There are many mixed opinions on this recent announcement from Amazon regarding the new Inventory Storage Limits. Beginning April 22, 2021, inventory levels are no longer going to be at the ASIN level but instead, storage-type level for sellers. So, what exactly does that mean?
In July 2020, Amazon updated its policy to limit stored inventory based on the number of units allowed for a specific ASIN. Each unique ASIN would have a maximum that wouldn't affect what you could or couldn't send for other ASINs. Amazon implemented this procedure to control products arriving in Amazon FCs at the beginning of the pandemic to accommodate sellers and essential products.
Fast-forward to Spring 2021, and the policies have changed once again. Based on their recent announcement, Amazon's per ASIN restriction is no longer in effect. However, inventory is now capped based on your selling and inventory profile as a whole. Your current stock, IPI score, and sales velocity determine the space available to you. Now, this is where a lot of the mixed opinions come in. Some sellers feel that the end of the 200 unit/ASIN is excellent - more room for more merchandise! While that would have been an ideal outcome, it isn't the case for everybody.
If you're a new seller, you can send more inventory than a seasoned seller with existing stock. Restock limits hinder existing sellers from sending additional merchandise when you already have products in stock. If you have slower selling ASINs that sit longer than others, you'll need to consider having those removed to accommodate the faster-moving inventory. This limit is one of the main reasons why there are so many mixed opinions. The accusations are that these policies neglect the needs of existing sellers and invite new sellers to the marketplace.
With this change, some sellers resort to sending inventory to 3PLs and drip shipping to the FCs. Others are holding stock in their homes and garages. We all know by now that Amazon is an ever-changing operation that requires a lot of patience and adaptation. If you've been a long-term seller, I'm sure you're more than familiar with the constant need to adjust your strategy. That's not to say this is necessarily a good or bad update; it depends on your position and plans for your business. That being said, it's still very early to say if this new rule will stick around - with the amount of backlash, who knows how this policy will unfold!
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May 3, 2021 - Upcoming changes in shipment confirmation: Amazon will validate tracking details (including the carrier name and tracking ID) for all seller-fulfilled orders and show warnings for invalid tracking details.
May 26, 2021 - Change to Returnless Refunds for international seller-fulfilled orders: Effective May 25, 2021, if you fulfill customer orders in the US from a country outside of the US, you must provide a valid US return address (for items under $25).
May 31, 2021 - Extended disbursement reserve period: Sellers who continue to use a bank account from a non-participating PSP after this date will be subject to an extended disbursement reserve period of up to 21 days after the latest estimated delivery date.
June 21, 2021 - Update to Amazon US referral and FBA fees: Amazon is making modest increases (about 2-3% on average) to fulfillment fees, in line with or below industry averages. We will also reduce certain fees, like the returns processing fee.July 15, 2021 - Disbursements stop for non-approved PSP to sellers using non-participating PSPs until they switch to a participating PSP or use a bank account directly issued by a deposit-taking bank
NEW ON AMAZON
A heads up if you haven’t already heard, but Amazon has added a new attribute for ASINs regarding the melting point of each product. It has to do with heat-sensitive products like chocolate, wax-based products, and other meltable items, but the change will be affecting all ASINs - so yes, you too.This new attribute started on April 22, 2021. Amazon listings now require melting point information (if it has one) for every Amazon ASIN. All new ASINs will require this information in the setup process, and if your listing already exists, it will be needed once you update the product listing for any reason.
To help improve the customer experience, we’ve added a melting temperature attribute for ASINs. Starting April 22, 2021, this attribute will be a required step when you fill out information for the following:
These updates are likely due to changing temperatures and Amazon’s ability to provide a temperature-controlled facility so that products aren’t compromised and to ensure that transportation processes are in place to protect meltable products - because nobody wants to receive a box of melted goo in the mail.
TRENDS TO FOLLOW
We've long awaited this, and it's finally here - well, almost. Amazon has always limited the amount of communication sellers could have with their customers, aside from order inquiries, like refunds, mis-ships, and product information. This was likely to control the marketplace's activity and ensure that transactions remain on their platform. But now, Amazon is testing out the waters, and their 0 communication policy might be a thing of the past. Amazon is testing out a new feature for brands to communicate information directly to their customers.
As any brand owner knows, limited communication can damage the potential a business has with its customers. Being able to engage with your customers increases repeat purchases, builds better relationships, and grows sales. Enter Amazon's Customer Engagement Tool - a program available to Brand Registered Sellers who want to connect with their customers better.
With this new feature, sellers will be able to:
One of the great things about this feature is the ability to track and monitor the campaign's impact on the content you send. Not only are you able to deliver information, but you can also measure the strengths and weaknesses of your message. If this is successful, it will be an exciting time to deliver an even more personalized shopping experience on Amazon. This news is HUGE for sellers who have been waiting for an opportunity to invest even more in their relationship with their customers - we can only hope that this program is here to stay.
Go green or go home! A growing number of consumers recognize the importance of supporting environmentally sustainable products and recognizing green practices.
If your products on Amazon fall under this category and you're not registered for the Climate Pledge Program yet, then my friend, you're missing out. This program awards badges to certified products under one of 19 partnered certifiers. When your audience is looking for sustainable products, they can quickly identify you with this badge, putting you in a more significant position for sales!