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Amazon Seller Suspension - Performance - ODR

June 21, 2017

Continuing our series on Seller Suspension, let's take a look at a specific Performance issue that could land you in hot water with the online retail giant - ODR or Order Defect Rate

The Order Defect Rate heading can encompass many issues and if it raises above 1%, you'll find yourself with a suspension notice. So what is ODR? Well, it can include

  • Negative Feedback
  • A-to-Z Claims
  • Contact Response Time
  • Refunds
  • Seller Cancelled Orders

Let's take a closer look at each of these so you understand what they are and how to avoid each of them.

Negative Feedback

Your negative feedback rate needs to stay below 3% in order to stay under Amazon's radar, but you don't need to worry about this number alone. Just make sure your total feedback rating doesn't drop below 90% and you'll be good. Even if your products are top notch, you can still receive negative feedback from customers for reasons ranging from they simply didn't read the description carefully enough and think they got something they weren't expecting to choosing an inaccurate reason for return so they don't have to pay the shipping. While this is not fair, you do have a defense. Contest every single negative review even if you may be in the wrong. There are not actual people reviewing the contesting of negative feedback, but rather Amazon robots working on an algorithm. Often times, this algorithm will automatically approve the removal of negative feedback. Definite removal of feedback reasons include but are not limited to:

  • Product feedback left on company feedback area
  • Foul or offensive language of any kind
  • Feedback that is obviously a competitor (more on this in our post on Dirty Amazon Sellers)

Contact Response Time

Amazon's email system kind of sucks and it's easy to miss messages from buyers. You need to make sure your response time stays below 24 hours to keep Amazon happy. This is a pretty easy one to maintain. Set a reminder on your phone to check the customer inquiries at least twice per day. Downloading the Amazon Seller app to your phone makes staying on top of this super easy. One thing I learned the hard way - don't ignore emails you think don't need a response. I used to get a lot of spam from other sellers and from companies trying to sell me their Amazon related services. If you look, there's a little box at the bottom of each message you can check if the message doesn't require a response. Just make sure to check this box instead of ignoring the message because even spam can get you banned!

A-to-Z Claims

Amazon takes A-to-Z claims very seriously and thinks you should have none. The easiest way to avoid this is to just eat it. Don't give Amazon even a second to get involved. Apologize and refund the customer, no matter how ridiculous the claim. Amazon will almost always side with the customer, so it's pointless to try to contest it. If you're going to take a large hit on the cost of the product, offer to send the customer a pre-paid return label with a promise to refund them in full once you receive the item back. If you start to have multiple A-to-Z claims, take a moment to review your other metrics and practices. There may be other issues with your account leading to these claims that can be quickly and easily fixed to stop them from coming in. 

Seller Cancelled Orders

Many new sellers underestimate the power of the online giant and quickly find themselves in deep inventory trouble because Amazon has zero tolerance for this issue. Dropshipping, while a popular method for Shopify and eBay stores. simply doesn't work on Amazon. Best advice? Just don't. I know - buying a lot of inventory on speculation that it will sell is a big investment and can be a barrier to entry for a lot of sellers. If you don't have the money to invest, then start on eBay and work your way to Amazon. Do your research first using tools like Terapeak and CamelCamelCamel to make sure the items you are looking at will sell. Purchase a small amount and send in to FBA to test. If the product sells well, then invest in a larger amount to fulfill yourself.

Another issue revolves around poor inventory management. Create an inventory bin system to make pick and pack easier for yourself and utilize software like ShipWorks and Quickbooks Enterprise with Advanced Inventory tracking to help keep everything in line and easily trackable.

While the ODR is one of the most prevalent reasons for Performance suspension, it's also one of the easiest to stay away from. Stay on top of customer inquiries. Don't DropShip. Keep your inventory in order and don't cancel orders. Process refunds quickly and contest every negative review. For more performance related suspension issues, check out the next post in our series here.