Amazon

How to Check Your Pending Orders in Amazon Seller Central

I compulsively check my Pending Orders in Amazon Seller Central.  A Pending Order is an order placed by a customer that has yet to be paid in full (Merchant fulfilled) or shipped (Amazon fulfilled).  There are a number of reasons why an order may be stuck in the Pending limbo, and you can read up on them over at Amazon's Order Timeline.  Generally, it boils down to whether the item is fulfilled by the merchant or by Amazon.  After an order is placed and payment is verified, there is a 30-45 minute wait before the merchant fulfilled order is escalated from Pending to Unshipped.  The merchant will receive a "Sold, Ship Now" email from Amazon when the payment and waiting window is completed.  For Amazon fulfilled orders, an item will remain Pending until it is shipped out.  This could happen immediately or indefinitely.   Amazon does provide an Expected Ship Date for FBA orders.

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So, how can one check Pending Orders?  Just change a few settings on your Manage Orders page.

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The Importance of Checking Pending Orders

I recently sent in a shipment of books to the FBA warehouse.  As soon as Amazon processes my shipment, I see my Manage Orders page populated with Pending Orders.  Great!  It's nice to see that this whole arrangement works.  Something about one of the Pending Orders caught my eye, and I clicked on it.  It revealed that the item was selling for $4.00, but it was supposed to be selling for $44.00!  I quickly called Seller Help and had them cancel the Pending Order.  I explained that I must have dropped a digit when I entered the price into my Excel spreadsheet.  They were able to cancel the order before it shipped, preventing a loss of $30+ in profit.  Of course, that also benefited Amazon, because 15% of $44.00 is much better than 15% of $4.00.  Had the item shipped at the $4.00 price point, I would have lost about $7 on the transaction when I figured in the cost of the item.

If that same item had been Merchant fulfilled, I could have canceled the order and correctly priced my inventory.  However, canceled orders are one of the metrics that determine your Account Health and viability as a third-party merchant on Amazon.  If you cancel too many orders, your selling privileges may be revoked.

Time to hit refresh on my Manage Orders page!

Bookselling and Goal Setting

I spend too much time buying things and not enough time selling things.  I'm a collector at heart.  I love the hunt.  I love owning lots of things and looking upon shelves full of books.  I pick them up, leaf through them, and remember when and where I bought them and what I paid for them.  When I have the time, I read one!

I have a backlog of books that I have been meaning to sell for years.  Literally, temporally years.  Through the years, I kept buying books and shelving them for a rainy day.  I found new ways to sell books.  I started selling commodity books alongside my collectible books and found that road less bumpy than the volatile collectible market.  Essentially, the commodity books sell at market price, fetching the going rate on Amazon.  I could list books without taking any pictures and, with the help of Fulfillment by Amazon, ship books without making a trip to the Post Office!  Of course, I could not stop buying the collectible books I truly love, and I now have an enormous collection of cool books that I want to offer for sale.  A collection is a living, breathing thing.  I don't mind selling something so long as I know I'll be buying something with the proceeds.

With that in mind, I have decided to get back into eBay.  I haven't sold anything on eBay for several years.  I grew frustrated with the process and focused my efforts on Amazon.  While Amazon is an absolute monster for commodity books, it's not a great place to sell collectible books.  I've sold a few there, but the collectibles do not get the spotlight they deserve on Amazon.  With collectible books, condition is everything.  Pictures and description sells collectible books.

I think I will open an eBay store and post my collectibles for sale.  I operated an eBay store years ago and I mostly enjoyed it.  I shuttered it because my sales had dwindled and my Amazon business had taken off.  I swore off eBay for good, without a good reason.  It's a totally viable outlet for my inventory.  My sales died off because my inventory stunk.  I tried to extract value from items where there was none.  All my good stuff sold and I was left with a surfeit of junk.  When I moved houses two years ago, I culled my inventory.  Cleared the shelves.  Let the bad stuff go.

Beyond books, I have plenty of music and electronics to sell.  Again, some do well on Amazon, others do not.  As much as I love Amazon and FBA, I can no longer ignore the colony of books growing in my basement.  They need good homes.  They need to be loved and read.

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I took a panoramic picture of my basement with my iPhone.  The panoramic effect turned out pretty well, and the picture inspired me to get to work.  I set some qualitative goals for 2014.  I want to buy more books, read more books, sell more books, and write more blog posts.  Sure, they're not specific, but I'll drown in specificity if I allow myself.  I have to balance these goals with my family and a full-time job.  Who said adulthood was easy?