This blog post is courtesy of SkuVault, an ROI Revolution partner.
Selling your products on Amazon is a must for sellers with any kind of long-term success plan. Selling your products with great rankings and widespread visibility is an even bigger must. There can be a lot of hurdles to get past in order to achieve success, but implementing an efficient warehouse management system (WMS) makes the process much smoother.
So what kind of hurdles are we talking about? Let’s see. There’s a little thing called mis-shipments which can cause a domino-effect of issues. There’s customer dissatisfaction. And there’s poor out-of-stock ratios. All of which can be solved using features provided by a WMS capable of handling possible errors not caught by humans. When considering products for ranking and visibility, Amazon runs these factors into an algorithm. They also consider these factors when determining who gets the Buy Box a.k.a the golden egg.
Amazon Buy Box
Although Amazon doesn’t release specific targets to become Buy Box eligible, they do lay out high standards to match in order to become a Buy Box seller. Here’s what they suggest:
- Price competitively
- Keep stock available & update inventory
- Offer multiple shipping options
- Excellent customer service
All of these requirements are feasible with a warehouse management system, and more specifically, with features that manage inventory control. SkuVault, for example, houses a number of features to keep your stock in order and in check.
How A WMS Helps:
Replenishment reports are used to keep count of all inventory levels and alert the seller when they dip below the desired quantity, or are running low on a popular item. Create purchase orders from the results of a replenishment report to always keep your highest turning products in stock – check your PO against receiving catch product discrepancies and quantity accuracy from the onset.
Both of these WMS features reduce customer service issues like mis-shipments and mis-picks, and automatically update the seller on product quantity so they can focus on other aspects of their business. By following the Buy Box guidelines with the help of these type of WMS features, product rankings and visibility will surge on Amazon.
As mentioned before, WMS offer an array of features to prevent inventory from going awry. Mis-shipments can cause more troubles than just angering customers. Factors like company morale deteriorating over constant frustration, building a bad reputation early, and the risk of losing Amazon benefits like Fulfillment by Amazon and Seller Fulfilled Prime are all in the hands of mis-shipment rates.
How A WMS Helps:
Quality control is beneficial here because it checks a picked item against a fulfillment order to ensure the quality and quantity is matched to the original marketplace description. When customers receive the correct items and don’t have to wait on reshipments, customer satisfaction ratings stay afloat, which increases your chances of higher product rankings.
Real-Time Quantity Updates
If you’re selling products across multiple channels, it’s easy for out-of-stock or oversold products to occur. Not to mention the bad customer reviews that come as a result! A WMS is key in handling multiple channels to keep your products’ quantities consistent. If the sale of an item occurs on one channel, it needs to reflect the new updated quantity on other channels to show what you have available, and vise versa.
How A WMS Helps:
Quantity updates prevent mismatched quantities across your channels, and reduce customer confusion and complaints. The more a customer is pleased, the better the chances are of them coming back, buying more, and evolving your products to a higher level of visibility and rank.
Advance to FBA and/or Seller Fulfilled Prime
Achieving the Buy Box is great and all, but the exposure granted through FBA and Seller Fulfilled Prime is a game changer. With FBA, merchants are eligible for free shipping and two-day Prime shipping, which is huge, since Amazon has officially set the standard and general expectation for that shipping model. Products are sold on international markets i.e. greater exposure, and merchants use Amazon customer service. Merchants using Seller Fulfilled Prime must have consistent sales which allows their products (which they are fulfilling direct from their warehouse – no FBA, here) to be flagged as eligible for Prime two-day delivery.
How A WMS Helps:
If a WMS integrates with shipping and channel management companies, your products are already at a greater advantage of being handled smoothly and reaching a wider audience. This will help in sustaining Prime delivery coveted by Amazon subscribers and merchants utilizing FBA and Seller Fulfilled Prime. Also, real-time quantity syncs across more channels than just Amazon give you a leg up on the competition in that your products are reaching multiple marketplaces at once, to a potentially entirely new customer base, who may not have seen your products, were they only on one marketplace.
Features like quantity control, again, catch low quality or incorrect products before they’re sent out, resulting in mis-ships which would most definitely hinder your performance with FBA and Seller Fulfilled Prime.
If you’re a seller serious about making sizeable profits, it’s worth shelling out the extra cash to invest in a WMS. The features built into a WMS and the possible channel and shipping integrations basically do the work for you. Perhaps the biggest advantage of implementing a WMS is increased customer satisfaction. Amazon, in valuing competitive pricing, multiple shipping options, synced quantities, reduced out-of-stocks, mis-spick, mis-ships, and reduced inventory errors in general – all of which are directly or indirectly tied to customer satisfaction – has made customer satisfaction paramount in achieving the Buy Box, FBA, or Seller Fulfilled Prime.
We’re a little biased (we are a WMS system), but, really, just get a WMS, and start improving your customers’ satisfaction (& your visibility on Amazon) today.