful to you, in good times and bad.
And what’s the saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Couldn’t be a more appropriate phrase here. Most suspension-causing issues can be cut off at the pass with a bit of planning to ensure you stay well within required seller metrics for each market.
For Amazon, you can learn more about Seller Performance Measurement here.
For eBay, check out their Enhanced Transaction Defect Report here.
Senior Relationship Manager