With Amazon FBA shipping restrictions in place, the biggest challenge Amazon businesses are facing is, how to improve Inventory Performance Index on Amazon. With upcoming shopping season just around the corner, whereas new launches have become almost impossible, some existing Amazon businesses even are facing existential threat due to these inventory restrictions.
Beside improving sell-through rate, the choices seem pretty limited to deal with this challenge. However, in this post, we will be discussing a proven hack that shall help you deal with these restrictions. If you are facing any of the below, this hack is for you;
- Suffering from a terrible looking Sell-through & IPI metrics with Sales at the bottom?
- Can’t seem to send in more stocks for the upcoming shopping season?
(works in some cases)
- Running a Promotion and want to protect your inventory in case things go awry when customers want to redeem single coupons multiple times
(There will be another separate post on how to create single-use coupons in future)
Using a feature called Multi-Channel Fulfillment you can put some stock away for a limited period and then put it back to Fulfillable Inventory whenever required.
The key for us is that when we enter a fulfillment order and have Amazon “hold” that order, it removes the number of units in that order from our available FBA inventory. After two weeks, if we have not done anything with that fulfillment order, Amazon automatically cancels the order and puts those held units back into the fulfillable FBA inventory.
You have to follow these instructions very carefully, if you miss a step or do this wrong, it will end up costing you a lot of money.
The biggest mistake you can make is to forget to actually set the status of your order to “Hold for Two Weeks.” If you forget to set this, Amazon will actually ship those units out to you, and you will be paying the shipping charges.
Step 1: Login to your Seller Central account and click on Inventory > Manage Inventory
Step 2: Click on the Actions link next to the product you want to protect, then click on Create Fulfillment Order
Step 3: In the Provide Details screen, fill in all the required fields: Full Name, Address Line1, City, State/Region, Postal Code.
- Note: This must be a valid address in the US. If you live in the US, you can just use your own name and address. Otherwise, find any name and address to use.
Do NOT leave this screen yet. After entering this information, go to Step 4.
Step 4: On the same screen (Provide Details screen), on the bottom right, you will need to enter the number of units Ordered. This is the number of units you want to “reserve” and make unavailable from your FBA inventory. Once you are done, click Continue
Step 5: On the Review & Place Order screen, make sure you select Hold this inventory for up to 2 weeks.
- Note: This step is CRUCIAL! Make 100% sure you have selected this option, or Amazon will actually ship this inventory to the address provided and charge you FBA and shipping fees, which can be quite costly.
Once you have verified you set the order to be held, click the Place Order button on the bottom right side of the screen.
Then, if you did this correctly, you should see a message on the next screen telling you that your inventory was successfully placed on hold until the specified date.
Takes about 15 minutes or so for the number of units you chose to “reserve” will be removed from your FBA Fulfillable Inventory and shown in the FBA Reserved Inventory on the Inventory > Manage FBA Inventory screen
Now how to make these units available in your Fulfillable inventory again when you are ready to do so.
Putting Reserved Stocks back to Fulfillable Inventory
Putting it back into FBA Fulfillable is very simple. You will just need to cancel the “reserved” order you created.
In order to cancel a held order, follow these steps:
- In your Seller Central Account, click on Orders > Manage Orders
- On the Manage Orders screen, click on the Advanced Search link.
- Select 30 Days in the Pre-Selected Orders Placed pull-down, then select Non-Amazon for the Sales Channel, and click the Search button.
- You will now see all the “reserved” orders you created and any other orders you might have manually created within 30 days. The order details will look “greyed out,” and this is normal. However, the order number is a clickable link. Go ahead and click the order number for the order you want to cancel.
- On the Order Details screen, click the Cancel This Order button.
- On the Cancel Fulfilled Order screen, click the Cancel this Order button to confirm the cancelation, and you will then see a screen confirming that the order has been cancelled. Takes about 15 minutes.
Time for you to try it and do not forget to share in comments below, how this hack has helped you manage your Amazon FBA Inventory in Q4.