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A new year brings FBA Sellers a fresh start to clean up any disarray we left in 2018, and move forward into 2019 with a clean slate.

Indeed, 2018 was a challenging year for FBA Sellers in many respects and with the threat of higher tariffs on goods from China, the “Amazon Effect” looming over retail, and the changing landscape of social media, it is more important than ever to make sure your margins are protected.

In honor of the new year, we compiled a list of 5 things to help you start 2019 off right as an Amazon FBA Seller.

Start tracking your packaging dimensions

The size of your product matters because of the FBA fees that are based on the dimensions of your individual products. As we discussed in this blog on preventing logistical headaches, Amazon does not manually measure your packaging. Instead, they utilize their own machine to measure your products, so even a loose piece of tape can alter the dimensions they see. This can result in extra costs incurred on the FBA seller.

The best way to correct any issues in Amazon’s measuring is to have your own record of the correct dimensions of all SKUs. You can use this free template to start tracking packaging dimensions now.

Check all of your returns & removals

There are only three times within the FBA cycle that you can personally ensure that the status of your inventory is accurate. One of those times is when you receive returns or removals from an FBA warehouse.

When you receive inventory back from Amazon, you should go through it and ensure that what you received was what Amazon described and what you were expecting. Every return has an explanation the consumer provided. If they claimed the product was damaged, there was a missing piece, etc., then make sure that correlates with the inventory shipped back to you.

If you’re checking your returns and removals, then you discover a host of discrepancies. For example, you may discover inaccuracies in the description of return,  that you were sent the wrong product, or that the number of items you were supposed to be receiving is inaccurate. Finding these discrepancies can result in the seller being eligible to file a claim and be reimbursed by Amazon. Read our blog on what to do with returns and removals here

Remove some inventory from FBA

Long term storage fees are going up. Fees for larger items are already and will continue to be, substantial. it may be cheaper to remove any items before you get slapped with the long term storage fees.

Ask yourself the following:

  1. are you incurring long term storage fees?
  2. are you overstocked?

If you answered yes to either of the following, it may be better to remove the overstock and store it somewhere else until you need to replenish your FBA inventory.

Make sure you’re paying attention to best marketing practices

In 2018, consumers were confronted with the extent to which social media is dominated by advertising. Because of that, the landscape of marketing has been and will continue to shift. For example, Facebook is now allowing users to see all current ad campaigns a page is promoting. Simply opening a social media page and running some ads is no longer enough to bring traffic to your listings.

If you aren’t marketing your listings, you should consider changing your approach. E-Commerce marketing agencies can help you manage and promote your listings. Alternatively, getting a good freelancer or VA (virtual assistant) could help you stay on top of current best practices. Note that hiring the wrong freelancer may be worse than not having someone work on this at all. We recommend using a company such as FreeeUp to find the right freelancer because not only do they vet their freelancers, but they also help you find the right person to help take your team and listings to the next level.

Have a contingency plan

When you rely on your Amazon account for your income, it’s crucial that you ensure that you have a contingency plan in case of suspension. “Don’t wait for your account to be suspended to start figuring out what to do,” says Chris McCabe from ECommerceChris. Companies like ECommerceChris can take your information, craft it into an appeal that will be meaningful, and result in a listing reinstatement or an account reinstatement. Receiving advice from former ‘Amazonians’ can help you communicate with Amazon more effectively and get you back on your feet. They can also help make sure you avoid a suspension all together through their membership services that teach Amazon sellers how to review their own accounts for possible pain points.