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Recentley we completed a 4-part series on ways to make money online. Now that you’ve chosen a product business model, let’s make sure you’re keeping things legal.
Many of our students tell us that when it comes to the integrity of their seller account, it can be hard to know if they’re on the ‘light’ or ‘dark’ side of Amazon. We totally get it. Even with a clear record, you can still be subject to the performance notifications that are trigged by Amazon’s policy robots. Too many of these notifications within a short period of time can get your selling privileges suspended, even when the problematic orders you’ve had represent an insignificant percentage of your overall number of orders. Here are 5 tips to help you avoid making a detrimental mistake on Amazon:
- Check Amazon’s product restriction guidelines
If you only remember one thing from this post, pick this: unless you know for a fact that you CAN sell it on Amazon, DON’T sell it. There are dozens of reasons for this, some of which include:
- Rules change over time. Amazon is constantly updating their policies and their rules aren’t always obvious or logical.
- People on the Internet are sometimes wrong. Don’t exclusively trust what you read in online forums, Facebook groups, or blogs.
The best way to know what can and can’t be listed is to review Amazon’s guidelines on restricted products.
- Make sure you’re conducing research in the correct product category.
Different product categories have different permissions. For example, many items in the Health and Personal Care or Beauty categories on Amazon are prohibited, such as products containing tinosorb, or products containing more than 2% hydroquinone, etc. As a general rule, products in these categories need to meet (at minimum) the following guidelines:
- it has been approved by the FDA or relevant national health authority
- it does not contain ingredients forbidden by Amazon
- it is not a prescription drug
- it does not claim to cure diseases
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Once you’re sure your product meets these standards, you can dig deeper into other guidelines you’ll need to follow.
- Get to know your supply chain.
When an intellectual property right owner, an authorized dealer, or even a buyer decides to report you to Amazon (or Amazon sees in their communication that your inventory is suspected to be counterfeit), your listing could be closed without any further investigation. A few questions we encourage all online sellers to ask: What makes your supplier(s) tick? Where do they source their raw materials? What guarantees can they offer? Can they prove the authenticity of their products? How willing are they to foster long-term business relationships?
If one of your customers or competitors claims an item in your inventory is a fake or that you don’t have selling rights on it, you’ll be glad to have the answers to those questions above. Make sure to get an invoice from an authorized distributor/manufacturer for everything you sell, too. If Amazon suspends you, an itemized invoice might help get your account reinstated.
- Toil over the product details in each listing.
Make sure there is a complete match between the product you are selling and the product title, description, bullet points, and keywords. When in doubt, use customer reviews to further hone in on the functionality and/or components of your item.
- Don’t over exaggerate the quality of your product.
Assigning the correct condition to each item you list on Amazon is the first step toward providing a great customer experience. It’s important to make a careful assessment of your item before specifying its condition. Don’t list something as “new” and later mention that the item is missing the original box. Use Amazon’s Condition Guidelines if you’re uncertain how to list your product.