How Do You Eat an FBA Elephant?

Opportunity eyes are often too big to stomach.

A few years ago I tried to eat an elephant in one bite. A terrific opportunity was presented to me by a vendor that I simply could not pass up. Wanting to capitalize on the opportunity, I sent in two semis of product to Amazon FBA directly from our vendor. It was amazing to be able to send that level of product right to FBA and not lay a finger on it. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, pretty much everything went wrong. First, I relied on the vendor to properly ship the product to Amazon, which did not happen. While they were the shipper, the inbound issues ultimately reflected on my account.  

Next, when the product did finally arrive at the various Amazon warehouses, it took a very long time to become available for sale. I don't blame Amazon. In fact, I thank them for working through what must have been a nightmare to process. A long month later, our product was finally available for sale.

Sadly, we missed our window of opportunity. 60% of the dollar value of the inventory we sent in had to ultimately be pulled back to our warehouse, as it was aging and needed to be removed from FBA by that point.

It was the most expensive “opportunity” I ever took advantage of and it was all my fault. I wanted things to be easy and overlooked all the red flags.

Now, I eat the elephant one bite at a time. When building an FBA inventory position, our team looks to take on bite sized pieces. We split our inventory shipments across multiple days and weeks. That way, if one shipment is delayed, it does not take us out of the game.

Almost every day we send in product from our warehouse to Amazon and have been very happy with the results. FBA inventory is healthy and our metrics are predictable. Additionally, when using this approach, the time to check in product at Amazon is amazingly fast and accurate.



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