Sell on Amazon Sign in
This article applies to selling in: United States

In-Stock Head Start

With In-Stock Head Start, customers can find and buy your temporarily out-of-stock products when your shipment is on its way to the fulfillment center.

Even with the best inventory planning, popular products can sometimes go out of stock, and that can affect your product discoverability and sales. With this Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) feature, we will make your out-of-stock products available for customers to find and buy when your shipment is on its way and we are confident about its arrival date. Customers will benefit from a wider selection of products, and you could see higher or more consistent sales.

How In-Stock Head Start works

Your out-of-stock inventory will be eligible for In-Stock Head Start if you send it to the fulfillment center. We will use the information about your inbound shipment to estimate the in-stock date for your products.

Note: To protect the customer experience, Amazon may not make all of your out-of-stock ASINs available for customers to find and buy before the items reach the fulfillment center. This may occur if we are not confident that the shipment will arrive on time and contain the expected number of items.
Important: To increase the probability of out-of-stock inventory becoming buyable for customers, use Amazon Carrier Central, the Partnered Carrier program, or Amazon Global Logistics.

How you could benefit

In-Stock Head Start has a number of potential benefits:

  • Discoverability: Items that are on their way to the fulfillment center will appear in search results, giving customers a wider selection and helping to increase traffic to your product detail pages.
  • Sales: Customers can buy temporarily out-of-stock items, which can result in improved sales.
  • Inventory productivity: Taking customer orders while your products are on their way to the fulfillment center can reduce the time between shipment and sale.
Important: Your fees and Inventory Performance Index (IPI) score will not be affected.

Reconciling your inventory

You can continue using the same Seller Central reports and tools that you have been using to reconcile your inventory. The Available quantity on the Manage Inventory page will reflect the number of units of a SKU that are in the Amazon fulfillment network and that can be picked, packed, and shipped. The Inbound quantity will reflect the number of units of a SKU in shipments that are on their way to the fulfillment center, including units that are available through In-Stock Head Start. If your inventory is eligible for In-Stock Head Start, the offer for your temporarily out-of-stock item will show as Active on the Manage Inventory page.

If you want to see the number of units available through In-Stock Head Start, go to the Manage Inventory page, click the down arrow next to a product's Available quantity, and in the drop-down menu find the Future Supply Buyable quantity.

If you want to see number of units that have been purchased while inventory is on its way to the fulfillment center, go to the Manage Inventory page, click the down arrow next to a product's Available quantity, and in the drop-down menu find the Reserved Future Supply quantity.

For example, if you see 70 units of a particular SKU as Reserved Future Supply and 30 units as Future Supply Buyable, it means that 70 units have already been purchased while the shipment is on its way to the fulfillment center, and that 30 units are still available for customers to buy.

You can also find information about In-Stock Head Start units on the Manage FBA Inventory report.

Frequently asked questions

How can I be sure Amazon will deliver customer orders on time?

With In-Stock Head Start, if a customer places an order for an out-of-stock item, the delivery date will be based on the estimated in-stock date. If the shipment is delayed, we will adjust the in-stock date.

Should I change my inventory replenishment cycle because of In-Stock Head Start?

In-Stock Head Start is intended for items that occasionally go out of stock. It is not meant to substitute for your regular inventory replenishment schedule. Staying in stock will lead to the best customer experience and could lead to higher sales.

Why aren’t all my items available for customers to find and buy if my In-Stock Head Start status is active?

It can take up to 48 hours to make your items available to customers after we get the estimated arrival date from carriers through Amazon Carrier Central, the Partnered Carrier program, or Amazon Global Logistics. Also, to protect the customer experience, we might not make all of your out-of-stock ASINs available for customers to find and buy before the items reach the fulfillment center. This might occur if we are not confident that the shipment will arrive on time and contain the expected number of items.

What happens if I pause In-Stock Head Start?

You can temporarily pause the feature by clicking the Pause In-Stock Head Start button on the program page. Shipments created 72 hours after we confirm via email that you have paused In-Stock Head Start will not be available for customers to find and buy before they reach the fulfillment center. You can also see your In-Stock Head Start status on the program page.

Note: If you pause or reactivate In-Stock Head Start, your program settings will be updated in all of the following marketplaces: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

Why didn’t I get an email confirmation after I clicked the “Pause In-Stock Head Start” or “Reactivate now” button?

If you haven’t seen the email within 48 hours, check to see if it was delivered to your junk email folder.

If you didn’t get the email, it could be because you have unsubscribed from Amazon emails or the email address on your seller account is different from the one you normally use for communication purposes.

You can always check the program page to see your In-Stock Head Start status. It can take up to 48 hours for your status to update after you pause or reactivate In-Stock Head Start.

Sign in to use the tool and get personalized help (desktop browser required). Sign in


Reach Hundreds of Millions of Customers

Start Selling On Amazon


© 1999-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates