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Amazon’s Non-essential Items FBA Freeze Starts to Thaw

by | May 7, 2020

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Wondering when you can start shipping non-essential items to Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) centers? For a limited number of items, the answer is now.

All signs show that Amazon FBA is slowly getting to its feet after the onslaught it faced with the COVID-19 pandemic.

For sellers who found themselves on the short end of Amazon’s essential items list, this is very good news.

Many sellers whose products are not considered essential items had seen Amazon switch from prioritizing FBA inventory to utilizing Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM) in order to fulfill orders. With dwindling FBA inventory and the inability to ship more due to its essential items only policy, this was a wise decision. It was also beneficial given Amazon’s choice to give the buy box to non-FBA offers that had better delivery times. 

Now, FBA is starting to rise to prominence again. Shipping times are still longer than the two days we have been accustomed to from Amazon Prime, but they’re days out instead of weeks out. Depending on the product category, FBA listings are starting to win back the buy boxes from the FBM listings. 

Sellers are even able to start shipping inventory to FBA fulfillment centers again in limited amounts.

An Amazon representative from Seller Support confirmed this gradual reopening of Amazon’s FBA warehouses. Amazon has reportedly gone through its full catalog to evaluate which products are eligible to be shipped into FBA warehouses, and in what quantities. There were no specifics given on what makes a product eligible for shipment.

So, how do you know what products you can send into Amazon FBA warehouses? The Restock Inventory Report in Seller Central provides a breakdown of each product in your catalog offering that is eligible, and the total number of units you are able to ship. 

It is critical to understand this quantity, as it includes all of the inventory that you have at Amazon.

For example, if you have 10 units available and five units that are reserved, and your report says you can ship 50 units to Amazon FBA, you can actually only ship 35 units. The FBA limit accounts for the total amount of inventory that is available, reserved, unfulfillable, and inbound, according to Amazon.

The report is located in Seller Central under Reports > Fulfillment > Inventory > Restock Inventory, as shown below.

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Download the report for a list of eligible products you can ship to FBA. You’ll see the quantity limits for each item in column AB, “Current Month – Storage Discount Maximum Inventory Threshold.”

We are not out of the woods yet; there is still considerable uncertainty and volatility both on and off Amazon. But it is promising to see even the slow progress represented by the FBA juggernaut accepting some non-essential inventory.

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