Responding To The Latest Changes In Amazon Selling


Updated for March 2016. First posted May 2014.

The past few days have seen many Amazon sellers freaking out about the latest Amazon policy update. I’ve even heard of people saying they are going to quit selling on Amazon because of this change. In all honesty, I think that most people are just overreacting and it’s really not as bad as people think.

If you haven’t heard about the latest policy update from Amazon, then I’ll sum it up for you right here. Amazon is starting to restrict some 3rd party sellers from sending inventory of certain ASINs to Amazon FBA warehouses. You may have seen this policy update in action if you’ve listed anything lately and received this message:

You are already at the maximum inventory allowed for this product, due to capacity or other restrictions. This product must be removed from this shipment.

amazonwarehouse-Flickr_Scott_LewisBasically, Amazon thinks that it already has enough of that particular ASIN being stored at its multiple FBA warehouses, and there is no longer a need for more of that ASIN to be sent to Amazon. Amazon doesn’t want to store 500 of the same item when they know it will only sell twice a month. Sure, the new policy has been showing up on some very low ranked ASINs with no FBA competition, but I think that’s just a glitch in their algorithm that they will soon fix.

For some Amazon sellers, this new ASIN restriction is causing severe panic… but it doesn’t have to. This is not the first time Amazon has implemented a new policy that changed how people sell on Amazon, and it won’t be the last. There is no reason to panic over this change.

If you’ve been selling on Amazon for any length of time, maybe you remember some of these changes…

  • Amazon announces a new 6-month long term storage fee that would be in addition to the 12-month storage fee.
  • Amazon requires approval to sell any toy related to Star Wars Episode 7.
  • Amazon closes the categories for Grocery, Beauty, and Health & Personal Care and people who want to sell these items need to be approved.
  • Amazon “froze” everyone’s toys related to the movie Frozen to check on counterfeit claims and then requires anyone who wants to sell Frozen related toys to seek approval.
  • Amazon announces a new 12-month long term storage fee in addition to the monthly storage fees.
  • Amazon begins to split up shipments to different warehouses.

The changes that Amazon makes have the potential to be discouraging to us as Amazon sellers. But we have a choice whether or not we’re going to let these changes get us down.

So what are your options in the face of these changes? You could see all these frustrations as a sign of things to come and you could quit selling on Amazon altogether… You could go to Facebook and complain about these changes (and miss out on time sourcing, packing, shipping, or even miss out on valuable family time)… OR, you could adapt to the changes and make the most of your mental, emotional, and physical energy to push your business to the next level.

change-quoteChange happens. It’s inevitable. Most of the time, we have absolutely no say or influence in the changes that occur. The only thing we have control of is our response to change. Those who are going to succeed in this reselling line of work are those who will adapt to the changes and make the most of every situation.

Amazon stopping you from selling slow moving inventory with the ASIN restrictions? Stop over-worrying about it and focus on finding faster turning items to send in to Amazon. Amazon putting an ASIN restriction on the wrong items? Don’t complain about it on Facebook; instead open up a ticket with Seller Central and politely ask them to look into the ASIN restriction on that item and see if the restriction can be lifted.

Learn. Adjust. Grow. Learn more. Adapt.

These changes will not be the last ones. More changes will come, but the important thing for you to do is to focus on how you will respond to these changes. Those who will win are the ones who will respond with wisdom, patience, and a renewed desire to accomplish their overall goals, no matter what happens.

So what about you? How do you respond to changes in your business? I’d love to hear how you make the most of these changes. 


46 responses to “Responding To The Latest Changes In Amazon Selling

  1. Great post! My plan is to focus on what I control and let the other things fall as they may. I am going to stop buying frozen items until amazon releases the items that are now being investigated.

    As for Profit Bandit, I will probably just pay the $9.99/month. It’s not really going to be a material amount to my business, and I think it’s a long time coming that they get on a subscription model.

    Overall, I am going to focus on what I control, and use this as a reminder that we are playing in amazon’s playground.

    Best Regards,

    • That’s a wise plan, in my opinion, Ryan… and I agree that this monthly fee could have been seen coming for quite some time now. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. Another Superbly Awesome post!
    As a paid forum moderator, I see tons of complaints about this. People are asking why they were not “grandfathered” in.
    Change happens, everything goes up in price. We all have choices. We can sink and quit or we can go with the flow and swim.
    John Ruskin once said, “What we think or what we know or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.

    • Thank you, Patricia. I just hope this will help people calm down and realize that online selling is not immune to change, and the best thing for us to do is to learn how to deal with it in a profitable way. Great quote and reminder from John Ruskin.

  3. I don’t have a problem with them moving to a subscription model. I just think it was handled very poorly. There were a number of ways they could have softened the blow. Giving people a week’s notice was a bone-headed move, IMO.

    • I agree, Sue, that the latest news from Profit Bandit could have been handled much better. I bet their day was crazy yesterday dealing with upset users.

  4. My online business is too important to squabble over a small amount subscription fee. I’ve make some big mistakes in the past before there was software available to know the value of an item. Nothing like having a garage full of neat looking glassware to sell on eBay hat wasn’t of any value. So $10 per month, I’ll just give up diet sodas to make up the difference. That will make my doctor happy. Gary

  5. Thanks for the great info. As a new member to your blog, and to selling on Amazon ( I started on April 20), I’ve found your blog to be one of the better ones.

    As a new FBA seller, I did have to “jump through hoops” to get approved in the Grocery, Health & Personal Care and Beauty categories. It took several attempts, emails and phone calls but I got approved in all three.

    I started out using the Amazon Seller app and then tried Profit Bandit. I personally find the Amazon Seller app better but that’s probably just because I’m used to using it.

    Do you feel Profit Bandit is better than the Amazon Seller app? I’ve used both now side by side while sourcing and I keep falling back to the Amazon Seller app.

    Thanks and keep up the great work!


    • Joe, it’s good for me (and for others) to see that your persistence in getting approved in the newly gated categories payed off for you.

      I need to revisit the latest version of the Amazon Seller’s app. I only looked at it while it was still new, but now is a good time for me to look at it again to see how it compares.

  6. Andrew Cassinelli

    Awesome post, Stephen. I agree that Profit Bandit eventually had to move to a subscription model. They probably planned that transition long ago.

    In light of Profit Bandit now being a subscription service, I wondered if it was time to reevaluate the scanning apps that are available. Previously, Profit Bandit’s one-time fee made it significantly cheaper than the competition. Have you tired other apps?

    Side question: do you know of any way to be warned of restricted or hazardous items when scanning? I’ve gotten stuck with a few things lately (ex. AirWick Air Fresheners). Profit Bandit support told me restricted items information is not included in the Amazon API, so they have no way for the app to warn the user.

    • Hey Andrew,

      Saw your question regarding restricted items. That’s one of the nice features I like when using the Amazon Seller app. If an item is restricted, a warning pops up at the top of the screen when you scan it.


    • I have tried the ScanPower scouting app and loved it, but at $39.99/mo it was too much for me (especially when Profit Bandit was a one time fee). Even at $9.99/mo, Profit Bandit is still a good deal, in my opinion. I have Amazon Seller app downloaded but have not tried it since it was new and had less features. I plan on revisiting that app to see how it compares.

      I know the Amazon Seller app is currently only available on iPhone/iPad, and that they are currently working on an Android app. For those who are Android users, the best bet might be to stick with Profit Bandit. I’d happily pay $9.99/mo for a app that makes me thousands per month.

      • Amazon Seller app is also available on Android and I have been using it since it came it and they keep improving especially with warnings on restricted and hazardous items and that saves me time and money on those items. PLEASE DO REVIEW IT AND GIVE US YOUR EXPERT OPINION, especially for us the newbies.

        Again, thanks immensely for your timely response and calming us all down on these new changes from Amazon. I already printed out the quote on Change by Socrates and posted on my wall. CHANGE IS DEFINITELY INEVITABLE AND it is how how we react to it that counts.

        Thank You!

  7. Stephen I really enjoy your posts. I am very new to selling on Amazon (started May 1st). I started then boom all the changes started happening. I was only approved to sell in groceries because that is all that I had sent in. I applied for Health & Personal Care and Beauty Categories but I have been denied. I was told that I need 3 invoices in order to get approved. I don’t want to buy a bunch of stock and then not be approved to sell it. I just purchased last week the Profit Bandit app, now they are going to charge a monthly subscription fee. I haven’t even had it a month? This is very discouraging as a new seller to Amazon.

    • Melissa, First of all, congrats on almost completing your first month of FBA! Don’t worry, all these changes will not be the norm, but it is good that you’ll have some experience dealing with them.

      One possibility, since you recently downloaded the Profit Bandit App, is requesting a refund. The worst they can say is no, and you could get your money back.

      Don’t be discouraged. This is just a small bump in the road and you’ll get back on track in no time. Check out the Amazon Seller app and see what you think. If you think Profit Bandit is a necessity, then a $9.99/mo fee might be worth it to you. No matter what you decide, I wish you success!

    • Melissa, one thing I just learned: If you DO NOT update your Profit Bandit app, then you will be able to continue to use it like normal. Profit Bandit announced that this would be a possibility. One of their employees said, “If you don’t upgrade the app, you will still be able to use the old one. Obviously since things change all the time we can’t guarantee that it will continue to work forever, as Amazon might change things, etc.” So, the good news is that, for a while longer, the older app will continue to work like normal. This will give you time to try out other scouting apps or decide if the $9.99/month fee is right for you.

  8. Jason McDaniel

    Hey everyone. In regards to the Amazon seller app not available in Android when exactly will they have it available on Android? I will gladly use it.

  9. I think I read about another change coming to the Amazon Seller Page. Something about it being removed?
    Have you heard anything about this?


  10. I have the amazon seller app for my samsung galaxy 4 and the scanner seems to work fine for me.

  11. By the way, that’s a great quote, but it’s not from the philosopher Socrates, it’s from a character named Socrates (played by Nick Nolte) in a movie.

  12. Great post. If this little change in the policy will make someone quit, then that means their “why” isn’t big enough.

  13. Thank you for the blog Stephen. I would like to see Amazon get away from penny books and other low balling practices people have. Maybe this is a step in that direction.

  14. I agree a knee-jerk “I quit” is not in order here, but I will say that for some sellers, depending on their business model, that may be a wise choice for them. If someones business is in many ASINs of long tail items and their strategy is to be competitive on listings with many current sellers, then Amazon is effectively making that model impossible. They may find that Amazon is no longer right for them. Just as some media sellers have quit Amazon because of DVD restrictions etc.

  15. For booksellers, this is a significant change that was implemented without warning. It is not practical for many booksellers to carry around some kind of list that shows what is restricted before they buy books. The typical seller is not buying 100 copies of a book. They are buying 100 different books, often in a competitive environment, where quick decisions must be made whether to buy or not. If people don’t complain, Amazon will not make the changes that are necessary to work with this system successfully. The biggest change Amazon should make is to structure the database so that when scanning, working with the scanning software providers, that the restricted ASIN shows up in the scanner, so an intelligent buy decision can be made. Otherwise, people buy all kinds of inventory, that has not market. There is Merchant Fulfilled, but who wants to go back to that model, or try to sell some books FBA, andothers MF. Big hassle. Also, it is not just a matter of sales rank, and inventory buildup. Amazon appears to be targeting certain sellers, and not others. Perhaps they want to weed out the smaller volume sellers, and just work with the larger sellers. In any case, this was a clumsily rolled out implementation of a significant change for booksellers, in my opinion. Nothing to quit Amazon about, but being complacent is not a good strategy either.

    • As a seller of books, toys and other items, agree with Richard Long. Not all of my flagged items were old or highly ranked. Hopefully, this will go away, as I have also read a seller’s FB post stating that via a phone conversation w/Seller Central, she learned Amazon will stop this by the 23rd of the month. We’ll see. Also, while I agree that excessive complaining or threatening to quit selling may be non-productive, I can’t be an apologist for Amazon. Yes, it’s their sandbox, but I believe in speaking up when necessary.

      • For the item that are are not highly ranked, maybe you can open up a ticket with Amazon and tell them this. I’ve heard of some sellers getting the limit raised of certain ASINS that way. Also, even if an item is ranked high, if Amazon has 400 of a particulate ASIN in stock, but only sell 100 a year, then they still don’t want to store 300 that will never sell. Just a few thoughts.

    • I agree that being complacent is not a good idea and that’s why I suggested opening up a ticket with Amazon and kindly explaining any concerns you might have. I think that some book sellers might need to think about adding other categories to their business model if this ASIN restriction policy continues to be enforced.

  16. I just hit my 1 year FBA anniversary. Probably my biggest take-away has been patience. If I find something that I feel is a good deal, scan it, and see that it has a lot of competition and/or a low price on Amazon, I then decide if it’s worth holding onto to submit later. Yes, my storage room is getting packed; however, I’m learning that FBA isn’t all about buy, ship and sell. Sometimes, it’s buy, hold, ship, sell. Or, just buy and sell myself. If Amazon doesn’t want to hold onto my 16 packages of skin bronzer; that’s ok. I’ll just hold onto them as merchant-fulfilled and check once/month to see if they’re doing any better FBA. Perhaps some products just aren’t meant for FBA. That’s ok.

  17. I agree with Richard that if items are going to be restricted to merchant fulfillment, there needs to be a warning in the scanning system, as with other restricted products. It will make sourcing for items very difficult otherwise.

    I don’t spend time on forums, and had one item flagged in my shipment last week, but thought it was because it was software, and perhaps my amazon scan app just didn’t mark it restricted mistakenly. But then, yesterday I had to remove four books from my FBA shipment, which was disappointing, and I wondered if something was wrong with my account. I don’t think I got a notification from Amazon about this change, is there an updates/announcements page on their website I can check for this type of thing?

  18. One of the removed books had a rank in the 200,000’s, so shouldn’t be a “long-tail” item, I wonder what the algorithm that’s flagging items uses for criteria?

    • Have you checked CCC to see if that item is always around 200,000 or only because it sold a few days ago, but usually is around 2 million? The sales rank one one day does not communicate that it sells often. If it does sell often and there are not a lot of FBA sellers already, then open up a ticket for that ASIN and request that the quantity limits be increased on that ASIN.

  19. I just purchased 200 medical books. I was excited to get them scanned in and shipped to Amazon..until I began. Three out of the first 6 books got the message that I had hit my limit ( which must be 0) and had to be removed from my shipment. My strategy is going to be send what I can, hold onto the ones I couldn’t ship and try them again later.
    Business is supply and demand. I understand Amazon not wanting a large supply of low demand items. I only hope that they will develope an app or some way of letting sellers know in advance ( like with restricted categories) so we don’t purchase inventory that can’t be sent to FBA.
    On the plus side, it may very well weed out some of the sellers who are not serious about building a business which should mean less competition and eventually fewer messages that we have reached our limit. I just got started a few months ago, I am not quitting, just going with the flow

  20. I also think, Would I know the old way if I was just starting. The answer would be No of course, I would think, this is just the way its suppose to be. So we adjust. and Continue on.

  21. I too agree with Richard! Amazon should update their app to show restricted items! I don’t like spending the time to list an item to only find out as I”m ready to create shipment that its restricted.

  22. The idea that this change is about long-tail items has not been substantiated. All three of my recent restrictions were in the top 5% of their categories. That’s one of my buying parameters, so will always be true. And there are many, many similar stories on other forums.

    But it might be that they are cross-referencing Sales Rank with current offers, as some have noted. This also doesn’t work with two of my three restrictions, but perhaps there are third and fourth factors at play.

    But does this matter? Certainly, I can agree that anyone contemplating quitting at this early stage either hasn’t thought the matter through (how can we, so quickly?) or doesn’t have a robust enough business model. For one thing, where would one take their business that isn’t a smaller market, and therefore just as much of a revenue loss as having ASINs restricted?

    But I don’t think that’s the point? The point is that this is a substantial change where 1) Sellers were not notified ahead of time, 2) Sellers still have not (officially, to my knowledge) been told whether it is permanent or temporary, 3) Sellers have not, even after implementation, been given guidance on how to avoid restricted products or, if restrictions will “float”, been given guidance on how to determine which products will likely be restricted.

    Whether it is still “good” to do business with Amazon isn’t the question, but rather why they have chosen to be such a poor business partner on this particular matter.

  23. I’ve been at this for about four month’s now and I was kind of surprised when I got my first product rejection. One positive way of looking at this is that at least I’ll be sending in items with the most potential for quick sales, assuming that Amazon’s algorithm’s are correct! Plus if it does cause some FBAers to quit, it will mean less competition! Let’s keep our chins up!

  24. All philosophical and motivational material aside, it remains that for those who sell only or mostly books, there is no winning side in not knowing whether or not to buy a book because of not knowing whether or not it will be accepted. The big sellers can adapt to most any situation AZ comes up with; for the little guy on a very limited budget, it’s a vastly different story. If I go to a thrift store with my $20 in hand, there’s a big chance right now that I could just be throwing away $10-15 on books AZ will not accept, no matter what the books’ ranks, competition, price, etc, etc, etc.

  25. Thanks, Stephen.
    Learn. Adjust. Grow. Learn more. Adapt.
    It’s make me think and see the real world.

  26. It is “fascinating” to me that Amazon Seller Support responded to a seller who inquired about the restriction issue in a very interesting manner. Amazon plagiarized their answer to the seller from a FBA site(similar to this site) that was attempting to answer questions about the wide spread restrictions of books.
    From what I can gather, it is not as simple as sales rank and inventory levels that is determining the restrictions, as far as books are concerned. One seller can send in a particular book, but another seller is restricted. HMMMMH….For now, with all due respect to any who have ventured an opinion, I am taking every opinion ventured about these restrictions with a grain of salt. In time, the truth will come out. I don’t think we are there yet.

  27. Pingback: Amazon FBA Changes - Retail Arbitrage Receipts & Brand Restrictions - Full-Time FBA

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