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I’ve not been shy at sharing that Amazon can be a hard marketplace to sell on (for many reasons).  Lots of things can go wrong, and often, do go wrong.  Most sellers will come up against issues from time to time and today I want to share how to resolve issues with selling on Amazon – especially if you’re just starting out.

I think lots of you know that I genuinely believe Amazon can be a great place to sell and it would be a shame for you to give up because of a bad experience with Amazon Seller Central or Seller Central Support.

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What kind of issues can arise when you start selling on Amazon Seller Central?

The following is a list of things I’ve seen or experienced.  I’m not going to cover the big things, or issues that could arise and get your account closed down.

This is about the smaller things that can prevent you from getting started, or really knock you if you’ve just started selling on Amazon.

  • Finding that your product or category is restricted and you need to get approval to create listings.
  • Issues setting up your product listing – i.e. issues with barcodes.
  • Wording that’s similar to another listing and Amazon mistakenly believes it’s the same product.
  • Branding issues – i.e the brand name you’re using already exists, the brand wasn’t entered exactly, or doesn’t match the one you submitted when setting up your account.
  • Product text not displaying as you submit it, or perhaps not updating when you make changes.  
  • Listings that get suppressed because you haven’t filled in a field, or because you’re using restricted wording.
  • Images not updating, or Amazon randomly using other (incorrect) images on your listing.
  • Issues with validating accounts and documents.
  • Other sellers listing your product(s) and making changes.

What can you do to prevent things going wrong?

I can’t promise that if you do all of these nothing will go wrong – but it will help.

  • Know what you need to set up an account, product listing(s) and start selling on Amazon. 
  • Research what else you might need upfront and get it all ready – i.e. do you need approval to list, safety data sheets to send in stock for FBA, approval to sell the product (if it’s not your own), or a barcode exemption if you sell products that don’t require them.
  • Be prepared for the initial set up to take longer than expected – so build in some time.

What to do when things go wrong

  • Firstly, log it with Amazon Seller Support. I suggest starting off doing this in written form and being clear and concise.  Always take screenshots of the issue you’re facing if applicable (if you can get the timestamp in too, that’s great, as they sometimes request that) and include them.  You’re often asked for these down the line, so having them ready will help you.
  • If they come back with a suggestion (that’s viable), follow out the instructions given (ask if you need clarity on anything), then report back.  i.e. if you’re asked to complete a flat file update do that – then report back with the batch ID if your issue still isn’t resolved.
  • Get on a call if you can (email can take a lot of time and back and forth), or maybe a chat if you prefer.  Do know that the person you speak with may not be able to help you (often complex cases get passed to a specialist, while you’ll be speaking with ‘first line support’) but it’s a great way of getting your case escalated – which I recommend if you’re not getting the help you need.
  • Don’t be scared to escalate!  If you don’t have the time (or inclination!) to get on a call then go into your open case, hit reply and type (I like to use all caps for emphasis!) PLEASE ESCALATE.  Then reiterate your issue.
  • If your case gets closed without resolution, open a new one right away, politely complain about the fact your unresolved issue has been left as such and reference the case number, so it can be investigated.
  • Be positive and be persistent.  It’s frustrating how long it can take to get a helpful response.  Don’t give up.
  • Finally, if it all gets a bit much, I can take this off your hands!  I probably don’t like this any more than you do – but I deal with so many cases I’ve developed a thick skin!  Plus I’m naturally tenacious, which I guess also helps!  Believe me, I don’t give up!

How to contact Seller Central Support

Something I get asked a lot is can I call Amazon Seller Central?

Well, yes and no.  You can’t call them, but you can open a case and ask them to call you – which is the next best thing.

As I mentioned though, my advice is to get your issue in writing BEFORE requesting a call back.  Otherwise, you’re leaving it to the agent you speak with to understand and log your issue in writing, before passing it onto someone who can deal with it. Misunderstandings can (and do) occur, which is why I prefer to spell it out clearly myself, before getting on a call (which you can do straight after by the way) to progres things.

Finally, why is Amazon Seller Support so bad?

I’ll be honest. I don’t find Amazon Seller Support helpful and I know lots of you don’t either.  

My thoughts on why this is, are that most of the time the person looking at your case is first line support – i.e. they might not be trained to help with your issue.  Or they might just be trained to assess cases and pass them to the relevant department.  (Like triage.)
My best advice is to follow the steps I’ve outlined above, don’t get disheartened and please don’t give up!  If you really do get to your wits end with it all then get in touch and I can help you.