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One of the most frequent questions I get is about Amazon’s Seller Central is “What does that mean?” in some form or another. There is a lot to learn and the first few months you are busy learning how to make money. When I was first starting out, I had trouble just navigating the different inventory views of Seller Central let alone all the reports and other things you can do there. We’ll take Seller Central one step at a time. This post covers – “What is the Amazon Selling Coach.”

What is the Amazon Selling Coach?

You can find this feature under the “Reports” tab inside your Seller Central.

 

The selling coach customizes its advice to you based on what is no doubt a complex set of algorithms and sales patterns tracked by Amazon.com. The first thing you usually see is all the listings that are “incomplete.”

 

When I first saw my incomplete listings, I freaked out. I wondered what in the heck I had done wrong to have so many incomplete listings? What I learned was that most of these were listings that were generated by other sellers in the past. Many of them are indeed incomplete – by Amazon’s new standards – but weren’t necessarily incomplete when the seller first created the listing. Many times “incomplete” means it doesn’t have a picture or there aren’t adequate measurements or something like that. Possibly the product descriptions aren’t in the format that Amazon prefers (they like bullets). That doesn’t mean that the current description isn’t adequate for your needs.

So what is your action item out of this report? Nothing. You don’t have to do anything. They are hoping that you will upload pictures and fix the descriptions for them – and who can blame them? – but you don’t have to. It won’t interfere with your ability to sell that item on Amazon.com. Now, if this is something you sell a lot and it doesn’t have a picture, you might want to fix that as a matter of your own self-interest. If this is something you are only going to sell once in your career, let someone else tackle it.

If you want to check out the items that are missing something yourself, you can click on the link and it will take you to an inventory page and another frequently asked question:

How do I fix a listing that’s missing a picture? What does it mean when my listing is “Active (quality alerts)?”

As you can see, the link took me to my “All Inventory” view (1 & 2). On the far left-hand side, there is a menu you can click on to see your problem listings (3). You’ll notice that “Active (quality alerts)” is the status of each one. You’ll see this on every listing with a problem whether you are in this screen or another one (like “Inventory Amazon Fulfills” for example).

If you look even closer on the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll see that you can sort the quality alert listings by particular problems (4) like “missing image” and “brand name” and “description and bullets.” If you want to look at a particular listing as it appears in Amazon’s catalog, you can click it from this screen. If you want to upload a picture, try to get it from the manufacturer’s website or some other selling site where the picture matches Amazon’s requirements (white background, etc.).

Please note, if you have never used your seller account to buy anything, you won’t be allowed to upload a picture. It is weird, but you have to be a customer before you can upload pictures. So, if you are like me with a Prime membership on your personal account that you use to buy everything, you are out of luck until you break down and buy something from the business account and pay – gasp! – shipping.

As a further side note, business accounts are not allowed to have Prime memberships. I’ve heard from other sellers that this is not enforced, but why invite trouble? Who wants to lose their selling account over something like this? Keep your Prime membership on your personal account and buy all your stuff that way except for this one thing. I waited until I wanted to buy something that didn’t have FBA shipping available as an option. J

OK, back to your troubled listings. You can click on the link to the item on Amazon and add your picture there.

How do I update incomplete listings?

If you need to change something else besides pictures, Amazon gives you directions at the top of this All Inventory View screen.

Click on the “Actions” pull-down menu on the far right of the problem listing and you will get several options including “Edit Details.” Click on this and you will be taken to another screen.

Look for the alert symbol with the “!” in it and click on that tab.

Alas, we can see that no one thought to provide a description for these Avery labels. Since people buy Avery labels by number, I’m not going to bother to fix this listing.

When should I update/fix my listings?

Amazon will tell you that items with pictures sell better. If you have time and your item isn’t selling quickly, you might want to add a picture and see if that helps. If this is an item you anticipate selling more than once, you should update the picture and/or fix the listing. As I noted earlier, I’m not going to update my Avery labels listing, nor the Jane Fonda exercise video for that matter. Both have pictures and people find them by a direct search.

My remote-control Harley Davidson motorcycle? That definitely needs a picture and strong description. I have several of them to sell.

What else is on the Amazon Selling Coach page?

In addition to incomplete listings, this page lets you set up your security questions and it gives you selling advice under “general tips.”

Is something on Seller Central confusing you? Post your question here and I’ll answer it in a future post!

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