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How to please Amazon: A perfect plan of action in only 4 steps!

The nightmare of every Amazon seller: The suspension of their Seller Account. In a best- case scenario, the platform just generated an additional income to the main business. But for Amazon pure players the loss of their most important source of income overnight is by far the worst-case scenario. The good news is, the suspension does not have to be permanent. To revoke the seller account Amazon demands a plan of action in some cases.

This tool is well known for quality management but can still be quite a hurdle for Amazon sellers. As usual, the e-commerce giant remains silent about the desired content and preferred design. So it's not surprising that there are now a number of providers who offer their help in creating the plan. After all, in extreme cases, entire existences depend on success or failure. 

But are external service providers even necessary? In this blog post, we would like to clarify how to create an action plan for Amazon correctly and which different possibilities marketplace sellers have to do this. In the first step, however, it is necessary to investigate the reasons why Amazon sellers may have to create such a plan.

What is a plan of action for Amazon?

As a provider of a platform for online trade, Amazon strives to establish and maintain a certain standard in its marketplace. To this end, there is a whole series of guidelines, agreements, and restrictions, also known as Terms of Service (TOS), that every seller must agree with before starting to sell. Amazon does not accept violations of these rules and will enforce them if necessary - for example by blocking an affected product or even the seller account. 

On Amazon, a detailed plan of action is used to decide whether to reactivate the account or withdraw other sanctions. Such a plan should, therefore, deal with, for example 

  • what the causes are that have led to a problem,
  • what measures the seller has taken to rectify the problem and
  • what internal processes the seller is changing to prevent such problems in the future.

Once the account has been blocked on Amazon, a plan of action is often the only way for sellers to unblock it. The reasons for a suspension are multifarious, but usually can be classified into three different categories: 

Poor seller performance: If the performance of a seller is significantly off the requirements it might result in an account suspension and an Amazon plan of action. However, one late shipment is usually not enough for this. It is rather a matter of frequency and severity.

Violation of sales policies or code of conduct: If sellers have violated any of the many policies on Amazon, a plan of action often is required. For example, one reason may be that sellers have sent marketing-related emails to customers with the aim of diverting the sales process away from the marketplace platform and towards their own online shop. Also common reasons Amazon demands a plan of action: used items that got sold as new or the illegal purchase of product reviews.

Insufficient seller information: Missing or incorrect information about the seller can also lead to an Amazon plan of action. 

Poor seller performance: If the performance of a seller is significantly off the requirements it might result in an account suspension and an Amazon plan of action. However, one late shipment is usually not enough for this. It is rather a matter of frequency and severity.

Violation of sales policies or code of conduct: If sellers have violated any of the many policies on Amazon, a plan of action often is required. For example, one reason may be that sellers have sent marketing-related emails to customers with the aim of diverting the sales process away from the marketplace platform and towards their own online shop. Also common reasons Amazon demands a plan of action: used items that got sold as new or the illegal purchase of product reviews.

Insufficient seller information: Missing or incorrect information about the seller can also lead to an Amazon plan of action. 

Once the account has been suspended the merchant no longer has access to the internal communication channels. This means that sellers can no longer communicate with Amazon via Seller Central. Of course, this makes the action plan even more difficult. This is one of the reasons why everything necessary should be transmitted in a summarized form. After all, the employee on the other end of the digital line reads several emails per day.

How to write for Amazon an action plan

Amazon's appeal for a plan of action requires no template. We show you why.

Basically, the e-commerce giant does not want to hear any excuses. Problems arise, but can often be solved by an internal conversion of the corresponding processes. This is what sellers should focus on instead of talking the matter down, naming a guilty party, or justifying themselves in front of Amazon. In the plan of action, the company expects a clear and precise formulation. Objectivity is the magic word. Excessive introductions to the seller's company, the affected product, or emotional expressions have no place. 

Instead, sellers should focus on the cause of the error and the solution to the problem at hand. If the deactivation is due to multiple problems, each problem should be addressed individually. Sometimes Amazon also requests proof of some products. These should always be submitted in full. The online giant recommends highlighting important information such as ASINs, contact details of suppliers or clauses in the terms and conditions.

Still, the actual design is up to the individual seller. On the one hand, this is problematic because it has created a mystery around the design Amazon likes a plan of action to be. As a result, many sellers find it difficult to create one. On the other hand, this takes into account the fact that each action plan must be written individually by the seller. There is no standard solution! For an Amazon plan of action no specific sample can be given. 

Nevertheless, sellers can still use the methods of quality management for orientation: the 4-dimensional (4D) and the 8-dimensional (8D) report. This is because both reports provide a clear structure: Amazon likes the plan of action in a format that is strict and goal-oriented.

The 4D Report

The 4-Dimensions report is suitable on Amazon as a plan of action for most violations, especially for smaller, less severe ones like the suspension of one single product. That is why we will discuss it here in more detail. It is divided into four different dimensions: 

  • D1: Problem description
  • D2: Cause analysis and immediate measures
  • D3: Long-term measures
  • D4: Proof of effectiveness

D1: Problem description

The first dimension is mainly of a descriptive nature. It is about describing briefly but precisely which problem was responsible for the sanctioning. Approaches to solutions are not yet desired here.

D2: Root cause analysis

In this dimension, sellers already delve deeper into the matter and shed light on why a problem has arisen in the first place. It is also a matter of analyzing one's own mistakes. However, it is not helpful to look for the errors in others. Even if there is a guilty party, do not tell Amazon in the plan of action. It’s not what they want to hear.

It is also important to explain the measures taken to solve the problem. This is not a matter of declarations of intent or promises, but of action. For example, if the suspension was imposed because of a high rate of late shipment, do not express the intention to change the delivery service – that change should already have taken place! 

D3: Long-term measures

The third dimension builds on the second. Here, the measures just discussed should be explained in detail. Which changes were established in which processes and why do these changes lead to the solution of the problem? Were some processes newly introduced, e.g. as a supervisory body, were there any employee training or organizational restructuring? All these things should be included in this dimension to ensure that Amazon accepts the plan of action. 

D4: Proof of effectiveness

What was already important in the previous dimensions is especially true in this one: In this part of the plan of action, Amazon does not want to read that the measures solve the problem, but how the measures do it. 

Which proofs have to be provided is very individual and depends on the problem and the approach to the solution. If, for example, the supplier was changed, copies of the purchase contracts could serve as proof. In other cases, photos reports from merchandise management, or customer evaluations can also be used. In any case, it is a good idea to back up the claims with facts and figures.

The 8D Report

Compared to the 4D report, the 8D report is more detailed and describes the problem and the approach to the solution as well as the solution-finding. For Amazon, this plan of action is suitable for serious violations in which not only individual products but entire seller accounts were suspended. 

The different dimensions are defined as followed: 

  • D1: Who is working on solving the problem? Has a separate team or an external service provider been commissioned whose contact persons can be named?
  • D2: What is the problem? This point essentially corresponds to the first dimension of the 4D report.
  • D3: What immediate measures were taken? This is only a brief summary of the most important measures to solve the problem.
  • D4: What was the cause of the error? This should be described as objectively as possible. Finding the error through tests, analyses, etc. also belongs here.
  • D5: What are the possible solutions? At this point, the plan of action should tell Amazon which different approaches have been discussed and how they solve the problem. It should also explain the criteria used to decide for one or another solution.
  • D6: How were the measures from D5 implemented? The aim here is to document the implementation of the measures from D5.
  • D7: How do the measures prevent the problem from recurring? This dimension shows how the solutions introduced contribute to error prevention.
  • D8: What has the team learned from the error analysis? In the last part, a kind of summary should be drawn. There is also room for comments on how and why such problems will be avoided in the future.
After Amazon has a plan of action appeal, an example is only helpful in some cases.
  • D1: Who is working on solving the problem? Has a separate team or an external service provider been commissioned whose contact persons can be named?
  • D2: What is the problem? This point essentially corresponds to the first dimension of the 4D report.
  • D3: What immediate measures were taken? This is only a brief summary of the most important measures to solve the problem.
  • D4: What was the cause of the error? This should be described as objectively as possible. Finding the error through tests, analyses, etc. also belongs here.
  • D5: What are the possible solutions? At this point, the plan of action should tell Amazon which different approaches have been discussed and how they solve the problem. It should also explain the criteria used to decide for one or another solution.
  • D6: How were the measures from D5 implemented? The aim here is to document the implementation of the measures from D5.
  • D7: How do the measures prevent the problem from recurring? This dimension shows how the solutions introduced contribute to error prevention.
  • D8: What has the team learned from the error analysis? In the last part, a kind of summary should be drawn. There is also room for comments on how and why such problems will be avoided in the future.

Do you need help as a seller on Amazon with the plan of action?

Especially the 8D-Report, but also the 4D-Report requires a high degree of reflection and initiative. It is not always immediately clear which mistakes have actually led to the point of a plan of action. If Amazon has merely blocked a product, sellers may be able to take their time to search. If the account is locked, the existence of the seller may depend on the quality of the Amazon plan of action. 

However, the external creation is not cheap. Providers often charge three to four-figure sums. In return, they offer one thing above all: experience and knowledge, especially in communication with Amazon. Just as every plan of action must be created individually, the decision for or against a service provider is an individual decision and depends on many factors. 

It is important to know: There is the possibility of rework. Even if the seller’s account has been blocked by Amazon, the plan of action does not necessarily have to be approved the first time. Seller then receive inquiries and information about which aspects are missing.

Conclusion: An Amazon plan of action is no easy task!

Mostly a sample of a plan of action for Amazon is no help at all.

One thing is certain: When Amazon has suspended an account and a plan of action is required, this is a major hurdle for marketplace sellers and can even threaten their very existence. Moreover, the information provided by the e-commerce giant does not necessarily help in the process. Orientation can be provided by a 4D report for small violations and an 8D report for serious problems. But even then, the creation of such reports requires a high degree of self-reflection. 

But in terms of the Amazon plan of action, an inauthentic template could compromise the account recovery. The cases in which this quality assurance tool is used are too diverse for that. External service providers can be an alternative, especially in the case of account deactivations that threaten the existence of the company. However, costs in the three to the four-digit range must be taken into consideration.

Category: Blog

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