Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - An Amazing Gift from the Amazonian Gods

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

As I've said before, Amazon accounting system is not the greatest.  It means that you have to track everything to make sure they didn't take something from you "accidentally" without reimbursing you for it.  Other times, it means that every once in a while Amazon give you a nice little gift.  I've heard of people getting Surfaces and iPads that were never taken back.

The Item - Libbey Hurricane Glasses

I bought 8 sets of Libbey Hurricane glasses back in February from Target.

After a promo code, my cost came down to close to $9 with tax.

At the time, the price on Amazon was about $20 which would have brought back about $13 after shipping.  That's about a 30% return which would have been nice.

Amazon Gave Me How Many?

I sent in 4 of them in one shipment and four in another shipment.  To my surprise, this is what happened:

So, I sent in 4 and they found 72.  Hmm, math seems a little off, no?  I actually opened a case with Amazon to investigate the "overage" on my account.  This was their response:

I understand that you are concerned about the overages.
I've contacted our FC department and they informed that all the units are correct and match the website description. We've investigated and found that these units are not missing in any other PO of yours.

I hope this information is helpful in addressing your concerns.

I gave them the chance to take it away, I wasn't going to push it.

The Extra Units Helped Me Liquidate Fast

As happens frequently after you find a great deal, the market starts tanking..  Prices started diving.

Prices were close to $20 when I bought but they went down to close to $10 and then even dipped under $10 for a little while.

I waited to see if a recovery would come and then I figured, what do I have to lose?  I can sell at almost any price and still make money and then I can avoid storage fees if it takes a long time to get back to my price.  My cost basis magically went from an average of $9.05 to $0.953.  So I started selling and sell I did.

That's all that fit in one screenshot.  It's nice to earn 40,000% ROI right?  I should find more deals like that!

Soon after, the returns started coming

I received over 13 returns that made it back to Amazon (more that never made it back).

Ok, but most are reimbursed.  4 more of them should have been reimbursed (I'll get to them when I finally to reconciliation for the month).  It's a bunch more work for me but I'll take it for the free money once it is all sorted out.  Until then it's actually worse to have sold and lost (by $4.67 for me) than not have sold at all:

After the same item kept having reimbursements for the same reason, it became clear to Amazon that there was an actual problem with the inventory and they send this email to me.

Greetings from Fulfillment by Amazon

Your inventory listed below required additional preparation for safe storage in the fulfillment center. Please ensure that all future shipments arrive properly packaged, labeled and prepared in a manner that will protect the product and not create a safety hazard while handling the item. Failure to prepare shipments properly may result in the return of the product at your expense.

To be received into our fulfillment center  “Libbey 14.5-Ounce Hurricane Glass,” required the following additional prep

Bubble wrap/Bubble bag
LPN Stickering

Please see the FBA Manual for additional information regarding packaging requirements.

We appreciate your support in our efforts to process your items in a timely and accurate fashion.

For more information, please see the FBA Help section 5.8 Packaging Requirements.

Thank you for selling with Amazon,

So I get blamed for the improper preparation on items I never sent it.  Classy.  I guess it's karma for keeping it.  Oh well, I hope it happens again!

One last takeaway for me is that you can never be sure about other sellers.  You may think that they are running the product to the ground, making it not profitable for anyone, but in reality, maybe they have a source that's significantly cheaper and they are the only ones who can price at that point and still be profitable.  In reality, they are profitable, sometimes very profitable and they are driving out the competition.