Whether you’re new to selling on the Amazon marketplace or you’re a veteran seller, you’ll undoubtedly make some mistakes along the way. Some seller mistakes can cost you time, some can cost you money, and some can actually result in you being suspended from selling on Amazon, such as poor Amazon inventory management.
The following are ten of the most common mistakes Amazon sellers make. Try to avoid them at all costs.
1. Incorrect Pricing and Inventory Quantities
Listings and inventory quantities on Amazon go live almost immediately. There isn’t a way for new sellers to practice listing skills beforehand. So you must be careful to list your inventory accurately – if you don’t have inventory, indicate zero; if you do have inventory, list the quantity exactly.
It’s also important to make sure your prices are listed correctly. It has happened that sellers have accidentally entered a very low price and their products sold out quickly, costing them thousands of dollars. Using Amazon inventory software is the best way to keep your listings updated and prevent out-of-stock situations.
2. Items Not Matching Descriptions
It’s easy on Amazon to match existing product listings to the product you’re selling. Remember to pay very close attention if you do that. You must ensure that your listing reflects exactly what you’re selling as well as match with the correct Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). If your buyers receive products that are almost the same as what your listing shows, they may complain and you risk suspension for not matching your listing to the right product.
3. Ignoring Policy Changes
When you receive an email or other notification that Amazon has changed a policy, don’t just skim over it and hit delete. It’s important that you read it thoroughly, and see if the changes apply to you. It will only take a few minutes to read it, and most changes are minor so implementing them to remain in compliance doesn’t usually take very long. Doing so can keep you from being suspended or terminated.
4. Not Having a Clear Return Policy
It’s inevitable that at some point you will have a customer who wants to return a product to you. It’s important that you clearly state your return policy so buyers are aware and they can make an informed decision prior to buying. You don’t want to get into a back-and-forth interaction with your customer that causes a complaint or negative feedback.
5. Not Gathering Feedback
The Seller Performance and Product Quality department on Amazon monitors sellers’ feedback for every sale, for quality (rating) and quantity (usually around 5 percent of sales get feedback). If you fall too low in either, your account may be suspended. You may want to consider getting a provider to help you with requesting feedback – there are several out there including Feedback Genius and FeedbackFive.
6. Not Responding to Customers Promptly
When an Amazon customer sends you an inquiry, you have 24 hours to respond, regardless of whether or not it is a weekend or holiday. If you don’t reply within the acceptable timeframe, you get admonished by Amazon. If it happens too many times, your account can be suspended. So reply to inquiries promptly, even if the inquiry or issue cannot be handled immediately.
7. Fulfillment Mistakes
If you are a new seller and you are doing your own order fulfillment, it’s easy to make mistakes. You may be a little late shipping an order, forget to provide tracking information to Amazon, or – perish the thought – you oversell and have to cancel an order.
It’s important to have your order fulfillment under control from the beginning. You may want to think about using the Fulfillment by Amazon program, look into automated dropshipping, a different 3PL, or a combination of all three.
8. Not Using the Right Tools
Not having enough inventory. The worst scenario is running out of a hot-selling product and not being able to order more until you get paid. There are various financing options available for online sellers. Don’t let lack of funds be the reason you aren’t making money. Just be careful and don’t over borrow and get stuck with too much inventory. Forecasting is important when looking into financing inventory.
9. Competing Against Amazon
Before you buy or list any inventory on Amazon, check to see if Amazon Retail sells the products. Competing against Amazon Retail will likely be a losing battle, because it controls its own ability to win the sale, sometimes even at a loss. You can look at Keepa.com to see if the product you want to sell is already on Amazon Retail, and then list accordingly.
10. Becoming Complacent
It can be easy to stop monitoring and analyzing your business status and metrics – especially when things are going well. But it often takes time for differences to appear, so it’s important that you stay on top of things, even when your business is prospering. As a result, you’ll be able to capitalize on trends and work on areas that need improvement long before they become a problem.
Amazon inventory management requires a lot of trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and then making adjustments. However, being aware of some of the common mistakes will help you to avoid any major catastrophes. The main thing about understanding amazon inventory management is to get help where you can, stay on top of things, and sell great products while providing great customer service, and watch your business grow.