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Amazon Launches New Inventory Planning Tools

Storing too much inventory in a warehouse can be costly, just as running out of stock can cost a seller lost revenue. As a retailer itself, Amazon knows this only too well. This week, the company provided a set of tools for its third-party merchants to help them be more efficient when it comes to inventory management.

The Inventory Planning tools are a set of pages designed to show merchants key inventory metrics to help them improve their inventory performance. The feature is only available to Professional sellers.

The tools help Amazon provide selection to shoppers by helping sellers avoid running out of stock. It also helps Amazon utilize storage space in its fulfillment centers by providing sellers with information about products with excess or aged inventory in FBA.

Pro merchants can access the new Inventory Dashboard, Manage Excess Inventory, and FBA Inventory Age pages in Seller Central by going to the Inventory dropdown and selecting Inventory Planning.

Amazon displays the following Key Performance Indicators along the top of the page:

Est lost sales: Your sales run rate multiplied by the number of days the product was out of stock in the last 30 days. This is an estimate of lost sales across all your products in the last 30 days, due to being out of stock. Ensure you have enough inventory on your top-selling products to reduce lost sales.

Percent in-stock: Percentage of time your products have been in-stock over the last 30 days.

Out of stock SKUs: Number of SKUs that went out of stock in the last 30 days. Restock soon to avoid missing sales.

Excess units: Units of inventory greater than the quantity needed to maintain 90 days of supply (or your max desired days of supply, if specified). Promote or reprice these products to help sell through your excess units.

Days in inventory: Days your inventory is expected to last, across all your products.

Turns: Number of times your inventory will sell through annually based on your current inventory and sales rate.

Amazon also provides what it calls feature cards that provide sellers with the following information:

Notifications: This card provides alerts for inventory-related issues that may be affecting your sales. Click an alert to go to the appropriate page where you can see more details and take action.

Manage Excess Inventory: This card displays your products with the most excess inventory (defined as inventory with greater than 90 days of supply or any threshold you choose). Click the card to go to the Manage Excess Inventory page.

FBA Inventory Age: This card shows a breakdown of how long your inventory has been stored at our fulfillment centers. Click the card to go to the FBA Inventory Age view where you can see more details and take action to reduce aged inventory.

Restock Low Inventory: This card shows your products that may run out of stock in the next 28 days based on recent sales trends. Click the card to view additional information.

The inventory planning tools are currently in beta testing.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.