With Q4 in high gear, I am sure that most of you are working non-stop to ensure that your store shelves, be it e-com or b&m are fully stocked for the big holiday rush starting in just a couple of short weeks. For those who sell on Amazon, keep in mind that Amazon services become slower and slower as we get into the season. Below are a couple of things to expect as an Amazon seller, and how you can avoid some common holiday time delays. BRAND UNGATING As anyone who has gone through the process of ungating will tell you, it's relatively easy with the correct supplier but it is also can take quite some time. Typically when we ungate brands for Amazon sellers it takes on average about two weeks. Sometimes it can take mere hours (typically for those who regularly use us as an Amazon supplier) or it can take up to 4 weeks. With the holiday season in full swing, it is common that brand ungating can take nearly double the amount of time. It is IMPERATIVE that if you want to be ungated in a brand for this holiday season that you get on it NOW. We work with top cosmetic and apparel brands if you need to ungate yourself in a brand such as Nike, Adidas, IT, Dior, Chanel, etc. please contact an RLS rep and we will get to work right away so you can capitalize on the holiday season. PREP & INBOUND SHIPPING If you use any Amazon prep services such as Polybagging, labeling, product placement etc. prepare to see exaggerated delays in getting your products to the market. Amazon is getting flooded and their prep services will inevitably get backed up. Options to make your product available on Amazon FAST this season include: 1- Prep your own inventory Inventory that shows up to FBA fulfillment ready to be shipped to end customer will be available for sale DRAMATICALLY faster than inventory which you request to be prepped by Amazon. This goes for Polybagging, Bubblewrapping, Labeling, etc. If you don't have the tools or manpower to tackle this on your own, don't fret because you can... 2- Have us handle your FBA prep Did you know that we now offer FBA prep services for any product, not just products sold by us? We can do anything you can think of from polysealing, bubblewrapping and labeling to bundling, custom boxing/casing, shrink wrapping, etc. Not only do we get it done cheaper than Amazon's going rates, but we get it done faster and use better quality supplies so your customers have the best unboxing experience. Our most common services include polysealing at $0.40/unit (we use custom sized tubing to match your product for a professional factory-seal look) and labeling at $0.15/unit. We prep your products and ship them to FBA on your behalf. Break past your current ceiling and use your time to SOURCE instead of PREP. 3- Send your products into FBA as "individual products" By trying to avoid making multiple shipments of a product through using "Case-Packed" ship plans, you are severely limiting your immediate outreach. When you ship a large case to Amazon, they will keep some of your product at the fulfillment center you shipped to, and send the rest to other fulfillment centers across the US. The time that it takes your products to travel to the next fulfillment center and be processed is time that your product is not available for sale in that fulfillment center's area of influence (for 2-day prime shipping). This is not the case if you are comingling.... but comingling is definitely not recommended in the apparel or cosmetic categories (future post on when to use comingling coming soon). You should send your inventory as "individual products" during your ship plan creation. Yes, you will have to send to multiple fulfillment centers, but your products wil be available across the US a week or more ahead of case-packed shipments. The earlier sales will more than make up for the added costs of additional shipping. Just make sure you are creating batches that have a significant number of units in them for the best results (70+ units/batch).
Hopefully, this info helps you avoid some of the bumps in the road this holiday season and gets your product in front of customers in time for the buying frenzy!