Are you also getting the “blocked unless FBA” message on your Amazon listings? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
Amazon is the go-to platform for both online sellers as well as buyers.
However, like any other ecommerce site, Amazon is also customers-oriented. This is the reason why sometimes they can seem a bit strict with sellers.
Fortunately, there is a way around (almost) every suspension and restriction.
In this case, let’s discuss the “blocked unless FBA” message in detail in order to understand what it is, why you are the victim, and how you can resolve the issue.
First things first, what does “blocked unless FBA” even mean?
It means that you can no longer sell a particular item in your inventory because Amazon does not think you’re up to the fulfillment.
So, they tell you that unless you switch from FBM (fulfilled by merchant) to FBA (fulfilled by Amazon), you would not be able to reactivate your listing.
This can happen for a number of reasons.
Despite what some sellers like to believe, Amazon has a reason behind every restriction and suspension. In this case, if they no longer consider you to be able to fulfill your orders for a particular item, you need to check where you went wrong with your previous shippings.
There are some exceptional cases as well where sellers are not really at fault, they just happen to be selling in a category more likely to be the victim of this issue.
For instance, Toys & Games category on Amazon is notorious for this issue. Around the holiday season, Amazon temporarily bans a number of new FBA sellers in this category. Take a look at this:
In this case, the reason may not be the seller’s inability to ship efficiently, but because many fraudulent sellers join this space around the holiday season.
These sellers disappear as soon as they receive a significant number of orders (without actually fulfilling any of the orders). In order to prevent scams like this, Amazon mostly only allows those sellers to continue selling in the Toys & Games category who use FBA, not FBM.
Other than this, the most common reasons for sellers’ listings to get “blocked unless FBA” is because either
But what are these metrics? Which ones matter the most?
Let’s find out.
In order to evaluate the sellers making use of their marketplaces, Amazon has their own metrics system that measures sellers’ performance.
There’s a minimum (or maximum) standard for each metric that sellers have to maintain in order to avoid getting under Amazon’s scrutiny (or to not get suspended if worst comes to worst).
The most important ones to keep track of are:
Fulfillment Performance actually comprises of the remaining three metrics, and is thus the main performance measure of Amazon sellers.
Amazon states that all sellers should aim at “achieving and maintaining a level of customer service” that meets their criteria for fulfillment performance (keep reading to find out the exact numbers to be maintained).
Now that we’ve discussed what “blocked unless FBA” is, and why you may be getting this message against your blocked listings, let’s get into how you can resolve it to be able to start selling again.
First of all, let’s take a look at those metrics again. Here are the standards you need to maintain for each of those metrics:
If any of your listings gets blocked unless FBA, these metrics are the first things you need to check. If you’re below the mark, you need to start working to improve the numbers right away.
After making necessary efforts to improve the numbers, your next step should be to notify Amazon about these efforts and request them to allow you to fulfill your orders again. Tell them about your plan of action to gain their trust.
For example, take a look at this letter to Amazon:
There’s another case when sellers went away on vacation and returned to find their listings being blocked due to the same reason. Although this is not always the case, it’s not uncommon nonetheless.
The solution, again, is to reach out to Amazon, state your circumstances, and request their approval again.
Once you’ve sent your appeal, wait for some days to get a response from seller support. Chances are that your listings would be reactivated once Amazon checks out your account.
Make sure not to make any false claims regarding your plan of action. If Amazon finds out that you’re not doing anything to improve your fulfillment performance and are lying to them on top of that, you may even get suspended.
However, if your listings do not get reactivated and there’s not any promising response from the Amazon team, it is best to just give up on that particular listing and create a new one.
Still, I strongly recommend making necessary amendments and appealing Amazon to reinstate your listing before you give up entirely.
Let’s recap everything we just discussed about “blocked unless FBA”:
When Amazon finds you unfit to fulfill orders responsibly, they ban you from selling a product unless you handover its fulfillment to Amazon themselves i.e. FBA.
To keep selling as FBM, you have to first identify what went wrong with your fulfillment performance, make necessary efforts to remove the problem, and then appeal Amazon - tell them about your plan of action - to allow you to sell again.
That’s pretty much it! Got questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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