Amazon FBA

3 Things Every Amazon Seller Must Know About Getting…

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.

Want to learn more about searching for FBA reimbursements yourself and other tips for success? Sign up for new posts via email.

Amazon FBA

What FBA Sellers Need to Know About Amazon Sales…

Smart FBA sellers are concerned with every business and product metric they can get their hands on, and one of the most talked metrics about is sales rank.

Products with very low sales rankings (#1 is the absolute best) get extra exposure by being listed in Amazon’s bestsellers list and by showing up higher on the page in niche categories.

What is Amazon sales rank

Amazon sales rank is a number given to each and every product on Amazon. Sales rank shows how well the product is selling relative to its category, but is not intended to help buyers or sellers compare similar items.

Rankings can be in the single digits or in the millions, and each products’ number is updated hourly.

What factors impact Amazon sales rank

Sales rank is affected by purchases only—not search data. Recent and historical purchases come into play, meaning that the sales rank is continually fluctuating.

Because the rank is relative to overall sales in a category, you could see your sales rank go down even during a week where you have had higher than usual sales volume. This could be because there was higher sales volume across Amazon overall and products in your category performed better.

How to find the current rankings for any product

To view sales rankings for your own product, simply click the Inventory Management page inside of Seller Central.

To scope out sales rank for a competitor’s product or something you are considering sourcing, you can head over to Amazon and search for the actual product.

Let’s take a look at the sales rank for Zoomer Kitty:

Just scroll down to the Product Information section of the product page:

Towards the bottom of the Product Information section, you can find “Best Sellers Rank.” Not only will these rankings teach you about the success of certain products, but you’ll also encounter subcategories worth selling in that you may not have thought of yet.

What Amazon sales rank CAN tell you

Sales rank is intended for reviewing popularity relative to a category.

As of today, the black and white Zoomer Kitty is #3,733 in all of Toys & Games, but ranks as #3 in the subcategory Electronic Pets.

Just goes to show you how important it is to have products in a variety of subcategories and focus on ranking well at the sub or sub-sub level first.

Amazon sales rank can also be a good indicator of whether or not a product has had any recent transactions. However, because it pulls both historical and recent data, it’s a very limited metric for just about anything other than relative popularity.

What Amazon sales rank CAN’T tell you

Amazon sales rank can’t actually tell you how successful a product is in the long run. If a product has had no sales in 4 weeks, but suddenly sells multiple units in one day, then the sales rank will improve temporarily.

This is why when you’re doing any research into yours or a competitor’s products you need to look at sales rank often over a longer period of time: weeks or months.

When viewing your sales ranking to monitor the health of your inventory (or when you’re reviewing sales ranking for existing products and trying to decide whether or not you want to sell them on Amazon), you can’t look at sales ranking alone. You must consider other factors, too.

Here are other things to consider in combination with sales rank:

  • Reviews: if a product has excellent sales ranking and a high number of positive reviews, it’s likely that the sales ranking is an accurate representation of its popularity (rather than the temporary effect of a recent sale)
  • Competition: when researching new products to sell, don’t shy away from those with a very high sales rank—if there is very low competition for an item that doesn’t sell often and you have a healthy, established seller account, then that product could be a great opportunity to win the buy box
  • Pricing: an excellent sales rank can sometimes be the temporary result of a successful promotion, and after the sale price is retired, the ranking might not be as favorable

Why steady sales are important

Promotions and launches are a necessary part of any e-commerce business. But to truly improve your sales rank, you need to also focus on steady, predictable sales.

It’s smart to create a launch plan that takes place over a matter of weeks, not days. This will allow Amazon to capture more historical data during the launch and to create a predictive metric of future sales. Products whose sales are more predictable (rather than spike and drop off) get an extra boost in the best sellers rank algorithm.

That’s why Amazon PPC ads with a long term focus, as opposed to temporary promotions, can pay off better for improving sales rank.

Sales rank is just one of the many metrics you can use to set goals for your own products or use to research new products. How do you make use of rankings? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Also, be sure to check out our FBA reimbursement solution and sign up to get automatically reimbursed for misappropriated FBA fees.

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