By Lauren Carter
Commingling: What is it and Why Avoid it?
Fulfilment by Amazon allows you to ship your stock to the Amazon warehouses for storage and have Amazon’s staff ship your orders for you. These Amazon warehouses are HUGE and they store millions of products from thousands of different sellers. One product could have 5 or more different sellers all sending their stock to the warehouse. This is why Amazon asks you to label your products with the barcodes they provide you with through Seller Central. These barcodes tell the Amazon staff which Frozen DVD is the one you sent to the warehouse when a customer makes a purchase from you.
For some products these barcode labels are compulsory but for many products they are optional. If you choose not to label your products they will be commingled. This means that the Frozen DVD you send to the warehouse will go on a shelf with all the other unlabelled Frozen DVDs that have been sent in. When a customer makes a purchase from you, the Amazon staff will grab any one from the shelf and ship it to your customer. This means the product your customer ultimately receives might not be the one you sent in.
Commingling saves you time stickering your products, when you are buying stock in high volumes it can be a tedious job labelling every single one of your products, but it does come at a risk. Let’s think about it a little more carefully. A customers buys a Frozen DVD from you, the Amazon staff pick any one from the shelf and ship it to your customer. What happens if the DVD they receive is damaged or even worse counterfeit? Your customer will request a refund, they might make an A-to-Z guarantee claim and they will likely leave you negative feedback. For something that was never your fault to begin with!
Unfortunately if this happens you are held as responsible and it will be your Amazon account that suffers, you could end up having your account suspended or even removed. Here at ProfitSourcery we would generally recommend stickering all of your stock to retain control over the products your customers receive. You need to think about what’s best for your customers and your business.
If you do want to commingle your stock you need to be careful, think about the products you have and choose the best option for each. If you are selling products which are likely to be counterfeited such as popular branded headphones, perfumes or designer cosmetics then labelling them would certainly be worth the effort. If on the other hand you are selling standard pet toys or homeware products which are unlikely to be the subject of fraud you may be willing to risk the commingling.
Ultimately it is up to you to decide what is best for your business and your products but ensure you are always aware of the risks so that you can protect yourself.