4 Errors Your FBA Spreadsheet is Making
by Colleen Quattlebaum, on October 3, 2018
To succeed as an FBA seller, you need a reliable way to crunch all the numbers.
Order revenue, inventory levels, Amazon fees, freight expenses and supplier costs are a few of the numbers you must regularly consider to make informed business decisions. What's the best way to analyze all the data? Many sellers turn to spreadsheets, which certainly have their perks.
However, without the proper controls, spreadsheets can also lead to costly mistakes. Here are four common errors that your FBA spreadsheet might be making.
1. Inventory Inaccuracies
Sellers who rely on spreadsheets often lean heavily on the "Manage FBA Inventory" report found within Seller Central. With just a few clicks, you're able to export a text file that contains key data points, such as: SKU, ASIN, selling price and fulfillable quantities. No doubt, downloading this report is a better solution than having a freelancer manually key in data from the "Inventory" tab of your Seller Central account.
On the other hand, there are still several downsides to this approach. First, if you're looking for current data (I'm sure you are), you'll need to click the "Request Download" button and wait for Seller Central to refresh with an updated report (it's not an instant refresh, by the way). Once you've obtained this report, there's no guarantee that the data is still accurate - especially if you're a high-volume seller who fulfills hundreds of orders each day. Furthermore, you'll still need to format the text file so that it's usable, which also takes time.
In short, each passing moment reduces the reliability of your data and increases your stress.
2. Outdated Supplier Cost Assumptions
Reconciling supplier and Amazon data can be an equally perplexing endeavor. Some suppliers provide cost data as email attachments, while others do so through proprietary portals. Some update their price lists on a daily basis, while others do so less frequently. Just managing supplier cost sheet revisions can seem like a full-time endeavor.
Regardless of how or when suppliers deliver the information, someone from your team must routinely locate, input and analyze supplier data in the context of:
- Buy Box prices
- Amazon fees
- Order histories
- Forecasted demand
- Other market forces
Simply put, spreadsheets compound the complexity of managing supplier cost adjustments. The problem only gets worse as you expand your catalog and add additional suppliers.
3. Profitability Miscalculations
Let's assume that your team achieves the impossible and miraculously gets everything into one spreadsheet. Sadly, there's still no guarantee that your calculations are going to be accurate. After all, your team is probably doing a substantial amount of data entry. And, as I'm sure you know all too well, manual data entry can be a breeding ground for errors, oversights and broken formulas.
Instead of gleaning immediate insights from your FBA spreadsheet, you'll probably find yourself double-checking calculations and pivot tables. Even if everything checks out, you've still wasted another hour or two on non-value work.
That's time you could have otherwise dedicated to activities that will actually grow your FBA business.
4. Restocking Errors
There's no question that spreadsheets can fill your business with bad data.
What's worse, bad data can lead to very costly business decisions - particularly when it comes to FBA restocking. In today's competitive Amazon marketplace where razor-thin margins are commonplace, miscalculating the anticipated profitability of a single purchasing decision could have devastating consequences.
Make too many misguided restocking decisions, and you could be looking for a new career.
Get Off of Spreadsheets
If you're tired of unreliable spreadsheet data and looking for an integrated approach to FBA inventory management, give our RestockPro tool a try.
Sign up for a 21-day trial to see if it's right for you.