Reserved Inventory on Amazon FBA: What You Need to Know
Nothing is more frustrating than preparing all of your inventory to land at an Amazon FBA warehouse at the perfect time… only for it to be stuck in “Reserve” status and not able to be purchased by customers.
Well, even though you do your best to make sure you have a steady stream of products being sent to Amazon FBA warehouses so you don’t go out of stock when they finally arrive at the warehouse, it doesn’t mean that they are immediately able to ship out to customers.
Indeed, there are many scenarios where Amazon can’t yet put your products up for sale or will make your available products unavailable to customers, then label those products as “Reserved”.
In this post, we’ll go over the various ways Amazon reserves products and how you can avoid having your products put in reserve status for too long (or at all).
Reason 1 For Reserve Status: FC Transfer – Products Are Still Being Disbursed
When you create an order to ship your products to an Amazon FBA warehouse, there is a long chain of events that occurs before your products are finally available for sale and purchasable by customers.
Some of the many steps include (but are not limited to):
- Pickup of your products by a local carrier. Sometimes shipping is done through UPS for small orders.
- The transportation time between pickup and delivery at Amazon FBA. This can take a while for local carriers as they can wait for their entire truck to fill up before heading to Amazon.
- The arrival of your products. Sometimes they can sit at an FBA warehouse before they’re “checked in” by Amazon.
- Products are checked in by Amazon. At this point, some of the products will start being available for purchase, however, a lot of them will go into “Reserve” status.
- Some products are sent to other warehouses. In order for Amazon to fulfill its Prime promise, its products need to be spread out around the country so that all customers can receive them quickly. Until then, some are put in reserve until they arrive at their final FBA warehouse.
That’s a lot of steps, and it can sometimes take weeks before you send a product off and it’s available for sale by customers on Amazon.com.
Keep that in mind when you’re creating shipping plans and sending orders to Amazon, as arriving at an Amazon FBA can be the halfway point of being available for sale.
It’s best to send products earlier than you think you should in case some get sent to Reserve status.
In some cases, products that are currently available for sale will get put into reserve status so that they can be transferred to a different warehouse.
This happens for the same reason we highlighted before, but it can happen to products that are available for sale vs. products that are first arriving at an FBA warehouse.
This is one of the main 3 ways your products are put in Reserve, and it’s called FC Transfer.
You can get a report on this, which we’ll go over at the end.
Reason 2: FC Processing – Your Product is Sidelined
Sometimes Amazon will pull a product to the side and remove it from sellable status so that they can set out what they want to do.
When they do this, the type of reserve status is called FC Processing.
Some reasons to put your product into FC Processing status:
- Amazon wants to remeasure or weigh your product to ensure proper fulfillment fees are being applied
- Your item has sparked some kind of investigation Amazon is looking into
- A customer has purchased the product (which can sometimes be reserved as “customerorders” status, but sometimes not)
- Your product was improperly labeled
- Some issues that Amazon deems worth enough to stop your product from being for sale
If after an investigation from Amazon they find there’s nothing wrong with your products, they will put those products back in stock.
The best thing to do to prevent your products from going into FC Processing status is to make sure you accurately label your products, accurately label the boxes you send them in, and accurately label the pallets they’re sent on.
On top of this, package your products carefully to reduce the risk of damage and sparking a potential investigation from Amazon.
Finally, one thing that would help prevent your products from going into FC Processing status is to make sure all the information you provided to Amazon when you created the listing is correct.
A lot of FC Processing is due to Amazon suspecting you didn’t set your dimensions correctly, and that is something they take very seriously.
Reason 3: “customerorders” Status – Your Product was Purchased
This is the “Reserved” status that is the least of your worries, as it only lasts as long as when a customer makes a purchase and the product finally ships out.
As I mentioned earlier, when a customer makes a purchase, sometimes it will be under this status, but can also fall under “FC Processing” status in a few cases (but it seems like a rare occurrence these days).
The only problem with reserved products simply being customers’ orders preparing to be shipped out is that there’s no way to know what kind of status (customerorders, FC_Processing, or FC_Transfer) your product is under.
Thankfully, there’s a simple and fast way to find out.
Reserved Inventory Report – How to Check Specific Reserved Status of Your Products
If you have a suspiciously high amount of reserved products that seem permanently stuck in the reserved status and you want to find out more, there is a great report to find that specific information.
It’s called the Reserved Inventory report. It’s a bit hidden, but this link will take you straight there so you can download the report for yourself.
Simply download the report (it will be a .txt file), open it up, select all text, and copy+paste the information into Excel.
Afterward, you will have a nice report that will break down everything you sell and tell you what type of Reserved status each product is in.
If you notice an unusually high amount of products in FC-processing status, then you can have it sent to you from Amazon, have it destroyed, or reach out to Amazon Seller Support to see what can be done about the products in question.
Remember, you are charged for all of the products within Amazon’s warehouses, even the ones that are unsellable, so having too many products piling up in Reserve status will start to cost you a lot of money.
With this guide, you should now know with confidence what Reserved product status is, how to check on the specific status of your Reserved products, and what you can do about it.
Staying on top of your Amazon account’s health is one of the most important things you can do, as Amazon grades all aspects of how sellers manage their accounts and interact with customers.