Beginner's Guide: ASIN Basics and Amazon ASIN Suspension Appeal

April 7, 2021
Written by Ken Zhou
Amazon ASIN suspension

As a new seller, you might get overwhelmed with the Amazon policies and guidelines when creating ASINs. It is too overwhelming that you're, well, tempted to skip reading it all together because you still have a business to run. You will just go with the flow, read the tutorials on the web, and follow your instincts regarding how you should sell on Amazon. Unfortunately, this approach or mindset might get you into trouble, and you may end up getting an Amazon ASIN suspension.

Amazon ASIN suspension may have different causes, and unfortunately, a simple Amazon SEO optimization can't fix it. You need to investigate deeper to know the suspension's root cause since Amazon will not provide specific information regarding the suspension notification. This is why it is crucial to know the fundamentals of ASINs, the marketing best practices for ASINs, and how you can be suspended because of creating ASINs. 

Don't worry, because this guide will cover these, plus how to open Amazon account after suspension and other Amazon suspension help tips.

ASIN: definition and importance

ASIN, which stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number, is a 10-digit alphanumeric code that Amazon assigns to every product in the marketplace. It is Amazon's unique identifier for tracking inventory. You may have your inventory control system, though.

Why is it important? Amazon uses it to track and find products on its website and warehouses, respectively. ASIN has a valuable role in order fulfillment, specifically in picking and shipping. Without ASINs, customers would have a hard time finding the exact product they are looking for. This is how vital an ASIN is to both sellers and buyers.

How to get an ASIN

First, you need to check if it already exists in the Amazon catalog. As a rule, there is only one ASIN and one product detail page per product. Otherwise, Amazon will merge them into one.

The easiest way to check  is by entering the ASIN in the search box, and looking at the Product Information of the product detail page and URL of the said product, as shown below:

    Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

You may also try at the Add a Product page of your Seller Central account. In the said page, Amazon will ask you to search Amazon's catalog first. If it doesn't return any result, you may proceed in creating a new product listing.  

    Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

However, if you have a long list of ASINs, it is better to use an ASIN lookup tool.

Two scenarios may happen after your search: either the ASIN is existing or not. For existing ASINs, go to the Results table and click the Sell yours button to start offering your product under that listing. You may also ask permission first by clicking on Request approval. Remember that you will share this listing with other sellers who offer the same product.

On the other hand, once you're sure that you're selling a new product, you may proceed to create your ASIN. This is also applicable for private label sellers and brand owners.

Again, in the case of new ASINs, you need to register your product first in GS1-US to have a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) like UPC (Universal Product Code) and EAN (European Article Number). Amazon will find these codes when you're making an ASIN.

Reasons for Amazon ASIN suspension

Generating an ASIN looks easy, but that 10-digit code can get you into trouble when incorrectly done. Here are the instances that can lead to an Amazon ASIN suspension:

Duplicate ASIN creation

Alright, what did we tell you? Check first if the ASIN exists. What if it was an honest mistake? Regrettably, Amazon is not lenient to this type of offense. Moreover, it is clearly stated in their ASIN creation policy as illustrated:

      Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

ASIN variation misuse

Variations in a listing occur when a product comes in different colors, sizes, or other characteristics. This is also called parent-child relationships. You may get an Amazon ASIN suspension notification because of the following reasons:

  • You've added a child variation under a parent product, which is not its true variation. 
  • You've modified the parent's product detail page to remove its children.
  • You've added a multi-pack variation that isn't created by the manufacturer of the parent product.
  • You've listed bundles under the same manufacturer.

Expired products

Topical and consumable products for humans and animals must have an expiration date stamped on them. If you forgot to put an expiration date on your products, Amazon might refuse your inventory at the fulfillment centers or, worse, suspend your account. On the contrary, products with expiration dates must have a shelf life of more than 105 days. Anything lower than that will be subject to disposal.

Inauthenticity

Ah, the most classic Amazon ASIN suspension reason. Fake or counterfeit products are a major pet peeve in the Amazon marketplace. The online retail giant has a particular page for it here. They even have programs like Amazon Brand Registry and Amazon Project Zero to eliminate counterfeiters in the platform.

However, sometimes, it isn't the seller's fault. It could be the manufacturer's wrongdoing because they are making fake or knock-off products. As a seller, you must practice due diligence in choosing the right supplier.

Safety concerns

Product safety issues against Amazon had been all over the news last year. In a Wall Street Journal investigation, thousands of products for sale on Amazon were declared unsafe, mislabeled, and banned by federal regulators and agencies. You should be aware that Amazon doesn't tolerate selling products that may cause harm to the customer.

How to open Amazon account after suspension

There is no other way to do this, but through an Amazon seller suspension appeal letter. No shortcuts. No warnings.

After receiving the Amazon ASIN suspension notification, you must conduct a thorough investigation to pinpoint the problem's root cause. You can't just request Amazon to reinstate your ASINs or account. What should you do is to redeem yourself and acknowledge your oversight.

Here are the steps to write an Amazon seller suspension appeal letter:

  1. Identify the root cause. Amazon won't give away the specifics of your suspension, so it is up to you to find it out.
  2. Own up to your mistakes (even if they are not entirely your fault). State in your letter that you acknowledge your errors and will resolve them immediately.
  3. Draft the immediate corrective action. What can you do at the moment to rectify the error? How will you appease the customer to keep them happy?
  4. Draft the preventive, corrective action. It is the long-term solution to prevent the root cause from happening again in the future. Remember that it should not sound as mere suggestions. These should be concrete solutions to how you will improve your business practices and abide by Amazon's rules.
  5. Suppose Amazon asks something from you, like invoices or proof of identification, provide them what they want. Or if they instruct you to delete the ASINs or listings in question, do it ASAP.

Amazon marketing best practices for ASINs

Do you want to prevent yourself from crying for Amazon suspension help? Follow the tips below:

Amazon SEO optimization

Optimizing your listings will not only improve the ranking of your products. It is also a way to check if anyone alters them. Moreover, ensure that they are in the right category and don't have any duplicates.

Register in Amazon Brand Registry

It is an Amazon program to help sellers have control over their listings and ensure the listing's information is correct. Brand Registry also allows you to use Amazon marketing services.

Monitor customer reviews

Sometimes the clues are in the negative reviews left by your customers, but only if you've been proactive. Make sure that you address them quickly and don't let Amazon find out first. 

Invoices must follow Amazon's requirements.

Never misplace your invoices or receipts! Always ask for them when ordering inventory from your supplier. Each invoice must contain Amazon's requirements like invoice date, supplier and buyer information, and unit description and quantities. Please note that Amazon doesn't accept delivery reports, commercial invoices, purchasing lists, contract documents, or order confirmations.

Never sell fake products.

You can do this by sourcing your products from reliable suppliers. Sometimes, the manufacturer itself is the cause of the problem. On your part, don't be tempted to offer knock-offs due to the lower price. Always prioritize quality over easy money.

Monitor your Account Health

As Amazon explains, this page provides your account's compliance with Amazon's performance targets and policies. Make it a habit to monitor this page regularly. Besides, keep track of the Seller Performance notifications you receive. It would be better to assign a separate folder for it on your email, where you can save it for future reference.

Always follow Amazon's TOS

You've agreed to this before signing up, right? Make sure you understand and comply with each policy. Also, keep updated on any changes or new rules by following Amazon news.

Key Takeaways

Amazon ASIN suspension is a severe violation of Amazon's policies and guidelines. As a seller, it is your responsibility to know the basics of ASINs and their management. Even an accidental ASIN duplication may put your business at risk. Keep in mind the Amazon marketing best practices above -- such as Amazon SEO optimization, abide by Amazon's TOS, and keep yourself from selling fake products. If you need Amazon suspension help, don't hesitate to ask how to open Amazon account after suspension from trusted Amazon consultants. Don't waste your chance of reinstatement and send only the best Amazon seller suspension appeal letter crafted by an experienced third-party agency.

If you want to understand more about Amazon ASIN suspension, Seller Interactive has a team of expert Amazon consultants willing to help and guide you on how to reopen your Amazon account after suspension. For inquiries, email [email protected].  

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