Spring is here and hopefully those profits are heating up for some of you who experienced a little cold spell in February and March. As we move into the hotter months, it’s important for new (and experienced) sellers to know that FBA has a very specific policy when it comes to items that can melt:
- Products MUST be able to withstand temperatures up to 100 degrees for the duration of their shelf life.
- Meltable products cannot be sent to FBA warehouses between May 1 and Sep 30.
- Any Meltable products at FBA warehouses after April 30 are subject to disposal.
Those rules seem straight-forward, but Amazon doesn’t make it particularly obvious whether they consider something to be meltable or not. It’s not like you can print a list of your inventory that is meltable. It’s not like there is a gold star by meltable products. So, you probably have to actually go through your inventory and think about it. It’s easy to think, “I don’t sell any chocolate, so I’m good,” but you might face issues with lipstick or chapstick or myriad other things that just don’t hold up well in the heat.
What’s more, Amazon sometimes takes a few days to remove everything, so just because a product is still there on May 1, doesn’t mean that Amazon has given you the all clear. I tend to take the safe-rather-than-sorry approach. Not just because I want to avoid disposal fees, but because I know that our products sometimes sit around for trucks for days on end and half of the time it is in Ontario, CA, with the sun beating down on it. I don’t want my customer to get some marshmallows that have melted into sugar soup.
There are some opportunities to be aware of:
1. Prices for meltable products often drop in the days before May 1 as sellers desperately try to unload their inventory. This can create buying opportunities if you’re on the lookout. Consider meltable items that do not expire or are likely to have expiration dates far in the future. If you have the space, cash flow, and willingness to store them for 5 months, then you might get inventory for pennies on the dollar.
2. You can still Merchant Fulfill items. Occasionally Amazon thinks something is meltable when in reality it’s not going to Melt unless you’re sending it to Palm Springs or Death Valley. MF takes a bit more work, but they sell much better during this time of year because there is no FBA competition and because most sellers will avoid it. Further, some items that truly will melt could still be MFed. I know somebody who was selling items at such inflated prices last summer because the demand was there, that he was literally shipping items with ice packs inside of them. Where there is a will, there is a way.
3. If you want to remove your items, Amazon is currently running a promotion with free removals. This has not been the case in years past and will end on April 30. If you leave your items, they will be marked as unfulfillable and Amazon will charge you for the privilege of eating your Snickers bars. But, if you have them removed (for free) you can hold on to them, MF them, enjoy them with your family, or donate to a local organization. To me, any of these options sound better than paying 15 cents/unit for Amazon employees to make Smores out of my products.
So, there is about a week left, so start going through your inventory and developing a plan. Start checking products that are already borderline good buys and set some price alerts. Start figuring out what products have a really high demand but will not be able to be FBAed shortly, and come up with a plan to profit. A lot of people look at May 1 as some deadline that will hurt them, but you might just as will view May 1st as a day that Amazon hands you opportunity. The choice is yours.
Until next time, Best Wishes