With spring and tax time upon us, it’s a great time to clean up your account, tie up loose ends and generally get caught up with documents and record keeping. Below is a list of 10 steps towards overhauling your business so you can start anew fresh and organized.
End Old Listings
Ending old listings not only simplifies your inventory list and gets rid of your 1-off listings that you have no plans on replenishing but it also prevents you from the possibility of future issues with Amazon. Everyday, items are changed to Hazmat or restricted status and it’s better to head those potential problems off by deleting old listings.
Get caught up on cases that need to be filed for reimbursement. Remember to check that customer returns are actually returned, that you are reimbursed for items that are distributor or warehouse damaged as well as for those that Amazon destroys (without you requesting it). In addition, check for unreconciled shipments that are erroneously closed without having provided reimbursements. There are several companies that you can hire to do this for you, such as Refunds Manager and www.amazonreimbursement.com. Or you can do it yourself (or have a Virtual Assistant do it for you) after reading a guide such as the one written by Ryan Grant which can be purchased here: https://transactions.sendowl.com/products/386637/CFF5394D/purchase?r=22014
Purge Stale Inventory
Take a look at your remaining inventory, particularly the inventory that has been sitting forever and start making a game plan for purging it. If it has the potential to sell, reprice it at a more competitive price to get it moving. You can also move a lot of that inventory by using Sellbrite or JoeLister to cross market the Amazon items on eBay (and on Bonanza by syncing your eBay account). If it’s literally not going to ever sell, decide whether you want to just destroy it or have it returned to you. Destroying it of course remedies the problem immediately but in many occasions you’ll probably want to recover at least some sort of money from the items.
There are many options for dumping the excess inventory you’ve had returned to you. The first, most obvious way to get a few bucks from it would be to list it on another marketplace such as eBay or Bonanza. However, if you’re like me you may not want to deal with listing and shipping it yourself – particularly if you have a large volume of products to get rid of. So one option would be to use a high end online consignment shop like “Linda’s Stuff”. They have a HUGE online consignment store run through eBay. Of all of your consignment options they pay the most but unfortunately you might have to wait several months for a payout and the brands they will accept are very limited, expensive brands. They do allow you to send in 5 boxes at a time – no more than 20 lbs per box (prepaid postage). After they are processed and listed on eBay you can send in additional boxes.
Another option would be to look for local consignment shops. While some will only pay you after the items sell, many will pay out immediate cash. Look for chain stores such as Plato’s Closet & the Clothes Mentor who accept mid-range brands (they post accepted brands on their websites) and pay you on the spot. If you really want to get the most bang for your buck you could take the items they don’t accept and drag them over to a different store as many times they have locations in close vicinity to one another.
A third option would be an online consignment Web store like ThredUp. You order a “Clean Out Kit” which is a large poly bag with pre-paid shipping. You can usually stuff 30-35 items in it, if you’re proficient at packing. They only accept women’s and children’s clothing and the website does mention that on average they accept or pay you for around 40% of what you send in. You can also choose donation or return (for a fee) of unaccepted items. They’ll send you a receipt for your tax records if you do choose to donate.
A final option would be Donation or yard sale for your leftovers. Consider the time invested however, if you go the yard sale route. For the most part, the time invested in running one is not worth the financial outcome.
Check For Suppressed Listings
Though you should do this more often, now is a good time to check for suppressed listings. These are listings that aren’t fully complying with Amazon’s listing policies and are therefore suppressed from being searchable. In seller central, visit manage inventory and click on the suppressed inventory link at the top. Fix the listings by clicking edit and complying with requests ranging from fixing the image to adding a category.
Remove Defective Or Customer Damaged Inventory
Now is a good time to remove or destroy defective and customer damaged inventory. You’ll have to decide whether it’s better to just destroy the item or whether you’ll pay the fee to have it returned. Occasionally however the defective or damaged item doesn’t actually have anything wrong with it, so it’s advantageous to have it returned to you for further inspection. If nothing is actually wrong (perhaps the customer falsified the return reason, etc) you may be able to send it right back to the warehouse. If it’s a clothing item it might simply need a new poly bag. And of course if it really is defective or damaged you might be able to recover some of the money you’ve invested by sending it into Amazon as used (if applicable) or by getting rid of it through eBay or consignment.
Get Caught Up On Accounting & Paperwork
Particularly because it’s tax time, now is a good time to get caught up on accounting. Rather than waiting until the end of the year, go through January – April’s records right now. Square up your bookkeeping, file your receipts, enter your cost of goods, check that all your credit cards are paid up. Also go through your coupons, promo codes, reward certificates and gift cards. Note expiration dates, remaining balances, etc. and add them to your calendar as a reminder to use them rather than lose them.
Go Through Your Replens List
While it’s best to do this much more often, if you’ve neglected your repens list, now is the time to go back and review it. Go through seller central and set replen alerts for all inventory you planning on replenishing over and over again. While you’re setting alerts, reorder anything that is still profitable. You can also subscribe to replen tracking services like forecast.ly which are amazing for tracking buy costs, forecasting how quickly items are selling and alerting you when reordering is necessary.
Check For Stranded Inventory
Unlisted inventory isn’t going to sell itself. So it’s important to ensure that your stranded inventory gets listed. For whatever reason, occasionally you’ll have items either with no listings or that haven’t been converted from merchant fulfilled to fulfilled by Amazon. And of course you’ll also have damaged or defective items there as well. So in seller central, click on manage inventory and visit the stranded inventory link near the top and take action. Remove, destroy or relist inventory accordingly.
Search For Blocked Listings
Occasionally you will be blocked on a listing without warning or communication. This is an issue that needs to be immediately addressed. While it’s better to search for blocked listings more frequently, now is as good a time as any to seek them out and resolve any issues. Open a case if you have questions about the block, removed all affected inventory and delete any blocked listings.
Review Customer Feedback
Yet another task that is best accomplished on a weekly or monthly basis, but use this time of Spring cleaning to get caught up. Review feedback that warrants attention – basically anything affecting your metrics to see if anything can be resolved or if certain comments can be removed. You can even subscribe to services such as Feedback Repair and they will take care of this issue for you.
In closing, now is a fantastic time to clean up your account and get yourself organized for the duration of the year. Complete these tasks now rather than later to set yourself up for success and prosperity.
Brianna Moller Greene
Co-owner of Elite Product Sourcing: www.eliteproductsourcing.com
At Elite Product Sourcing we offer an array of services to aid Amazon FBA sellers in locating products to purchase and reseller in various online marketplaces. Our staff is comprised of part-time and full-time Amazon and eBay sellers with extensive experience in selling products in online marketplaces. With over 30 years of active experience and millions of dollars in sales, our product finding specialists are extremely well versed in analyzing marketplace trends and locating profitable products.
Co-owner of VA Rentals: www.va.rentals
Whether you have a small or large job you need to accomplish you can “rent” one of our VA’s services for a wide variety of tasks. We currently have VAs available for Merch by Amazon t-shirt designs and for OA product sourcing. And soon we will have options available for creating new listings, Amazon account maintenance, filing for reimbursements, SEO/keyword optimization and website design. Our VA team is ready and waiting to help you grow & automate your business. Time equals money so do yourself a favor and outsource.