This is another post in my series discussing Amazon FBA prep guidelines. Over the past few weeks we've been discussing the ins and outs of inventory prep including Amazon's guidelines, tools you can use to work more efficiently, and how to make sure your items get received quickly and correctly. Today I'll be discussing temperature sensitive inventory.
What is Temperature-sensitive Inventory?
Temperature-sensitive inventory are products that will not maintain their quality and/or ability to work correctly if exposed to certain temperatures (either too hot or too cold) for any length of time. Amazon's guidelines specifically state that, “[t]emperature-sensitive products must be able to withstand at least a minimum temperature of 50 degrees and at least a maximum temperature of 100 degrees for the duration of the product's shelf life without adversely affecting product quality”. It's not only the warehouse conditions where your products are stored that you need to be concerned about. Think of what the temperature in the back of a UPS truck baking in the hot July sun in Phoenix, AZ feels like.
The only temperature-sensitive products that I deal with are grocery and health and personal care items. Their quality can be affected by both hot or cold temperatures. Chocolate that has been frozen can loose its flavor and texture and if its been melted it just makes a mess. Consumer electronics also include temperature-sensitive items such as cameras, hard drives, etc. Amazon also doesn't allow any
- products requiring refrigeration, air conditioning, or freezing or
- perishables, including but not limited to fresh meats, fruits, or vegetables, are allowed. This may include some supplements, such as probiotics.
What kinds of products are considered meltable?
While Amazon doesn't specify which products are considered meltable (other than chocolate) there are many different things that melt in the Summer heat. Some examples include:
There are also some gray areas out there. For example, some sellers will still sell granola bars with chocolate chips during the Summer months while others consider them meltable. What other kinds of temperature-sensitive products can you think of?
How do I know if my items are temperature-sensitive?
If you are unsure if your items are considered meltable there are a couple of ways to test this. I know some sellers who hit a product with a blast from a heat gun to see it it melts. Others put items in an oven set at 130 degrees. You could also try putting items in your car of a hot sunny day.
When can I send meltable items to Amazon FBA?
Amazon only accepts meltable inventory between October 1 and April 30. No meltable products can be sent to the warehouse between May 1 and September 30. You want to be very careful when selecting products to send into the warehouses during the Summer months because otherwise Amazon will receive it as unfulfillable and destroy it.
Not only can you not send new meltable inventory to FBA you also have to make sure that all of your meltable items are removed from the warehouses before May 1. There are a few ways to do this:
- Request items be sent back to you by creating a removal order. It usually takes approximately two weeks for Amazon to pull your items to ship them back to you so keep this in mind when the May 1st deadline approaches. To find out how to create a removal order head over here or here. There is a charge of $.50 per item for standard size items and $.60 per item for oversized items. This is per ITEM not per SKU. So if you have 5 of a regular-sized item you will be charged $.50 per item to have them shipped back to you. Many sellers either add the meltable items to their pantry for their family to enjoy while others find a local place to donate for a tax deduction.
- Have the item destroyed by creating a disposal order. The process to do this is the same as creating a removal order except there is a different check box on the form. The charge for having Amazon dispose of your items is $.10 per regular-sized item and $.30 for over-sized items.
- Drop the price. If you've ever paid attention to Amazon in the two weeks prior to May 1 you'll find that there is A LOT of chocolate on sale. Most sellers are trying to dump their remaining meltable inventory before the May 1 deadline. There is a balance though. You don't want to drop the price so low that you are loosing money.
Where do you stand on the following debate? Granola bars, cookies, etc with chocolate chips do NOT fall under the meltable rule and can remain in the Amazon warehouses during the summer months. Let me know your stance in the comments.
What are you doing today to move your business forward?
Other Links in this Series: