What do you do now?
Your first decision is whether to hire an expert to prepare and oversee your appeals process (for example, hiring The Gurus) or to go it alone. From our experience, sellers benefit from the streamlined process that an expert can provide (and the lower risk of Amazon putting you in the “permanent no” bucket). However, if you’re a true do-it-yourselfer and dead set on going it alone, below are some key tips and tricks to keep in mind.
You don’t get many (if any) do-overs, so take your time and prepare your appeal carefully
You only get a few shots (and in some cases, only one shot) at your appeal before Amazon will start ignoring you or, worse, sticking you in the “permanent no” bucket. This is something that may permanently impact your business, so it’s worth it to spend the extra few hours or days to put together a well-crafted appeal to ensure it is accurate and responsive. If your appeal doesn’t look “just right,” the Amazon appeals team may not give your appeal the appropriate amount of attention or validity, so invest the extra time.
Make sure to clearly identify the true “root causes,” not just the “direct cause”
The “direct cause” is the actual issue that led to your suspension. Examples of direct causes would be a glitch with your internal systems that resulted in you sending the item to the incorrect address or an inaccurate listing of the wrong item. Generally speaking, Amazon is not interested in direct causes (i.e., identifying only the direct cause and proposing solutions (or excuses) for such causes will not result in reinstatement). In contrast, the “root cause” is the underlying issue with your business process or workflow that resulted in the direct cause. Amazon cares almost exclusively about the root cause and does not care about simplistic answers relating to what the issues are. Some examples of bad attempts to explain root causes include:
Make sure to thoughtfully identify process improvements in your Plan of Action
Amazonians are intelligent, highly engaged individuals with significant prior experience. It should therefore come as no surprise that they are adept at identifying superficial solutions to issues. What they are looking for is how you have overhauled your business process to ensure that the problematic issues will not happen again – substantive, feasible solutions to an identifiable problem. Examples of bad attempts at a Plan of Action include:
As should be apparent, these solutions are personnel-specific (i.e., they do not identify process overhauls) and/or overly general (i.e., vague references to Amazon compliance will not show your case reviewer that you understand the specific issues leading to your suspension and that you are prepared to address them).
Provide sufficient documentation
It is crucial to make sure you provide Amazon with sufficient documentation to enable them to identify what went wrong and how the issue(s) can be fixed on a sustainable basis. This includes, for example, seller account snapshots, internal emails to your team walking them through the issues, account snapshots of any third-party sites involved in the issues leading to the suspension (e.g., discounting issues or vendors).
Adhering to these key elements will go a long way in creating a successful appeal. Ultimately, however, a successful appeal will require a carefully crafted plan of action that specifically and completely addresses the issues leading to your suspension – a process that relies on strategy and experience. If you need help in crafting such an appeal and would like access to our full suite of expertise, fill out the form below to get a free Guru consultation. We’d love to help you with your appeal, whether you just need a second set of eyes on do-it-yourself appeal or you’re looking for us to handle your entire appeal process.