So, after my (self-proclaimed) triumph of placing a new order, things rapidly went downhill just a few days later as, one by one, country by country, my listings became inactive.
After spending countless hours on the phone to Amazon seller support and sending emails a few times a day (during what was meant to be a week off) I finally got to the bottom of it. My product was being reviewed for safety issues and had to be removed from sale until the product quality team had established it wasn’t dangerous.
Any product in the baby category with no sales history before October 2016 was liable to have this happen. And, the best thing is, I received absolutely no notice and discovered it by chance. I am still shocked at how Amazon, this huge company that provides a fantastic service to consumers, can treat its sellers (who must surely contribute significantly towards their profits) so badly.
I also find it very frustrating that Amazon sellers pay a monthly subscription fee and, despite not being able to sell anything for over a week (due to no fault of my own), that fee is still due in full. Any other company would refund it, or at least discount it. I’m really not impressed and it just reaffirms my decision to move my business away from Amazon (as and when time, money and opportunity allows).
It turns out you can complain as much as you like to Amazon, but they’ll just tell you to ‘kindly be patient’ and ‘we appreciate your continued patience and cooperation in this regard’. The most help I’ve got is from the sellers support forum, who gave great advice on the steps to take to get this expedited.
One theory, raised in the forum, is the ‘bots’ at Amazon had identified my product as being furniture, due to the word bamboo. Apparently something similar happened a few years ago and listings for ceramic cups with the words ‘fur’ or ‘animal’ in the product description were removed for safety reasons.
Then, when my listings did appear (again, one by one), again there was no notifications. I’d turned off all my sponsored product advertising when I found out ads weren’t active, to save paying for clicks that couldn’t convert to sales. I wanted to turn the ads back on again as soon as possible, but, due to having a week off (a trip to Legoland, trampolining, bike rides, that kind of thing) I wasn’t checking as often as I would have been and missed the boat on that too.
Over a week of lost sales really adds up and my new order had to be put on hold while I addressed this, as it’s just too stressful to deal with both at the same time. (Plus, it’s impacted cashflow massively.)
I’m pleased to say we’re now back selling, in every European country, after what seems like a very unnecessary process. Yet, the question that remains unanswered is, what’s so dangerous about a blanket?