WSJ discusses Amazon Commingled FBA

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There’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal discussing Commingled Amazon FBA products and how fake products get into the system.

The problem highlighted is that if you receive a counterfeit product as a buyer you tend to blame the seller, which in some instances might be Amazon themselves or it could be a third party seller who is shipping product through FBA. However it’s not always the seller you purchased from that’s at fault.

What Amazon does to make their logistics easier, is to mix products from all sellers with their own stock and then ship to the customer from the nearest warehouse from the mixed pool of inventory. That means if one rogue seller (or possibly unsuspecting seller who has unwittingly acquired knock off products) ships their items to Amazon for commingling, their dodgy stock could be shipped to your buyers. Bear in mind that if you use FBA you may also decide to fulfil orders not even sold on Amazon but on your own website or other marketplaces.

It’s not just the risk of fake products either, it could be products with damaged or sub-standard packaging that could be shipped to your buyers. Whilst Amazon have very high standards, with the sheer amount of product stored in their FBA warehouses, some is bound to slip under the radar and be shipped to buyers around the world.

CPC Strategies have a recent article discussing what steps you can take to protect your reputation and discusses the benefits of stickerless commingled product against the effort of labelling your inventory so that it’s identified as yours and only shipped to fulfil your orders.

Do you allow your products to be commingled? Have you had any issues and are there some products you commingle and others that you label as yours?

5 Responses

  1. This is very interesting article – as we have had a very similar issue this week (damaged goods, not fake), where a part was missing from several sets, so returned to us as unfullfillable – which we had to pay for . The items were not ours, we got two negative feedbacks (removed eventually) and even got a policy violation for the returned goods (again removed eventually) – we are considering what the options / impact are, if we sticker everything and don’t send co-mingled items,

    Does anyone know what happens in this case? (as we are struggling to get this answered)

  2. I would never commingle and I will explain why.

    One of my product lines is supplied to me in five sizes XS, S, M, L, XL and I have no choice in the matter. Each bundle contains 2 of each size and sometimes I run low on one size whilst having an abundance of a different size. For over 12 months I was the sole seller of this product, which is a fantastic position to be in, and although I was holding more XS and XL than I would have liked I was very happy and making a pleasant profit. Well all good things come to an end and a competitor started listing the same product, or rather what purported to be the same product on the Amazon listing at a cheaper price.

    My suspicion were initially aroused by the fact they were only selling sizes S,M and L, because I knew that my supplier included all sizes in the bundles. So I bought one of the products off my competitor and it was nothing like my product. It was basically a shoddy threadbare piece of tat.

    I immediately contacted Amazon support and advised that my competitor product was not the same product that I had listed and they upon comparing the products within the fulfilment centre agreed and removed the shoddy products.

    If I had opted for commingled my competitor’s products would have been mixed in with mine and the Amazon support operative wouldn’t have been able to differentiate the ones I had sent against the ones my competitor sent.

  3. I have had a number of issues. I have suggested that Amazon keep one unit in reserve each time they get a delivery so that they can address any issues that arise.

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