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  • Writer's pictureBrian Cummings

What Does Reserved Mean on Amazon FBA? Decoding Inventory Status

Reserved inventory on Amazon refers to items that have been temporarily removed from your active listings and are not currently available for sale to other customers. This typically occurs when a customer has placed an order and the item is being held while the transaction is finalized, ensuring the product is not sold to another customer.

In the Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) system, reserved inventory can also indicate stock that is in the process of being transferred between Amazon's warehouses or being prepped for shipping out.

It's a status that helps both Amazon and sellers manage inventory effectively, making sure that orders are fulfilled promptly and the inventory levels are accurate.

Understanding reserved inventory is crucial for maintaining a precise account of stock levels and for the planning of restock dates and quantities.

What Is Reserved Inventory on Amazon?

Reserved inventory on Amazon represents the items that are temporarily held back from the general listings for specific reasons, ensuring that orders are fulfilled efficiently and effectively.

Reserved status on Amazon indicates that certain items in your FBA inventory are not currently available for sale to other customers. This status comes into effect when a customer order is placed, and Amazon holds the product until the fulfillment process begins.

During this period, the product is not listed as available for other potential buyers, which helps maintain accurate stock levels and prevents overselling.

Types of Reserved Inventory

There are two primary types of reserved inventory:

  1. Customer Orders: When customers place orders, Amazon moves the items into reserved status, earmarking them for shipment. This ensures customers receive their purchases without delay or stock errors.

  2. Inventory Transfers: Amazon may also reserve items when transferring inventory between fulfillment centers. This helps to optimize delivery times, maintain stock balance across different locations, and prepare for potential increases in demand.

Origin of Reserved Status

Reserved status originates from two main activities within Amazon's FBA system:

  • Order Processing: When a product is ordered by a customer, Amazon FBA reserves the item to process the customer's order. This is a critical step in inventory management to prevent the sale of the same item to another buyer.

  • Stock Movement: Amazon continuously works to position inventory closer to customers, which sometimes necessitates moving items to different fulfillment centers.

Impact of Reserved Inventory on Business Operations

When dealing with reserved inventory on Amazon FBA, understanding its impact on your business operations is crucial. It directly affects product ranking, customer satisfaction, and sales—all vital for the health and growth of your business.

Effect on Product Ranking

Reserved inventory impacts your product ranking on Amazon.

If a high volume of your inventory is consistently tagged as reserved, the available quantity for customers decreases. This reduction in inventory levels might lower your product's visibility as Amazon's algorithm favors products with sufficient stock to meet customer demand.

Moreover, with reserve stock not contributing to sales velocity, a key metric for ranking, your product could slide down the rankings.

  • Sales velocity: Essential for favorable product rankings.

  • Inventory visibility: Lower available stock may reduce customer interest.

Influence on Customer Satisfaction

Reserved inventory can lead to a temporary unavailability of your products, which may cause frustration and lower customer satisfaction ratings.

If customers find your products listed but not immediately fulfillable due to reservation, this can dampen their shopping experience.

Quick and efficient processing of reserved items — ensuring they are soon marked as fulfillable — is essential to maintaining a positive customer experience on Amazon.

  • Inventory status impact: Fulfillable vs. reserved items.

  • Processing speed: Key to reducing customer dissatisfaction.

Implications for Sales

Finally, the status of inventory as reserved affects your sales in a tangible manner.

When products are reserved, they can neither be bought by other customers nor do they contribute to current sales figures.

This might skew your perception of demand and interfere with forecasting for restocking purposes.

Proper management of reserved inventory is crucial to ensure a continuous cycle of sales and keeping the inventory healthily turning over.

  • Continuous sales: Avoid interruptions by managing reservations effectively.

  • Stock forecasting: Accurate predictions depend on knowing which items are actually available for purchase.

Strategies for Managing Reserved Units

Effectively overseeing your reserved units on Amazon FBA can mitigate potential sales disruptions and ensure a steady flow of products to your customers. The following strategies focus on leveraging inventory reports for maintaining a healthy balance of stock.

Inventory Report Analysis

Reserved inventory represents units that are currently not available for sale due to various reasons, such as pending orders or transfers between warehouses.

You have direct access to this data through the Reserved Inventory Report in your Seller Central account.

To effectively manage your FBA inventory, utilize this report to track and analyze reserved units.

  • Accessing the Report: Navigate to the 'Inventory' tab in Seller Central and select 'Inventory Reports.' From the drop-down menu, choose 'Reserved Inventory' to view your report.

  • Understanding Report Details: The report will show:

  • SKU (Stock Keeping Unit): The unique identifier for your products.

  • FC Processing: Units being prepared for shipment.

  • Customer Orders: Units currently reserved for customer orders.

  • FC Transfer: Units in transit to different Amazon fulfillment centers.

By scrutinizing these details, you can predict potential stock-outs and make informed decisions on restocking or pausing advertising campaigns for SKUs with high reserved quantities.

  • Adjusting Strategy Based on Data:

  • Anticipate Restock Needs: If you notice high volumes of customer order reserves, plan to restock proactively.

  • Address Overstock Concerns: Excessive FC transfers might indicate overstocking in certain locations. Redistribute inventory accordingly.

Inventory management requires regular assessment of your reserved units. Use the insights from your inventory reports to refine your stocking strategies, ensuring that you maintain an optimal level of product availability for Amazon customers while minimizing holding costs.

Logistical Considerations of Amazon FBA

Fulfilling orders with Amazon FBA involves strategic monitoring of inventory levels and understanding how storage works, which is crucial to maintain in-stock status and avoid stockouts.

Storage and Dimensions

You must be aware of the allocation and use of storage space within FBA warehouses. Amazon charges storage fees based on the size and volume your inventory occupies, so knowing the dimensions of your products is essential.

This is how it breaks down:

  • Standard-size: Generally, items that are smaller and weigh less, which can attract lower storage fees.

  • Oversize: Larger and heavier items, incurring higher storage fees.

Each individual unit is assigned an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) and SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) for tracking.

You can monitor your usage of storage space via the Inventory Dashboard in your seller account, assisting in forecasting and restocking appropriately.

Restocking and Inventory Turnover

Effective restocking ensures your products stay in stock and ready for customer purchase. Here's what to keep in mind:

  • Forecasting: Anticipate demand to prevent out of stock situations which can result in lost sales.

  • Inbound Shipments: Timing and efficiency when sending inventory to Amazon's warehouses are critical.

  • Inventory Turnover: A measure of how often inventory is sold and replaced over a period.

High turnover can mean high sales, but also the need for frequent restocking, which must be balanced to avoid excess storage fees.

It’s important to stay proactive with your inventory levels. Regular checks of your SKUs and their performance help maintain an optimal balance and prevent stockouts.

You might also want to read: How to Remove Inventory from Amazon FBA

Advanced Inventory Tactics

In the world of Amazon FBA, mastering advanced inventory tactics is essential for maintaining an efficient supply chain and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Utilizing Software and Automation

To stay ahead in the competitive FBA marketplace, leveraging the right software and automation tools is key.

These tools can handle tasks ranging from inventory tracking to forecasting demand, minimizing the chances of stockouts or excess inventory. For instance:

  • Automated Inventory Management Systems: These systems help in real-time tracking and provide actionable insights on inventory levels.

  • Demand Forecasting Software: Sophisticated algorithms predict future sales, helping you to optimize your restocking schedules accordingly.

Automation can also trigger removal orders automatically for unsellable or excess stock, ensuring your inventory stays lean and cost-effective.

Optimizing Shipping and Restocking Practices

Optimized shipping and restocking are crucial for maintaining a smooth FBA operation. Consider the following:

  • Shipping Method: Select the appropriate shipping method, like UPS Freight, for your inventory size and turnover rates. Fast check-in processes will minimize in-transit times.

  • Restocking Limits: Amazon has restocking limits based on different factors. Regularly review these limits and plan your shipments accordingly to avoid overstocking penalties or inventory being blocked from shipment.

Align your restocking schedules with inventory reports to anticipate fulfillment center transfers, which can impact available stock.

Moreover, stay vigilant about potential shipping delays to manage customer expectations and maintain account health.

Conclusion: Maximizing Amazon FBA Potential

To optimize your performance on Amazon FBA, understanding and managing reserved inventory is crucial.

Reserved inventory represents items temporarily on hold, either due to customer orders or internal processes such as transfers and quality checks.

Effective management ensures these items contribute to your business's success rather than causing unnecessary delays or confusion.

Incorporating a 3PL service like PrepItpackItShipIt can assist in efficiently managing your Amazon FBA reserved inventory, minimizing hold times, and enhancing order processing. Partner with a reliable 3PL provider to avoid setbacks and optimize your inventory management. Explore our 3PL services to boost your FBA strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What items can be reserved?

On Amazon FBA, any item in your inventory can become reserved. Items typically become reserved for various reasons, such as when a customer places an order, during the process of being transferred between warehouses (FC transfer), or if they are being reviewed during Amazon's fulfillment center processes, such as quality checks or returns.

Practically, this status means that the item is temporarily unavailable for new orders until resolved.

What does fully reserved inventory mean?

When your inventory is fully reserved, it indicates that all units of a particular SKU are currently not available for purchase by customers. This could be because all units are either purchased and awaiting shipment, earmarked for transfer, or under inspection by Amazon's fulfillment staff.

During this time, the items are in Amazon's control and cannot be bought by other customers until they are released from reserved status.

How long does Amazon reserve last?

The duration of Amazon's reserve status can vary. If items are reserved for pending customer orders, they are typically on hold until the order is shipped, usually within 1-2 days.

For transfers between warehouses or quality checks, the reserve period can last longer, depending on the logistical considerations or the issues identified with the inventory. It's not uncommon for reserve status due to FC transfers or checks to last several days, sometimes up to a couple of weeks.

How do I create a removal order for reserved inventory? 

To create a removal order for reserved inventory, you must wait until the items are no longer in reserved status, as Amazon's system doesn't allow for the creation of removal orders for inventory that is not currently accessible.

Once the items are active or unsellable in your inventory, you can create a removal order by navigating to the 'Inventory' tab in Seller Central, choosing 'Manage Inventory', selecting the items, and choosing 'Create Removal Order' from the drop-down menu. Follow the prompts to specify the details of the removal and submit the order.

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