Amazon is unpredictable.
Between changes to FBA storage fees and sudden updates to their ranking algorithm, Amazon can send your business in a tailspin if your operations can’t adapt quickly enough.
Among the potential dangers that you face: sudden Amazon changes may expose holes in your inventory management. The “Amazon Effect” is already a phenomenon studied by many supply chain managers who’ve seen the retailer’s influence on expected order turnaround times and seller responsibilities.
So what can you do about it?
Consider inventory control software, aka inventory management software. When your inventory is organized and automated with an inventory control software, you can create better workflows to quickly adapt to Amazon changes.
In this post, we will discuss the specific ways that inventory control software can prepare your business for any future stunts that Amazon decides to pull that, if not addressed, could negatively impact your sales.
One thing that Amazon consistently rewards is fast, on-time shipping. Its claim-to-fame was Prime two-day shipping, after all, and the retailer is once again trying to gain the advantage with same-day or two-hour delivery.
To remain competitive, your warehouse needs to be set up efficiently. Amazon itself boasts 45,000 warehouse robots that can complete warehouse activity at top-speed—and while it’s not necessary for you to hire your own army of robots, you’ll want an inventory control software on deck to keep your warehouse firing on all cylinders each day.
With inventory control software, you can not only pull orders faster but also create digital pick lists in place of outdated and time-consuming paper pick lists.
Inventory control software also lets you customize workflows to fit your business needs. For example, you could create a unique pick list and pick route for Prime orders that have to be out the door faster than regular Amazon orders.
By creating customized workflows like this, you eliminate wasted time and labor costs, while boosting the flexibility of your warehouse operations to pivot or accommodate any Amazon changes.
As we’re all too familiar with, Amazon has high shipping and seller performance standards. Many sellers have seen their buy box listings take a hit because they cannot get ahead of Amazon algorithm updates and/or meet increasingly strict requirements around order defect rates.
Hence why if you’re still using a spreadsheet to manage inventory...stop. You simply cannot adapt to Amazon changes, let alone become successful, without an automated software.
Software takes away the element of human error that’s impossible to avoid when using manual processes. When set up right, it can also run a warehouse for you.
For example, inventory software can serve as the central hub for managing all your operational touchpoints, like shipping platforms and point-of-sale systems, and automate the pick/pack/ship process.
By pulling in orders and shipping information from various platforms in one automatic sync, it can help you ship out the correct orders from the right fulfillment center, faster than if you did it by hand. A good inventory software should also include quality control features that help you track if anything is missing or wrong during the pick/pack/ship process prior to delivery.
When you have systems like this in place with an automated and—better yet—cloud-based software like SkuVault, you can prevent your Amazon listing or account getting the boot because of any Amazon change related to seller performance.
Keeping up with Amazon changes requires a good forecasting model that can accurately (and flexibly) predict the amount of stock you’ll need to keep up with demand. It lets you purchase inventory without having too much or too little of any one product.
And how does this look in the eyes of Amazon?
Pretty darn great. When you can deliver the right product without having to scramble to purchase it from another vendor because you didn’t already have it in stock, Amazon sees that as a reliable listing.
It goes without saying that while employing inventory control software in tandem with a channel management solution like Zentail can make it incredibly easy to sync sales data from all your Amazon listings, what your software does with that data is just as valuable.
Inventory software collects user and sales data into a variety of smart reports. With the data compiled into easy-to-read reports, you can keep a pulse on the lifecycle and performance of your inventory, both in the present and the past. This makes it easy for you to identify trends in SKU performance or order velocity against any Amazon algorithm changes, then make better purchase decisions later on.
It’s difficult to truly ever know the exact formula behind Amazon’s algorithms, but one thing sellers can control is the health of their warehouse and inventory system.
When you implement inventory control software to organize and automate your operations, the rest of the pieces will fall into place. Amazon puts seller reliability on a pedestal, so you must have your business practices on lock to beat Amazon at their own game.