When an online retail platform blocks your listing your products:
- Become invisible on the marketplace
- Lose their ratings
This, unfortunately, prevents you from selling these products and requires you to start again with the given products. It decelerates your sales and business. The problem a product listing could be blocked if you have a poor performer or even a top seller on your hands.
So, how can you avoid this from happening to your products?
What prompts marketplaces to block listings?
Before you can prevent your listings from getting blocked, you need to understand why this occurs. IOS spoke with the ecommerce experts at Browntape, the multi-channel order and inventory management firm, to know more about this disciplinary measure by marketplaces.
Men’s Fashion, Men’s and Women’s Footwear and Bags and Luggage categories manager, Gaurav Gupta from Browntape, let us know that the cause of blocked listing can be a single issue or a combination of things.
He listed out the following causes for blocked listings –
- High order defect rate (ODR) – this arises on account of frequent sale of damaged or defective products to customers. (It is a combined measure of customer feedback, claims and chargebacks.)
- High returns – may arise on account of damaged or defective products received by the customer, wrong products delivered and miss-matched products.
- High order cancellations – these may be either from the customer’s, seller’s or marketplace’s end.
- Images uploaded not as per marketplace guidelines
- Incomplete brand registry / Brand infringement – in this case, you may not have obtained a trademark certificate for your product brand or you may not have acquired a brand authorization letter from the brand owner. (Claims about this can be made by other sellers, customers or the brand owner.)
- Account suspension – during this situation all listings under your account are blocked and will not be live until your account is reactivated.
- Too many A-to-Z claims (on Amazon)
- Wrong node/ product category selection when listing a product
Where are blocked listings a regular issue? And why?
IOS also collected seller opinions on blocked listings. Through them, we learned that for some blocked listings were prominent only on certain marketplaces.
- Pratik Agarwal, a women’s ethnic wear seller, said that he mostly had to deal with blocked listings on Amazon and Paytm.
Pratik stated, “Although we don’t get a proper reason why they blocked our listing, but according to them we were not able to maintain NPS (Net Promotional Score = [Positive rating – Negative Rating] / Total Rating). Also, if they want a new design and our old design is still doing good for a long time…they will block the listing so that we can come up with new products.”
- Ankit Sharma also pointed that his footwear listings were blocked most by Flipkart.
He said, “My listing was blocked maximum on Flipkart due to higher rate of return.”
- For Arihant Chhajer, it is both Flipkart and Snapdeal where his toys and baby care product listings are blocked most.
“Flipkart says ‘This product is already selling on Flipkart.’ There were high return percentages in some cases too,” said Arihant.
- Kavita Ahire a leather watch vendor mentioned Flipkart blocks her listings the most too.
Kavita also stated, “Product return rate caused listings to be blocked on Flipkart.”
- Computer accessories, mobile and household goods seller Vaibhav Dhale said his listings were blocked on Shopclues.
The seller said, “Not having brand authorisation letter for branded products of Lux Venus vest, led to blocked listings on Shopclues.”
What is it like having your listings blocked?
Apart from the general effects of blocked listings discussed in the beginning, we wanted to know how exactly it affects the entire selling experience.
“70 % of our sales went down, as 60% of our product always used to be at the top on Paytm…and they blocked all of those listings,” Pratik revealed to us.
Arihant explained that he sells a particular product under his brand and it is of a respectable quality. The product received good ratings and response from shoppers, however, Flipkart blocked this product listing.
He claimed, “They said, ‘This product is already selling on Flipkart. If you are not selling this product, please add a listing here.’ But other sellers are selling the same product of different quality, rating and price that is also very low. Now, I am not able to sell my product because of this.”
Can you unblock listings?
According to Browntape’s Gaurav Gupta, once a product listing is blocked, there are chances of unblocking them.
He said, “First and foremost check with the marketplace why your listings are blocked.”
Amazon tends to make listings temporarily inactive in case of product image issues and incorrect category/node selection. In this case, you can reactivate your listings by simply solving the problem that Amazon points out to you on the seller panel.
With Flipkart, if you happen to be out of stock, the marketplace will make your listings inactive for approximately 7 days, till the stock issue is resolved.
Procedure 1 – Raise a claim
The first thing you can try if you are unaware of the reason for your blocked listings is, raise a claim with the marketplace. This way you can figure out why it happened and how to solve it.
At the same time, if the reason for blocking your listings is unfair according to you, you will need to provide substantial proof to back your claims. This may require video evidence in some cases like wrong returns.
Procedure 2 – Solve issues causing blocked listings
Once you know what is causing your listings to be blocked, (for example, the absence of trademark certificate), you need to solve it. This can involve submitting proper documents or information as per the etailer’s request.
Procedure 3 – Relist your products
In some cases, there may be no chances of reviving your listings. In such a situation, you will need to relist that given product(s). This can be done by relisting an alias of that product. It means you relist the same delisted product with a new SKU code.
For example, a marketplace has blocked your listed product with SKU code UDB006. You need to relist the same product with a different SKU like, UDB0061 or UDB0006 and so on.
The downside of this approach is you lose your previous listing’s ratings, reviews and visibility. On account of this, you need to start from scratch for that product. It also takes a lot of time to re-do this process in case you have multiple products delisted.
Arihant has been selling online for 2.5 years now and feels that it is very difficult to unblock listings.
He said, “It’s very very hard to unblock because the customer care operatives are just robots. They do not understand the concern. They only give same typical answer recorded in their minds.”
An ethnic wear seller with 1.5 years of experience in online selling wished to remain unnamed said that his listings were blocked on Flipkart due to high returns in 30days. His listings were permanently blocked by the marketplace.
The seller mentioned, “Out of 5 orders received 2 were RTO and 1 was a customer return. They stated that due to 42% returns your listing is blocked. I tried calling the marketplace to have the issue resolved, but they continuously say it won’t be made live.”
Can blocked listings be avoided?
They certainly can. Gaurav mentioned that blocked listings can be avoided if a seller –
- Fulfils all orders according to the specifications requested by the customer.
- Uploads correct product information in terms of:
- Communicates with the customer in case of out of stock products to have orders cancelled without penalties. (This is only possible on Amazon).
- Resolves A to Z claims in a timely fashion.
- Tries managing stock effectively to prevent out of stock situations.
Blocked listings can be a difficult task to deal with. But, once you understand why it needs to be done you can avoid it from happening to you.
Have you ever stumbled on blocked listings? How did you deal with the situation? Share with us your experiences and course of action through your comments below.