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  • Josie Shepard

Amazon Excess Inventory Management: Common Causes and Ways to Liquidate Unsold Inventory

Updated: Feb 7

You have likely heard the phrase 'less is more' and it certainly applies to inventory management on Amazon. Excess inventory, or having too much stock on hand, can pose a significant problem for sellers. Not only can it lead to costly storage fees and damaged or spoiled products, but it can also harm your cash flow and profitability.


We've all had excess inventory at some point, and we'll teach you from first hand experience how to deal with it.


In this article, we will delve into Amazon excess inventory, providing you with the tools to identify and calculate the costs involved. We will explore the impact excess inventory can have on your inventory turnover ratio and IPI score, as well as your cash flow.


Furthermore, we will outline various solutions and strategies such as liquidation and lightning deals that can help you reduce excess inventory, including ways to improve inventory management efficiency and reduce storage costs.


Whether you are a new seller looking to avoid excess inventory or an experienced one seeking to better manage your existing stock, this article will offer valuable insights and practical solutions.


If you love this topic, then you will also love our guide on how to liquidate inventory on Amazon. Read it here.


Ready to optimize your eCommerce fulfillment costs? Check our pricing.


What is Amazon Excess Inventory?


Excess inventory, unsold overstocked products that accumulate holding costs, can result in high storage fees, spoilage losses, opportunity costs, and ultimately affect cash flow and profitability.


Holding costs refer to the expenses incurred to store inventory, including rent, utilities, insurance, and depreciation. Spoilage losses occur when perishable items expire or become damaged, leading to waste and disposal costs. Opportunity costs are the potential profits lost by tying up capital in slow-moving inventory instead of investing in more profitable products.


Slow-selling products sitting in your FBA inventory with lower Amazon rankings and fewer sales can contribute to excess inventory. Inventory turnover ratio (ITR) indicates inventory management efficiency, with a low ITR indicating excess units. Calculating estimated excess quantity based on sales data, inventory cost, and turnover rate helps identify excess inventory. Inventory more than 90 days old or with more than 90 days' worth of supply is considered excess.


Reducing excess inventory requires identifying slow-moving and overstocked products before they become obsolete. Effective inventory management involves balancing recovery and cutting losses. By monitoring and moving slow-moving inventory and using tools such as inventory forecasting and liquidation dashboards, sellers can reduce excess inventory and improve cash flow.


Identification and Calculation


To properly identify and calculate your excess inventory, you need to analyze your sales data and turnover rate. If you're already using an inventory management tool like sostocked, you can easily check on these metrics.


If you're doing it manually, break out excel. Begin by gathering data on your sales history, including the quantity sold and the time frame of the sales. Use this data to forecast future sales and determine the expected demand for each product.


By comparing your inventory levels to your sales forecast, you can identify any excess inventory that may be accumulating ahead of time and come up with solutions to get the product moving.


Once you've identified your excess inventory, it's important to optimize your inventory management and storage practices. Consider using a demand planning tool to help manage your inventory levels and ensure you have enough stock on hand to meet customer demand.


You may also need to adjust your storage practices to better accommodate your excess inventory, such as by renting additional storage space or using a third-party logistics provider like Prep It Pack It Ship It


By taking a data-driven approach to inventory optimization and storage management, you can reduce your excess inventory and improve your cash flow. In the next section, we'll discuss how to measure your inventory turnover ratio and IPI, and how these metrics can help further optimize your inventory management practices.


Inventory Turnover Ratio and IPI


By analyzing your inventory turnover ratio (ITR) and Amazon Inventory Performance Index (IPI), you can gain valuable insights into your inventory management efficiency and make data-driven decisions to improve your profitability.


ITR measures the number of times your inventory is sold and restocked within a given period. Interpreting ITR data can help you identify excess inventory and optimize your stock levels. A low ITR indicates excess units, while a high ITR indicates stockouts or shipping inefficiencies.


On the other hand, IPI measures your efficiency in inventory management, taking into account your inventory levels, FBA storage space, and order defect rates. A higher IPI score indicates that you are using your storage space efficiently, keeping top sellers in stock, and avoiding stockouts. Comparing IPI scores can also help you benchmark your performance against other sellers within your category and make necessary adjustments.


Tracking IPI changes can also help you identify issues that may be affecting your inventory management efficiency. Having a high IPI score can have several advantages, such as avoiding long-term storage fees, having higher storage limits, and not being penalized for low inventory levels during peak seasons.


Improving your IPI score requires maintaining good inventory levels, keeping top sellers in stock, solving listing issues, and optimizing product pages. Efficient inventory management can improve your cash flow and profitability.


With a better understanding of your ITR and IPI, you can make informed decisions to reduce your excess inventory and optimize your inventory management. This will help you avoid the negative effects that excess inventory can have on your cash flow, such as storage fees, penalty fees, and higher costs during peak seasons.


Effects on Cash Flow


When you have too much inventory sitting in your warehouse, it can seriously impact your cash flow. This can cause you to spend more money on storage fees, penalty fees, and higher costs during peak seasons. Excess inventory ties up your working capital, limiting your ability to invest in other areas of your business. As a result, this can lead to cash flow constraints, making it difficult to cover your expenses and invest in growth opportunities.


The impact on profits can be significant. When excess inventory takes up valuable warehouse space, it can result in higher storage fees and penalty fees. During Q4, when storage fees are at their highest, excess inventory can eat into your profits even more. It's important to find ways to reduce excess inventory and optimize your inventory levels to avoid these costs.


To avoid the negative impact of excess inventory on your cash flow and profits, it's important to implement solutions and strategies to reduce it. This can include putting excess units on sale, removing them from your inventory, or liquidating them through programs like the FBA Liquidations Program or Amazon Outlet.


By reducing excess inventory, you can free up valuable warehouse space and improve your cash flow.


Need more help in tracking your inventory, and avoiding overstocks and stockouts? Read our article on accessing Amazon Inventory Reports here.

Solutions and Strategies


Just like a gardener needs to regularly prune their plants to promote growth, businesses must also regularly review and manage their inventory to prevent excess buildup and optimize profits.


One effective solution to reducing excess inventory is inventory forecasting. By analyzing sales data and turnover rates, you can estimate the quantity of excess inventory and take proactive steps to prevent it from accumulating. This includes adjusting future orders, offering promotions or discounts, or liquidating excess units.


Another solution is to explore liquidation options. Liquidators purchase excess inventory at a reduced price, which can help recoup some of the costs and free up storage space. Amazon's FBA Liquidations Program and Amazon Outlet are two options available to sellers. However, it's important to consider the potential impact on your brand and reputation before opting for liquidation.


Sale strategies and marketing approaches can also reduce excess inventory. Offering promotions or discounts can incentivize customers to buy slow-moving products, while marketing campaigns can increase visibility and drive sales.


Additionally, product repurposing, such as bundling or repackaging excess inventory, can create new products and revenue streams.


By taking a proactive and creative approach to managing excess inventory, businesses can optimize profitability and prevent the accumulation of excess stock. Incorporating these strategies can help businesses reduce excess inventory and improve their inventory management.


However, it's important to also consider the next step: bundling and repackaging. By repurposing slow-moving products into new products, businesses can create unique offerings and further reduce excess inventory.


Bundling and Repackaging


Get creative with your excess inventory by bundling and repackaging slow-moving products to create new and profitable offerings. Creative packaging and bundling can help you get rid of excess inventory by offering cross-selling opportunities and seasonal promotions.


For example, if you have an excess of winter jackets, you can bundle them with scarves and gloves to create a winter accessories kit. This can attract customers who are looking for a complete winter outfit, thus increasing sales.


Repackaging can also be a great way to breathe new life into slow-moving products. Consider changing the packaging design or adding new features to make the product more appealing. You can also add value by offering upselling tactics, such as a free gift with purchase or a discount on future purchases. By repackaging and adding value, you can turn slow-moving products into profitable offerings.


By bundling and repackaging your excess inventory, you can reduce storage costs and improve your inventory turnover ratio. This can also help improve your Amazon Inventory Performance Index (IPI) score by reducing storage limitations and long-term storage fees.


As you work to improve your IPI score, consider keeping top sellers in stock, solving listing issues, and optimizing product pages. By taking a strategic approach to inventory management, you can improve cash flow and profitability.


Improving Amazon IPI Score


To improve your IPI score, you need to focus on maintaining good inventory levels, keeping your top sellers in stock, and optimizing your product pages. Good inventory levels mean that you have a balanced stock of fast-selling and slow-selling products.


Keeping your top sellers in stock ensures that you maintain your Amazon rankings and traffic. Optimizing your product pages involves using high-quality images, accurate descriptions, and competitive pricing.


To achieve IPI score improvement, you need to use inventory optimization techniques such as demand forecasting and stock management. Demand forecasting helps you identify which products are likely to sell more and which ones are likely to sell less based on past sales data.


Stock management techniques like using the SoStocked tool to monitor slow-moving products and liquidating excess inventory can help you free up space and reduce storage fees. Listing optimization involves using keywords, optimizing titles, and ensuring that your product descriptions are clear and concise.


By implementing these strategies, you can improve your IPI score, reduce storage fees, and increase profitability. However, it's important to note that inaccurate demand forecasting, poor inventory management, unreliable suppliers, and demand volatility can still lead to excess inventory.


In the next section, we'll discuss common causes of excess inventory and how to avoid them.


Common Causes of Excess Inventory


One common cause of excess inventory is overordering products. This often happens when businesses try to take advantage of bulk discounts or when they anticipate high demand but fail to accurately forecast it. Overordering leads to higher storage costs, increased risk of damage and spoilage, and ultimately, lower profits.


Poor inventory management is also a common cause of excess inventory. When businesses don't have effective systems in place to track inventory, they may end up with too many products that aren't selling, which takes up valuable storage space and ties up cash flow. It's essential to have a robust inventory management system that allows you to track sales, monitor inventory levels, and adjust your ordering processes accordingly to prevent excess inventory.


To reduce excess inventory, it's crucial to identify and monitor slow-moving and overstocked products before they become obsolete. One way to do this is to implement a regular inventory review process and adjust your ordering processes based on sales data.


Additionally, you can work with suppliers to ensure timely delivery of products and improve your demand forecasting accuracy. Ultimately, effective inventory management is key to reducing excess inventory and improving your business's profitability.

Moving forward, let's explore ways to get rid of excess inventory, including FBA Liquidations Program and Amazon Outlet.


Or perhaps selling on Amazon without physical inventory is more up your alley? Read our blog on selling without inventory here.


Ways to Get Rid of Excess Amazon Inventory: Liquidation and Beyond


Now that you know the common causes of excess inventory, let's talk about how to get rid of it. There are several ways to do this, and one of them is through liquidation options.


Liquidation involves selling excess inventory at a lower price to recover some of the cost. Amazon has its own FBA Liquidations Program, which allows sellers to dispose of excess inventory at a discounted price. Liquidators also purchase excess inventory, but their pricing is usually lower than that of the FBA Liquidations Program.


Another way to dispose of excess inventory is through Amazon Outlet and Lightning Deals. Amazon Outlet is a section on the Amazon website where sellers can list discounted products that they want to get rid of quickly. Lightning Deals, on the other hand, are time-limited promotions that offer a significant discount on a specific product.

Lightning Deals are only available to sellers who meet Amazon's requirements, such as having a 3-star sales history and product review rating, among other things.


If none of the above options work, sellers can opt for disposal orders. Disposal orders involve scrapping selected products without return. However, this option should only be used as a last resort because it results in a total loss of investment.


To prevent excess inventory from piling up, sellers can use excess inventory management software like SoStocked. This tool offers inventory forecasting, overstock and liquidations dashboards, inventory tagging, and slow-selling ASINs reporting tool, among other features, to help sellers manage their inventory efficiently.


There are several ways to get rid of excess inventory, and each option has its advantages and disadvantages. It's essential to choose the best option for your business based on your needs and situation. With the right tools and strategies, you can prevent excess inventory from becoming a problem in the first place.


In the next section, we'll discuss how to manage your inventory with marketing in mind.


3PLs and Excess Inventory


Amazon's Warehouses and Fulfillment Centers are bursting at the seams, and as a result they're making FBA storage more expensive than ever. Check with a 3PL near you like Prep It Pack It Ship It and you might find it's cheaper to hold your excess inventory there instead of paying the eye watering fees for Q4 Storage. Recall your inventory with a removal order and get it out of expensive amazon warehouses.


Inventory-Minded Marketing


Feeling overwhelmed with your surplus goods? Fear not! Let's dive into the world of inventory-minded marketing and learn how to turn that extra inventory into a profit.

With the right marketing tactics, you can target the right customers, position your products effectively, and set pricing strategies that will help you sell your excess inventory.


One effective marketing strategy is to target customers who are already interested in your products. This can be achieved by creating customer personas and tailoring your promotions to their specific needs and interests. You can also use social media to target potential customers who may not be aware of your brand. By using targeted ads and promotions, you can increase your visibility and attract more customers to your surplus inventory.


Product positioning is also key when it comes to inventory-minded marketing. By highlighting the unique features and benefits of your excess products, you can differentiate them from the competition and make them more attractive to potential buyers.


Pricing strategies such as bundling and discounting can also be effective in moving excess inventory. Promotional campaigns such as flash sales and limited-time offers can create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to make a purchase.


By implementing these marketing tactics, you can reduce your excess inventory and increase your profitability. Remember to stay focused on the customer and tailor your promotions to their needs and interests.


By positioning your products effectively and using pricing strategies and promotional campaigns, you can turn your excess inventory into a valuable asset for your business.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the process for participating in Amazon's FBA Liquidations Program?


To participate in Amazon's FBA Liquidations Program, navigate to your inventory dashboard, select the items to liquidate, and create a disposal order. FBA fees apply. Ensure compliance with Amazon policies. Liquidation options are one solution for excess inventory management.


How does Amazon determine which products are eligible for the Lightning Deals program?


Amazon determines eligibility for Lightning Deals based on sales history, product review rating, stock availability, compliance with pricing and frequency policies. Use marketing strategies, best inventory management practices, forecasting methods, pricing, customer reviews, and Amazon advertising to boost sales during product lifecycle stages and reduce disposal costs.


Can excess inventory be donated to charity or non-profit organizations through Amazon?


You may consider donating excess inventory to charity or non-profit organizations through Amazon. Eligibility criteria vary, but non-profit collaboration is possible through donation opportunities. This social responsibility approach is one of many inventory disposal techniques.


Are there any tax implications or deductions for disposing of excess inventory?


When disposing of excess inventory, tax deductions may be available for donations to qualified charitable organizations. Liquidation options may help mitigate financial losses, but effective inventory management is key to avoiding excess inventory in the first place.


Conclusion


Congratulations! You've made it to the end of the article on Amazon excess inventory. By now, you should understand the definition and consequences of excess inventory, how to identify and calculate it, and the impact it can have on your cash flow and profitability.


But don't despair if you find yourself with excess inventory. There are solutions and strategies to help you reduce it, such as liquidation, bundling, and lightning deals.

You can also improve your inventory management efficiency and reduce storage costs by improving your IPI score and addressing common causes of excess inventory.


Remember, excess inventory can be a major issue for any seller, but with the right approach, you can overcome it and thrive on Amazon.


So take action today to reduce your excess inventory and improve your bottom line. Your business will thank you for it!


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