Restock Limits - Big Headache


#1

Hi all.

I gather we won’t be the only ones affected by the new account level restock limits but here goes my story, which has an intereresting twist.

It first became an issue for us last week when we attempted to inbound inventory and were notified that we were out of restock limit. After contacting Seller Support, it became clear that this wasn’t going to help so we contacted the UK Managing Director’s office to see if we could do anything. The upshot was no and there really wasn’t any opportunity for discussion.

I thought it may be worth also making our voice heard on here, in the hopes that if enough people do then they’ll realise what a problem this new policy is.

We are simply trying to keep our fast selling ASINs in stock and are using the inventory planner tool to calculate the level required but Amazon won’t allow us to inbound sufficient stock for the amount we are selling. Our inventory IPI score is very good so we manage our inventory well already.

The worst thing to have come out of my contact with Amazon last week was that we were advised to remove some other stock to make space. We did this reluctantly because the heavily stocked items sell really fast and Amazon are too slow checking new stock in so now we’ve reduced the stock level, it is guaranteed that we’ll have out of stock periods.

In any case, on Amazon advice, we removed around 1500 pieces from stock a few days ago to make room for other products that we want to send in. This morning, I notice that after adjusting our utilisation quantity downward, Amazon has reduced our restock limits further by around 1300 pieces so we are now in the same position as we were last week but now with a lower restock limit. So basically we have actually lost our allowance by attempting to make space by removing goods and we still don’t have any space for new goods.

I wanted to put this post out to advise others that this may happen to you too. Amazon advise removing some goods, you remove them and Amazon reduce your limits. Net result, less space in the FCs, more out of stock periods incoming and no room to add new products to the FCs.

To be frank, this is ridiculous and is possibly the most harmful policy I’ve seen Amazon come up with for us. We will lose sales and ultimately position. It’s also very disappointing that we were tricked into lowering our inventory size when following their instructions.


Storage Volume problems
#2

I am in the same boat with regards to replenishing stock, I go to inventory planning and even ASINs that are completely sold out I cannot replenish, this is for Amazon UK and France, I was about to remove some stock and I am glad I seen your post, I will not bother now.


#3

I don’t blame you. I suspect if they want to whittle your stock down that they’ll do it as your stock sells down anyway but why make it easy. They may have whittled ours down before now, I’d never paid it any attention until I saw the warning that we were about to go over.

The worst thing about this right now is we have a really good seller, it’s a higher ticket item than a lot of our offering but it wasn’t in demand during the Covid lockdowns and cost us a lot of sales. Those products are just beginning to come back to life, there are over 40 variations and in normal times, we sell hundreds of each variation a month. We aren’t going to be able to get those restocked. I thought we were just about to start getting back to some sort of normal level of sales and it’s been taken away by arbitrary limits that make no sense and that no one will attempt to explain.

It’s so depressing.


#4

Whilst I understand all of your frustrations with the new system, if it is causing an issue and you can’t send to Amazon in sufficient quantities, I don’t understand how that would be stopping you from selling?
You can still sell with a seller fulfilled offer instead, or as well as.


#5

Hi Neil. All of our products are available with both fulfilment methods. It doesn’t stop us selling but the lack of Prime stops customers buying. For every 10 orders we take SF, we take in excess of 100 that are Prime. That is the, very big, difference.


#6

are you in SFP. may be you should take a look at that if you not already doing so. With your volume, you can easily get a good rate with DPD. The only thing with SFP now is the weekend dispatch and late cut off time which is a bit of headache.

FBA is not going to change as my take is they are really short on space and if the storage price is not going up in the next 6 months I will be very very surprised.

We seen removing stock has got our limit cut yet again! as others pointed out, the limit reduce as soon as you issue removal order; so if you being quick AND shipped will not be rejected at FC. Then get your parcel ready in the morning, get removal order done and get the shipping label immediately for the pick up arrange for the afternoon.

other than that, not much you can do far as FBA is concern.


#7

Hi Onemore

Thanks for your input. The vast majority of our goods are large letter and we get them into SnL. We’ve had some DPD quotes in the past and the cost is way too much. We can only make margin using RM48 on a lot of stuff so SFP isn’t an option. I’ve often wondered how others manage to make it profitable mind so maybe I’ve missed something but have always assumed it’s our product price range. Other than that, I’ve never worked weekends in my life and I’m not about to start now, if you can’t make enough money Monday to Friday, you’re in the wrong game has always been my mantra.

In terms of the cause of this, if it’s warehouse space then it doesn’t make sense to restrict the number of units while allowing unlimited storage space, my take is it must be staffing numbers for packing (or just badly thought out). I’d be happy to pay higher storage fees, we could accommodate that no problem and if it is somehow due to warehouse space, I suspect Amazon will build more until it is resolved. It’s a shame that they wouldn’t be a little more transparent so we all knew where we were. I had no idea this was a problem until last Thursday, I came to terms with it and removed inventory to create space but they then reduced our limit and at that point, I’m getting a little annoyed as they’re preventing me from finding solutions. I’ll certainly try and do what you said with shipment timing though but it really shouldn’t come to this.


#8

I think it depends on your products.
For every fba sale we make, we at least double if not treble that amount with fbm sales


#9

That’s interesting but do you mean that you make 2x to 3x more profit or make 2-3x more sales? If it’s the latter then I struggle to understand why that would be, the Amazon delivery network is about as good as it gets and price-wise, they are hugely competitive so it’s difficult to see what savings you can make to price your fbm items more keenly. Also almost everyone seems to use prime now and most I know just filter for prime goods. For example, with our small and light stuff, Amazon will pack and deliver it with proof of delivery for less than we can send with Royal Mail and if it arrives late, we aren’t penalised and don’t have to deal with customer service. We much prefer dealing with the bulk shipments too leaving the day to day packing to amz but that’s besides the point as we do have facilities to get everything out ourselves if we did make the sales directly.


#10

But with how small and light is currently, I can ship out items arriving 2-3 days quicker than a prime option…


#11

Yes same as @sequin we use small and light so a lot of stuff we can post faster

With most items, we have several competitors . We are in the buy box for fbm listings and also have ‘another way to buy’ as a dearer fba option
Double or treble the sales as fbm compared to fba
We, for some reason sell the items mainly in single quantities as fba however, the fbm orders tend to be multiple quantities so with our average weighting postage, we can send 4 items for the same price as 1

On fba if we sell x4, its 4 x the fixed fee - so less money made on the multiple purchases !

For us it roughly works out that we make the same amount of money per sale (over 100 units) but we get double the sales for half the man power


#12

Thanks for the input guys. I’m struggling to see on my phone how to quote your usernames not being familiar on here so please forgive.

I think I’ve missed these SnL issues, are they slow getting the goods out now? Honestly, our SnL stuff flies out as it always has, we can hardly keep on top of it (although these limits will see to that). For fbm we have our standard free 2nd class set at 3-5 days because Royal Mail have been so bad since Covid. I know we miss a lot of sales with that timescale but the complaints we were having on all channels got too much so we just gave it a bit of space but it didn’t matter much as most of our stuff was being sent out by amz. Our fbm at 3-5 days is priced the same as our FBA listings but it’s just problem free and I guess we do save manpower in customer service as well as packing. It also stops us being responsible for loss and delay which helps keep your account tip top but I completely take your point when a customer buys a basket of goods, we do well on the other channel with that as the buy 3 get 1 free offers aren’t noticeable on amz so we don’t bother with them there.

We have competition across most of our items aside from some that fall under our own trademark brand. We have put significant work into our variations though that other sellers aren’t prepared to do and this means we have different offers to them in the same listing if that makes sense. They are valid variations but you have to work the stock to build them. We’ve got some guys doing that all day long.

I assume you’re using Royal Mail for SnL size items, what speed do you promise and how much trouble does that cause you? I’d guess I pick up maybe 10 messages a week on amz and we move a few 100 units a day. The other channel is much more work in terms of customer service. If they had a FBE I’d want to use it.


#13

Agreed, this is the worst change they have made to effect long term sellers who where encouraged to build up 90 days in FBA for a long time. For us based in ROI we cannot change to FBM as it is not feasible with postage costs. I presume a lot of EU sellers are in the same both with stock in the UK and vice versa, UK sellers cannot change to FBA for their EU products


#14

just got an email today informing me that from may 16th there is a restock limit …
Unlimited storage = unlimited SKUs , we’re also already over the limit - when just got a massive delivery of the bestsellers delivered and can’t send them in.

Created removal order for 10s of SKUs leaving only a few days supply - free removal till tomorrow may 20th.
We’re still probably near 2000 limit. - its not updated straight away , will have to wait for the removal order to be processed and limits refreshed.
This is just unbelievable , forcing sellers to reduce their stock levels or get rid of slower selling ASINS.

Did I missed some kind of a memo ?


#15

I’ve replied on your other post, but basically yes you did although Amazon have moved the goalposts again.


#16

As people say, it’s going to cause big headaches for a lot of people, ourselves included.

At a guess, I would say that the worst affected will be those operating from home and those sending in bulk from abroad. The new system seems to be working in a way that encourages weekly replenishment so that the fulfillment centres work more effectively. Unfortunately though, that means that in peak season when we all increase stock levels, the system won’t allow us to stockpile in preparation for Christmas etc. This will ultimately help no one. Short term we wil be okay but once the new collections come in, and when we expand, the problems for us will be exacerbated.

Being a glass half full kind of guy though, the people that it will really hurt are the Chinese sellers who ship in bulk and take advantage of the Amazon storage facilities. It will inevitably make them rethink their business model.


#17

Thanks very much.
Yes it looks like will be forced to do weekly shipments - this will cause more costs in short term , but hey , all we can do is adapt.
The real problem is when you do have many skus with lots of variations - like clothing , it will force us to limit number of SKUs available for FBA


#18

This is going to be a nightmare as our stock fluctuates seasonally. I try to have between 3-4 months worth of stock for each SKU but now as new SKUs arrive I will probably have to stop restocking other titles. I will also probably have to go back to FBM as well.

Not a well though out change IMO but we will see


#19

My biggest issue is Amazon themselves. I will buy a new line. I will send it roughly 6 weeks worth of sales. Suddenly Amazon will start selling the item and my sales stop dead. I can’t reduce my price because Amazon will match me and give themselves the buy box.

The stock just sits there in the hope Amazon will dip out of stock for a few days. If Amazon shared the buy box this problem would disappear.


#20

I have to face a very similar problem with regards to replenishing stock. Inventory planning shows 6 ASINS that are completely sold out and 26 low inventory, my IPI score is over 800. What is interesting I have an UNLIMITED storage volume, but I cannot replenish - due to the new restock limit, this is for Amazon UK.
What is interesting yesterday I cancelled 2 shipments with 200 items and I was granted to send 30 items yesterday ( had hoped on different 200 items), today all changed and I am over the limit with about 300 items again …how it could make sense?
I also wanted to remove some stock and I am glad I have seen your post, I will not bother now.
It is not ok, it is depressing