Today, having Amazon fulfill your orders can save you a great deal of time and help you focus on other aspects of growing your Amazon business. With Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), sellers don’t need to worry about product storage, shipping, warehouses or customer support. But sometimes, you have to remove your inventory from Amazon. In this blog we discuss the process, if there are any fees and what to expect.
Amazon charges a monthly payment and other additional costs for storing products in its warehouses. In essence, part of your inventory management process is knowing when to remove your goods from Amazon fulfillment centers.
You may need to pull out your products from Amazon fulfillment centers for many reasons. These reasons include ASIN suspension, inventory expiration (or near expiration), low sales of a particular inventory, potential problems like damages or returns that will render the stock unfulfillable or no longer sellable, seasonal goods that are no longer in demand, etc.
Whatever the case is, every Amazon FBA seller must know when and how to remove inventory from Amazon FBA centers. This strategy will avoid business losses when you leave stock that isn’t selling in Amazon warehouses.
This comprehensive guide will put you through what to expect when you place an Amazon inventory removal order in 2022.
How to create an inventory removal order on Amazon
The entire process of removing an Amazon FBA order happens on the “manage inventory” section on Seller Central. Through this page, sellers can remove their inventory for any listing by selecting the items they want to remove, clicking on the “Action” menu, and selecting “Create Removal Order” from the available options.
Alternatively, you can remove orders using the “Recommended Removal” report from Amazon. This report includes the inventory for which you’ll need to pay long-term storage fees if it remains in the FBA warehouse. Ensure your inventory meets the long-term storage condition, then click on the report. Proceed to select “Begin Removal Process”, then choose whether you want Amazon to dispose of the products (with a lesser nominal fee) or return them to your selected address (at a higher cost).
It is important to note that a removal order process can take 90 days or more before Amazon successfully processes it. Sellers should also expect to wait another two weeks after approval for an Amazon representative to deliver the inventory.
There’s also a one-time fee per item you must pay when you remove inventory from Amazon FBA fulfillment centers. Amazon will charge the fee – using a rate card – when the removal order is complete.
Usually, when a product is damaged or not up to the Amazon quality standard, it becomes unfulfillable, and Amazon will notify you about such a product so you can create a removal order for it within the next 30 days. Failure to do so will give Amazon the go-ahead to automatically dispose of it.
To help FBA sellers control their inventory, Amazon allows them to automate removal orders for merchandise they believe cannot be fulfilled or will attract long-term storage fees. If you automate your removal orders for the 15th day of the month (when Amazon carries out stock inventory in its warehouses), that inventory will not attract storage fees.
To automate removal orders, go to your Seller Central account and from the “Settings” menu, click the Fulfillment by Amazon icon. Proceed to edit the “Automated Unfulfillable Removal Settings” and select “Return” or “Dispose”.
Select an automated schedule; immediately (for products you want to dispose), weekly, or every 15 days. Enter your email address for notifications and physical address for delivery of returned inventory in the designated boxes.
Best things to know about Amazon removal orders
Now that you’ve learned about Amazon inventory removal orders and how to automate the process to save money and time, here are a few things you should have in mind:
Amazon warehouse workers treat removal orders as trash because they are trained to do so. This means that your inventory is only valuable to you, and Amazon can return it to you in bad condition.
When returning inventory, Amazon workers place it in boxes that are available at the time. In other words, they can ship your inventory to you in smaller or bigger boxes instead of the perfect box size.
Oftentimes, returned inventory doesn’t come with dunnage like loose protective plastic padding for support. As a result, the inventory is susceptible to different degrees of damage during transportation to your delivery address.
Returns take time because they are the last shipments processed in Amazon FBA warehouses. Amazon states that removal orders take 90 days or more to process. As an Amazon FBA seller waiting for returned inventory, you’ll need a great deal of patience because you may not receive the inventory in weeks or even months.
Be sure about your removal order before placing it because once it’s done, you can’t change your mind or reverse the process. The timing of the process is also beyond your control, so there’s nothing you can do to speed it up.
You can’t use removal orders to send inventory to your customers or as gifts for other people. Removal orders are solely yours and should be returned to you, the product manufacturer, a third-party storage company, or a re-shipper.
As an Amazon FBA seller, it’s normal to have some products that you need to clear off your listings for many reasons. Sometimes, these goods are expired, defective, or they’re seasonal products that are no longer selling.
Removal orders can be an excellent process for your Amazon FBA business to maintain a profitable bottom line and scale. Placing removal orders at the correct times can help you prevent unnecessary spending on storage space in Amazon FBA fulfillment centers.
Today, you can opt for inventory removal manually or automatically to avoid storage fees and save time. The process is also relatively easy since you can control everything from your Seller Central account.
Returns take a lot of time, so you must be patient when expecting your shipment. Also, have it at the back of your mind that you can receive some or all your products in extremely unsellable conditions.
Do you currently have any challenges with an Amazon inventory removal order? Do you have any questions on how it can help your Amazon FBA inventory management? Ask in the comments section below!
Kelly Johnston is the glue that holds Riverbend Consulting together and was with the company at its founding. She survived 10 years in the digital salt mines of Amazon Seller Performance. Before that, Kelly held other e-commerce roles where she worked in content, sales, and operations. When not helping clients, Kelly is a talented artist. Collage and up-cycled assemblages are her current passions.