Amazon FBA is just too risky for seasonal goods. They let me down so badly


I sent a mother’s day gift product to Amazon well in advance of the date but the product was in “waiting a collection” status until the Friday before Mother’s Day

Because the stock was loaded onto my Amazon inventory so late, of course it didn’t sell. An absolute disaster for me as I purchased all this stock. Now I’m faced with having to wait a year for it to sell and pay storage fees or remove it from Amazon which will be a further charge.

Amazon may have a policy in place that they can’t guarantee any dates for receiving goods but that is just a further testament that they aren’t a reliable business partner. This is all kids play. Businesses don’t want to buy goods to leave them in a warehouse for twelve months - that’s terrible retail.

All the terms and conditions are always in Amazon’s favour. It’s not a real partnership.

Furthermore, there’s little room to capitalise on seasonal products that are very popular that sell out and need to be stocked at short notice. It’s a real missed opportunity.

I’m not sending anymore seasonal products to Amazon. It’s too much of a risk that they won’t receive them in time. You don’t have to worry about that with products that sell all year round.


Just what do you call well in advance? They do tend to give out last sending in dates for these kind of occasions and I know for Christmas, it’s pretty much 2 months before to guarantee stock will be available.

Of course you can capitalise on this kind of thing. At the end of the day, you don’t have to use FBA and can have a listing active within a few minutes. You could even use SFP, so that you get the prime badge.


This is the key question.

If I were dealing with Mothers Day gifts, for example, I would have been ramping up the stock from Jan 1. Likewise Christmas, we would start ramping up from Sep 1.

If you look at the way the key retailers approach key calendar events, you can get a good indication as to when the event is building up.


Yes, it was indeed sent well in advance.

With regards, to your second point, my post is titled and in reference to FBA. Not every business is set up to be able to do seller fulfillment. It’s not possible for my business.


was it stuck somewhere for several weeks - customs etc ?!


Manufactured in the UK. It was “awaiting collection”


for how long ?
UPS don’t usually take more than a week


But what is well in advance? That really is the key question.

And no, not every business is setup to be able to do FBM as well, but to be perfectly honest, it’s not really a hardship if your full time in the business.

But FBA can and does work for fast setup of lines as well, though it does depend on the time of year.
Nearly all of the time, I have stock sent in and active within a few days, regardless of the time of year. At the absolute worst, it’s taken about 2 weeks.


Have you worked in general retail before?

We will usually begin stock for Christmas around April - May. We have to work with limited production capacities and ensuring we have enough on the shelf ready for the beginning of the rush in late October onwards.

You need to predict your ‘seasons’ and ship goods well in advance.

I think the phrase is

Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.


I would always allow 2-3 weeks delivery and 1 week transfer, better safe than sorry (and even more for Christmas!)

So I would be sending in my Mothers Day stuff no later than mid Feb. Ideally around mid Jan or even before

You say you sent it in well in advance, but never actually put a date on that. What is well in advance to you?


This exactly how I was working with Mother’s day. From January onwards I was stocking up. I was still sending into FBA with about 2 weeks to go but I understood there was a risk the stock wouldn’t arrive in time and it would have to sell next year…luckily it did arrive in time and was mostly sold out!

I have just started on stocking up for Father’s day now…I have calendar entries which pop up 3 months before an event to remind to start ordering!


You almost have to be prepared for every eventuality. Mother’s Day should start going in in January. Sometimes I’ll gamble and do something nearer the time, but I know it’s on me.

I just had an Easter product that ended up in the wrong category, then when I tried to manually sort it it ended up in stranded inventory, then I resolved that and it ended up losing its browse node. I’ve finally sorted but am trying to get it to the sales levels it should be at.

Seasonal products can be tough to get right on Amazon.


To give you some idea, I’m working on some new Christmas cards and things NOW. Gives me plenty of time to get listings etc. ready for September. From September, I’ll be working on Mother’s Day/Valentines’.


Sorry for going off topic, but could you tell me how you sorted your browse node issue please? (or maybe point me in the direction of a forum topic?) This is the 2nd time our browse node has disappeared on an own brand product and I’m getting really tired of copy and paste responses


FBA is a fee milking strategy, FBM is the way to go


You’ve been repeatedly asked what was “well in advance” and you’ve repeatedly failed to answer. How long was “well in advance”? In my experience, FBA is a very rapid turnaround; even during the busiest times like Christmas and Black Friday. Our goods are usually fully processed within 2 or 3 days from collection by UPS, sometimes within 24 hours.

As others have said, when sending in seasonal stock it needs to be done weeks if not months ahead of the seasonal event in question. Cadbury makes selection boxes in the summer and easter eggs in the autumn, months in advance. That is the view to take. Mothers Day stock should have been at FC’s in January.

No it isn’t; FBA is no worse or no better than any other selling platform. The fees here are comparable to other platforms and FBA has lots of advantages over FBM.


Completely disagree. We do both typically using FBM for heavier items. FBA with its Next Day, 7 Day delivery provides a service we never could and we noticed an immediate increase in sales on those lines of around 30% - Added to that some products qualified for Small and Light so were actually cheaper to send.and of course you get at least a level of customer service provided by Amazon ie they chase parcels deal with returns and replacements etc.

We tried Seller Fulfilled Prime - and that was a nightmare. It is / was simply impossible for us using DPD and RM to meet the metrics required. I guess those that make it work must live right next to a RM and DPD distribution depot.

And finally with FBA - We don’t have to work flat out 7-5:30 five days a week. We now cut off at 2pm and the warehouse only operates 4 days a week


FBA is entirely in Amazon’s favour. They’re essentially getting stock from you, only paying you if it sells but charging you to store it and dispose of it. Would anyone work with a high street store on such terms?

The fact that some people make money from it doesn’t change the essential assymetry bordering on exploitation.


Many high street stores - and in particular supermarkets work on a sale or return or a sale or destroy basis. In fact supermarkets often take products like fresh produce - sell it, and then don’t pay the supplier for months.


No it isn’t. If it was, no seller would go near it with a hundred foot Domestos bottle !

FBA works perfectly well for millions of sellers, us included. It is far, far superior to FBM, for us. Just because it might not be your cup of tea, doesn’t make it exploitation. They’re not getting stock from you; it’s your stock being stored in their warehouse space. You therefore pay a small fee per month to store stuff there until it sells. We’ve got items which are less than a tenth of a penny per month to store. It’s miniscule. And why would anybody therefore pay you for something that hasn’t sold?