How Poor Amazon Seller Metrics Can Lead to Account Suspension

Depressed businessman leaning his head below a bad market revenue chart

Last updated on July 20th, 2023

Written by Mohamed Aden

Picture this: Everything is operating smoothly in your Amazon business until, one day, you receive a dreaded email about account suspension. Panic sets in, and you wonder what went wrong. One possible answer may be attributed to poor Amazon seller metrics. 

These scorecards are vital indicators of your performance and reputation as an online seller. It can directly and directly impact the fate of your Amazon business, so let's learn how to keep them in optimal condition.

This blog post delves into poor Seller Performance metrics and their connection with account suspension. We’ll uncover the reasons behind these metrics slipping below par, discuss the consequences of account suspension, and offer valuable insights to help you improve your performance.

Why Monitor Your Amazon Seller Performance Metrics?

The Account Health page in your Seller Central account is your gateway to understanding how you’re doing as an Amazon seller. It's like a school report card, providing a complete performance summary.

Just as a report card consists of different subjects, the Account Health page contains various Amazon performance metrics, each playing a pivotal role in analyzing your overall accomplishment.

But why do these Amazon seller metrics matter? It’s simple: compliance

By consistently meeting or surpassing the prescribed criteria, you demonstrate unwavering dedication to becoming a reliable seller.  Buyers, in turn, gain confidence in your brand as you deliver an exceptional customer experience.

4 Critical Seller Metrics on Amazon You Should Monitor

signs of poor amazon seller metrics infographic

Having understood the significance of monitoring Amazon metrics, let’s dive into the five key metrics on Amazon that demand your utmost attention. By diligently tracking these metrics, you can make informed, data-driven decisions while expertly complying with Amazon’s requirements.

1. Order Defect Rate (ODR)

The ODR measures how good you are in terms of customer experience. Amazon sets a target ODR below 1% for sellers to maintain. This metric comprises three types of defects:

  • Negative Feedback Rate: Measures the percentage of negative customer feedback a seller receives concerning their total orders.
  • A-to-Z Guarantee Claim Rate: Measures the percentage of A-to-Z Guarantee Claims opened by customers against a seller’s orders. Claims can be initiated when customers encounter late deliveries, damaged items, or misleading product descriptions. 
  • Credit Card Chargeback Rate: Measures the percentage of chargebacks or disputes established by customers for orders fulfilled by a seller. It can be through unauthorized transactions, non-receipt of items, or billing discrepancies.

2. Cancellation Rate (CR)

The CR refers to the percentage of transactions sellers cancel before shipping or fulfillment, often due to item unavailability or issues during delivery.

Below are other things to note about the pre-fulfillment cancellation rate.

  • CR metric does not apply to orders fulfilled through Amazon FBA. Under this service, Amazon handles the fulfillment process, including shipping, customer service, and returns. Sellers have no control over canceling the orders, as the responsibility solely rests with Amazon.
  • Amazon updates the CR metric every week, calculating the number of canceled orders to the total number of orders fulfilled by the seller during that specific timeframe.
  • Amazon expects sellers to maintain a cancellation rate below 2.5% to ensure high customer satisfaction. High cancellation rates can harm your account and may result in severe consequences.

3. Late Shipment Rate (LSR)

As the name suggests, LSR is the number of orders not shipped by the expected ship date promised to the customer. This Amazon seller metric evaluates your ability to fulfill orders promptly and meet the agreed-upon delivery timelines.

Amazon sellers need to remember the following:

  • The LSR calculation considers the number of late seller-fulfilled orders within either a 10-day or 30-day duration. According to Amazon’s policy, keeping your LSR below 4% is recommended to maintain a positive seller rating.
  • Challenges in meeting shipping deadlines often arise during peak seasons like Prime Day or Black Friday. Prioritizing shipping orders on time or considering sending them in advance to mitigate potential delays is crucial.

4. Valid Tracking Rate (VTR)

The VTR reflects the number of shipments for which valid tracking numbers are correctly provided to customers. It indicates the seller's ability to offer transparency and visibility throughout the shipping and delivery.

Consider the following information to strengthen your valid tracking rate:

  • The absence of reliable tracking systems often leads to abandoned purchases. As an Amazon seller, you must know buyers prioritize transparency in their buying experience. They want assurance about their orders and expect these to be trackable.
  • Amazon verifies the validity of tracking information if the number has at least one physical carrier scan recorded. Otherwise, it is considered invalid.
  • Amazon expects sellers to maintain a VTR greater than 95%. It includes all shipments with a valid tracking number over 30 days.

In Case of Amazon Suspension

What if you’re not hitting the target of each seller performance metric? Then, you must understand the specific risk involved.

Failing to meet the performance standards set by Amazon puts your account at risk of suspension. This means your selling privileges are temporarily or, worse, permanently revoked. You can’t conduct business on the platform, your product listings become inactive, and you can no longer process new orders or access seller tools and services.

Amazon account suspension can have consequences for your business, including loss of revenue, damage to your reputation, and potential challenges in reinstating your account. Thus, taking immediate action is important. 

But in what ways, to be precise?

You can start by writing an Amazon suspension appeal. Here are the steps you should take to reinstate your Amazon account.

Step 1: Approach the Situation Calmly

Don't do the following:

  • Rant in Amazon's forums and social media accounts.
  • Blame Amazon and the buyer who complained.
  • Get stuck in the fight or flight mode.
  • Ignore the suspension notification from Amazon.
  • Submit a half-baked Amazon suspension appeal.
  • Act in haste and lose your cool over the matter.

When calm and composed enough to take the next step, thoroughly read the Amazon seller account suspension notification.

Step 2: Understand the Root Cause of Suspension

Once you read the notification, find out the root cause of the suspension. Amazon gives you a limited timeframe of 17 days to gain clarity and take appropriate action. Here’s what you can do:

  • Pay close attention to the language and any specific references to policy violations or performance issues. Look for clues that can help you understand the underlying reason for the suspension.
  • Review any recent warnings or notifications you may have received from Amazon. 
  • Dig into your records, including orders, returns, and buyer-seller communications. Look for any indications of customer complaints, product quality issues, late shipments, poor inventory management, or policy violations.

These tips will help you address the specific issues in your appeal and present a well-structured case to Amazon within the given time.

Step 3: Address Issues Reflected on Your Account Health Page

Resolve all issues you see on your Account Health page and try to bring back the metrics to "green." These issues could be related to your order defect rate, late shipment rate, cancellation rate, inventory performance index, or other indicators.

Do address them before sending an Amazon suspension appeal to show Amazon how serious you are about getting your Seller account back.

Step 4: Craft a Compelling Plan of Action (POA)

The next step is to create a well-crafted Plan of Action (POA). Your letter should be clear, factual, direct, and concise. It should demonstrate your understanding of the situation, outline corrective and preventive measures, and provide supporting evidence.

Show this by:

  • Avoiding verbose terms and emotive language. Write in an apologetic but firm tone. 
  • Writing corrective and preventive measures. These prove that you've implemented the solutions (corrective) or plan to implement them (preventive). 
  • As much as possible, attach supporting documents to solidify your appeal.

Step 5: Review Your POA

Proofread your POA before submitting it. Focus on the following:

  • Loopholes and Clarity: Identify any potential loopholes or areas requiring further clarification. Ensure your explanations are clear and concise, leaving no room for ambiguity.
  • Grammar and Spelling: Check for mistakes, misspellings, or typographical errors. These can undermine the professionalism of your appeal, so it's essential to present a polished and error-free document.
  • Formatting: Use bullet points or numbers to organize your points and make the document easier to read and understand. A well-structured and visually appealing appeal can leave a positive impression.
  • Authenticity of Supporting Documents: Fabricated or edited documents can have severe consequences and may lead to the rejection of your appeal.

Step 6: Be Patient

Understand that the review process takes time. It may require several days or even weeks to receive a response from Amazon. Always remain patient and mentally prepared for any outcome.

Don't ask for status updates. It can delay the review process and hinder your chances of a timely reinstatement. Trust that Amazon will thoroughly assess your appeal and provide a response in due course.

While waiting for Amazon's reply, continue to focus on improving your business operations and addressing any areas that led to the suspension. Implement the measurements outlined in your POA to show your dedication to long-term compliance and customer satisfaction.

How to Improve Your Seller Performance Metrics

If you wish to prevent reaching the point of having to write an Amazon suspension appeal, proactively work on improving your Seller Performance Metrics. By enhancing your performance, you can maintain compliance with Amazon's standards and minimize the risk of account suspension. 

Consider the following tips:

Minimize Claims and Chargebacks

  • Handle Return Requests Responsively: Respond quickly to return requests. Refund buyers if appropriate.
  • Provide Accurate Product Information: Create accurate content for your product detail page. It will help manage customer expectations, reducing the chance of disputes arising from misunderstandings.
  • Stay Vigilant With Inventory: Update and monitor your inventory regularly. Accurate inventory tracking helps prevent overselling or running out of stock, which can lead to order cancellations and negative customer experience.

Unfortunately, chargeback claims are increasing at record levels, and not all are made in good faith. Sometimes, customers intentionally try to defraud merchants, which may be a practice called chargeback fraud (similar to digital shoplifting). Thus, learning about chargeback fraud and how to protect your brand against it is essential.

Mitigate Negative Reviews

  • Maintain a Minimal Inventory Level: Regularly monitor stock levels and replenish inventory to meet customer demand.
  • Provide Updated Details: Post an updated email address and service contact number on your Amazon help pages. This allows customers to contact you, conveniently minimizing communication hurdles and potential frustrations.
  • Learn from Feedback: Take negative reviews as an opportunity for improvement. Focus on the feedback provided by Amazon customers. Use it constructively to enhance your products, services, or processes.

Respond to Buyer Messages

  • Respond Promptly: Aim to reply to buyer messages within 24 hours. Timely responses show that you value their inquiries and concerns.
  • Check Spam Filters: Unblock buyers' messages included in your email program's spam filter if there are any.
  • Provide Clear Timeframes: If you can't solve a buyer's concern immediately, give them a definite date when you will follow up with them.
  • Express Gratitude: Even if it doesn't require a response, message them a simple "thank you" out of courtesy.

Avoid Late Shipments

  • Confirm an Immediate Shipment: Confirm each shipment to notify the buyer and Amazon that the order is being processed. This step ensures transparency and keeps customers informed about the progress of their orders.
  • Resolve Shipment Problems: Talk to buyers about any issues or delays. Provide alternative solutions or options to mitigate the impact on their experience.
  • Adjust Handling Times: Provide customers with realistic and attainable delivery estimates. Be proactive about order volume, shipping carrier capabilities, and possible delays during peak sales or holidays.

Achieve Your Performance Goals With Seller Interactive

Amazon is a customer-centric company with rigid marketplace rules and policies in place. As a seller, you must follow each policy and ensure your Seller Performance metrics meet their strict standards. 

When met with the unfortunate event of a suspension, don’t panic. Simply follow the outlined steps above to navigate your path toward a successful reinstatement process. 

But if decoding Amazon’s suspension notification leaves you uncertain, don’t worry! You can always get an Amazon reinstatement service to help you with your appeal and thrive in meeting all the required seller metrics. Reach out to Seller Interactive for professional support. 

Our dedicated team is committed to helping you explore the challenging landscape of Amazon selling and achieve your goals. Book a call now to get started on your path to reinstatement and metric success.

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