Do you pay attention to restaurant inspection grades? The ones that rate the establishment on cleanliness and whether it’s following regulations for food handling and storage? Maybe you’ve even seen a restaurant shut down while it works out its compliance issues.
Well, Amazon has a similar grading system that it uses to determine whether a product listing is up to its standards. Listings that don’t make the cut are given a suspended listing status and are often referred to as suppressed listings.
Last year, Amazon announced that it was using a suspended listing status to control the listings published on its site, in an effort to ensure that all the ingredients for success are included in the product page. (Read our prior blog on it here.) Amazon looks for listing elements like images, descriptions, Item Type Keywords (ITKs) and titles with an appropriate length. When Amazon finds listings to be noncompliant, it sends them to “listing jail” and suppresses from search results.
Just last week, Amazon announced that it will start grading listings in additional categories. Here’s a summary of the Amazon US Help page about it:
On or after October 22, 2014 sellers in Shoes, Jewelry, Watches or Luggage categories may experience suppressed listings. Items that don’t meet this criteria will be suppressed and will not show in search or browse until the issues are resolved.
For Shoes, child listings need values for Department, Size and Color. Also, the main images should be least 1,000 pixels on the longest side and needs to have a pure white background.
For Jewelry, child listings need a Department and Metal Type value and also must have images with pure white backgrounds.
For child listings in Watches or Luggage, you must include a Department and have an image with a pure white background.
If you’re a US seller in the Shoes, Jewelry, Watches or Luggage categories, you’ll want to complete a quick check of your listing statuses to see if any listings are suspended. You can do so within Seller Central by viewing the Listing Quality and Suppressed Listings Report under Inventory Reports.
If you’re a ChannelAdvisor customer, you can also view your suppressed listings within our application, where you can filter, sort and export notices about your suppressed listings. You can also use our Data Transformation Engine to apply business rules or lookup lists that can help you address many product suspension errors at once.
Amazon’s motivation with suppressed listings is to improve the shopping experience for buyers on its site by providing them with all the necessary details they need to make an informed and confident purchase decision. Regardless of the category that you sell in, you can be proactive in complying with Amazon recommendations and requirements so that you give your listings the best chance of success with buyers.
Some ways to avoid getting your listings put in the slammer:
Review what is required for your listing category, some like apparel, shoes and jewelry. Amazon is stricter about listings in these categories.
Send a valid UPC (or other product ID)
Keep titles less than 80 characters
Include brand values
Include a description or bullet points (preferably both)
Use a compliant image (e.g., white background, at least 1000 pixels minimum on the longest side)
Where applicable, provide values for department, size and color
Categorize your products with an ITK or Browse Node ID
When conducting account audits, I find that suppressed listings can account for a significant portion of listings and are sometimes at the root of a seller’s sales decline. If you don’t know whether Amazon is suppressing your listings (or how many listings it’s suppressing), now’s the time to research it further. Set your listings free and watch your sales soar!
Blog post by Rachel Miller, product marketing manager, ChannelAdvisor