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Instruction

The Power Of Labels

We’ve uploaded a new tutorial on YouTube that gives a quick overview of our new ‘Labeling’ feature that is available inside the Products area.

With Labels you can assign meaningful categories to your products so that you can quickly see how they are performing against each other.

We have pre-seeded your products with Labels based on the categories that Amazon thinks apply to each of your products. You can chose to remove these, or add additional labels of your own. (You can also re-scan the Amazon category labels if you feel you’ve made a mistake!).

As always, we look forward to your help in keeping Zonmaster the best Auto Responder tool for Amazon Sellers but more and more you will see us branching out into other post-sales, financial and listing management areas too! 2021 will be a big year for Zonmaster.

Of course, all features are available at all subscription levels, including the $6.99/month start level! Start your free trial today

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Instruction

5 Ways To Improve Your Listings

As an Amazon Seller – and if you want to be successful at it – you should be constantly focusing on listing quality. Here we’re going to quickly give you 5 key areas that you should be looking at.

We may have said some of these before, but listing quality is the number one factor in what affects your sales and your reviews (because failed expectations are the main reason listings get bad reviews).

1. Always Think Of The Algorithm

Amazon’s latest algorithm update – know as A10 – seems to put the most weight on:

  • Page Impressions
  • Conversions
  • CTR
  • Internal Sales

Having content that has the right keywords drives a lot of this so….

2. Look at Your Backend Attributes

(oh there’s a great joke in that title somewhere!)

Amazon’s backend attributes area lets you enter keywords that strongly affect ranking and discoverability. Backend attributes and Amazon’s focus on filling in “important product information” with the dashboard go hand in hand. It is a good idea to frequently revisit this in the Seller Central listings manager, especially for products you feel aren’t performing as well as they could.

3. Talk Yourself Up

Focus on the features that your customers love and need and brag about them! Don’t overstate (see the comment above about managing expectations) but don’t let the customer click away without knowing what your product does the best.

4. Look The Part

Amazon lets you add photos and video to listings – do it, and make them the best possible images and videos you can to highlight your products features and uses. Answer questions with your images.

Also, the best visual assets will let potential customers easily imagine this product in their own lives. Because of that, show a pic or video of your product in use! Not just boring soft-box product eye candy.

5. Tell A Story – The Readability Factor

We’ve all seen it – product listings that are like someone put a long list of keywords in a blender with some ‘ands’ and ‘ifs’ and then dumped it out on the page.

Amazon’s A10 Algo does detect readability. Write your listing like it’s a blog post or a story or a conversation with a potential customer. Point #3 above said to talk about your good points – but don’t over do it. Be friendly, not a used-car salesman.

Your listing is a perfect chance to present your brand and brand personality. Don’t throw that away.

When you have made the sale, don’t forget your after-sales responsibilities. There’s no better choice that Zonmaster as a way of communicating with your customers and monitoring your reviews and feedback. Start your free trial today and see for yourself!

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Updates

Changes to the Zonmaster Product Page

We have quite an exhaustive (and exhausting!) list of updates to Zonmaster in our 2021 Roadmap. We’ve seen some changes already, but the latest is part 1 of our improvements to the Products listing.

What’s Changed

Simplified Line Listing

We have removed some of the more confusing columns to focus on the essentials.

Orders Chart

With the extra space we have added an inline orders graph that shows you the number of orders broken down by day for the past 30 days. We also show you the total number of orders in the past 30 days and the total number of units ordered. You can sort on these too!

Labels

Initially we are generating labels for your products based on the Amazon categories that your product is sold in.

Coming soon will be customized label adding and editing.

Label Filtering

Apart from the pretty colors, there’s not much point to adding labels if you can’t filter on them. On the products page is a ‘tag cloud’ showing your Top Labels (up to 25). This area is clickable and clicking on the label will filter the page to only show those products with the appropriate label.

Clickable Graph

You can now click on the Sales Chart at the top of the page to go to the product in question.

Financial Data [Coming Soon]

We will be adding sales figures to the line listing soon, so you can see the income related to each product. This will be part of our new financial features upgrade that will be coming in Q2 2021.

Also included in the Financials upgrade will be more comprehensive Cost of Goods (COGs) features that will also be shown on the products line.

We are always looking to improve Zonmaster and give you the best after-sales product out there for Amazon Sellers. We add all these features and they all come included in your subscription, regardless of which subscription plan you are on!

Start your Free Trial today and join the over 17,000 Amazon Sellers who have signed up for our services.

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Instruction

8 Tips for Selling Internationally

Selling Globally

During this seemingly never-ending Covid19 pandemic people around the world are turning to online shopping. If you are focused purely on Amazon.com and the American market you are missing out on the huge opportunity of selling globally, the likes of which we have not seen in eCommerce since the early days of online shopping.

How big?

Europe is the second largest economy (based on GDP) in the world, and with just a few clicks Amazon lets you access that marketplace. In this article we are going to cover some of the reasons why you should be selling globally and some top tips on how to go about doing it.

First: Why?

Profits

eCommerce reports predict non-US shopping trends to have a 5x increase in the next 5 years. With the right budget, product, and optimization, you can successfully launch a product and get your slice of the pie.

Ease of Selling

Amazon provides FBA in all of the world’s major marketplaces. Selling in Germany (or Japan or Australia) is no more difficult than selling in the US – ship your products to an FBA warehouse and let Amazon do the rest.

Build International Listing (BIL) Tool

As if FBA didn’t make it easy enough, Amazon also offers the BIL tool. BIL allows you to manage offers for multiple marketplaces all from one main marketplace. Once you make changes to your offers, BIL automatically scans for qualifying listings in other markets and updates them for you. It is designed to save you time and money, as you don’t need to update each individual market separately.

The Tips

If you are now motivated to give international selling a try, let’s look at some top tips for a successful launch.

1. Find The Right Product

Not every product translates well to a new marketplace. Investigate marketplaces just like you did when you chose your first Amazon.com products. Look at what sells, what reviews say and what fits your budget.

Don’t forget to do keyword research in the marketplace as well!

2. Find The Right Supplier

Every market has its own special needs when it comes to product manufacturing. On top of that, different suppliers have different understandings of local packing/product requirements. That means you need to find a reliable product supplier capable of manufacturing to your specific requirements.

3. Hire A Local

Perhaps it goes without saying, but, if you are putting a listing on Amazon Japan you need to have your listing in Japanese. Or German for Germany, Italian for Italy, etc etc.

Despite advances in machine translation, do not be tempted to simply translate your English listing using Google Translate and post it. First of all, the translation will be horrible (sorry Google!). Second, it is not just the words, it is the meaning. Different cultures will want to focus on different aspects and the best way to bridge this gap is to hire a native speaker of the your target language and someone who lives in the target country. A freelancer can even help you identify unique cultural pain points you didn’t think of.

4. Use Single Sign On (SSO)

It’s easy to get tangled up with numerous seller accounts spread over different regions. SSO eliminates that problem by providing you with one spot to sign-on, using only one username/password. From there, you can choose which marketplace you want to look at. 

SSO currently supports the following markets: North America, Europe, Japan and India. In order to do this, you must:

  1. Sign into your Seller Central account.
  2. Link your seller accounts by going to the Inventory tab, and clicking on “Sell Globally.”
  3. If you have an eligible seller account, it will appear here along with a “Link Accounts” button. Select which account you want to connect, and click it.
  4. If you do not have any eligible seller accounts, Amazon will give you the option of creating one and then linking it.

5. Use The BIL Tool For One-Stop Listings Management

As mentioned previously, Amazon’s BIL lets you manage multiple listings from one marketplace. You simply link the parent from your existing marketplace to the listing in your target marketplace. BIL will then go and automatically edit the child listings for you, as long as they actually exist. 

For access to BIL you need the following:

  • Have a Professional Seller account in good standing.
  • Operate linked accounts between regions.
  • Run a North American and/or European Unified account if you intend on selling in either places.

You should be aware that even using BIL you need to:

  • Manage inventory levels for marketplaces
  • Ensure your product meets local regulations for packaging.
  • You must manually remove listings in the individual marketplaces if you wish to suspend them.

6. Choose Your Fulfillment Type

For selling Amazon products from the USA to the UK, you have to take a deep look at your business’ needs. There are multiple ways to sell within the EU market. Here are the options:

  • European Fulfillment Network (EFN) is tailored towards less experienced sellers. In this type, Amazon covers all of your logistical needs. You ship all your items to one warehouse, and Amazon takes care of shipping them across borders in exchange for a fee.
  • Pan-European Fulfillment (PEF) is for sellers who deal with large volumes of products. You ship everything to Amazon and they store it in a warehouse closest to where they predict the most customers will buy it. You do not pay any fees for shipping across borders.
  • Multi Country Inventory (MCI) lets sellers choose which country they want to ship their product to. They can divide things up as they see fit, with a maximum of 5 countries allowed. 

7. Look Into FBA Export

FBA Export is slightly different – it lets you ship internationally from a single location. Under this option, Amazon stores everything in one US warehouse and ships products to international buyers for you. 

The benefit of FBA Export is that anyone, anywhere who has access to Amazon can buy from you. With over 60 countries all purchasing from your market, there’s a lot of growth potential. 

8. Use Zonmaster

Of course, Zonmaster lets you manage all your customer contacts and review management (and more!) regardless of what or how many marketplaces you sell in around the world. Zonmaster supports ALL Amazon marketplaces, from Europe to North America to Australia to Asia. All in a single Zonmaster account – yes, even the ones starting at $6.99 a month!

Start your free trial today! We have some exciting new features coming soon that will change the way you work!

Categories
News

Let’s Talk About Fake Reviews

Amazon is facing a constant battle to deal with fake reviews on the marketplace. In an amazing piece of investigative journalism, the UK’s consumer champion, Which? – a not-for-profit organization based that is 100% independent and focuses on revealing online (and offline) scams – has released it’s finding.

The Size of the Problem

Which? easily found 10 sites that offer Amazon reviews for money. These companies have over 1 million(!!!) people offering reviews. Reviews can cost as low as $7 (£5). Sellers can sign up for the services and choose from a range of packages and services.

Which? signed up with several of these sites and posed as sellers. They also discovered Rebate sites (get a product for free if you write a review) offer similar services.

For Buyers: Spotting Fake Reviews

Check the Location – Amazon now posts on reviews where the buyer who left the review was from.

Beware Unknown Brands with lots of positive reviews

Check the Language – watch for weird spellings and punctuation.

Check the content – sometimes listings are hijacked so see if the reviews actually mention anything about the product

Watch for lots of images – fake review sites (ironically) often request that reviewers post an image. But real reviewers rarely do this. Watch out for listings with an unusually high number of images in the reviews.

What You As A Seller Should Know

Obviously, buying reviews or doing anything to stimulate positive reviews in exchange for something is against Amazon’s Terms of Service. If discovered your account will be closed.

Things not to do:

The 7 most common transgressions

  1. Using your account or that of a competitor or customer to post, edit, or retract a review. 
  2. Offering compensation of any kind to facilitate reviews.
  3. Requesting a positive review, rather than any kind of review, either directly or through packaging and box inserts.
  4. Engaging with fake reviewers, even if the need for a review is never mentioned but rather implied (closed social media groups, review websites and clubs, etc.).
  5. Contacting a negative reviewer to offer compensation, even if there’s no mention of retracting the review in return.
  6. Asking buyers to contact you before posting a negative review, but encouraging positive reviews to be posted.
  7. Creating product variations to accumulate reviews from existing products.

Repercussions

Amazon is fighting a battle over fake reviews and here are some of the things that can happen to you as a seller if you are caught doing it.

  1. Suspension – your account will be frozen and if you have inventory in FBA that will be destroyed
  2. Legal Action – Amazon has taken legal action against sellers based in the EU and the US caught review tampering
  3. FTC legal action – in serious cases the US Federal Trade Commission also takes separate legal action against the seller.
  4. Buyer Legal Action – several cases of Consumer action have been brought before the courts

Getting Legitimate Reviews

There are legitimate ways to get reviews of course. The best way is to use the Request Review Feature.

Using Zonmaster you can automate Amazon’s own ‘Request Review’ feature. This will automatically ask your buyers to leave a review at the right time.

Start your free trial today!

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Instruction

Buy Box Demystified

It’s an interesting dilemma. Amazon has one page per product/ASIN. But there may be multiple sellers offering the same product. How to choose who is the ‘highlighted’ seller?

The ‘highlight’ is called the buy box, and the highlighted seller is known as ‘winning the buy box’. Winning the buy box has a HUGE impact on sales. Over 90% of purchases on Amazon are made through the buy box.

In this article we’ll take an in-depth look at the buy box and what you can do to win it.

How Does Amazon Pick The Winner?

Amazon uses AI to model what it thinks a user would do to choose a top buyer for a product. It does this by asking a series of questions.

  • Which offer has the best price?
  • Which offers are in stock and are Prime?
  • Which ships the fastest?
  • Does the seller have positive feedback and reviews?
  • Does the seller have enough stock to fufill the entire purchase?

It therefore goes without saying that you need to pay attention to these factors (and more) to win the box. We have another article about account health that can help.

Being Eligible for the Buy Box

To be eligible for the buy box you must have an account in good-standing Professional Seller account (if you aren’t a pro-seller then you can only win no-competition buy boxes).

If you’re a Professional seller, you can determine if individual items are eligible for the Buy Box by going to Manage Inventory in Seller Central, clicking Preferences, and selecting Buy Box Eligible in order to display eligibility in the Manage Inventory grid. 

What Steps Can You Take To Increase Your Chances of Winning the Buy Box?

Competitively Price Your Listings

Price is an important factor in winning the buy box – but it is not always about the lowest price! As stated above, price is just one factor in Amazon’s decision making process.

You should investigate Automated Pricing to help you in this area. Amazon has their own Automated Pricing Tool inside of Seller Central and there are also third-party companies that offer a similar service.

Seller Central offers a very lightweight repricing solution for sellers just starting out with repricing. Its Buy Box rule lets you price below the current Buy Box winner by any amount that you set. This works well if you are a smaller seller who has consistent competition and you know how much you have to beat them by in order to capture the Buy Box. 

Third-party rule-based pricing works in much the same way but typically gives you more options to choose from. You’ll often be able to change how you compete based on the competition’s fulfillment type or ratings, what to do when you’re the only seller for a product, and how to react when a product isn’t eligible for the Buy Box. 

Faster and or Free Shipping

We covered this extensively in another article, but, to summarize:

Fast – and ideally free – shipping increases conversions, average order value (AOV), marketplace benefits and customer loyalty.

The easiest way to offer great shipping options is to be use Amazon’s own FBA service. Being part of Amazon Prime also helps!

Focus On Customer Service

Amazon measures Customer service in a variety of ways, including (but not only)

  • Negative Feedback (note: not Product Reviews, but Seller Feedback)
  • A-to-Z Guarantee Claims
  • Credit Card Chargebacks

In Amazon-speak this is know as the Order Defect Rate.

You have to keep this under 1%. Over 1% and you risk account deactivation! Monitor your Seller Feedback and Product Reviews using Zonmaster to stay on top of this.

For the buy box specifically, keep your Cancellation Rate below 2.5%. And if you have decided to not use FBA, make sure your Late Shipment Rate is below 4%.

Keep Inventory Levels

Check your inventory levels to make sure you can fulfill orders. You can do this with either the Amazon Selling Coach or even inside of Zonmaster – where we are looking to launch inventory alerts in the near future!

There’s Not Always A Winner

In extreme cases, Amazon might remove the buy box from a listing page – even if there are sellers offering the item with it in stock. If you ever see that (as a buyer) you know that none of those sellers are what Amazon considers good! Don’t fall into this trap!

With an overwhelming percentage of sales happening through the Buy Box because of its prime page real estate and easy checkout flow, it should be one of the primary metrics you track for the health of your Amazon account. If you have the margin to play around with prices and you can use an automated repricer, you are going to have a leg up on the competition. But if you don’t, remember that there are many other factors at play in earning that coveted spot. Putting effort into improving all of them will go a long way towards securing your share of Buy Box wins.

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Instruction

7 Tips To Finding Suppliers in Asia

Back in the heady days before Covid19 (remember them?), if you were serious about sourcing products from China or other Asian countries you would have got on a plane and gone to one of the major trade fairs in China or Singapore designed to help you connect.

Now that getting on a plane for 18 hours has lost its appeal, let’s look at other ways you can connect with reputable sellers in Asia.

Alibaba

The behemoth in the market is of course Alibaba. Formed in 1999 by Jack Ma and friends from his apartment in Hangzhou, Alibaba has rocketed up to a valuation of over $75 Billion (yes, with a B). Alibaba, unlike other sites like eBay and so on, was built from the ground up to be a B2B (business to business) connector site. It is the biggest database of Chinese factories on earth.

But, it is not JUST Chinese factories. You can filter on location, and often non-Chinese suppliers will be better priced and more hungry for your contract. Of course, quality varies from supplier to supplier (you should always get a sample), but multi-million dollar businesses have been built on little more than a search on Alibaba.

GlobalSources.com

A rival to Alibaba, GlobalSources.com also has an impressive database of Chinese and Asian suppliers. Some suppliers ONLY list here (citing better rates than Alibaba), so it is definitely worth adding this to your list of places to check when you want to find interesting products to sell on Amazon, or a factory partner to develop your own idea.

HKTDC (Hong Kong Trade Development Council)

HKTDC have a great website that includes a section on sourcing suppliers and partners. This is often overlooked by the beginner, but the site has a lot of resources that are worth reading to become familiar with the region and the marketplace.

They also have a great list of upcoming events, both in Hong Kong and internationally. Sign up for their newsletter to get updates.

Industry Newsletters

Every industry and sector has a governing body, or more than one, and many of these produce online newsletters or have a mailing list where they talk about industry news. If you are, for example, interested in producing or sourcing toys then you could look at something like the ‘China Toy & Juvenile Products Association’ and sign up for their mailings.

Again, treat this as what it is – your business. Becoming familiar with the industry and the community around not the consumers but the manufacturers will give you great insight into the process.

Trade Shows

Even though many trade shows are now on hold due to the pandemic, many of them still have websites or hold online versions of the show. There are general trade fairs, industry specific trade fairs and also trade fairs aimed directly at helping you find a supplier that is Amazon-friendly!

Some to look at are:

The list is pretty much endless!

Agents

There are agents who can help you find suppliers. Often they are American companies with Chinese offices (or Chinese companies with American offices!) and have good contacts with local Chinese suppliers.

Definitely be wary here and do test runs before any big purchases. Also once you settle on an agent, ask around to see what others say.

Importer Databases

This used to be an expensive option, with companies like Zepol charging thousands to get a look into their database. But with companies like ImportGenius coming online the price of admission has dropped dramatically.

Definitely worth a look at if you want to see who is bringing what into the US.

Buyer Services

Many of the major sourcing websites also offer a companion buyer service that will look for local Chinese suppliers and factories that match the criteria you supply. Often this is a good, cheap alternative that can be done in parallel – without obligation – with your own sourcing and research

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Instruction

Why You Need 2-day Delivery

Let’s face it, we’re spoiled. The more we, as customers, get into the eCommerce revolution the more we expect not only great selection and value from the comfort of our own home, we also expect great speed in getting our purchases.

Amazon has pushed speed and efficiency as important factors and its customers agree.

In this article we’ll look at why fast shipping matters and how to get it, regardless of what kind of Amazon seller you are.

The Reasons You Need Fast Shipping

It is not only customer expectations that benefit from fast shipping. It’s proven that your business metrics improve as well.

Fast – and ideally freeshipping increases conversions, average order value (AOV), marketplace benefits and customer loyalty.

Let’s take a look at these points

Customer Conversions

Customers are more likely to buy from fast shippers because they want instant gratification. The reasons for this can be multifaceted – of course they want the thing they are buying asap, but also getting something free and fast gives that sense of VIP treatment. Free and fast shipping has been show to increase conversion rates up to 300%

Average Order Value (AOV)

Fast and free shipping with a threshold motivates customers to add more items to their shopping cart. The customers want to get to the free threshold and will add items to get there. Often they will add even more because they see they’ve already reached free, so why get something else!

Marketplace Benefits

Amazon likes sellers who sell. The more you sell, the more they like you. Because free and fast shipping increases conversions it has a direct effect of pushing you upwards in 2 key areas:

  1. Organic Search – more conversions is proven to help with search ranking.
  2. Winning the Buy Box – fast delivery directly impacts winning the buy box

Customer Loyalty

Jeff Bezos coined this term ‘The Flywheel Effect’ which is a positive cycle for your business in which customers return, unprompted, to buy from you because they had a great experience. Features like 2-day delivery greatly motivate people to return to you, especially if you are selling consumables that need to be replaced.

How To Provide 2-Day Shipping

Here let’s look at the 3 basic scenarios – merchant fulfilled, marketplace fulfilled, and 3-rd part fulfilled.

Merchant Fulfilled

This involves using your own space and pick, pack and posting your own orders. There are pros and cons to this.

Pros

Control

You have control over the entire fulfillment process, from how much inventory you store and the shipping carriers used to where you invest money and cut corners. 

Seller Fulfilled Prime Badge

If you can maintain service level agreements, you may be eligible for marketplace fast tags through your in-house fulfillment.

Cons

Space

You need a lot of space to maintain inventory and have a good area to efficiently pack and store while waiting for pickup.

Cost

You pay for all fulfillment costs, including warehouse space, insurance, wages, heating, cooling, shipping, and packaging.

Marketplace Fulfillment i.e FBA

FBA of course is the easy option, but is not without it’s drawbacks. It can be unreliable, and you are without recourse if it is. It can also be expensive.

On the upside, often the shipping fees are less than what you as an independent can negotiate. Also is the benefit of being part of Amazon Prime, which gives a boost to sales.

Third Party Fulfillment

Outsourcing 2-day deliveries to a fulfillment company involves handing over your entire fulfillment process to a fulfillment service, including storing, picking, packing, and shipping. 

It is a lot like using FBA, but just with a different company.

As always, there are pros and cons.

The major con is the cost, which can be higher than either FBA or MFN, depending on the products you are selling. Also be away that some third party fulfilment services may not be able to scale with you! Stay on top of this as you grow.

The major pro is if you are also selling in other marketplaces like Walmart or eBay you can use the same company to fulfill.

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Instruction

Getting More from Amazon Advertising PPC

Without a doubt, good use of Amazon PPC advertising can boost both sales and organic ranking. This can make a huge difference – if done right.

In this article let’s take a look at some top tips on boosting your Amazon Pay Per Click results.

Use Auto Campaign

Amazon makes entering the PPC space relatively painless by having an automatic PPC campaign generator, where they will suggest the best keywords to use for your product. If you already have keywords on your listing’s back end search terms Amazon will include those, but they will also supply what might be some surprising suggestions!

Start With Small Bids

Regardless of whether you use an automatic PPC campaign or roll your own, start with a low bid of 50¢ per keyword. This gives you a good starting point to monitor performance. Gradually increase your bids by 10¢ or so each week, monitoring the changes.

Smaller bids mean bigger profits (it’s better to spend 50¢ on getting a sale than $3!), and you might not need to throw away the extra money.

Research Those Keywords

We’ve got another article on here about keywords where we talk about how to find them. Using the tools mentioned should get you a big list to choose from. Once you have your list, set up a manual Amazon PPC campaign with a budget between $5 and $10 and closely monitor the performance.

Measure

It can’t be said enough – you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.

Pick a time every week to sit for 30 minutes to an hour and check all of your product’s spend and return. Doing it at the same time every week gives you an easy way to compare numbers.

Don’t underestimate the power of metrics!

Build on Auto Campaigns

One of the great things about about Amazon’s auto-campaigns is that you can see the performance of keywords and mine those for your own custom campaigns.

Set up a new auto-campaign and move over profitable keywords from your low-bid auto campaign as clear winners start to emerge.

Do this weekly, along with your review mentioned above.

Listing Optimization

Not technically part of the PPC campaign, but, ensuring your listing is as optimized as possible will push through conversions.

As a reminder – we cover optimizing in some other articles – check that your photos, title and description are good enough and contain some good keywords.

A/B Test Pricing

Small changes in pricing can mean big changes in sales numbers. Test your pricing frequently. Cheaper does not always mean more sales (there’s a whole psychology behind pricing that maybe we’ll write an article about!). Sometimes you will get more sales by RAISING your price (and sometimes even raising it a lot).

Experiment!

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Instruction

FBA Inventory Performance Index (IPI) – What You Need To Know

Amazon is constantly working to tweak its FBA efficiency and increase its warehouse space. But it does prioritize certain sellers.

Last year Amazon announced that it was increasing the Inventory Performance Index (IPI) threshold that would avoid storage limits. That IPI number went from 400 to 500.

That’s nice, but what is the IPI? Lets take a look at it.

Amazon and Storage Limits

As of August, 2020, FBA storage limits are not applied to professional sellers with an IPI of 500 or higher. Storage limits are also not applied to new sellers who have been active for 6 months or less.

If you do fall below an IPI of 500 and have been a professional seller for 6 months or more you will be limited in your FBA storage. Limits vary and are calculated on a combination of:

  • Your past IPI scores
  • Sales Volume
  • Available space in fulfillment centers

Your limits are updated every quarter, so even if you make some changes or improve your IPI nothing will change until the next quarter.

How is the Inventory Performance Index Calculated?

This, unfortunately, is some Amazon secret sauce that we cannot see the recipe for!

But Amazon does give us some insight into it by listing four areas on your Inventory Performance Dashboard.

Excess Inventory Percentage

The problem here is the definition of ‘excess’! Amazon’s view might vary greatly from yours. Excess is determined by Amazon to mean ‘units unlikely to sell in the current quarter’.

This can be because they are new listings (so Amazon has no idea if they will sell) or because you aren’t selling as many as you have in stock. For the sake of your IPI one thing you can do is drop the price on these items to get them moving. Once a good sales history is established Amazon is more forgiving of inventory. Or you can choose to have that inventory sent back to you and out of Amazon’s warehouse.

Amazon does let you know of the dashboard which are the offending items, so you can get a clear picture of what you need to do.

FBA Sell-Through

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon rewards sellers that are constantly moving inventory. Your FBA sell-through rate is calculated by the dividing the number of units sold and shipped over the last 90 days by the average number of units available in the warehouse.

The break down that rate like this:

  • < 1.0 = Poor
  • 1.0 to 2.0 = Fair
  • 2.0 to 7.0 = Good
  • > 7.0 = Excellent

Again, if you have slow moving items then either pull some or all of the inventory out of Amazon or reduce the price.

Stranded Inventory Percentage

Stranded Inventory is when you have items in the warehouse but the listing is not active. Stranded inventory is basically money sitting on the sidelines, so this should be a key metric that you look at!

FBA In-Stock Rate

Kind of the inverse of Stranded Inventory, this number tells you if people bought your product but it was not in stock. Not only do people not like waiting for their purchases, Amazon penalizes you big time if you don’t have items in stock (and are selling FBA of course).

Fix and Wait

Because IPI and storage limits are calculated only quarterly, it can be frustrating to be in a position of needing to fix it. We strongly recommend keeping on top of your inventory performance by frequently checking the Amazon Dashboard