What To Do if You Stockout in Q4

by Victoria Sullivan

The holiday season is ripe with opportunity for your Amazon business. According to a report from eMarketer, the 2018 holiday season saw nearly $125 billion in eCommerce shopping — and this year, holiday shopping spend is expected to increase by 3.7%.

Needless to say, with demand so large in Q4, the last thing you want to do is stockout. You’ll lose sales, miss out on major growth opportunities, give your competitors an advantage and put your selling privileges at risk.

The good news is, you could avoid all this with the right strategies. Here, we outline 7 things to do if you stockout (or are approaching one) in Q4.

1. Temporarily Delete Listings

Temporarily removing your listings will essentially trick Amazon into thinking that you’re just not selling that product anymore, thus helping you avoid the dreaded consequences of a stockout. This is because Amazon sees that your product is “unavailable” and theoretically lets you keep your Amazon Best Sellers Rank (BSR) and other rankings.

2. Try Retail Arbitrage

If you have a wholesale Amazon business and sell name brand products, you could try retail arbitrage while you wait for a resupply order from your supplier. This means checking out clearance aisles at big box stores like Walmart, your local pharmacies, or liquidation and dollar stores to see if they carry your item. This is time-consuming and there’s no guarantee that you’ll find what you need — but it might be worth it to spend a day shopping if it means avoiding the more costly side effects of a stockout. Similarly, you can look on other websites to find what you need, so long as you can get them in hand quickly.

3. Place a Rush Order & Self-Fulfill

No matter what, you should already have made a rush inventory order with your supplier. If they’re in the U.S., see how quickly they can get your items to you — not an FBA warehouse. In most cases, getting inventory back on the FBA shelves takes time, which you don’t have when you’re trying to avoid or manage a stockout. Instead, have them send your inventory directly to you so you can self-fulfill while you get your inventory in order.

4. Slow Your Sales

Slowing your sales is a heck of a lot better than losing sales to competitors in a stockout. So if you’re nearing zero inventory and don’t have a resupply order ready, you can slow your sales by stopping any PPC or marketing campaigns you currently have running. You could even increase the price on your listing to temporarily deter customers.

5. Improve Inventory Management

If you’re approaching or already experiencing a stockout, you clearly need to optimize your inventory management strategy — or put one in place if you don’t have one. A sound inventory management system uses data (like sales velocity, seasonality, etc.) to tell you exactly when and how much to reorder at a given time. Using a third party inventory management tool like eComEngine’s RestockPro can help you figure this out so you always have enough stock but don’t overbuy.

After all, having too much inventory is not the solution since you’d be tying up all your cash flow in product that’s not selling. Not only are you not making your money back, you might also be subject to long-term FBA storage fees from Amazon.

A solution to this? Safety stock, or your “rainy day” supply of inventory that you tap into only if your everyday/FBA inventory is running lower than normal. Just don’t forget to replenish your safety stock as you use it so that you don’t run out of that too.

6. Set up Low Inventory Alerts

Part of your inventory management strategy should include Low Inventory Alerts. You can set these up in Amazon Seller Central or with the third-party tool you’re using — and they’re pretty straightforward. Set your “low” threshold then wait for an alert when/if your stock hits that number. These are especially helpful when you have an unexpected surge in sales and need to make a resupply order early.

7. Get Paid Faster & Order More Inventory Now

When you’re running out of stock, you need to place a new inventory order stat — which would be much easier to do if you got paid in real time. Fortunately, services like Payability get you your payouts faster so you can order inventory now.

Payability is a financing company for marketplace sellers that provides a variety of cash flow solutions depending on your needs. Let’s take a look:

  • You need to place a rush inventory order and cover any associated fees: Try Payability’s Instant Advance product. With Instant Advance, Payability pays you a certain amount of your future receivables up front and at a discount, giving you a large lump sum of cash.
  • You want to get paid daily so you can turn inventory faster and prevent stockouts in the future: Try Payability’s Instant Access product. With Instant Access, Payability pays you your income one business day after making a sale.
  • You want on-the-go access to your funds, especially if you’re going to try the retail arbitrage method while you wait for a resupply order:Take the Seller Card with you, which gives you real-time access to your income and can be used wherever Visa is accepted.

However you choose to take advantage of Payability’s solutions, you’ll be able to restock your inventory ASAP and get back to growing your business faster. Unlike traditional financing solutions, approved is based on your Amazon account health and sales performances - not credit. So you can get the financing you need in 24 hours without a single credit check or bank statement. This is perfect for last minute opportunities or if you’re in a time crunch to get inventory to FBA in time for Q4.

To learn more and see how you can take better control of your inventory management and growth in Q4, click here and get a $200 sign on bonus when you sign up for Instant Access.

Originally published on August 15, 2019, updated August 15, 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.