Online buying and selling have never been more popular. In fact, in 2021, retail e-commerce sales amounted to approximately 4.9 trillion
U.S. dollars worldwide. Amazon is arguably the global leader and is one of the most consumed platforms when it comes to online buying or selling.
There are good reasons for operating multiple Amazon accounts. Some companies have different brands that function under the same organization but are entirely separate from each other. For example, many companies sell brands that have entirely different branding, customer service, phone numbers, etc. If all of those brands have to be under one account, it can be very difficult to separate the products on the backend.
Additionally, some sellers seek to improve their IPI (Inventory Placement Index) score. Some sellers get stuck with a low score and then it seriously affects their ability to replenish inventory, causing them to turn to a new Seller Central account. Whether Amazon considers this a legitimate business need or not, it is a reason that many people choose to manage multiple seller accounts.
On the other hand, some users simply want to deliberately break Amazon’s Terms of Service and worry about eventually having an account shut down. Having multiple accounts is a way that they hedge their bets: if one account gets shut down, they can simply sell on another. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of gray area comes in. Many legitimate Amazon sellers fear having their account shut down for illegitimate reasons, but that can cause them to make mistakes that actually result in the shut-downs they fear.
This is why so many Amazon sellers often wonder about how to handle their endeavours with multiple accounts.
This conundrum is particular to Amazon because the feasibility of having multiple Amazon accounts is not as simple as on some other platforms. Users need to account for the legal boundaries present, as well as Amazon’s prohibited seller activities and actions which limit the functioning and management of multiple seller central accounts. What defines the existence of multiple Amazon accounts, and are there guidelines for operating multiple accounts with limited inconvenience? Here we will explore the best ways to manage multiple Amazon accounts.
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Are Users Allowed to Have Multiple Seller Accounts?
If you reviewed the initial statement on seller accounts from Amazon, then you know that you cannot create a second account. However, if you read the statement in detail then you’ll see that it refers to users having a business requirement.
As per Amazon, “Selling Partners who have a legitimate business need can operate multiple Selling Accounts and do not require Amazon’s approval. However, Amazon recommends that you only open a second selling account if you have a legitimate business need and all of your current accounts are in good standing.”
Some good business reasons might include:
- Owning multiple brands and maintain separate businesses for each
- Manufacturing products for two distinct and separate companies
- Being recruited for an Amazon program that requires separate accounts
That means that technically you have the autonomy to create a second seller central account over a legitimate business requirement. Even though the policy alludes to the fact that a second account can be created even without Amazon’s approval, it’s important to go through that process to cover your bases.
What is a legitimate business requirement? Amazon is pretty ambiguous about what that term actually means. Is operating a new brand a legitimate business need? Is diversifying your product line a business requirement? Generally speaking, it seems as though Amazon allows sellers to set up a second account for nearly any reason as long as it isn’t because your other Amazon account is suspended or in jeopardy of being suspended.
To apply for an exception, it’s necessary to follow these steps:
- Send a request. Reach out to Amazon and ask to request a new seller central account.
- Explain your situation. Your request should include a thoughtful and legitimate explanation of the need for another account.
- Wait for approval. Once you submit your request, you’ll see that it’s in process. In order to be approved, certain terms must be met.
The terms and conditions that need to be met in order for your request to be approved are the following:
- In order to have an additional seller account, you must have a separate bank account. No seller accounts under the same bank account will be accepted. One exception is that users with international selling can use the same bank account over the different Seller Central accounts.
- The account must be created under a separate email address.
- Each seller account should sell different services or products and be different brands.
- Strong performance metrics will be required for the account.
- Additionally, before even applying for a new seller account, you should be a successful seller with Amazon over a considerable period of time.
You’ll need to wait about 2 or 3 days for the account’s approval.
Should You Create a Second Account Without Amazon’s Approval?
So what happens if you go through this approval process for another seller account, and think you’re doing everything the right way, and end up getting denied? Is it a good idea to create another seller account if it hasn’t been approved by Amazon?
There is an inherent risk in doing so. Opening multiple Amazon seller accounts without approval can result in having one or all of your accounts shut down if you’re caught. If you never get caught, you have the added value of diversification. If one account ever gets shut down (for an IP issue for example), then you have another stream of income in the other seller instances. However, that’s a very real risk to take on. This is particularly true because Amazon can not only shut down your account, but hold onto any outstanding revenue indefinitely. You will need to weigh your options and decide what you’re willing to risk if you choose to open another seller account without explicit permission.
It’s important to know that if you choose to open multiple seller accounts using “black hat” strategies, you’ll have to be extremely careful in not getting caught by Amazon’s algorithms. Remember they can use any login information, bank accounts, addresses, etc. to see which accounts are related. You will have to go to great lengths to manage these separate accounts without getting caught.
The Challenges of Multiple Amazon Seller Accounts
The experience of running multiple amazon seller accounts can be nerve-wracking. That’s because if you don’t do things correctly, your seller accounts could be shut down altogether - including your original seller account. The hardest part of managing multiple accounts is doing things correctly and staying on the right side of the rules - you don’t want to be “flagged” or have illegitimate accounts detected.
There are a few other drawbacks to be aware of, so that you can make the most of your overall seller presence on the platform. Things to watch out for:
- Manual updates - Updating listings can become cumbersome. If you are updating all of the listings by yourself, it can take a significant amount of time.
- Lack of synchronization - Managing the accounts, inventory and orders requires a few steps that do not automatically translate across all seller accounts. Keeping track of each seller account doesn't happen in real-time and you’ll need to go back and forth between each instance.
- User error - Any time a human is responsible for tasks, there is room for mistakes. Human activity is prone to errors, and a system based on a person’s actions can result in errors.
- Lack of time - Managing these accounts and all of the manual work involved requires a significant amount of time and effort.
How to Manage Multiple Seller and Prime Accounts
Managing multiple accounts is not as simple as it sounds. Amazon uses an algorithm to determine which accounts are interconnected to one person. The algorithm is very complex and sophisticated. Amazon is constantly scanning for relationships based on:
- The IP address of the Internet connection point or MAC address of the computer
- Browser footprints, such as cookies or flash objects
- Any data from a previous account, such as your name, bank account, address
- Information on credit cards, billing or shipping addresses, phone numbers, etc.
For example, once you mistakenly go into seller central from the old IP (for example, on your cell phone), you will end up on the radar of the Amazon application. That’s all it takes to be flagged running multiple accounts if you haven’t followed the proper process to have any accounts approved. You would be surprised to learn what elements Amazon can use to piece together which accounts are related.
If you plan to manage multiple accounts on the Amazon platform, you’ll need to follow a few best practices.
- Don’t share your IP address. There have been many instances where service provider companies (such as those managing your Amazon account or doing marketing for your brand) use a seller’s login information and the same IP address that may be used for other clients as well. That can result in sellers getting flagged. Vet any third parties that you use and be cautious about sharing your IP address.
- Don’t share your wifi connection. When it comes to selling on Amazon, complete that business on your own secure wifi network (not from a coffee shop or friend’s house). Protect your business by making sure no other Amazon sellers have access to the same wifi connection as you.
- Always get Amazon’s approval first. As we stated above, there is a process for setting up new seller accounts. Without getting approval for related accounts, you could use all of your accounts altogether. If you have a real business reason for setting up a separate account, detail this in a formal application to Amazon.
- Appeal for the original account. If you end up getting a suspension or need to submit more paperwork to set up multiple accounts, do so from the first account you created.
- If you run into problems, ask for forgiveness. If Amazon believes that you violated the terms and conditions for multiple seller accounts, they may shut down your accounts. In these cases, you should ask Amazon to close the second account you opened and go back to selling from the first. Be apologetic and explain what happened, and ask for another chance to sell on the platform.
- To operate safely, manage your accounts extremely carefully. Many sellers with multiple accounts actually use different computers with different IP addresses. You don’t need to go this far, but make sure you’re keeping your account information clear and separate on your computer. The best way to do this is through a third-party tool like Shift, where you can easily manage separate accounts without logging in or out, and risking accidentally inputting the same email, password, or any other identifying information.
How to Use the Amazon Platform to Switch Between Accounts
There are a couple different ways to manage multiple seller accounts on Amazon. On the Amazon platform, you can follow these steps:
- Find the “Switch Accounts” option on Amazon. You’ll find it on the Accounts and Lists menu.
- Add a new account. Select the option for “Add Account” and follow the instructions.
- Switch accounts in the Accounts panel and move easily between multiple Amazon accounts.
You can also try using Amazon Household. This option provides a solution for joining accounts together. It makes linking two accounts possible while keeping them as separate entities. The Amazon Household limit is 10 people, for example, two adults, four children over the age of 18, and four young children. To sign up for Amazon Household you should follow these step:
- Access Amazon Household. Login to your Amazon account and find the option under Accounts and Lists.
- Open Amazon Household. Once you’ve selected the option from the menu, a new window will open up where you can choose the option “Shopping Options”, followed by the link to Amazon Household.
- Add members. You’ll see a + symbol where you can add the members of the plan.
- Note the restrictions. Adults all have the ability to have their own Amazon accounts, but kids and teens are limited in what they can do. Any purchase performed by those profiles needs to be approved by the adult account holders.
How to Use Shift to Manage Multiple Accounts on Any App - Including Amazon
One of the best ways to manage multiple seller accounts is through another platform. Shift is designed to help users manage multiple apps, accounts, and instances. Simply download Shift
and then use the App and Account Switcher to quickly toggle between different accounts without having to use your mouse. Choose the accounts that you want to add and then create icons for each account and place them in the toolbar.
You can make it easier to identify each account by assigning every icon a color and name that help you to tell them all apart. Once you have the icons and toolbar set up how you’d like it, you can seamlessly move between Amazon accounts without logging in or out.
Shift is also incredibly helpful when it comes to supporting other apps as well. Just like you can add Amazon seller accounts in your Shift toolbar, you can add your other favorite apps like Gmail, Google Docs, Trello, or Zoom. If you have multiple logins with those apps, you can set up icons for each login and toggle between those as well. You can also use Shift to consolidate your messaging apps, project management tools, and even word processing and spreadsheet solutions.
Users love Shift because they can arrange it in a way that works best for them. We suggest sitting down and mapping out how you plan to use Shift before getting started. Make note of the apps that Shift integrates with and which ones you currently use. Also remember that it’s not permanent. It’s very easy to move things around once you’ve set up your dashboard by dragging things where you want them to go. You can also easily remove apps or add new ones as your needs change.
The Bottom Line
Multiple Amazon seller accounts can be a smart way of diversifying product offerings and expanding your revenue streams. No matter how you set up your Amazon accounts, the right tools will be important for managing the process and making the most of the platform. Shift can help you to access each of your Amazon seller accounts with just one click, saving time and reducing errors. Shift makes the complex process of managing additional Amazon seller accounts simple, so you can focus on selling.
To try the desktop app for streamlining your accounts, apps, and workflows, download Shift