How Smart Shipping Practices Can Protect Your Amazon Account Health
Smart shipping practices play a huge role in preserving your Amazon account health. You drop the ball here and you’ll undoubtedly feel the effects in the form of negative seller feedback and, with enough consistency, penalties from the marketplace itself based on poor performance metrics.
That’s not good.
In this post we’ll cover how to protect your Amazon seller rating and account health by making shipping a top priority. You’ll also learn why that feedback is so valuable in the first place and a few other ways to maintain it. Let’s get started!
First, a Quick Look at Amazon Seller Feedback
Amazon feedback serves as a public rating of your performance as a seller. Based on a five-star scale, it essentially grades your reliability on product packaging, shipping, responsiveness, and professionalism.
Buyers have a 90-day window to submit one feedback response per order. Amazon calculates your feedback rating by averaging the responses received over various time frames to give you a 30 day, 90 day, 12 month, and lifetime value.
Amazon’s Feedback Manager allows you to track your feedback and take action when applicable. It’s important to understand the marketplace’s feedback removal guidelines. For example, was the feedback entered entirely a product review? That isn’t considered seller feedback, so it’s eligible for removal. Or, if you use FBA and the feedback was about a late shipment, you can ask Amazon to strike through the comment and claim responsibility.
How Feedback Impacts Amazon Sellers
Shoppers use seller feedback to learn about other people’s experiences with you. While this public perception of your trustworthiness as a seller can be a big competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace, there are other ways feedback impacts sellers. Here are three to pay attention to:
- Buy Box Ownership. Seller feedback is a main component of your Order Defect Rate, an Amazon Account Health metric that’s weighted very heavily in the Buy Box algorithm. In Amazon’s eyes, positive feedback is a big plus when it comes to winning the Buy Box.
- “Other Sellers on Amazon” Implications. When buyers do bypass the Buy Box and compare other sellers on Amazon, they will most likely be choosing based on the seller’s feedback rating which will appear here.
- Selling Sanctions. Back again to the Order Defect Rate. Amazon says an order has a defect if it results in any negative feedback, a successful A-to-z Guarantee Claim, or a credit card chargeback. Sellers must maintain an ODR under 1% or risk account deactivation.
Shipping and Your Amazon Account Health
Monitoring your Amazon Account Health can help to shed light on how to get more positive feedback. Where are you falling short? Is it the previously mentioned Order Defect Rate, a key measurement of your customer service performance?
What about your policy compliance? Having accurate listings free of violations helps ensure your product meets a buyer’s expectations. If it doesn’t, sellers often take the blame.
While these two areas undoubtedly deserve your attention, shipping problems are often the root cause of poor seller feedback and declining Amazon Account Health. Amazon is responsible for FBA shipping metrics, but if you fulfill your own orders, which a growing number of merchants now do as a result of the pandemic, you’ll need to closely monitor the following metrics.
- Late Shipment Rate: Customers want their purchases on time – that much is a given. So when a ship confirmation is completed after the expected ship date, it probably won’t go over well and will result in negative feedback. To protect your account health, you must keep your LSR under 4%.
- Pre-fulfillment Cancel Rate: Seller-cancelled orders are typically the result of inventory errors. You must maintain a CR under 2.5% in order to sell on Amazon.
- Valid Tracking Rate: Amazon customers want to know where their orders are and when they will receive them. Your VTR looks at all shipments with a valid tracking number as a percentage of your total shipments. Amazon requires North American sellers to have a VTR greater than 95% for all US shipments.
Improve Your Feedback By Shipping Smarter
Fast shipping continues to make all the difference on the marketplace. If you’re receiving negative feedback that can be traced back to your shipping practices, it’s time to do something about it — because Amazon sure will.
Expediting your internal order processing and upgrading your shipment methods can make an immediate impact. Early order arrivals are a sure-fire way to delight your buyers and capture more positive feedback.
Easier said than done though, right? Carrier delays are all-too common right now, and if you sell via FBA, meeting the marketplace’s strict packaging requirements can take extra time. Selling internationally makes matters even more complicated with many more hurdles to clear.
If these areas are of concern (and even if they aren’t!), it often pays to partner with a reputable freight forwarding service like First Choice Shipping. Complete with trucking, air freight, customs, and online tracking services, FCS simplifies local and international shipping. It’s exactly what you need for expanding your business or managing critical shipping functions ranging from carrier selection and tracking to shipping labels and timely deliveries no matter the distance. When you need everything to go smoothly every step of the way, FCS is a fantastic solution.
More Strategies for Maintaining Positive Seller Feedback
Outside of improving your shipping practices, there are other recommended ways sellers can try to obtain more positive feedback. Amazon shares several specific instances in this Seller Central resource, but here are a few we want to highlight.
Stay in Stock
Inventory mix ups are not only costly, they can be a direct source of negative feedback if you have to cancel an order. Employing a FBA inventory management solution like eComEngine’s RestockPro can help you forecast more accurately and maximize profits.
Provide Good Customer Service
Respond to buyer messages as quickly as possible (shoot for a 24-hour response time) and try to remedy the situation so a buyer will feel that their voice has been heard and their needs have been met. This can increase your chances of a positive rating or even the removal of a negative one.
Politely Ask for Feedback
Many customers are more inclined to leave feedback when they’ve had a negative experience. So how can you reach satisfied buyers lacking the motivation to do so? Simply asking them has proven to be very effective. Amazon sellers are permitted to send a single request for feedback after an order has been delivered. eComEngine’s FeedbackFive feedback and review software can reach out to buyers on your behalf by automating requests through Buyer-Seller Messaging or the system behind Amazon’s Request a Review button in Seller Central. You can also set up alerts for any negative ratings so you can respond faster!
Start Improving Your Seller Practices Today
Amazon recommends that sellers obtain 95% positive ratings and a score of 4.5 or higher. For most merchants, this will probably take some time, but once you get it right, your seller reputation (and sales!) will soar.
Remember that feedback rates your performance in packaging, shipping, responsiveness, and professionalism. Targeting each of these areas — with a heavy focus on shipping — can help you collect more positive ratings and keep your account health in good standing.
Ellen Sipp-Paris is a Marketing Content Specialist at eComEngine. Her goal is to help educate Amazon sellers so they feel more confident in what can be a complicated marketplace. When she’s not writing, she enjoys taking nature walks, reading, and going to concerts.