Challenges for Groceries in eCommerce

by Colleen Quattlebaum

Amazon grocery merchants face a number of challenges due to the nature of their products. Grocery and beauty items typically experience a high rate of return, which often leads to negative feedback. Restocking these items can also be a challenge with the quantities involved. Finding and interpreting reliable data about which items to sell is a third challenge. This post explores some options for streamlining your eCommerce grocery business.

Feedback Woes When Selling Grocery and Beauty Items

If you are an Amazon grocery merchant, you know that feedback is essential. Customer feedback helps you stay in tune with your customers. It highlights areas of your business that need improvement so you know what changes need to be made. Savvy sellers know that positive feedback on Amazon also improves your odds of getting sales. So what’s a grocery merchant to do when high return rates are negatively impacting your feedback?

Shawn Mayo, who runs the Groceries on FBA Facebook group, recently discussed some of these challenges in a webinar we held with him. To manage negative feedback quickly and effectively, Mayo uses FeedbackFive. Since FeedbackFive helps sellers communicate with customers proactively, it significantly impacts the amount of positive feedback sellers receive. Shawn mentions that since he began using the tool, customers often contact him with issues prior to leaving feedback. This allows him to resolve any problems before a review is made.

Reporting and Data Troubles When Deciding When To Restock

Managing grocery and beauty inventory can also be a big challenge, due to high quantities and fast or variable turnover rates. How do you know when it’s time to reorder a product? How can you predict how well an item will sell so you don’t lose money in expired stock?

When Todd Ryan, another merchant with experience in these areas, began using RestockPro, he wasn’t convinced of the value. But he quickly realized that it was because he was still building data manually. Using this tool consistently has proved invaluable for his Amazon business. As the tool collects information about sales history, sales velocity history, and more, it makes smart recommendations regarding what, when, and how much to reorder.


RestockPro also allows merchants to create shipments including box contents with SKU expiration dates by box. This results in less wasted inventory and more efficient selling, helping you to mitigate risk.


Multi-Pack Head Scratching When Researching New Items

If you’ve ever conducted a manual search of a large number of UPCs or ASINs, you know that the task takes hours and quickly becomes mind numbing. The grocery and beauty categories are especially full of variety and choice. Ryan recently used MarketScout to look up 8,000 UPC codes, which took less than 15 minutes. MarketScout emailed him when the list was ready. After downloading the CSV file, he was able to use the data provided to see the match with the highest rank, view the number of sellers, calculate potential margins, and more. The potential margins are calculated by MarketScout only if you input your costs. Here is an example of a batch upload result:


MarketScout also has the ability to detect when a listing is for a multipack. If the search tag matches a multipack, the tool extends the cost and determines margins based on the multipack. When using the tool, you are charged per lookup rather than per result. Considering the time it takes to manually search all of those codes versus the pennies it costs for an automatic search, you’re better spending time on more profitable work while MarketScout does the research.

Stay Up to Date With Amazon Merchant News

Here at eComEngine, we make it our business to understand your business. We know that grocery merchants face a number of specific challenges when selling on Amazon, and we have the tools to help. Learn more about our software here.

Originally published on January 29, 2016, updated May 31, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.