Amazon Suppressed Listings Can Happen Anytime
As more and more shoppers flock to Amazon, it is becoming an increasingly valuable platform for sellers to reach more customers and make more sales. And while no seller would question the advantage Amazon gives their business, many do not realize the constant maintenance the platform requires – even after a listing is up and running. You always want to make sure your listing is live and is not considered a suppressed amazon listing.
Plenty of sellers have wrapped their heads around the benefits of creating a compelling Amazon listing – one that both A9 and consumers find value in. They do the necessary keyword research, look into Amazon best practices and ultimately create well-written, keyword-rich titles, bullet points, product descriptions and backend keywords.
But for many, it comes as an unpleasant surprise that this is not where listing optimization ends. There is on-going upkeep and fine-tuning that needs to be done even after a product listing is live. Amazon is constantly evolving and adjusting its listing requirements, and if any elements of your product listing fail to meet these standards, it can be suppressed or deactivated until the problem is resolved.
Why Would Amazon Suppress My Listing?
Amazon is and has always been a company that puts consumers first. It values a high-quality buying experience above all else and, as a result, has put suppression guidelines in place to help ensure that low-quality listings are not shown to potential buyers.
Thanks to these suppression guidelines, shoppers are able to find, evaluate and purchase products more easily. If a product listing does not live up to Amazon’s standards it runs the risk of being suppressed. Carefully abiding by these guidelines is the only way to ensure that your product is constantly visible to consumers.
- Listings without a main image for most categories
- Listings without brand information, product description or bullets for most categories
- Listings that have a title length of more than 200 characters for all categories
- Listings that do not have a valid UPC for certain categories
- Listings that do not have a value for the Category (item-type) field for most categories
If your listing violates any of the above criteria, it will not be shown to consumers. That being said, it is important to conduct regular check-ins on your listings to make sure they are in good standing. This ensures that you can get your listing up and running again quickly if ever it is suppressed.
It is common for Amazon to suppress a listing if the following information is missing or not up to snuff with the platform’s guidelines:
How Can I Fix an Amazon Suppressed Listing?
The good news is, you can correct a suppressed listing pretty quickly. The hard part is continuously checking up on your active listings to make sure everything is running smoothly.
To identify your suppressed listings, just follow these simple steps:
- Fix the listings in the “Issue(s) to Fix” column by entering the missing values in the editable cells or choose the missing values from the drop-down list and click “Save.”
- You can fix listings in bulk by selecting listings with the same issues. Choose “Bulk Fix Listings” and submit a value in the “Fix quality issue for multiple listings” pop-up view.
- You can address listings that are not fixable via the “Issue(s) to Fix” or the “Bulk Fix Listings” options by hitting “Edit” and going to the “Edit Product Info” page. Here, missing product details will be highlighted and you can explore additional information about the issue. For non-image issues, enter the missing value and select “Save” and “Finish”. For image issues, follow the Product image requirements and upload the proper product images.
Every product listing has an Amazon Product Summary page that details all of the suppression and quality issues applicable to that listing. Once you’ve identified your suppressed listings, you can fix them in one of three ways.
- Go to your Seller Central account, click on the “Inventory” tab and choose “Manage Inventory.”
- If you have any suppressed listings, you’ll see a button labeled “Suppressed.” If there are no Suppressed products listed then all of your listings are working properly and you can go about business as usual.
- If the button is there, select “Suppressed” from the horizontal menu. From here, you can view all your suppressed listings or click Issue type on to filter by issue type.
Once all of your suppression issues have been fixed, click “Save” and “Finish” to exit.
Here is the scary part – Amazon can suppress your listing without any notification. These secretly suppressed product pages are a big issue for sellers, who can suffer from lost sales and revenue without even knowing their listing has been suppressed.
What differentiates secret suppression from normal listing suppression? Well, secret suppression is usually due to trademark violations. This could mean that you have included a big brand name in your product title when it does not belong there, or you have not adhered to Amazon’s phrasing guidelines for including trademarked items.
Amazon has a strict rule that you can only name another brand’s trademark within your listing when you are offering a compliant product, such as “compatible with iPhone X.” Even then, there are rigorous phrasing guidelines put in place. Here’s Amazon’s policy regarding the use of someone else’s trademark in the creation of a detail page:
When making truthful statements that a product is compatible with a trademarked product. For example, if a seller offers a specialty cable that is compatible with the Kindle E-reader, and states that the cable is “compatible with Kindle,” this generally is not trademark infringement as long as the statement is true and not confusing. Note, however, that “similar to” claims (such as stating that goods are “similar to Kindle” or “better than Kindle”) are against Amazon listing policy.
Identifying Secretly Suppressed Amazon Listings
Under normal suppression circumstances, any non-compliant listings will show up under “Suppressed” listings, as outlined above. This is not the case with secretly suppressed listings. Although these product pages no longer exist and do not show up in customer search results, secretly suppressed listings will still appear as active and normal within your inventory.
That being said, there are a few ways to locate your secretly suppressed Amazon listings. You can check if the product page exists. If it has suddenly disappeared, chances are the listing has been suppressed. There’s also the Buy Box column trick. Make sure you always have the "Buy Box Eligible" column visible in your account. If the listing is showing up as active, but there is a hyphen in the "Buy Box Eligible" column, the product page likely does not exist (See Figure 1). A truly active listing should always have either a “Yes” or “No” in this column.
Keep An Eye On The Buy Box
If your listing violates any of the guidelines mentioned earlier, your entire product page could be suppressed and hidden from customer search results. But there is another, and equally harmful, version of Amazon suppression known as Buy Box suppression.
Most sellers understand the importance of the Buy Box. This valuable tool allows shoppers to click through to purchase with just a single hit of the “Add to Cart” button. Because the Buy Box makes it much easier for shoppers to complete a purchase, the seller with the Buy Box tends to make more sales.
Selling history, review quality, price, shipping and FBA are all factors that Amazon takes into account when choosing Buy Box listings. But sometimes, a product has no “Add to Cart” button and no seller gets the Buy Box. This is usually a result of Buy Box suppression. Amazon can suppress the Buy Box if a price is set well above the MSRP or well below the MAP. Even without a set MSRP or MAP for the product, Amazon’s automated algorithms can still flag prices as too high or too low.
Solving Buy Box Suppression
Without the Buy Box, sellers will almost always see a loss of sales. Without the option to add products to their shopping cart with a single click, shoppers will almost certainly purchase less. Instead, they are forced to click through to see additional buying options where the likelihood of them making a purchase from your store drops even further.
The only way to restore the Buy Box is to correct the problem that caused it to disappear in the first place. This means comparing your prices to those of competitors – across Amazon and beyond – and making adjustments where needed.
Ongoing Listing Management
Clearly, selling and managing products on Amazon is a time-consuming process – and keeping an eye on the state of your listings is just the tip of the iceberg. Selling on Amazon also involves extensive marketing, logistics, packaging, and shipping.
For most Amazon sellers, the prospect of managing all of this on their own is a daunting one. But luckily, sellers do not have to go it alone. Our Amazon consultants are available to not only handle the ongoing management and maintenance of your listings but also to help create new listings, take care of your FBA and more!