Amazon Finally Slams the Brakes on These Prohibited Seller Activities

prohbited_by_amazonIt’s been a long time coming, but Amazon has finally updated their Prohibited Seller Activities policy page with specific new terms prohibiting two of the most egregious abuses of selling privileges happening in the Amazon Marketplace:

  • Misuse of product reviews
  • Sales Rank manipulation

Sales manipulation by a percentage of the Amazon  seller community has run rampant over the past 5 years.

Millions in product sales have been made off these black hat strategies and millions more have been made by the programs that teach them.

Not all sellers who use these prohibited strategies realize they are breaking the rules, because the programs and the programs that teach these strategies promote them as OK to use.

But there is a segment of sellers who knowingly break the rules each and every day.

For honest sellers who play by the rules, competing against a seller who is breaking Amazon’s TOS is not only frustrating, it can also cause a huge loss income unless you know how to compete SUCCESSFULLY against these black hat practices.

And unfortunately, Amazon has in large part turned the other way to let these rule breaking tactics continue for far too long.

But over the past six months we’ve FINALLY started to see the crackdown on these practices.

Listings are being taken down, and accounts are being suspended.

And now Amazon  has published new policies prohibiting these activities in their latest update to the Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions page.

Amazon Now Specifically Prohibits the Misuse of Product Reviews

Product Reviews on Amazon were never meant to be used as a tool to manipulate sales rank or volume by sellers.

While a few legitimate product reviews are a fully acceptable practice in retail (and by Amazon), over the past five years, we’ve seen a massive increase in sellers who solicit hundreds of 5 Star reviews per product, either from pools of other sellers, large communities that are part of programs that teach these black hat strategies, or from “fishing” for reviews on social media sites.

There are also paid services that sell 5 Star review services to sellers. In fact Amazon has recently filed a lawsuit against fake review providers.

Amazon has also come under fire recently from the consumer community who more and more recognize that the review you read on an Amazon page very likely may not be authentic.

Product Reviews have been a foundation of the Amazon Marketplace for 20+ years. This feature alone draws millions and millions of buyers to Amazon a month.

Circle-with-slash

They compromise in credibility of Amazon reviews threatens the success of the entire marketplace.

Amazon Now Prohibits Review Manipulation

Newly added to Amazon’s Misuse of Ratings, Feedback, or Reviews Section:

“You may not provide compensation for a review other than a free copy of the product. If you offer a free product, it must be clear that you are soliciting an unbiased review. The free product must be provided in advance.”

“You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review.”

You can find the specific section on Amazon here.

In the Reviews Section: 

“Reviews are important to the Amazon Marketplace, providing a forum for feedback about product and service details and reviewers’ experiences with products and services — positive or negative. You may not write reviews for products or services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews for products or services that you or your competitors sell. Additionally, you may not provide compensation for a review other than a free copy of the product. If you offer a free product, it must be clear that you are soliciting an unbiased review. The free product must be provided in advance. No refunds are permitted after the review is written. You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review. Review solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer compensation are prohibited. You may not ask buyers to remove negative reviews.”

The bottom line? You can get a few reviews for your product if you offer the product to the reviewer for free.

Amazon also now specifically prohibits FAKE sales.

A segment of sellers have been soliciting purchases of their products at a discount to drive sales. This includes having people order the product, and then cancel which drives up a products Best Seller Rank (BSR)

Newly Added to the Misuse of Sales Rank Section:Circle-with-slash

“The best seller rank feature allows buyers to evaluate the popularity of a product. You may not solicit or knowingly accept fake or fraudulent orders. This includes placing orders for your own products. You may not provide compensation to buyers for purchasing your products or provide claim codes to buyers for the purpose of inflating sales rank. In addition, you may not make claims regarding a product’s best seller rank in the product detail page information, including the title and description.”

The bottom line? Let real buyers make real purchases.

Already the outcry from the Amazon sellers who have been using black-hat-strategies is at pitch fever.

“How are we going to sell when we can’t give our product the competitive edge?”

The answer is simple and it’s the method that my clients and students have used from the beginning to build six, multi-six and seven-figure businesses.

Treat Amazon as you would treat a real retail business.

  • If you owned a brick and mortar store, you wouldn’t lie to your customer’s face (at least I hope you wouldn’t).
  • You wouldn’t make false claims about your product, present it in a way that  misrepresents what it does
  • You wouldn’t use false advertising to get customers in the door
  • You wouldn’t have a bunch of friends purchase the product at a discount or for free and leave fake 5 stars reviews on your website

No! You would advertise the product ethically and serve you customers with honesty and integrity.

The Future of Selling on Amazon

Since starting with Amazon in 2001, I’ve never taught black or grey hat strategies for selling on Amazon. You can sell very successfully without breaking the rules.

My clients and students enjoy very successful and profitable Amazon sales channels, with our biggest clients selling 10 Million + a year. All without black hat strategies.

As I’ve been saying for the past year +, Amazon IS cleaning up the abuse of the marketplace. They have a LONG way to go.

But the days of gaming the system to sell products are coming to an end.

This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to learn to promote your products and drive traffic to your pages with Inbound Marketing.

This is why Product Page Optimization cannot be ignored.

This is why sourcing good products and branding them is KEY.

And this is why all along we only teach white hat strategies here in SBM.

Because these days were coming. It was only a matter of when.

The future is changing on Amazon and you don’t want to get left behind or caught in the net. 

Whether you’re currently breaking the rules, not sure if you are or simply want the best strategies for selling profitably and successfully on Amazon, sign up for “How to Sell on Amazon Successfully without Breaking the Rules” below…

 

dontbreakrules

 

 

 

Increase Your Amazon Sales with Back-to-School Bundles

Back to SchoolBundles2The back-to-school selling season is here, and if you’re looking for a way to increase your Amazon sales, now is the time to create back-to-school product bundles!

Back-to-school sales represent a $74 Billion dollar market, with more and more busy parents doing their back-to-school shopping on Amazon this year.

And product bundles are in demand!

Busy parents don’t have the time to run all over town (or the web) chasing down individual products…

As one shopping weary mom said an Amazon product review…

You could buy the components for much less money, but, to be honest, I just didn’t feel like going the 30 miles to Wal-Mart to get this stuff, so instead I bought the kit and used my Prime Membership free shipping option.

Creating a well-thought out product bundle that anticipates what shoppers will buy together,  provides Amazon merchants with a wealth of opportunities for increasing summer and fall sales.

 Demand for back-to-school bundles are currently top product searches on Amazon…

bts_search2

 

School supply kits for all ages are in demand. 

And there are many more searches for niched school supply kits!

 Theme by age, gender, interest, sports, favorite movie, color, subject and more!

bts_search3

The college dorm room supplies market is HUGE.

There are opportunities in every category including: Home and Kitchen, Beauty, Office Products, Grocery and more!

 In fact there are so many different opportunities for back-to-school bundles that we recently added a brand new BONUS list of 30 hot Back-To-School Bundles to our Amazon Bundles program.

Year after year, Back-to-School product bundles are consistent top sellers on Amazon.

There are so many ways you can bundle back-to-school products on Amazon, the possibilities are endless…

 A college dorm shower tote filled with toiletries can be created and themed in a variety of ways!

Theme it by:showertote2

  • Color
  • Style
  • Toiletry type: Sport, Organic, a specific brand of products
  • Specific scent toiletries (citrus, vanilla, fall scents) etc.

Or a Dorm Room Survival Kit…

dormroom

 

 

 

 

 

Include items like:

  • Book light
  • Caffeinated gum
  • Eye mask
  • Earplugs
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Thermometer
  • Laundry Bag
  • Sewing Kit
  • Air freshener
  • Multi-size screwdriver

This Kindergarten supply kit is getting rave reviews and sales!

kindergarten

And sourcing components for a bundle like this is easily done using your own sourcing channels!

Source your bundle components from your existing wholesale suppliers or via retail arbitrage or private label channels!

Whether you’re new to selling on Amazon or are an established merchant, product bundling offers multiple benefits to your business:

  • Create a top selling bundle on any budget!
  • Build a product bundle using your current method of sourcing
  • Sell your bundle at higher margins (or faster volume) because you have a unique, in demand product
  • Get several unique bundles up and selling multiple units a day!
  • Own the Amazon product page and the Buy Box (and keep the competition off the page)
  • Create seasonal bundles and and capitalize on high-seasonal demand
  • Repurpose saturated inventory on Amazon without having to go looking for new suppliers
  • Sell everything from entry level bundles to premium bundles to customers in all Amazon categories

The benefits are easy to see, but…

You Can’t Put Just Any Two Products Together, Call it a Bundle, and Hope they Sell (they won’t)

This is the biggest issue I see with poor selling bundles on Amazon is that sellers bundle together products that no one wants!

You must create bundles that provide compelling value to the customer.

There are 10 bundle models that have been proven to sell consistently on Amazon.  I explain out how to create each of these on our Amazon Bundles program.

In addition to knowing what to bundle, you need to know how to bundle it.

  • Poor images, the wrong images, bad product page titles, feature bullets that don’t actually SELL the benefits of the bundle, all play a factor in bundles that don’t sell.
  • Bundles that DO sell have well–optimized product pages that do a great job of showing the buyer how the bundle will benefit them!

Since we’re in the back-to-school selling season, there is no time for trail and error on creating your profitable back-to-school bundle.

If you want to fast-track your bundle creation and avoid trail and error, our Amazon Bundles program can get you up and running with your next bundle quickly.

Now you can learn step-by-step how to create your own profitable back-to-school bundles with Amazon Bundles!amazon_bundles

The Back-to-School selling season is a prime opportunity to increase your sales.

And the RIGHT kind of bundles can add thousands of dollars to your bottom line…

Create one bundle, or create multiple bundles…

Product bundling is a skill that you will use all year around for every season!

Master your bundling skills now, and you’ll be prepared to create bundles during the back-to-school season, right into the holiday selling season and beyond.

-Lisa

4 Sales Killing Mistakes You’re Making with Your Amazon Product Page (and how to fix them)

business man fail unhappy  illustration vectorYour Amazon Product Page is your salesperson.

It works for you 7×24 selling your products.

But is your page doing its job?

In most cases, the answer is… no.

The vast majority of Amazon Product Pages are not optimized for search or sales.

As a seller, you spend time, effort and money sourcing great products, but if the page you’re listing on isn’t getting found in search or doesn’t convert, your products either won’t sell at all or will never reach their full sales potential.

Additionally one of the biggest sales issues we see with new clients and students is that they’re Continue Reading

Should YOU Sell on the New Amazon Business Platform?

Recently, Amazon rolled out a new program called the Amazon Business Selling program.

It’s arguably one of the best opportunities out there for 3rd party merchants, but there’s been a lot of confusion about the program – 

That’s why I’ve gone under the hood to see how this program REALLY works.

And what I found was SURPRISING (in a good way!)

In this video, I’ll walk you through the program from a seller and buyer perspective and reveal the benefits for ALL sellers (no matter what you sell)!

You’ll discover how the Amazon Business Selling program can help you increase your sales, even if you don’t sell a single “business related” product.