October 4th, 2023
Guest Blog: Becky Trowbridge from eComEngine
Competition on Amazon is fierce. Hijackers, search suppression, and other changes can threaten your sales and the health of your business.
Your Amazon listings are invaluable. Getting shoppers to add your products to their carts is no small feat. Listing issues can cause you to lose sales momentum and experience a decline in Amazon’s search rankings. Protecting your listings is a crucial aspect of managing your Amazon business.
Understanding what to look out for when it comes to your product listings and what to do when something goes wrong can empower you to be proactive. Keep reading to learn about three common listing issues and what you should know about monitoring and protecting your Amazon listings.
Issue #1: Your Listing is Search Suppressed
If your Amazon listing is suppressed, it’s no longer visible in product searches. This can quickly lead to a decline in your sales, loss of search ranking, and other consequences for your product. Knowing that your listing is suppressed is the first step to resolving the problem.
You can check to see if any of your listings are suppressed on the Manage Inventory tab in Seller Central. If you see a link for suppressed listings at the top of the page, click on it to see which products are flagged.
Your Amazon listings can be suppressed for several reasons related to violating Amazon’s guidelines, but one of the most common is an issue with the main product image. Knowing Amazon’s image requirements can help you ensure that your hero image meets Amazon’s standards before you add it to your listing. Some other common reasons for search suppression are inaccurate/incomplete product descriptions and listing titles that are too long.
You can resolve issues with a suppressed listing in Seller Central on the Fix your products page, which provides details about what you need to do to fix your suppressed listings. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t notify you when your products are search suppressed. You should check for this issue at least once a day in Seller Central or use Amazon listing monitoring software such as SellerPulse by eComEngine to alert you when there’s a problem.
Issue #2: Unauthorized Content Changes
Your Amazon listings provide critical information to buyers and set expectations for your products. Your images, title, keywords, and product description need to fit together and provide a detailed overview of the item. Regularly optimizing your Amazon listings and ensuring that all product details are updated is an important part of managing your business.
However, unauthorized listing content changes can cause serious trouble for your listings. For example, these changes can impact your Amazon reviews, since buyers might see incorrect information about your product. They can also prevent you from advertising if a hijacker makes changes that cause your listing to become ineligible. Hijackers often change listing details to try to make it harder to find a product in search results or to make it less appealing to shoppers. In some cases, they even convert the listing into a different product while retaining the reviews from the original listing.
Hijackers aren’t the only ones making changes to Amazon listings. Resellers might accidentally submit the wrong information about a product. In any case, it’s helpful to know when unauthorized changes are made to your listings so you can prevent a negative customer experience.
Product titles, hero images, and brand names are all especially vulnerable to unauthorized listing changes. Monitoring these aspects of your listings regularly can help you protect your standing on Amazon. While you can check in daily to monitor your listings, it quickly becomes time-consuming if you have several products. You can automate the process and get notified of listing changes such as title, brand, and image changes with SellerPulse, which also provides you with details and next steps so you can get back to business as soon as possible.
There are several ways to update or correct an Amazon listing. Be sure to wait at least 24 hours between each option.
You can update the listing on the Manage All Inventory page in Seller Central or submit a flat file to update your product details with the Add Products via upload page. Another option is to visit the Fix a Product page and enter your ASIN and the attribute you want to update. If the previous steps don’t work, you can submit a case to Seller Support. Be sure to describe the issue in detail and submit proof (such as a link to the manufacturer’s website) that your details are correct.
Issue #3 Your Listing Has Been Hijacked
Listing hijacking is a serious issue for Amazon sellers. It happens when an unauthorized seller begins offering a counterfeit version of your product on your listing. (Note that this is different from a reseller who bought your actual product and decided to resell it on Amazon.)
Hijackers see popular private label items and try to copy them, often with a cheaper and lower quality product, while capitalizing on the listing’s popularity. This can have major implications for your brand, especially if the hijacker is selling at a lower price and winning the Buy Box for your product. Customers won’t understand that their order was fulfilled by an inauthentic seller, meaning you’ll bear the consequences of any negative reviews. And, unfortunately, negative reviews are very common in this scenario because the buyer isn’t receiving the product quality they were promised in your listing content. So the hijacker snaps up sales that should belong to you and puts your Amazon seller reputation at risk in one fell swoop.
You can check to see if another seller is appearing on your listing in the “Other Sellers on Amazon” box. However, a legitimate reseller may be in that spot, so it’s important to do your research. If you start seeing negative reviews with complaints that don’t make sense for your product, that’s a good indication that you might have a hijacker on your listing.
Amazon hijacking is complicated and realizing that there’s a problem is only the beginning. Removing the hijacker requires additional steps. Start by making a test purchase so you can analyze the product to see what’s different from your authentic product. Take detailed notes and photos to show the differences between the items. Then you can send a cease and desist letter to the seller by clicking on their username on Amazon and clicking the “Ask a Question” button. Paste the text of your letter and submit it, giving the seller a couple of days to respond.
If your cease and desist letter is ignored, use your photos and notes to send a report Infringement form to Amazon. Explain how the counterfeit product creates a negative experience for customers.
There are a few steps you can take to help prevent your listings from being hijacked. Get the trademark for your products and sign up for Amazon’s Brand Registry program, which offers brand protection benefits to help you protect your products. Programs like Project Zero and Amazon Transparency are designed to prevent fake products from reaching customers. Keep your products in stock and make your branding obvious on your packaging and in product images.
Protect Your Amazon Listings
Manually checking your listings for issues such as search suppression and possible hijacker activity is time-consuming, particularly if you sell a lot of products on Amazon. SellerPulse is designed to monitor your Amazon listings 24/7 and notify you when there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. You’ll receive an email alert with recommendations for what to do next.
In addition to listing content changes, you can monitor Buy Box changes, out-of-stocks, changes to the number of offers (which can signal hijacker activity), and more. Staying vigilant and acting quickly is the best way to protect your Amazon listings.
Becky Trowbridge is the Digital Marketing Manager at eComEngine. Her mission is to empower Amazon sellers with the information they need to be successful in a competitive market. When she's not creating content, she enjoys spending time outdoors, trying new recipes, and reading.