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This article applies to selling in: United States

Holiday Season Best Practices

Juggling inventory, orders, and customer contacts can keep you extremely busy during the holiday season. To help you manage it all effectively, we've put together the following "best practices" for successful selling. From delighting your customers with great customer service, to proactively managing your inventory or dealing with negative feedback, we have ideas that may help you navigate the holiday selling rush.

Keep track of your inventory and orders

Manage your inventory proactively

Managing your inventory proactively is one of the most effective strategies during busy selling seasons. Make sure you have enough stock available for your most popular products. Keep quantities up to date in Seller Central, checking them at least daily. Set the handling time (lead time-to-ship) to a range you can achieve. Unrealistic handling times can lead to a poor buyer experience.

Match your products to the correct ASIN in our catalogue. Mismatched listings can result in increased buyer contacts, A-to-z Guarantee claims, or credit card chargebacks. Your products must be exactly the same as the product is represented on the detail page. You can’t list products that are missing parts or components, are defective, or are damaged. Identifying these differences in the comments field of the listing is not acceptable.

Remember that all products in an inventory file upload must be processed before any of the changes appear on Amazon. If you have time-sensitive changes, upload those first in a separate inventory file. Learn more about products and listings.

Create compelling product detail pages

At Amazon, we do our best to provide a consistent look and feel in every category. However, each category has slightly different requirements about how its products are displayed. Our category-specific templates are a convenient reference to help you create concise, accurate, and compelling detail pages for your products.

Manage your orders closely

Stay on top of orders during the holiday season. Don't rely solely on "Sold, ship now" emails to let you know you have orders. Check your Seller Central account frequently for orders and fulfill new orders daily.

Confirm shipments on time; orders that are confirmed late can lead to a poor buyer experience. When you confirm your orders, provide tracking numbers, carrier, shipping method, and service level. Giving buyers a way to track shipment progress is an important part of providing good service.

Ship your orders as soon as possible. Doing so will give you and the buyer more time to resolve any problems that might arise, which will help prevent any defects in your orders. If you ship products from the same order separately, create separate packages when you confirm the shipments, and provide tracking information for each.

Consider relisting popular out-of-stock products

If you’re a Professional seller, we’ll notify you via email when a significant number of potential buyers are looking for a product you once sold on Amazon. If you receive one of these popular out-of-stock notifications, take advantage of the recent buyer interest in the product and offer it again for the holiday season.

Provide great customer service

Delight buyers with great customer service

Make an impression on buyers that will last: provide excellent customer service during the holiday season. Make a point of responding to all of their inquiries within 24 hours. Add a personal touch to orders—include "thank you" notes on packing slips. Be courteous in your correspondence with buyers as per our communication guidelines, and address any problems quickly and professionally. Providing world-class service usually results in buyer appreciation.

Create Sponsored Products to gain visibility

In a crowded holiday market, with so many offers and products it can be very difficult to make your Amazon listings stand out. Having your product ads appear on the first page of relevant search results may make the difference between a holiday season that is successful and one that is not.

With Amazon’s advertisement program, Sponsored Products, you bid for specific keywords so when an Amazon shopper searches for one of these keywords, your ad is eligible to display on the first page of the search results. Impressions are free and you only pay when a shopper clicks on your ad and visits your product’s detail page.

Offer promotions and free shipping

Holiday shoppers love promotions. When shopping online, buyers look at the whole range of promotional offerings.

  • Offer promotions (Read about when to create a promotion and what a successful one looks like)
  • Create a promotion (Learn best practices on how to create, edit, and duplicate promotions.)

Offer expedited shipping

Speedy shipping is especially important to buyers during the holidays. Offering One-Day and Two-Day shipping can increase order volume as it provides buyers with a couple of extra days to place an order with you before the date of the holiday. Set your shipping rates for all product lines and non-BMVD Products.

Learn more about shipping books, music, videos, and DVDs (BMVD) products.

Offer gift services

Don’t get wrapped up in trying to decide whether or not to offer gift services this holiday. Gift wrap options are popular during the holiday with buyers looking to add that special touch to their purchases. Check out the gifting overview to learn how to give buyers the option to include a gift message with their purchase, or have it gift-wrapped. Learn how to manage gift options.

Monitor your metrics and feedback

Deal with negative feedback

When you sell on Amazon, it’s your responsibility to work with the buyer to resolve any differences. Communication is usually the key–simply explaining a delay or reassuring a buyer puts most issues to rest. But sometimes an order results in the seller receiving negative feedback from the buyer.

Most sellers will eventually receive some negative feedback. When it happens to you, put it in perspective: a 0-2% negative feedback rate is great. If your negative feedback rate is greater than 5%, review your business practices to correct any operational problems that might affect a buyer's experience. Remember that you can respond to feedback using the Feedback Manager. But before you do, we encourage you to contact the buyer and work together to resolve any issues regarding the transaction. The buyer could then remove the feedback if they feel it would be appropriate. Learn more about feedback removal and how to improve your feedback rating.

Handle returns, refunds, and A-to-z Guarantee claims

Address A-to-z Guarantee claims and service chargebacks promptly. Check your A-to-z Guarantee claim pages daily, and proactively resolve any issues. To help prevent being held responsible for the reimbursement of a claim, follow our selling policies.

In the interest of customer service, you may occasionally want to compensate buyers for order issues aside from or in addition to refunding basic order costs. You can issue concessions using the Manage Orders section of your seller account.

Learn more about resolving A-to-z Guarantee claims and read about chargebacks. Learn how to issue concessions and refunds.

Monitor your customer metrics regularly

Your customer metrics indicate how you are doing with respect to our performance targets. Monitor your Account Health Dashboard frequently so you can spot and resolve operational problems promptly. Excessive order defect rates (negative feedback, A-to-z Guarantee claims, and chargebacks) can cause account suspensions and even account closures. Check your feedback and A-to-z Guarantee claim pages daily, and proactively resolve any issues.

Ensure your account and security info is up to date

Update your settings, account information, and policies

Keep your email contact information is up to date in your seller account, and make sure that Amazon email is not being filtered as spam by your email program or Internet service provider. Make sure that your credit card and bank account numbers in your account are current.

Verify that your store settings are up to date and post a customer service phone number if you have one.

Remember, by Amazon policy, you cannot display any portion or version of your URL (such as .com, dot com, .net, and so on) anywhere on Amazon. Learn more about settings and policies.

Keep safety and security in mind

Don't share your account password or email with anyone you haven't authorized to use it. Read our suggestions for how to keep your account information secure. Set up Two-Step Verification for all of your Amazon accounts.

Only accept Marketplace Payments by Amazon for your orders. Sellers are not protected against transactions that may or may not be legitimate if they are engaged in those transactions outside of the Marketplace Payments by Amazon system.

If the customer asks you to ship to an address different from the one provided by Amazon, cancel the order. Then ask the customer to place a new order with the correct address. Spoofed email (or "phishing") is becoming an increasing concern for all of us. These emails attempt to obtain your confidential information, such as your user account and password; this information is then used to gain fraudulent access to your accounts. Learn how to identify and report “spoofed” emails to Amazon.

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