The importance of maintaining account health

As an Amazon seller, your account health is the general state of your performance across the platform and is represented by a score from 1-1000: your Account Health Rating (AHR). 

It takes into account a range of metrics that reflect the performance of your business, looking at factors like customer feedback, inventory management, order accuracy, and adherence to Amazon policies, taking a holistic view of your business. 

A healthy account means that you’re firing on all cylinders, and Amazon likes that. It will mean your products are more visible (Amazon’s A9 ranking heavily favors healthy accounts over unhealthy ones), meaning your listings will be nearer to the top of search pages, attracting more traffic. More importantly, the things that make your account health go up are the same things that will make customers see you as a trustworthy, reliable seller, and you’ll have a higher chance of creating repeat customers.

Maintaining your account health high is crucial. Not only does it give you an indication of how well you’re doing, but it will also play an essential role in determining how well you can do. If your account health is too low, Amazon can penalize you in ways that could severely limit your ability to make sales, potentially throwing you into a negative cycle. 

In severe cases, Amazon can even suspend your account, preventing you from listing or selling anything entirely. If you fall too low, Amazon can ask you to put together a Plan of Action (POA), in which you’ll need to show that you recognize and understand the source of the problem and have a solid plan to fix it.  

You can check the state of your account health at any time by going to the Performance menu and then selecting Account Health. 

What does AHR calculate?

Your AHR looks at three main areas of your business: customer service, shipping performance, and policy compliance. 

  • Customer service:
    How well you interact with your customers is a huge part of your account health. Remember, they are Amazon’s customers too, so how well you treat them will matter a lot to the marketplace.
    The AHR takes into account your Order Defect Rate (ODR), which measures the percentage of shipped orders that customers are unhappy with and is determined by how much negative feedback you get, the amount of claims you receive under Amazon’s A-to-Z Guarantee, as well as any chargeback claims you get. 
  • Shipping performance:
    Amazon will look at your late shipment rating (the proportion of your shipped orders that arrive late), as well as your pre-fulfillment cancel rate (how many of your orders are canceled before they are shipped), and your valid tracking rate. 
  • Policy Compliance:
    This one generally monitors how well you are keeping with the rules and regulations that Amazon has put in place in order to use their marketplace. Violations of any of their policies could make you suffer in this area, whether it’s intellectual property, product authenticity, safety, listing policy, restricted products, customer product reviews, pricing and promotions, or anything else. 

Keeping your account healthy

  • Use accurate product descriptions
    Much of the time, when an item is returned, it’s because of a difference between the expectations the customer had, and the reality. Putting as much detail as possible into your product descriptions - along with high-quality images and even video - will give them the best idea possible of what they will be receiving, and remove space for disappointment. This will drive down your return rates and, by extension, your ODR. 
  • Respond to customers quickly
    Nothing makes an already upset customer even more angry than having to wait a long time for a response. You should always respond to customers within 24 hours of receiving any question or request from them - you can turn a simple question into a negative review by waiting too long to respond. The more promptly you respond to customers, the less negative feedback they are likely to leave, and your account health won’t be damaged.
    Tools like ChannelReply can help you take care of all your interactions with customers quickly and efficiently.
  • Good product support
    Sometimes, customers just don’t know how to use the product they bought and end up returning it. Having good product support will give customers the ability to fix any problems they come across before they return them, extending the life of that item and reducing the risk of harm to your account's health.
    Tools like Onsite will help you give customers all the resources they need to troubleshoot their problems, integrating directly onto their order pages and taking them to a dedicated brand landing page to sort their issues out. 
  • Ship things on time
    This is a big one. Customers want their orders to arrive when you say they will. If your Late Dispatch Rate (the percentage of orders arriving after the stated date) is above 4% over either a 10-day or a 30-day period, you risk having your account suspended.
    Shipping things late is also a good way to drive up your cancellation rate, which itself needs to stay below 2.5% for every 7-day period. 
  • Track third-party shipments and make sure they’re on time
    Your Valid Tracking Rate (VTR) and On-Time Delivery Rate (OTDR) only apply for seller-fulfilled orders like dropshipping or some other Fulfilled by Merchant route. Your VTR measures the percentage of orders that are assigned a valid tracking number (this should stay above 95%) over a 30-day period, while the OTDR measures how many of those orders are delivered on time (and should stay above 97%)

Keeping your account healthy means staying on top of a wide range of metrics, and operating in such a way that minimizes the risk of violating any policies. If you’re dropshipping, a lot of this will depend on the warehouse provider you choose to fulfill your orders - never underestimate the impact that your third-party partners can have on your standing with Amazon. 

The use of certain tools that help you sell on the marketplace will also help you manage these factors, especially if it's an automated service that you can have a more hands-off approach to dropshipping. SellerRunning’s integrated warehouse module fully automates the entire fulfillment process, from beginning to end, and is fully compliant with Amazon’s policies.

Reach out today for a one-week free trial and use the promo code "WELCOME50" for a 50% discount on your first month.