Once you’re well past the nerves and excitement you feel as a new Amazon FBA seller and have stocked your inventory, made some profitable sales, and started to focus your energy on improving your seller rank, you might be wondering what else you can do to create a more profitable business.
It’s challenging to estimate how much inventory Amazon loses or damages, but it often exceeds 1%. Sometimes you’re not properly reimbursed as promised.
Whether you are reselling sourced inventory you bought on clearance or having FBA handle your own branded product, there’s something you never want to do: leave money on the table.
Well, you never want to leave money on the table in general, right? Right. FBA is a pretty sweet deal. Amazon offers to take the blame for so many issues like shipping damages and lost items. And while it might feel like they’re just being nice, you have to remember that you are paying for the high level of service with your commission fee.
Amazon tries to deliver on their promises and make sure you’re getting back money that you’re owed, but mistakes happen.
Tracking these mistakes is a process that can be tedious or easy–depending on how you approach it.
1.Inbound shipment issues are the easiest to track
One of the quickest and fastest ways to get reimbursements as a Seller using FBA is to pay attention to inbound shipment discrepancies. You should track this every week or every other week, depending on how often you ship to Amazon.
When you login to your Amazon Seller Central, all you have to do to get started hunting for inbound shipping issues is to head to the Shipping Queue. For any case that is closed, check if the column on the left is higher than the column on the right–meaning that Amazon received fewer units than what you shipped to their warehouse, or they received them but later deemed them unfit for selling.
Once a shipment is tagged as closed, then Amazon is not working on it anymore. Whatever error or damage occurred is over and done with, so you need to make sure you get the money back for those units. If you discover an issue that shows no signs of improvement after a week of being closed, you’ll want to reconcile that inside of your Seller Central platform. You can submit a case for the units, and ask Amazon to research the issue.
These errors are so easy to track because the discrepancies are visible right next to each other. But not every issue with FBA will be spelled out so clearly for you.
2. Units lost are the most complicated FBA issues to track
Amazon customers sometimes receive products that have clearly had an interesting life of their own. Ever received a mylar balloon that had clearly been opened and refolded poorly or a toy box that had been put back together with scotch tape? A stained shirt?
For the most part, Amazon watches for quality to make sure that no damaged items get resold to customers, but customers often receive items that were clearly returned. So, yes certain items have their own private lives and secrets to tell.
Imagine what that means for an Amazon seller. If you have one unique item that has already been to Kansas, California, and Connecticut and now is supposed to come back to Amazon one more time…well, just imagine trying to track all that activity.
That one item is not going to be easy to reconcile the way an entire shipment is. Here are some things you’ll have to constantly reconcile for every item you sell:
- Orders purchased by customer versus orders received by customer
- Orders refunded to customer versus orders received to warehouse
- Orders received to warehouse versus your actual stock
3. It is possible to completely automate the process of reviewing FBA mistakes
Amazon Sellers often complain about how the company refunds the customer before the product is actually returned. Amazon is going to pay you back, so it shouldn’t be a big deal, right? But it is, because it makes the return process incredibly hard to track for most sellers. You don’t have control over the return policy–but you can protect your inventory.
As an Amazon Seller, you likely have extensive business processes. The more your business grows, the less time you’ll have for checking and filing disputes. Even if you have a killer VA, having your assistant search for refunds is likely not the highest priority task you can think of as a business owner. There are templates and guides you can purchase to make the process a little easier, but it’s still going to take an incredible amount of time each week.
When you automate the process, you use a software program to hunt for the mistakes for you. All you do is enter your Amazon Seller account information and the software integrates with Amazon’s API to import all the necessary data.
Our proprietary platform searches for the easy-to-find discrepancies and is able to track each item on an individual level (and do it way faster than an aggravated, overworked human).
If you know you’re ready to automate the process, you can sign-up here.
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