Increasing FBA storage limit


#1

So we’ve been trying to ramp up our FBA inventory in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. Most of our products make fairly good stocking-stuffers, so we’re expecting to move a fair amount of stuff.

However, we are approaching our FBA inventory storage limit, and Amazon isn’t increasing it. When I reached out to Seller Support, I was told that they can’t increase it unless we have 9 consecutive weeks where we sell 8% or more of our total FBA inventory each week. (Our actual sell-through has been about 5% of our currently-partially-ramped-up-for-the-holidays inventory each week.)

Given the lead time issues with getting stuff checked in to the warehouses as we get closer to the holidays, I was trying to stay ahead of the game, and I’m perfectly happy to pay the storage fees. But if I can’t send stuff to FBA, I’m sort of stuck.

Does anybody have any suggestions for getting Amazon to increase our limit so we can get enough merchandise into the warehouses for the holidays?

Many thanks,
Henry the Buttonsmith


#2

Just continue to sell through stuff each week and replenish it as you go. I have never requested an increase in limits, but it’s done automatically and always been more than enough.

Never heard the 9 week thing though…I just started selling an oversize product (which has a separate limit) and it jumped from 50 units (or so) to 500 pretty quickly.


#3

It’s not, alas, so simple as replenishing as stuff sells.

We have roughly 4300 products we currently sell. The existing inventory limit means that we cannot simultaneously keep 12 weeks in stock of our best-sellers and also have 1-3 of each of the other items we offer. So we can either have people not be able to get what they want from FBA at all, or we can badly understock our top performers.

If there were no delay between our shipping and stuff getting checked in, it would be more manageable, but we have a persistent problem with stock-outs of our items while units are moved from one end of the country to another on trucks that are apparently powered by snails, followed by them sitting awaiting check-in for days once they finally do arrive. Right now, while we’re not yet in the complete frenzy that is around the corner, it’s 11-14 days between when I ship and when stuff is fully checked in. When I can’t even have 3 of each item in stock, the delay is going to be devastating.

And since we’re the manufacturer of the stuff we sell, it’s not the case that customers will be able to get it if we don’t have it stocked. If we don’t have it stocked, they just can’t buy it.

The previous increases in my storage limit happened automatically, but that’s not happening this time: right now I’m holding shipments because I don’t have enough capacity left.

So: anyone have advice re what I might say to Seller Support to garner an increase in my inventory storage limit?


#4

Why does it need to be stocked with FBA in order to sell it? You can just sell it as merchant fulfilled.

Not to be a debbie downer on ya, but I don’t see how/why a seller support rep would increase your limit. If you’re amazon, you want stuff in the warehouse that turns so you can make more money. The way you make sure it turns is by having an algorithm set the limit based off past sales. You don’t have those sales yet, so why would they bother increasing your limit?

I think Amazon’s limit is pretty liberal too so it’s probably in your best interest to stay under it anyways. Just because you can stock it there, doesn’t mean you should stock it there.


#5

I disagree.

We are having the same problem, specifically with oversize products. Amazon’s desire for you to turn inventory quickly is valid, but their metrics are far too aggressive.

Just like Button implies, there’s no way you can turn at their ideal velocity given the inherent delays built into the system, including not knowing how much stock Amazon and other sellers have left of any particular SKU.

It’s just like when I walk into Walmart and they’re out of something I specifically went there to buy (often). The lost sale is FAR more costly to them than the relatively small cost of carrying extra inventory - assuming of course they have the capital to carry the extra inventory.

If I want to invest my capital to carry excess inventory, and I’m prepared to pay for the storage, Amazon should let me load my inventory to my heart’s content.


#6

Unfortunately your inventory is not as fast moving as they would like. I know since I started a year ago my inventory storage limit has always been insane, but I sell a lot. I have always wondered what is considered a good inventory storage limit or exceptional inventory storage limit with Amazon.


#7

Suffice it to say that it makes business sense for us to stock our inventory at Amazon - and most of the inventory we don’t have room to ship to FBA are in the toys & games category and likely to do extremely well at Christmas.

In every thread on inventory storage limits I could find prior to the last few weeks, it was asserted that Amazon always raised the limits automatically before they were hit, and that the key issue was whether you could deal with the storage costs/investment in inventory/risk of needing to recall if there was a hiccup. We can deal with the storage costs. We’ve already invested in the inventory. And we’re not worried about the costs of recalling if needed.

We are, however, not set up to do massive fulfillment from here. We’re a manufacturer. We use Amazon for fulfillment precisely so that we don’t have to make a significant investment in the kinds of warehouse space and tracking systems that large scale fulfillment requires. So “just merchant fulfill” is a flippant and completely unhelpful response.

And lest you think our stuff doesn’t move: on an average day, we get 80 to 100 orders for our stuff. Sure we’re not the biggest seller on Amazon, but we are a long way from the smallest.

So I’ll repeat my question: has anybody gotten Amazon to reconsider inventory storage limits when they haven’t been automatically raised? If so, how?

(Given the lack of discussion of this until the past few weeks, I suspect that Amazon may have changed their policies and/or implemented a freeze that wasn’t applicable earlier.)


#8

I had it occur for me in the UK marketplace. It was not necessary in the US because I had been on this marketplace for quite some time. The process should be the same though.

The process involved some message exchanges that ended up requiring asking for contact with a manager who contacted the fulfillment center.

I did not end up with as much oversized storage as I requested, but they did increase it.

The initial analysis is always based on the turnover for your stock. They did look for history that would support that the items could entirely be sold within 3 months (13 weeks). The request occurred after Christmas rather than before Christmas, after the annual Long Term Storage purge.

Based on other messages I have seen about oversized storage contraints, I would not expect you to get a positive response. I hear that oversized storage is already constrained and probably there is already demand that exceeds what is available from larger, better established, sellers.

All I can suggest is that you pull together reasonable and accurate forecasts with good math regarding your sales up until the end of October and what that would mean for Christmas (this should have reasonable assumptions on sales for November and December - separately).

You would then create a request and ask to get in touch with a manager soon after making the request to more formally discuss your needs over the phone. They may be able to help you get an exception. Odds are not good though for reason mentioned earlier.

A mitigation strategy could be for you to send in multiple shipments, perhaps weekly to keep you on a just in time basis to restock at a rate that is in line with your sales expectations.

Though it is logistically easier to ship the entire Christmas inventory in advance, if you need to live within your capacity, you can have new shipments ready to prepare (planned, but not approved) to get the capacity as items are sold.

After you have been on for more than a year, the constraints get relieved more quickly than you need, but that won’t help as much right now.

That might help.

Dave


closed #9