What is Amazon Penalty?

The term “Penalty” implies a punishment or a sanction. This term is certainly known in combination with Google. Websites that violate the Google guidelines will be punished for non-fulfilment. The same happens with the online shop Amazon. Merchants and sellers who do not comply with Amazon’s guidelines can face a variety of consequences. Penalties can vary depending on the extent to which the regulations laid down by Amazon are being violated.

Amazon’s comprehensive guidelines are designed above to protect the buyer. Amazon customers should be able to buy products in the online shop with confidence. For this to be possible, the retailer must comply with certain regulations.

Amazon Brand Guide

Why does Amazon Penalty exist?

Amazon’s main focus is to create the most positive buying experience possible for customers. Amazon earns with every product that is sold. For this reason, it is important that the customer has confidence in the Amazon online shop. They should feel comfortable and buy as much as possible. That’s why it’s important to offer customers the things they’re satisfied with. And in order for them to be satisfied, Amazon dealers have to observe certain regulations.

A prerequisite for this is, of course, that the item a customer orders also corresponds to what he effectively ordered. A clear description of the product and descriptive pictures are crucial. For this reason, Amazon also has a style guide that retailers must adhere to. This can vary depending on the product category.

Customer reviews and returns rate indicate how well a product is described on Amazon. Articles with positive customer reviews and a low return rate usually rank better in the listing than products with rather negative reactions and a high number of returns.

The aim is to create positive sales experiences for the customer so that he can make many of his purchases via Amazon. However, regulations are needed to ensure fair competition between Amazon merchants.

What consequences can Amazon traders expect if they disobey the rules?

One form of Amazon Penalty, for example, is worse ranking. This alone can sometimes have a big impact on sales figures. The loss of the Amazon Buy-Box can also be a result of non-compliance with regulations. Since most customers buy products that are offered in the buy box, this form of punishment often has a very negative impact on sales.

In the case of gross violations, a product may even be de-indexed or deleted. This can have disastrous consequences for the retailer. He will not only have to reckon with losses in sales, but under certain circumstances with much more far-reaching costs, such as high storage fees.

The worst kind of Amazon Penalty is suspending or blocking the Amazon merchant account. Since most buyer enquiries today are already started and processed at Amazon, this form can have extreme effects on your own business. This is particularly tragic for traders who sell their goods exclusively through Amazon.

What can lead to Amazon Penalty?

There are a variety of ways Amazon can penalize a merchant. A few possibilities would be, for example:

  • Violation of the Amazon Style Guide
  • Product violates Amazon guidelines
  • Keyword spamming
  • Poor sales performance
  • Fake Reviews
  • Trademark infringement
  • and much more.

Violation of the Amazon Style Guide

A correct Amazon optimization according to the style guide is necessary for every offered product in order not to be warned by Amazon. Each category has its own prescriptions. In the following example, for example, the requirement to create an Amazon-compliant pet supplies product title is the requirement.

  1. Product requirements

Dealers can find the complete guidelines in the Amazon Seller Central. Here Amazon vendors will also find all specifications regarding product images, bullet points, product description, Amazon keywords in the backend, Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), A+ Content for vendors and much more.

Product violates Amazon guidelines

Since Amazon’s products are checked in advance, it is actually not possible for retailers to list items of this kind at all. Amazon’s FAQ´s states “You cannot sell products that are illegal, or that have been illegally marketed, or that have been banned by Amazon guidelines. This includes prescription drugs, illegal drugs, firearms, ammunition and tobacco.”

Keyword spamming at Amazon

Just as Google, on Amazon the operator of a website can warn for keyword spamming. In comparison to Google, however, it does not help the provider on Amazon to repeat keywords permanently, since the mere repetition is not relevant for listing on Amazon. However, you can also find Amazon products on Google and thus generate traffic. Nevertheless, one can assume that most customers with a certain purchase intention will increasingly start their search on Amazon.

So how does it work at Amazon if the constant repetition of keywords doesn’t help? The more relevant keywords you use to describe a product, the greater the chance that customers will find them on Amazon. The importance of the keywords on Amazon is descending as follows: from product title, bullet points, product description to backend keywords.

To ensure that not all merchants spam their product titles with keywords, the style guide regulations mentioned above should be observed. In addition, the titles and descriptions that are only stuffed with keywords will not provide satisfactory information for the buyer. A detailed keyword research is therefore very important and should be done in advance.

Poor sales performance at Amazon

A negative dealer performance, for example, is the return rate. If articles are returned particularly frequently, this may be due to a description that does not correspond to the product or to different images. In this case, an Amazon provider will be placed further back in the listing, at least sooner or later. The same applies to customer reviews. If a product is consistently badly judged, this can also have a negative effect on the rank or loss of the buy box (if you are not the sole manufacturer of a product). Even a consistently poor dealer rating can lead to a warning from Amazon.

Faked Amazon Reviews

Since, as previously described under “poor sales performance at Amazon”, poor customer or dealer ratings can lead to warnings, some sellers may come up with the idea of writing bad reviews to their competitors. This is an extremely unfair behavior in itself, but it is also punished by Amazon.

Trademark violation at Amazon

The use of brand names can lead Amazon from the warning to the blocking or deletion of the seller account. In addition, the buyer can also expect consequences on the part of the trademark owner. You can find some information about trademark law here.

So that it does not come only to the Amazon Penalty, one should consider certain regulations as a dealer. If there is still a warning from Amazon, you should first see if you can solve the problem yourself or if you can get support or tips from third parties as a merchant.