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Rule #1 – Don’t Lose Money: How to Avoid Amazon’s Wave of Listing Suppressions

Listing suppression is on the rise, leaving many sellers wondering how to get theirs back online. Here’s how to know if yours is in danger of being shut down, and how to fix it if it does.

  • March 22, 2023
  • /
  • Brian Burt
blond woman in red holding her head disconsolately staring at an open laptop

Selling on Amazon can be extremely time consuming. The changes to PPC and DSP advertising alone are enough to feel like a full-time job.

And of course, all of us that have navigated the world-wide events over these last few years have seen how the pandemic and the economy have acted as an enormous lever on eCommerce.

However, it’s the way that Amazon itself lords over their own marketplace that has forced entrepreneurs to make the most frequent changes.

This post focuses on the tidal wave of Amazon listing suppressions that have plagued sellers over the last six months and explores processes that Canopy’s Partner Success Management (PSM) team has used to reverse upwards of 90% of those sometimes fatal listing suppressions. 

Even if you’re not a Canopy Partner (yet!) this post will outline the challenges you’re facing, the best practices that might keep you on the right side of Amazon, and the steps you can take to get your listing active again once it’s suppressed. 

Amazon is On the Hot Seat

In late 2022, the FDA sent two separate warning letters to Amazon and Walmart regarding products that are sold on the companies’ online platforms. The FDA seems determined to encourage online retailers to better police their own ecosystems. 

What appears to have drawn the attention of the regulatory agency is the illegal sale of products known to contain prohibited drug ingredients or what they consider to be improper or overstated claims about the efficacy of supplements and other health-related products. 

To make the situation worse for Amazon (and other online retailers) recently, a stampede of legal action has been initiated that hints of possible responsibility for harm and damages being extended to any party that otherwise is involved in placing a product in the line of commerce.

Lawyers talk about following the money. Amazon is ground zero!  

If you’re one of the many Amazon sellers that have suffered through the suppression of a listing these last few months, you know exactly what we’re referring to in the next section.  

Amazon Listing Suppressions Are eCommerce Business Killers

Much of the time, when someone is looking for something to buy, they begin their search on Amazon. Type in the most relevant keyword, and you’ve got thousands of possible products to choose from. 

Over 60% of product searches begin on Amazon. That’s why eCommerce brands have flooded Amazon’s marketplace as they attempt to use Amazon’s massive reach to enrich their bottom line. 

What many sellers fail to understand is that Amazon listings are not “set it and forget it.” Amazon product listings require constant attention. Listing optimization and Amazon SEO are moving targets. Experienced eCommerce sellers know that as the marketplace changes, so should your listings. That’s a large part of the reason why Amazon listings need to be constantly updated and maintained. 

But that’s not what we’re talking about in this post. 

We’re talking about Amazon’s possible overreaction to the FDA’s pressure on online eCommerce platforms. 

Specifically, the fact that Amazon is unwilling to place itself – and its profits – squarely at the center of the US government’s regulatory efforts. Before it comes to that point, Amazon is simply going to make your listing go away. 

That’s referred to as a listing “suppression.”

What Happens When a Listing Is Suppressed On Amazon? 

If any elements of a listing fail to meet Amazon’s guidelines, Amazon makes your listing disappear from potential searches. That’s a listing suppression. 

Even though the suppressed listing will still be present in your seller’s dashboard, Amazon customers can’t search for or find your product until you resolve the cause of the issue. If you don’t read the notification that you receive from Amazon, it might appear to you as if everything is normal. 

That is, except for the total lack of sales. 

What Can Cause a Suppressed Amazon Listing?

Suppressed listings occur when a specific aspect of your product listing doesn’t meet Amazon’s standards. Amazon says that their (increasingly strict) guidelines are there to make it easier for consumers to locate, research, and actually purchase products on its platform. 

Remember, for Amazon, it’s the customers’ experience first and foremost. (That, and avoiding lawsuits from lawyers salivating at their seemingly bottomless bank account) 

An Amazon listing can be suppressed for several reasons.

The Following Factors May Lead to Your Amazon Listing Being Suppressed

  1. Incomplete or inaccurate product information: Missing, incorrect, or misleading information in the product title, brand, category, or description can cause a listing to be suppressed.
  2. Prohibited content: Listings containing content that violates Amazon’s policies, such as offensive or illegal items, can be suppressed.
  3. Intellectual property violations: Selling counterfeit products, using copyrighted images or content without permission, or infringing on trademarks can lead to suppression.
  4. Poor product images: Low-quality images, those that don’t accurately represent the product, or those that include watermarks, text, or logos can cause suppression.
  5. Inappropriate keywords: Using irrelevant or prohibited keywords in the listing or hidden keyword section can lead to suppression.
  6. Price discrepancies: Significantly overpriced or underpriced products, as compared to similar items on the platform, can cause suppression.
  7. Safety concerns: Products that are deemed hazardous or have potential safety issues may be suppressed.
  8. Restricted or regulated products: Listings for items that require special approval, are subject to sales restrictions, or are regulated by government agencies may be suppressed.
  9. Multiple listings for the same product: Creating duplicate listings for the same item can lead to suppression.
  10. Poor seller performance: Amazon may suppress listings from sellers with consistently low performance metrics, such as late shipping, high order defect rates, or poor customer feedback.
  11. Inaccurate product condition: Listing an item in the wrong condition, such as selling a used item as new, can lead to suppression.
  12. Non-compliant product bundles: Listings for product bundles that don’t adhere to Amazon’s bundling policies can be suppressed.

“Fixing” a Suppressed Listing

If you have a single Amazon ASIN, there’s a good chance you’ll be aware of the suppression almost immediately. Amazon will send you a notification. The problem arises when you are enterprise-scale and might have hundreds, if not thousands of listings. 

In that case, you might not be aware of the problem until it’s caused irreparable harm to your listing (and brand). 

Once you are aware of the problem, these are the steps that Amazon recommends that you take to identify and fix a suppressed listing: 

If you are doing this yourself, there are two ways to fix a suppressed listing:

  1. Fix suppressed listings in Amazon’s Issue(s) to fix column by entering the missing values in the editable cells or selecting missing values from the drop-down list then click Save.
  2. Fix suppressed listings that are not fixable in the editable grid (Option A) by clicking Edit and going to Amazon’s Edit product info page. In Edit product info, the missing product details will be highlighted and you will see informational messages that further detail the issue. For non-image issues, enter the missing value and click Save and Finish

(For image issues, follow the guidelines on Amazon’s Product image requirements page and then upload valid product images)

How Canopy Management’s PSM Team Can Help 

One of Canopy Management’s superpowers lies in our ability to quickly and successfully manage Amazon issues exactly like listing suppressions. In fact, we have an entire department dedicated to this, Partner Success Management (PSM). 

Canopy’s PSM listing suppression division is managed by a dedicated Amazon expert with 10 years of experience dealing specifically with Amazon listing suppressions. Over the last few months he’s been successful (sometimes within 24 hours) in over 90% of his listing suppression cases. 

We don’t just claim to be a Full-Service Amazon Management Agency, Canopy’s eCommerce pros are putting in the work every single day to make Canopy the first choice for increasing numbers of successful Amazon sellers. 

Canopy Management’s team consists of former Amazonians, multi-million dollar sellers, and award-winning experts. When you consider the many ways that Canopy Management can help you grow your business, you’ll see why selling on Amazon is much easier “under the Canopy.”

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