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Holiday Selling 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:

For more great selling tips, see our Seller Support Blog and Video Workshop.

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, and address any problems quickly and professionally. (Facilitating inappropriate or unsolicited contact is a violation of the participation agreement. Learn more.)

Providing world-class service usually results in buyer appreciation! Learn more in our video on how to Get Good Feedback with Customer Service.

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

For most sellers, A-to-z Guarantee claims and service chargebacks are a rare occurrence, but when they happen, be sure to address them 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 Community Rules when listing, selling and shipping your products, and document shipment to the buyer and their receipt of correct product.

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 either the full and partial refund options in the Manage Orders section of your seller account.

Learn how to resolve A-to-z Guarantee claims and get information on chargebacks. Read up on refunds, returns and cancellations and how to issue concessions.

Manage your orders consistently

New sellers may want to see what happens after the buyer places an order in our 10-step Order Timeline. Whether you're a new seller or Amazon veteran, don't rely solely on "Sold, ship now" e-mails to let you know you have new orders--check "View your orders" in your seller account every day. Get in the habit of shippinig your orders right away; you'll have more time to resolve any problems that arise. (Sellers are expected to ship orders within two business days.)

Learn more about managing orders, and take a minute to view our Manage Orders Feature video. Read about how easy it is to manage orders with Charge When Ship.

Get paid

The item has been received, the buyer is happy and the only thing left is to get paid! How does this work? First, make sure you provide us with your bank account information by using the Account Settings link in your Seller Account. After you first register to sell on Amazon, we let the funds from your sales accumulate for the first 14 days. Disbursements of funds then occur automatically every 14 days, or as frequently as every 24 hours, if you prefer. Once Amazon Payments has initiated a disbursement, your funds will appear in your bank account within 3-5 business days. Remember to confirm your shipments to get paid! If you don't, you won't get your money.

Learn more about Getting Paid. Also visit our Holiday Selling Tip #7: Getting Paid posted in the Amazon Seller Discussion Forum.

Deal with negative feedback

When you sell on, 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 negative feedback. 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 in our Feedback FAQ.

Offer expedited shipping

Speedy shipping is especially important to buyers during the holidays. Offering expedited shipping can increase order volume as it provides buyers with a couple of extra days to place an order with you before December 25. If you sell books, music, videos, and DVDs (BMVD), delight your buyers by offering Domestic Two Day, Domestic One Day, and International Expedited shipping! Learn more about Shipping Rates and Settings.

Create quality detail pages

If you have a Pro Merchant subscription, you can create a product detail page for products that do not already exist on our website. The pages you create become a permanent part of the Amazon catalog, so it's very important that they contain top-quality, accurate product information.

Before you create a page, read our Create a Product Detail Page Help section to find out what information should appear; what information influences buying decisions; the difference between product information and your listing details; and what to do if you think the product information is incorrect. View our 10-minute tutorial on The Amazon Product Detail Page. Learn more about using Product Identifiers and Adding Images.

Consider relisting popular out-of-stock products

If you are a Pro Merchant seller, we notify you via e-mail when a significant number of potential buyers are looking for a product you once sold on If you receive one of these Popular Out-of-Stock notifications, we encourage you to take advantage of the recent buyer interest in the product and offer it again for the holiday season

Describe your items accurately

One of the most important things you do when listing your item is describe its condition. An honest, accurate description of your item's condition increases buyer satisfaction, helps you build a loyal buyer base, and promotes positive feedback ratings. Our Condition Guidelines provide a detailed guide to what these conditions mean by product type, from books to watches.

Whatever their condition, you may list items at the price you feel is fair. When you describe your item accurately in your listing, you take the first step toward ensuring a great experience for both buyer and seller this holiday season.

Manage your inventory proactively

Determine which of your products may be most popular during the holidays and make sure you have enough stock available. Match your items by ISBN/UPC/EAN to the correct product detail pages. For example, if you list a book, your copy must be listed against the ASIN for the product with the exact same title, author, binding, edition, year of publication, publisher, and ISBN.

If you use inventory uploads, remember that all items in a feed must be processed before any of the changes appear on If you have time-sensitive changes, upload those first in a separate feed, and upload changes that are not time-sensitive in a later feed. Learn more about managing and relisting items.

Monitor your customer metrics closely

Your Customer Metrics indicate how you are doing with respect to our performance targets. Monitor your Scorecard 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.

Learn more about Customer Metrics, improving feedback ratings and resolving A-to-z Guarantee claims.

Update your settings, account information, and policies

To reduce holiday season hassles, do some "housekeeping": make sure your e-mail contact information is up-to-date in your seller account, and confirm that Amazon e-mail is not being filtered as spam by your e-mail program or ISP. 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. Be sure to follow policy by not displaying any portion or version of your URL (e.g., .com, dot com, .net, etc.) anywhere on Amazon. Learn more about settings and our selling and item policies.

Keep safety and security in mind

Only accept payments made through Amazon Payments 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 Amazon Payments system. Ship orders only to addresses provided by Amazon. If you are asked to ship to a different address, cancel the order and ask the buyer to place a new order with the preferred address selected

Spoofed e-mail (or "phishing") is becoming an increasing concern for all of us. These e-mails 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" e-mails to Amazon.

Seller Support

Please use the e-mail address associated with your Seller account.