When selling your products on Amazon, it may be tempting to use black hat tactics to get rich quick, but as you will see when you delve deeper into this article, these dirty tricks will only get you into trouble. Instead, we’ll show you four white hat tactics that you can use without legal repercussions and which work better for the long term.
What Are Black Hat Tactics?
Black hat tactics are unethical, and while they may be beneficial in selling your product, they rely on manipulation and violation of the guidelines, or in the case of Amazon, its Selling policies and code of conduct. Let’s look at some examples of what would be breaking Amazon’s rules.
When selling on Amazon, you can’t ask people to only leave positive reviews, nor to change or remove their reviews, even if you have solved their problems. You can’t review your own products or leave a negative review on a competitor’s product. You also can’t offer someone a financial incentive, discount, or any other form of compensation in exchange for a review.
Search Engine Manipulation
Your Amazon Search Terms must not include brand names or an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) assigned to the product. You mustn’t use statements that suggest a temporary buying advantage, such as “discounted”, “new”, or “limited time”. Similarly, you mustn’t use subjective claims that suggest your product is better than another, such as “trending”, “cheaper”, or “best”. You must also avoid swearing or offensive and abusive language.
Amazon requests that you don’t provide customers with inaccurate information about your products (in text or images), and you are required to ensure all information is up-to-date. Products should also be listed in their correct categories, so you can’t list a cookbook under Clothing.
You are not allowed to associate the trademarked name, symbol, design, or distinguishing sound of Amazon or any other brand with your products. You must also avoid claiming that your product is certified by Amazon or any other brand.
What Happens If You Break The Rules?
Although you may see some of these tactics being used on Amazon occasionally, the consequences of breaking the rules are very real, and those that do just haven’t been caught yet.
Suppressed Product Listing
If your product listing does not meet Amazon’s standards, it will be removed so that it does not show up in Amazon’s search or browse functions. This is because Amazon has decided that your listing is not providing a positive shopping experience.
If your reviews are not deemed honest, Amazon will take action against you. A review ban on your products will stop customers from being able to leave reviews of any kind. Amazon monitors what is going on by keeping an eye on social media groups that coordinate fake reviews. In 2020, 16,000 social media groups were reported for this type of activity.
If you fail to comply with Amazon’s terms, you may face an Amazon account suspension. You won’t be able to access your seller account, and you may even lose access to your inventory held in fulfilment centres and unpaid funds owed to you. If this happens, the Amazon Seller Performance team will notify you.
If you continue to violate Amazon’s Selling policies and code of conduct, or if your black hat tactics result in the harm of someone, then Amazon could take legal action against you. As well as potentially ending your business, this could give your brand a bad name and impact investor interest.
Effective White Hat Tactics To Use Instead
Using black hat tactics is not an effective long-term approach to selling Amazon as they can easily ruin your business. Instead, take a look at these white hat tactics that can provide your brand with stability and long-term financial gain.
Familiarise yourself with Amazon’s review policy so that you don’t accidentally break the rules. Provide quality products and quality service so that customers feel that their expectations have been met or even exceeded. This will ensure positive reviews that don’t need to be obtained through coercion or bribery. However, don’t be afraid of negative reviews, as honest feedback not only shows that you are a genuine brand but also lets you know where you need to improve.
Search Engine Optimisation
Invest in search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure your search terms and product descriptions are accurate and acceptable to Amazon. Carry out careful research so that you can target your customers using keywords. Use bullet points that let people know the key features of your product and headers to direct customers through your information. Include clear images that sell your product by telling the customer what they need to know at one glance. Regularly check your content to make sure that it is up to date.
Build Your Brand
Building your brand enables people to find your products quickly as customers will search by your name, and brand recognition helps to attract positive reviews. Have a strategy so that you know where you are positioned and where you are headed. Think about your audience, your competitors, your identity, and your message.
Get An Amazon Consulting Agency
As Amazon’s priority is to please the customer, it is smart to aim to do the same. No one knows how to do this better than an Amazon consulting agency. A team of Amazon experts can help you to develop a successful strategy with growth plans. They will handle everything from managing your seller account to monitoring inventory levels. Once your product listings have been optimised, they provide you with performance alerts and status updates.
Selling your products on Amazon is exhilarating, and the temptation to try to get rich quickly can be great. However, just like speeding, it’s really not worth it and putting your foot on the accelerator won’t get you there quicker; it’ll just land you in trouble. Sticking to the rules takes extra work but will reap genuine benefits for you and your brand. If you hear about a new selling strategy that seems too good to be true, it most likely is. If in doubt, consider engaging an Amazon consulting agency, which will stay on top of Amazon’s fast-changing policies and scale your brand without running foul of Amazon’s rules.