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Falling short: 8 Amazon FBA mistakes to avoid

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Boasting a $705.65 billion valuation, an estimated $162,360 million from first-party sales, and an expected 40% share of the U.S. market’s eCommerce sales in 2022, Amazon is the epitome of eCommerce success.

While the titan leads the pack in U.S. eCommerce, getting ahead in its massive marketplace is challenging and can incur costly mistakes without the right approach.

So, what can you do to minimize Amazon selling blunders?

Despite its reputation, Amazon is no longer the platform where you can list umpteen products and make a killing. Yet many sellers simply jump in without acquiring the critical skills and traits necessary to get their stores off the ground.

In this post, we’ll spotlight the seller weaknesses that lead to mistakes on Amazon and the most common errors they make. We’ll also share tips and tricks to help you dodge marketplace suspensions and thrive online.

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8 Costly Amazon FBA mistakes to avoid

Small mistakes like using the wrong color shrink wrap on your palletized shipments or the incorrect dunnage won’t hurt you. But when more significant errors cost you time, money, and sales, it’s time to rethink your approach. To help you boost your Amazon selling prowess, we’ve broken down some of the most expensive errors to avoid.

Mistake #1 Not paying attention to Amazon’s fluctuating rules

Amazon is a stickler for rules. From the category you list your product in, to the items you send to their warehouses, everything must follow a strict protocol. For example, Amazon has non-negotiable requirements about how you pack goods, detailing maximum box measurements and imposing the infamous drop test.

Amazon constantly changes, and you as the seller have to keep up. You can stay up to date on your obligations in a number of ways, such as regularly reading Amazon’s Terms of Service or reviewing their Seller Central Resources for updates on essential areas like IPI scores, inventory limits, inbound shipment rules, and product restrictions. Whatever your style of consuming content and learning, develop a habit of checking and implementing the latest Amazon intel.

The strict rules may seem excessive, but they’re meant to maintain a high standard for their customer experience. If you fail to meet the requirements, things can turn sour fast.

Learn what Amazon expects of you for every product type to make adequate preparations and sell the items on the marketplace unhindered (e.g., fragile, light, oversized, hazardous goods).

Top tip: Watch your emails for announcements, check the Amazon seller app for a quick breakdown of the comms Amazon sends you (and its customers), and monitor your account’s health.

Mistake #2 Launching generic, copycat items

Amazon boasts 9.5 million registered seller accounts globally and more than 2.5 million active sellers — and that number continues to grow.

With increasing competition and ad costs on the Amazon marketplace, it’s no longer enough to launch commonplace products. Whether it’s the quantity, quality, or a game-changing feature, every product you put on the Amazon marketplace should be more enticing than what’s already on offer.

Mistake #3 Failing to optimize your Amazon listings

Listings are your real estate on the Amazon landscape. They’re also an extension of your ads since they act as landing pages, so they need to shine. Create an Amazon listing optimization checklist and make adjustments regularly based on store analytics and customer feedback.

You can protect your progress by using Amazon selling tools like Helium 10 to set up alerts to catch problems like intellectual property violations and hijacking.

Also, browse your competitors’ listings to understand what you’re up against, and review listings in other categories and eCommerce platforms for inspiration on ways to make your listings stand out.

Mistake #4 Making do with underwhelming prep and fulfillment processes

Thanks to Amazon’s next-level supply chain efficiency and world-renowned Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, you have to have an air-tight fulfillment process. Whether you ship via FBA, Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM), or both, you need a strategy to get and stay in stock fast, as well as have goods prepped in compliance with Amazon’s regulations.

If you go the FBM route, it’s wise to use shipping options that emulate what shoppers expect on Amazon, like next- or same-day shipping, time-specific deliveries, and fulfillment notifications.

Mistake #5 Being strapped for cash

It’s normal for a growing brand to face cash shortages now and then, but frequent ones can stunt your business’s growth. Additionally, Amazon is notorious for slow payouts and increasing selling and ad costs, so it’s crucial to have access to capital to see you through leaner months.

This is especially true for Q4 prep, the holiday season, and other times when your bills for inventory and storage spike. Address cash flow before it becomes an issue.

Mistake #6 Throwing money at Amazon ads and hoping for the best

Typical ads no longer cut it on Amazon. Thanks to updates like A10 and growing consumer savviness online, you have to refresh your ads regularly to maintain their profitability. This includes assets related to your ads like a listing copy, images, and brand colors.

You’ll need a productive launch strategy to attract and maintain attention to your offer. For example, you could offer a low launch price and raise it gradually (within ToS rules), using Instagram shout-outs to drive traffic and press releases to gain media attention for innovative products.

Mistake #7 Neglecting to build a brand

Some sellers fail to prioritize branding from the beginning, which is one of the most costly mistakes on Amazon.

In a sea of similar products, branding influences a customer’s decision to buy from one name over another. So, brand your product packaging, build an external website, and grow a social media following to boost your business’s perceived value and sales.

Pricing should also be part of your branding strategy, such as selling your items at premium prices because of their superior quality.

Mistake #8 Not building experience

“Experience is the best teacher”, especially on Amazon. Complex listing indexing, affordable currency conversion hacks, and other skills take time to master, and you acquire more knowledge the longer you’re in the field.

Conducting small tests, whether in your product catalog or selling territory, as you learn the Amazon landscape will help minimize your losses and allow you to invest the most capital in what works. Expanding and updating your knowledge about Amazon, including its rules, updates, fees, and tech, is essential for long-term success.

What to prioritize to achieve success on Amazon

We’ve identified the mistakes to avoid, so the next task is to determine the best way for you to gain traction in your Amazon selling journey. Here are some key areas and tasks to focus on.

Rule changes

  • Set up RSS news feed alerts for updates when Amazon makes a change or launches a statement.
  • Visit forums for every territory you trade in to gather intel on how other sellers manage their obligations.
  • Update your standard operating procedures to align with Amazon’s updates.
  • State your requirements in brand and packaging guidelines and standard operating procedures.
  • Read Amazon’s Brand Protection report.

Inventory prep and shipping

  • Delegate product packaging and order fulfillment to an experienced Amazon prep center.
  • Use fast carriers with excellent track records.
  • Offer fast and simple return options for your Fulfilled By Merchant orders.
  • Understand your inventory needs at different times of the year using inventory forecasting.
  • Keep backup stock at key locations.
  • Partner with local suppliers in case of emergency.

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Products and branding

  • Double-check that products aren’t restricted or prohibited before sending them to Amazon or listing them for sale DTC.
  • Ensure your packaging is sturdy and protects your items.
  • Price competitively and use repricing software to execute adjustments automatically.
  • Embrace Brand Registry.
  • Make your name recognizable by branding your packaging, Amazon store, and social media professionally.
  • Invest in A+ content.
  • Offer subscriptions and bundles where possible.
  • Direct your external website to your Amazon store.


  • Know which metrics to track in your ad campaigns.
  • Determine which optimizations will help you maximize ad spend.
  • Drive external traffic through resources like PPC, blogging, and affiliate marketing.
  • Pay attention to reviews and share user-generated content.
  • Create an ad optimization schedule and stick to it.

Money and mindset

  • Adopt a growth mindset and commit to scaling.
  • Say “no” to laziness.
  • Negotiate EVERYTHING, from fulfillment to stock prices.
  • Save six to 12 months of business expenses for emergencies.
  • Set aside a portion of your profits each month in preparation for Q4 expenses.

Take the right steps with Amazon

It takes strategic knowledge, commitment, and resources to thrive in the Amazon marketplace. However, many sellers become too focused on money-making tactics and forget to watch out for harmful errors.

To protect your business, pay close attention to Amazon’s ToS and adjust your approach based on policy and rule changes. Choose your products wisely, tweak your marketing campaigns often, and adopt reliable prepping, packing, and fulfillment to stay on Amazon’s good side.

Despite your best efforts though, you’ll slip up occasionally. But mistakes are normal, so don’t aim for perfection. Instead, take Amazon’s lead and commit to continuous improvement in every area of your business. By investing in the aspects we’ve recommended, you’ll circumvent fatal errors and guide your Amazon business toward success.

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