Seller Central Tip #5 – Fixing Stranded Inventory

Today we’re discussing our final Seller Central Tip in this series: Tip #5 – Fixing Stranded Inventory.

For a recap of our Seller Central Tips, here are the previous posts:

Tip #1 How to Check if “Returned” Items are Actually Returned to FBA
Tip #2 How to Get Reimbursed for Unfulfillable Inventory
Tip #3 How to Handle FBA Inbound Shipment Problems
Tip #4 How to Check for Reimbursable Lost Items
 

Fixing Stradned Inventory“Stranded inventory” refers to your items at a FBA warehouse that do not have an active offer on the Amazon website. Every few days, we check our inventory to see if any items have popped up in our stranded inventory list, and we take action according to the options provided in the drop-down menu beside each item.

Fix Stranded SidebarTo get started, log into Seller Central, and under the “Inventory” tab click “Manage Inventory.” In the left sidebar, click “Fix Stranded Inventory.” This brings up a list of all your items currently at a FBA warehouse that do not have active offers on Amazon.com. When we first began cleaning up the problems with our inventory on Seller Central several months ago, I (Rebecca) brought up this list and discovered we had six pages (six pages!!) of stranded inventory, requiring several hours of work to sort through the mess and take the appropriate actions. Now, I look at the stranded inventory every few days and never find more than a couple of items at a time that need to be addressed — often, these are items that I’ve already dealt with when checking for unfulfillable inventory, so I don’t need to do anything more with them.

In the “Status” column, you’ll see a few different reasons why your inventory might be “stranded.” The statuses we’ve encountered are Inactive, Incomplete, and Out of Stock. There might be others that we’re unaware of, but these are the ones we’ve personally had to deal with. If you have experience with other statuses, please leave a comment below, and tell us how you dealt with it. Now let’s look at each of these statuses and their implications.

Inactive

Stranded InventoryOne possibility for an inactive status is that an item has been returned by a customer and is unfulfillable, either because the customer damaged it (likely, he or she opened the package) or the customer said it was defective. If you’ve been checking your unfulfillable items as we learned about in Seller Central Tip #2, you will have already created a removal order for these items, and there’s no reason to take further action here. If you haven’t already created the removal order, there’s the option to do so in your stranded inventory list by clicking the drop-down menu under the “Actions” column.

Sometimes, however, there’s a problem in the Amazon system that causes an item to be listed as inactive for no reason that we’ve been able to figure out. In these cases, when we know that the item isn’t unfulfillable, we chose “Relist” from the “Actions” column and fill in the appropriate information in the “Offer” tab of the Amazon product page.

4On occasion we’ve discovered that “Relist” is not an option for certain items, particularly DVDs, automotive items, and health and beauty products. Movies and TV shows by certain studios (Warner Bros. and BBC, to name a couple) have become restricted items in an effort to control authenticity of DVDs for sale on Amazon. Also, anything that may be considered hazmat is restricted. Sometimes these restrictions come into place after you’ve sent an item to a FBA warehouse. In the case of movies, you can create a removal order and try to sell the item on eBay or at your next garage sale. For hazmat issues, sadly we’ve found that Amazon won’t allow us to create the removal order and have the items shipped back to us, for safety reasons. The only option is to cut your losses and have the item destroyed by Amazon.

Out of Stock or Incomplete

Out-of-stock3When I first encountered those six long pages of our stranded inventory, many of our items had the “out of stock” status because of a glitch occuring during the initial process of scanning and entering them in the Amazon system. Somehow, even though we were scanning them into the system as Fulfilled By Amazon and sending them to warehouses across the U.S., the glitch caused them to be recognized as Merchant Fulfilled and listed them as stranded inventory. To fix the problem, I clicked on each “out of stock” item’s “Action” drop-down menu and chose “Change to Fulfilled by Amazon.” Almost immediately these items became available for purchase. Since our initial inventory clean-up, we haven’t encountered this problem again, but if we ever do in the future, we’ll know how to handle it.

These are just a few of the issues we’ve encountered with stranded inventory. Sometimes the fault is ours, sometimes it’s a glitch in the system, sometimes it’s unexplainable. Regardless, you’ll want to check your stranded inventory and see if there are items that you can have relisted and available for purchase — inactive listings do not bring any profit!

Have you encountered these or other problems in your stranded inventory list? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

24 responses to “Seller Central Tip #5 – Fixing Stranded Inventory

  1. I also just recently discovered that I had 4 pages of Stranded Inventory. After going back and forth with Amazon, they told me how to fix most of them by using the “Add a Product” button at the top of the page, filling in the information as you normally would, but making sure to use the “Merchant SKU” that shows on the Stranded Inventory page for the item. Most of my Stranded Inventory had a status of “Incomplete” which wasn’t completely covered in the very informative blog post above. My listings became Active within about 15 minutes or so and I actually sold a few of them within hours. Well worth the time to fix them. Hope this helps!

    Dave
    http://www.rocksoliddeelz.com

  2. Interesting… my fba seller account doesn’t have a “fix stranded inventory” link. Not sure what that means yet. Since it says “new” in the screen shot I would have to assume it has not been released for everyone. Strange because we have been fba sellers for 3 years.

  3. Lol. Thanks. I was wondering if that might be the case. They keep adding new features.

  4. Hi, Stephen,
    Thanks for the article. In looking at my list, I have a few that only have two choices when I click on Action: “Learn to Create New Listings” and “Create Removal Order”. I don’t get an option to edit the listing or to convert it to FBA. What do you do with those?

    Thanks for your help.

    • If there is not an option to edit or convert to FBA, then I usually create a removal order and have it mailed back to me. Then I’ll send it back to Amazon to tray again to sell it. That process usually costs me less than $1 and about a weeks worth of wait time.

  5. Andrew Cassinelli

    I have a large number of items that are marked as Incomplete, and the drop down menu options are “Learn To Create New Listings” out “Create Removal Order” just like Christine.

    As she pointed out, there is no link to convert to FBA. But you can select the check box on the left and click the Actions button at the top which DOES have the option to “Change to FBA”. I then chose ” Convert Only” since this is inventory I had already sent to Amazon.

  6. Experiencing this right now. Why does some inventory arrive in FBA in this state?

    I tried the following and now seem to be really stuck.

    Converted the stuck SKU back to Merchant fulfilled. Then I tried to delete the listing. Doing this gave me the options to create a new listing, but the problem is now it’s saying I can’t create the listing as the button links to an error page. You’d think this should be much simpler?

    And as a professional seller why is Amazons support so sucky?

    Help would be much appreciated 🙂

    • It can be very frustrating. All we can do is all we can do. After a while we need to create a removal order and maybe try to send it back in again later. You can also open up a ticket with Amazon and ask them what they think you should do.

  7. Thanks for the this post Stephen. First time I’ve had Stranded Inventory was tonight. The two items status was Inactive(Out of Stock), yet when I checked my inventory, the listings were set to FBA. Further research by clicking on the hyperlink 0 on quantity showed me that they were warehouse damaged, just not showing up on the damage report yet. So that was good to know since AZ will reimburse for warehouse damaged goods.

  8. Good post , I recently face a strange problem on amazon FBA Stranded Inventory , I have today maybe 25 in this category , however I am new FBA seller but something unusual happen.

    I have being selling those clothing in the same listing for about 3 years, now someone have the same listing with very cheap price than the one that I use to sell, Amazon put those listing to stranded inventory but not for sell in the listing that I used to but to new listing,

    I feel that is not right and I am feel so upset about that.

    I may remove all those listing , What do you guys think?

    Thanks

    Raquel Young

  9. Regarding “Incomplete Stranded Inventory” I was told to just to just fill in the missing information and update. My items are books, and if I can’t hold the book in my hands, I’m not going to guess at the condition or price (because these items have been listed once and now reside at FBA). So I had 250 sent back to me to relist (FREE TG). They came back to me in such poor condition, I could only relist about 10% of them. Really makes me wonder what happens to items sent to FBA AND in what condition do my buyers get them????
    Very frustrating Spring with FBA!

    • I hear ya. With the ride all of our products take with UPS and the conveyor belts at Amazon, it’s a wonder they arrive in decent condition at all.

  10. Dawn Jasionowski

    How has your luck been in relisting stranded inventory that you had returned to you by Amazon? I want to try to relist several items that had no obvious problems. but I’m afraid they’ll just be stranded again.

    • I’ve been able to list most that were stranded… others I realized why they were stranded that made sense (they were restricted).

  11. Has anyone had the issue where your items are showing Inactive (Out of Stock) but you do have available inventory showing? I sent a new shipment to Amazon and now most of this shipment is showing as Inactive so I know they are not returns. I have tried to relist these items but it does not work. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!

    • Sometimes Amazon will move inventory from one warehouse to another. When the items are being moved, they will show as inactive in your inventory.

  12. Pingback: Overcoming Your Fear of Training Your Competition via Outsourcing - Full-Time FBA

  13. A number of books from the first shipment I sent in to FBA are listed as “Inactive (Out of Stock)” with a quantity available of “0”. I understand that listings take awhile to become active, so this makes sense.

    However, a couple books from the same shipment are listed as “Active” with “0” copies available. Since the books haven’t sold yet, I would expect the quantity available – again, given that the listings are active – to be at least “1”.

    Am I correct in thinking that I may have a problem that needs to be fixed?

  14. Well, the “Manage FBA Inventory” page turns out to be more enlightening than the “Manage Inventory” page. A few items that I sent in are showing as reserved. Apparently just being moved between warehouses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *