Friday, July 15, 2016

Use Gmail Boomerang for Shipment Reconciliations

I've talked about Gmail Boomerang before as a way of keeping track of your returns, specifically the returns that don't even make it back to Amazon but somehow never get reimbursed.  Check out that post for more info on how to use Boomerang.  Boomerang is free for the first 15 times you use it in the month, it was so useful to me that I ended up paying $50 for annual membership.

I've gotten quite a few reimbursements this way but Amazon seems to have partially solved this problem.  Others have noticed and I have noticed as well that a very high percentage of returns started actually make it back to Amazon.  It could be that they now initiate the return when the buyer confirms the shipment back to Amazon.  Not sure.

Either way, Boomerang is less useful for returns thought I still find some that never make it back.

I have now started to use Boomerang for shipments reconciliations as well.

Shipment Reconciliations 

If you send 20 items in one shipment and somehow only 18 make it to Amazon you are eligible for a reconciliation from Amazon and a possible reimbursement for the missing inventory.  A few months back Amazon made a very annoying but understandable change to the way reconciliations are done.

It used to be that you can ask for a reconciliation within a few days or a week after the first box of the shipment hits Amazon.  It made it easy to just check your list of shipments on one page and see if there was a discrepancy between how many were sent and how many made it.  The problem for Amazon was that it was very easy to ask for reconciliation and to receive a reimbursement and many times they had to reverse the reimbursement once the rest of your shipment finally made it into the fulfillment center.

Now, you often have to wait more than a week and sometimes two weeks or more before you are eligible for a reconciliation. In two weeks I'll have made so many new shipments that it can be quite difficult to remember and find all the ones that need reconciliation.  So what is an FBA seller to do?  Boomerang to the rescue again.

Amazon sends up to 3 emails for each shipment

One email says Checked In, one says Receiving and the last says Received in Full.

I used to archive shipment notifications almost immediately.  I would look at the SKUs in the shipment and see if I needed to adjust pricing but that was it.

I now do not archive those emails until I am done reconciling that shipment.

After I receive the Receiving email I will archive the Checked In email, after I Receive the Received in Full email I will archive the Checked In email.

I check each shipment after they are Received in Full to make sure there are no issues.  Sometimes it says in full but it actually isn't.

If the Received in Full does not come through after a few days I will then check the reconciliation date.  I use Boomerang to resend the "Receiving" email back to me on the date of reconciliation.  In that way, it's much easier to to reconcile shipments.