Problems receiving inventory (Amazon FBA)

You will have seen by now that both my swaddles and towels are in stock. Good news!

They both arrived on a weekend and both a few days earlier than planned.  While this sounds good, unfortunately, things didn’t go well and I spent a lot of that weekend on the phone to Amazon Seller Support.  

Before I delve into what happened, I try to make my posts as actionable as possible.  A lot of what I will be sharing with you now is just my own experience.  However, I still want to share this with you, as want you to go into your own Amazon journey with your eyes wide open.

If you want to skip all this and just get the advice, at the end of the article there’s a list of actionable tips/advice for dealing with Amazon’s Seller Central Support.

I was very excited that my swaddles were here (they arrived first).  Once the inventory had been received in full the listing still wasn’t showing. When I looked into it, my listing had been suppressed, because I am not allowed to sell second hand baby costumes. Hmmm…

Amazon screenshotThat led to a call to Seller Support. In fairness, they did call me back that evening to say it had been resolved and the listing would go live within 24 hours.  However a, it didn’t and b, they wanted me to list a new case for each marketplace (country) where I had this same issue.

I had an issue with that, as I had done nothing to cause this.  (I can’t even imagine what did cause it and still have no explanation.)  Logging another four cases would obviously take time too – and I wasn’t prepared to spend my Saturday night doing that.

Eventually, over the next few days, each marketplace got resolved and went live.

The towels were another story. As there are colour variations, and I’m not using Pan European FBA, I had to manually add the listing for each marketplace.  (I’ll do a separate post on how to do this.)  This took time, but was easier than expected – other than for Italy – where, for some unknown reason, I just couldn’t create the listing.  Another (few) calls to Seller Support and another lost week – but this was eventually resolved.

Then, on the very same day, all the descriptions for my UK products vanished.  (The listings were still live, with no bullet points, no keywords and no descriptions.)  Seller Support couldn’t explain how or why and I ended up spending yet more time adding it all back in.

So, what have I learnt from all this?

Firstly, to expect things to go wrong.  You’ll have seen in my post about things to know when you’re starting out, that all kinds of things can (and do) happen and it’s best to be aware of this.  A year ago, these kind of things caused tears and sleepless nights. Now it’s nothing more than an inconvenience and I have the experience (and the faith!) to know that it will get resolved – eventually.

Secondly, there are things you can do, when dealing with Amazon Seller Central, to help things go quicker:

  • Be very clear about what is wrong and what you want the resolution to be.  Ideally, put this all in writing, and then follow up by asking them to call you.  If you just call, without first putting it in writing, you may find the agent on the phone doesn’t understand your requirements and will actually log the case for you incorrectly, which then wastes a lot of time.
  • Send screenshots if you can.  (Like my example above.)  You can spend a lot of time saying “I clicked here, then I saw this…etc.”  Screenshots make it incredibly clear what is happening – and there’s no denying it either.
  • If you do want to speak on the phone, make sure you can get online while you’re on the call.  This may sound silly, but I’ve taken calls from Seller Support while I’ve been out of the house and it’s almost always a waste of time, as one of the first things they’ll ask me to do is to look at something or other in my account.
  • Log your case as urgent (if it is) and remind them that you (and therefore they) are losing sales and letting down customers.  This phrase appears to be key to moving things on.
  • Before logging a case, try a different browser.  This might sound odd, but I have seen errors in Safari (i.e. buttons that are greyed out, or forms that don’t pop up when they should) that work fine in Chrome.
  • Be polite. OK, this one isn’t just for Seller Support. I think we should always be polite.  However frustrated you may be, it’s rarely the fault of the person at the end of the phone and they do deserve some respect – however frustrated you might be.  Personally, I believe in karma – and also that by treating people nicely they’ll be much more inclined to help you out.

So, there you have it!  Thankfully everything is running smoothly as I type (for now anyway), but it’s been a frustrating and time consuming few weeks.  I’m keeping everything crossed it stays this way!