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FBA Sellers Deride Amazon’s Recommended Holiday Deadlines

FBA Sellers Deride Amazon's Recommended Holiday Deadlines

Amazon sellers who participate in FBA fulfillment service derided its deadlines for getting their inventory to its warehouses in time for the holidays.

Amazon informed sellers in a post on September 30th that they should get their inventory for their most popular products to US fulfillment centers by November 15 in order to ensure they had enough stock available for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“We receive a high volume of shipments during the holiday season, so check your recommended replenishment quantity and plan shipments well ahead of time,” Amazon stated.

It also provided the deadline of December 11 for Christmas orders.

Sellers immediately began posting about several issues they encountered that made them skeptical of the advice. One challenge: caps on how many goods they can send to FBA fulfillment centers. In other words, they can’t get authorization from Amazon to send the amount of inventory they say they need to.

“Will you be raising or eliminating FBA inventory limits so that we can do the thing you’re recommending in this news article,” one seller asked.

“Our max stock decreases each week despite having an IPI over 700 and increasing sales each month,” wrote another.

Another challenge: the amount of time it takes Amazon to check-in the inventory after it’s been received in their warehouses. Some sellers say their inventory sits in Amazon fulfillment centers for weeks or even months before it becomes available for purchase.

“Do the folks coming up with these holiday deadlines have any idea how long it takes to get a shipment received through FBA,” a seller asked. “Who are these people and do they have a pulse on FBA reality? We have shipments showing as “in-transit” in Amazon weeks after our tracking information shows it was already received, and then sitting there for a month waiting to get checked in and received.”

Another seller wrote, “It’s ridiculous to think that any warehouse, let alone the gigantic Amazon ones, could get millions of new items in on Dec 11 and log them and have them ready for Christmas delivery. I don’t know who wrote up this announcement, but they clearly have never, ever sold anything online, or frankly even in a mom and pop corner store, and know absolutely nothing about logistics.”

One seller shared an image that showed how unrealistic the Amazon deadlines appear to sellers. On August 4, a shipment was created and the seller shipped the 2 boxes via UPS, which were delivered to an Amazon fulfillment center in Nevada 2 days later.

Amazon checked in the first box 50 days later, and it checked in the second box 54 days later.

One issue we didn’t see sellers discussing is how early this year’s shopping season may be given all the news stories warning consumers to shop ahead – including on evening news programs on network television. Amazon itself kicked off the holiday shopping season this week with Monday’s announcement of Black Friday worthy deals.

Update: On October 8th, Amazon posted the following announcement:

In a previous announcement, we said to make sure that your inventory arrives at fulfillment centers by December 11 for Christmas. We’ve updated this date to December 2 to help better ensure that you have enough stock available for your most popular products. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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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/.