How quality control safeguards Amazon sellers from compliance consequences

How quality control safeguards Amazon sellers from compliance consequences

Thousands of new brands launch every year and strive to gain momentum in the Amazon marketplace. Once sales are booming, it seems like nothing can stop their popularity.

Thousands of new brands launch every year and strive to gain momentum in the Amazon marketplace. Once sales are booming, it seems like nothing can stop their popularity. However, disaster can strike if they don’t have a clear commitment to scalable quality control.

Customer satisfaction reigns supreme in the competitive Amazon marketplace. When enough customers receive defective products and leave negative reviews, a tarnished reputation causes sales to plummet. In the worst-case scenario, the brand can be completely blacklisted as a seller.

Investing in consistent quality control practices does more than meet Amazon’s strict standards — it reinforces your reputation as a trusted seller for countless customers. Each product sold reflects your brand’s commitment to excellence. Maintaining that hard-earned trust requires you to know the dangers of poor QC practices and avoid them over time.

Amazon’s core quality standards

Amazon wants to promote top-quality products and keep buyers returning to trusted vendors. To guarantee the quality of products purchased on its platform, Amazon has set strict standards for sellers to meet.

Seller agreements, guidelines, & policies

Every seller must comply with Amazon’s wide range of policies to ensure a safe and trustworthy marketplace for customers. These agreements protect customers from inaccurate listings or harmful business practices — leading to positive shopping experiences:

  • Business Solutions Agreement: This document outlines sellers' rights and responsibilities, from liability and transaction limits to fees and dispute resolution. Agreeing to these terms is required to set up a seller account.
  • Seller Code of Conduct: This agreement sets the ethical standards expected from Amazon sellers, requiring them to provide accurate information and avoid deceptive or harmful practices. Upholding this code ensures customers trust seller information and feel confident in purchasing decisions.
  • Customer Product Review Policies: Sellers are prohibited from soliciting or manipulating product reviews. Maintaining authentic and unbiased reviews fosters trust among potential buyers, leading to consistent sales and satisfaction on the Amazon marketplace.
  • Amazon Anti-Counterfeiting Policy: This policy bans the sale of counterfeit goods and explains how to report and remove fraudulent listings.
  • Amazon Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy: Ensuring fair and competitive pricing practices is crucial to maintaining a level playing field for sellers. Amazon limits price gouging, collusion, and artificially inflated prices to promote competition and protect consumers from unfair prices.

Product safety & compliance

Selling safe products is essential for brands to protect consumers and maintain trust within the Amazon marketplace. Achieving regulatory compliance serves as a cornerstone in upholding customer safety standards. In potential non-compliance cases, Amazon’s compliance dashboard notifies brands so they can proactively address any issues.

Beyond legal regulations, Amazon has restrictions on certain products, either outright banning them or requiring documentation to sell. Some restricted categories include:

  • Children’s Apparel & Footwear: All products in this category must be intended for children ages 12 and under. A lab approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) must test all children’s apparel and footwear to confirm that they meet Amazon’s standards. Then, sellers must upload a Children's Product Certificate (CPC) to prove the product meets safety regulations.
  • Cosmetics, Skin Care, and Hair Care: These products must be sold new, in their original packaging, and labeled with identifying codes — such as matrix codes, lot numbers, or serial numbers. Labels and product information must be in English and include the product’s purpose, total quantity, ingredients, and manufacturer information.
  • Electronics: All electronics sold must comply with Amazon’s Radio Frequency Devices policy, not interfere with other devices, and cannot have altered or removed serial numbers.
  • Medical Devices: All devices must be labeled in English with the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor. Each product requires clear directions for use as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Clear product listing & fulfillment

Accurate product listings are crucial for giving customers the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. Sellers must include proper product identification, such as a UPC or ISBN, and provide detailed descriptions and images. Top-notch packaging and fulfillment practices ensure products arrive in optimal condition and meet customer expectations.

Supply chain standards

Amazon’s supply chain guidelines apply to all suppliers of goods and services, including sellers, vendors, and contractors. Their current standards cover key elements from labor rights and safety to sustainability and brand ethics:

  • Fair wages: The guidelines recommend that suppliers regularly review salaries to ensure workers earn enough to meet their basic needs and the needs of their families.
  • Worker health support: Suppliers are required to provide workers with a safe and healthy work environment. This includes avoiding physical and mental harm, accommodating workers with disabilities or pregnancies, and offering parental leave policies.
  • Environmental justice: Amazon encourages suppliers to support environmental sustainability with appropriate due diligence and sustainable practices throughout their supply chain.

The effects of poor quality control

Amazon prioritizes the best, highest-ranked products for its shoppers, primarily to ensure that they have an easy purchasing experience and return to buy again. If a brand or product isn’t performing for Amazon’s shoppers, it’s buried under the top-rated options.

Poor quality control on Amazon can devastate sellers, with far-reaching implications for their competitiveness, profitability, and long-term viability on the platform. Once the marketplace's algorithm flags an issue, it becomes challenging to get back on track.

Negative reviews and declining sales

Poor quality control directly translates into negative customer experiences and detrimental effects for Amazon sellers. When products fail to meet quality standards, customers quickly voice their dissatisfaction through negative reviews. These reviews tarnish the seller's reputation and deter potential buyers from making purchases.

Customers rely heavily on product reviews before making purchasing decisions, with over 90% of shoppers regularly reading reviews before making a purchase. So, the more negative reviews accumulate, the more likely sales will decline.

Amazon doesn’t want to promote products that don’t sell or have low ratings. The marketplace keeps QC issues at the top of customers' minds with a high-level overview of common feedback for each product listing.

Product returns and excessive inventory

Products plagued by quality issues don’t only see negative reviews; they are more likely to receive returns from dissatisfied customers. 42% of online returns are a result of failed expectations, which puts greater financial strain on sellers' operations. Too many returns also diminish the brand's reputation with Amazon, further shrinking its visibility and sales potential.

With higher return rates and lower sales, sellers can become saddled with an overstock of unsellable products. The more inventory sellers have in Amazon's fulfillment centers, the higher the monthly inventory storage fees Amazon charges. As more returns come in, these costs can compound to strain seller resources and overall profitability.

Algorithmic punishment

Amazon’s algorithm heavily influences which products are visible or hidden to potential buyers. Understandably, products with positive reviews and low return rates reflect high customer satisfaction and are boosted by other shoppers. But when a seller’s products are flagged for quality issues, their listings can be automatically deprioritized, preventing customers from buying them.

Amazon rolled out a warning label in 2023 for frequently returned products. The label encourages consumers to check the item details and reviews before committing to a purchase. This tactic directs customers away from potentially misleading or low-quality products, making purchasing the item less likely.

This can create a downward spiral that makes it difficult for sellers to recover. Fewer sales mean less money can be allocated to improving quality. And even if quality is improved, it can be hard to regain the trust of Amazon and its customers once the warning label has been added. It ultimately takes more effort to recover from a poor reputation than maintaining a good one.

Risk of suspension and account termination

In cases of significant QC and policy violations, Amazon reserves the right to suspend or terminate seller accounts altogether. Once suspended, all product listings become invisible to potential buyers, halting sales for the affected seller.

Reinstating a suspended account can be daunting and time-consuming. Sellers must submit a comprehensive Plan of Action (POA) via the Amazon Seller Central portal that defines the following:

  1. Specific circumstances that led to the suspension
  2. Actions in progress to resolve the issues
  3. Proactive steps to ensure the issues don’t happen again

Even then, account reinstatement is not guaranteed, leaving sellers at risk of permanent expulsion from the platform.

How FQ helps brands maintain high-quality standards

Maintaining high-quality standards from the very start of a partnership with Amazon ensures these problems never arise. With Factored Quality, brands gain a complete QC solution to ensure positive reviews and product growth.

A single source of truth for product quality

FQ’s intelligent quality control platform is a centralized hub for managing compliant quality processes. From scheduling inspections to analyzing results and tracking trends, the platform offers unparalleled visibility and control over every aspect of the quality management lifecycle.

Global network of quality partners

Conducting thorough inspections throughout the product journey helps sellers maintain 5-star fulfillment practices and avoid quality-related penalties.

With a vast network of over 2,000 inspection partners worldwide, FQ ensures every quality assessment is covered regardless of country and product category. Pre-shipment inspections enable sellers to identify and fix potential issues before products reach Amazon's fulfillment centers.

Personalized quality guidance

FQ delivers personalized support and guidance tailored to clients' unique needs and challenges. We work closely with our partners to understand the brand's specific goals, address pain points, and drive continuous improvement in quality performance.

We don't just find quality issues — our experts proactively solve the problems, addressing the quality challenges at their source. The result is a much lower likelihood of recurrence, helping your brand maintain a positive standing with the Amazon algorithm.

Quality control doesn't have to be a source of stress and uncertainty for your brand. Book a personalized demo to see how FQ can elevate your product quality.

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