How to deal with expiry-dated inventory using Amazon FBA
Using Amazon’s FBA service means having to store your inventory into Amazon’s fulfilment centres. This can be a lifesaver as it can improve your Amazon SEO ranking. Also, it can be an easy alternative to selling on Amazon if you don’t have your own warehouse. However, for some brands it can cause massive issues. One specific problem that FBA sellers might struggle with is stocking products which have expiration dates. Since you must store your inventory in an Amazon fulfilment centre, if your stock has a best-by or use-by date, there are a few extra rules that you must follow.
What you need to know if using Amazon FBA fulfilment services for expiry-dated inventory:
- Firstly, all topical and consumable products are subject to expiration regulations, even if not indicated on the packaging.
- All expiration-dated products must have the expiration date printed in a font that is 36 or larger. All case packs, multi-packs, and display boxes must have the expiration date on the box or bundle, as well as on each individual item inside the box or bundle.
- Expiration dates must be displayed in the format MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY.
- Only one expiration date per ASIN is allowed in the same shipping box.
- Units that are within 50 days of the expiration date will be removed for disposal by Amazon and will not be available for return.
- Food & beverages must have a minimum remaining shelf life that is greater than 90 days.
- Health and Beauty products with a Period After Opening (PAO) symbol is marked to expire 900 days after the date that it is processed at the fulfilment centre.
- Expiry-dated products intended for regular application or consumption must have a remaining shelf life that includes the consumption period in addition to the 90 days eg. Something used daily would be 1+90 days whereas something used weekly would be 7+90 days.
What are the most important things to consider when using Amazon FBA fulfilment services for expiry-dated products?
Basically, if you are selling products which have an expiration date through Amazon FBA, you need to understand the logistics chain. How long it will take to ship and how many you sell on average will be the key factors in determining how successful you will be using fulfilment by Amazon services.
How long will it will take to be shipped?
You must make clear how long the shelf life is left on the product by the time it gets to Amazon. FBA fulfilment centres are very strict on what they will and won’t accept. The key is to ensure the products you ship have a long enough shelf life that is easy to determine by Amazon staff. I must be made evidently clear otherwise you may find that your stock is removed because the expiration date can’t be determined.
How much of the product do you sell on average?
Successful Amazon sellers need to know the average number of sales they make in a certain time when using FBA because of increased storage & fulfilment fees as well as other FBA drawbacks. However, FBA products that expire have an extra challenge; keeping stock in the fulfilment centres in date. If your products are close to the specified expiration date, Amazon will automatically dispose of it so you will lose stock. Making sure that there is never too little or too much will provide optimum sales with the least wastage.
Know your expiry dates
In short, if you don’t understand your FBA product well enough you may end up with a load of negative reviews from dissatisfied customers using out of date products that Amazon may have missed, lots of stock write offs and ultimately if your products continuously expire in storage, Amazon may even close your listing. All of these will ultimately affect your Amazon SEO ranking and could affect future sales negatively. As long as you are aware of the expiration dates of your products, how long it has been in an Amazon fulfilment centre and when Amazon will dispose of out of date products, it is fully possible to be successful in selling expiration dated products through Amazon FBA with no hassle.
Struggling with your Amazon FBA inventory?
Keeping up to date with your sell by dates can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be. We have special measurements in place to ensure that your expired products are a thing of the past! Additionally, our highly skilled account managers can ensure that your FBA journey runs smoothly from shipping, storage and forecasting and help improve your SEO ranking and sales. Contact us today to determine what our Amazon FBA consulting services can do for you so you can get on with growing your company while we deal with the nitty-gritty.