Being an Amazon FBA seller can be very profitable — and very stressful at times. Staying on top of all of Amazon’s seller policies, marketing your products and managing your inventory can all get overwhelming fast.
Of course, you’re not alone. There are 1.9 million active sellers on Amazon, and according to a recent survey, 92% of sellers participate in FBA. With numbers like these, even one of the world’s largest retailers is bound to make mistakes.
But did you know those mistakes are likely to cost you the equivalent of 1-3% of your sales? It’s time to put a stop to that.
[Not an FBA seller? Check out the latest changes to Seller-Fulfilled Prime!]
Common FBA errors
Because Amazon has more than 100 warehouses, each at 1 million square feet or more, it’s inevitable that your inventory is going to be mishandled from time to time. It’s important to know what can go wrong so you can fix it, protect your profits and keep customers happy.
Your inbound shipment is lost in the warehouse.
In a vast, busy Amazon warehouse, your inventory can be misplaced or miscounted, which amounts to a big loss for you as the seller. For instance, if you sent 5,000 units, but Amazon only counts 4,800 of them, you lose not only the items themselves but also the profit you would have made.
Your item is miscategorized.
Amazon has dozens of categories and almost too many subcategories to count. If your items end up in the wrong one, it can cost you.
First, the wrong category might have higher fees associated with it than the one you intended. Second, it might keep you from appearing in a customer’s search for an item. Let’s say you sell baby headsets meant to protect their hearing at loud events. But if Amazon mistakenly puts your item in the Winter Wear subcategory, you won’t be found by shoppers as often, hurting your sales.
Your item is damaged before it ships out to the customer.
Damage to your items in an Amazon warehouse before they reach your customer can be another costly issue. If they receive a damaged item, your customer will almost certainly be unhappy and send it back as a return, potentially leaving you a poor review and hurting future sales in the process. You also lose the value of the item itself and are able to fulfill one fewer customer’s order with that inventory.
Amazon fumbles the return process.
Speaking of returns, Amazon sometimes issues a refund for a customer’s purchase when it shouldn’t — maybe the return shipment arrived after the return window closed, the item was returned in poor condition, or the customer didn’t send back the correct item. Amazon also sometimes receives the item properly but doesn’t credit it back to your inventory.
What you can do about FBA errors
As frustrating as these errors can be, many sellers don’t catch them, hurting their bottom line in the process. Amazon owes you money for all of them, but it’s your responsibility to find them and go through the FBA process to be reimbursed.
This process can be time-consuming, especially if you’re experiencing a large volume of FBA errors each month. It often means sitting down to scan through every shipping invoice to find errors and incorrect surcharges, then submit them to Amazon and track your requests’ progress to make sure your money ends up back in your account.
Delegating manual tasks like these to technology saves more than just time — it saves your sanity.
Sifted’s Amazon Audit is software that takes the frustrating research and follow-up off your plate so you can focus on building your business. It finds any FBA errors every month and ensures you receive the credits you deserve without having to do a thing. It’s all managed for you, following Amazon’s terms of service so you get the maximum reimbursement. (One seller even told us he forgets he’s enrolled — until the email with his reimbursement total shows up.)
Stay on top of FBA errors and keep more of your profit
No matter how you choose to manage FBA inventory reimbursements, make getting your money back one of your 2021 priorities. The massive boost in online sales Amazon experienced in 2020 means they could be more likely to make mistakes with your inventory. Stay ahead of your competition by making sure you keep every dollar that belongs to you.
See Amazon Audit in action — It’s easy and free to sign up!