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November 30, 2021

Fix Stranded Inventory: Best Solutions To This Issue On Amazon

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a great way to sell products on Amazon, allowing users to store, ship, and manage inventory. But what happens when your inventory gets stranded? 

There are many potential causes of stranded inventory on Amazon, all of which require different approaches. Sometimes the solution is simple, but if you don't understand why you have stranded inventory in the first place, it may take longer than expected to resolve the issue.

If you've spent your valuable time and energy trying to fix your stranded inventory without success, it's time for a different approach.

So let's start by defining precisely what Amazon stranded inventory is before we get into some methods to manage inventory better. 

What is Amazon Stranded Inventory?

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Stranded inventory are products that are no longer actively available on Amazon for purchase. The listings will appear in Amazon's warehouse, but customers won't be able to buy inventory until you resolve the issue.

Time is an essential factor in this situation since Amazon only gives sellers 30 days to resolve stranded inventory issues! 

During this time, sellers are responsible for paying storage fees. To prevent these fees from stacking up, you need to identify why your inventory becomes stranded and solve the issue as quickly as possible. 

Additionally, stranded inventory can affect your IPI (inventory performance index), negatively impacting your ranking on Amazon. The IPI ranking is a performance metric that evaluates how quickly you're able to turn around your inventory. The faster you sell through your inventory, the better your IPI will be. 

Your IPI factors in "on-hand" inventory and the number of days it has been an active offer on Amazon. Therefore, anything that causes your inventory to remain stranded for long periods of time can decrease your IPI. 

So if you want to save costs on long-term storage fees and maintain your IPI, you must figure out why your inventory is stranded. 

Luckily for you, we created this guide to help sellers understand what causes their Amazon FBA inventory to become stranded and how they can solve these issues quickly and easily. 

Our recommendations will not only reduce the amount of time your FBA shipments are in storage, but they'll also help keep them from becoming stranded again in the future.

Where Can I Find the Stranded Inventory Page on Seller Central?

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Our guide below addresses common reasons for stranded inventory so that you can get started on solving your stranded inventory issues. 

To find out if you have any stranded FBA inventory, you will need to follow these simple steps:

  • Log onto seller central in your Amazon account.
  • Click on inventory to get to your inventory page. 
  • Click on Manage Inventory.
  • Click on the Inventory Dashboard.
  • Click on the Fix Stranded Inventory page.

These steps will bring you to a page where you can manage inventory marked as stranded or inactive. You will be able to see which products are stranded and why the item is no longer an active listing on Amazon FBA. 

So now that you know how to find the stranded inventory page in seller central, it's time to start troubleshooting.

Read on for some common causes for stranded inventory, as well as our solutions, so that you can fix your stranded inventory issues today!

Common Causes of Stranded Inventory (and Solutions)

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Having FBA stranded inventory can be frustrating, but we're here to help. If you have any additional issues, make sure to contact seller support. 

Below is our list of 7 reasons for stranded inventory:

Restricted ASIN

Products on Amazon all have a unique ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). If you get a notification from Amazon that you have a restricted ASIN, that means you are not allowed to sell that product. 

Here are the reasons Amazon can restrict your ASIN:

  • Product quality issues
  • Safety concerns
  • Intellectual property concerns

You can either appeal the ASIN restriction or remove the product from your inventory. If the appeal is approved, you will have to relist the item. If Amazon denies your request, you must create a removal order.

Missing SKU

An SKU (stock keeping unit) is a number assigned to a product that helps sellers keep track of inventory. However, if the SKU doesn't match or the seller never created a listing, Amazon may strand the inventory. 

Here are the steps to fix this error:

  • Relist the item and save changes.
  • Create a new listing and make sure to add the price.
  • Click on I want to ship this item myself to the customer if it sells from the drop-down menu. 
  • Change the quantity to "0" and save.
  • Choose Change to FBA
  • Delete the listing.

Listing Error

A listing error can occur when your item does not have an active ASIN. This error can happen if you never created listings in the first place or if you somehow deleted them.

If you have a listing error, the easy fix is to relist the item. But if this doesn't work, you will have to contact seller support or create a removal order.

Brand Qualification Required

You need approval to sell specific brands on Amazon. You can do this using the Request Approval button on your listing. 

If the button is not available, or if you ultimately do not get permission from the brand owner, you will have to delete the listing and file a removal order.

Pricing error

If Amazon determines that the price for your inventory is inaccurate (whether it’s too low or too high), they can make the listing inactive. An inactive listing can also happen if no price is listed. 

To avoid this problem, make sure to go to the manage inventory page and adjust your minimum and maximum prices for the product.

Quality issues

Amazon may alert you of quality issues in your stranded inventory. This error can happen when there is a problem with your listing. Some examples include titles, images, or descriptions that do not match your product. To fix stranded inventory that has quality issues, you must update the listing. 

Go to your inventory page and make sure all of the information about your listing is correct, paying attention to specific details about your product. 

Use edit listing to make the necessary updates— and don't forget to save your changes! 

Expired product

If you are selling perishable goods, ensure that they do not exceed the expiry date while listed. 

In this case, the only solution is to remove the product. You can do this by selecting create a removal order

These are some of the more common reasons for stranded inventory, but you can view all potential causes for inventory issues here.

Now that we've addressed how to fix stranded inventory let's dive into how to better manage inventory in the first place—so that you can save on storage fees and be a successful Amazon seller. 

How do I prevent stranded FBA inventory on Amazon?

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Amazon details three ways to prevent stranded inventory:

  • Avoid closing or deleting listings immediately after inventory is sold. If something goes wrong with the shipment or if there are customer returns, this inventory will be stranded.
  • Do not have multiple listings for the same product.
  • Be careful when using the Bulk Upload template. This setting can change listings from Amazon fulfilled to merchant fulfilled, which will cause problems for your FBA listing.

Properly shipping items to the warehouse is also essential to running a successful Amazon FBA business. 

Here are our suggestions to streamline the shipping process:

Complete the proper research before listing items and sending inventory into FBA.

If you're planning on selling a product that may have brand or expiry restrictions, then make sure to read through Amazon's Quality Program Guidelines. Otherwise, your listings may not qualify and become stranded, potentially causing you to lose inventory once the 30 days are up. 

Another good idea is to ensure that all of your listings follow Amazon's rules by only using high-quality images and following all inventory guidelines.

Verify that your product listings are in order before sending them to Amazon. This precaution should prevent any issues with your inventory.

Check your FBA shipments before sending.

One of the biggest reasons items become stranded on Amazon is errors when sending products into the Amazon warehouse. Your inventory can also become stranded if you send unexpected merchandise that does not match your listing.  

You need to keep a few essential things in mind when creating shipments within FBA:

  • You must print out a label for each product before sending it to Amazon's warehouse.
  • Ensure that your weight is accurate and matches your items.
  • Ensure that you update all changes with your carrier, so nothing gets lost or left behind.
  • Make sure to package up all products correctly, so there aren't any damages during transit.

Image credit: EcomCrew.com

FAQ: Amazon Stranded Inventory

What does stranded inventory mean on Amazon?

Stranded inventory are products on Amazon that are not marked as an active offer and therefore cannot be purchased. Customers won't be able to buy these products until you solve any issues with the inventory. 

While inventory is stranded, sellers are still responsible for paying storage space fees in Amazon's warehouse. Additionally, this can negatively affect their IPI (inventory performance index) rating.

What causes stranded inventory?

There are many reasons why your product may end up on the stranded inventory list. Here are some of the more common causes:

  • Restricted ASIN
  • Missing SKU
  • Listing error
  • Brand qualification required
  • Pricing errors
  • Quality issues
  • Expired products
  • Closing or deleting listings immediately after you sell your product
  • Having multiple listings for the same product
  • Bulk upload template errors (which can cause listings to be marked as merchant fulfilled instead of Amazon fulfilled).

How do you fix stranded inventory?

If you want to fix stranded inventory, check out the suggestions in our guide above— we have quick solutions for many inventory issues, from quality issues to missing SKUs. 

But if you're still having problems, make sure to get help on the seller central page.

Conclusion

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If you want to make money as a seller on Amazon, it is crucial to fix any stranded inventory problems that may come up as soon as possible. 

Taking the necessary steps will not only help you to save on storage costs and maintain your inventory performance ratings, but it will also save you the major headache of troubleshooting problems with your listings and having to contact seller central. 

You want to manage FBA inventory as seamlessly as possible, which is why we created this guide to help you be a successful Amazon seller. 

If you’re just getting started as an online seller, make sure to check out our step-by-step guide to becoming a reseller online in 2021.

Alternatively, if you’re already an established reseller who's interested in taking your Amazon FBA business to the next level, make sure to read our article on how to get your product on the first page of Amazon

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Mike Vestil

About the Author

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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