KonMari wave swept the nation. Donations are up, houses are getting tidier, and sparks of joy are lightning up the cloudy gloomy winter skies from the East to the West.
The main premise of the KonMari approach to organizing is asking yourself a question: ‘Does it spark joy?’ If the answer is yes – then find a place for that item in your space, if not – donate or toss.
You may say, what does KonMari have to do with Amazon? And what does this have to do with business?
Well, what brings joy to an entrepreneur, a business owner, or a company that has shareholders to report to? Perhaps growing sales and profits?
Talking about advertising, growing sales, more customers, better branding is fun.Talking about Operations (or, as I jokingly refer to it sometimes, ‘the glorious backend’) is not fun.
But sometimes it is talking about boring things like account performance, inventory reconciliation is necessary before talking about growing visibility of a brand on Amazon. Simply because your account performance and history as a seller has direct correlation with how favorably Amazon algorithm places you in search results. Which means direct correlation to customers buying your products.
And that’s why we need to talk KonMari approach in the context of your Amazon channel.
Don’t attack everything at once, it can be overwhelming. Pick one category from our suggested list (our suggestion is where you think you have the most issues), and focus on that first.
Once any existing issues are addressed put in place a consistent process to control that area in future. Just like Marie Kondo would frown on you keeping clothes in an area outside of where clothes belong having a place, AND keeping it in the designated place is relevant for processes. If there is a process – then there is attention, there is a designated place for issues to be addressed within that relevant process.
Now let’s look at our KonMari edition for Amazon sellers:
Account Health is your adherence to Amazon rules, your performance as a seller (i.e do you deliver on your promise as a seller, and do you comply with Amazon requirements).
You can think about it as a credit report for your Amazon channel.
Amazon has a set of metrics and benchmarks to assess seller’s performance, and they can be found in the Account health under Performance category in your Seller Central account.
An easy way to determine if you have any red flags (literally!) is to be proactive about viewing any performance notifications, which are located on the top left corner in your Seller Central portal. If you have any red flags clicking on it will take you to the notification page providing details on what was flagged.
Another easy to identify indicator is ‘Account Health’ under Performance tab in the lower section of the Seller Central main dashboard.
Ideally, it should look like this:
If you have yellow ‘At Risk’ status next to Account Health it means you need to address whatever metric that led to ‘at risk’ status as a priority. (We don’t have any clients with ‘at risk’ status, so unfortunately I don’t have an image to show).
Just like cluttered house leads to things missing, breaking, or not fulfilling their purpose (i.e not being used) disorganized internal processes, lack of attention, oversight can lead to account performance issues in your Amazon seller account.
‘Cleaning up’ any issues, and establishing clear and consistent processes to keep your Account Health clean means higher possibility of growing sales and profits.
(*Spark of joy moment*)
Does your FBA shipment queue look like this?
Do you see a difference in shipped vs Received in the above image?
Amazon routinely closes shipments that have mismatches between shipped and Received. If you do not actively reconcile these numbers – you are losing money (no joy).
Two steps to KonMari your inventory management:
- Reconcile FBA shipments consistently (depending on frequency of your shipments it can be weekly or monthly). The longer you wait, the higher chance Amazon requiring an invoice to reimburse for lost items.
2. Review damaged and lost in Amazon warehouse against your Reimbursements report to ensure that you received reimbursements where owed.
Brand Presence is critical for search algorithm and customer experience. As a consumer, have you had experience of looking for a specific brand/product on Amazon, and then getting lost in multiple product pages that look like the same product, but it’s not clear if there is any material difference? I have, and usually it means I leave and find another brand.
1. Product categorization
KonMari method teaches that everything should belong in its place.
Here is an example of product that is not in its place within Amazon catalog:
Seafood Sauce does not belong in Health and Personal Care category. It belongs in Grocery category. Placing in a wrong category does impact SEO, which impacts searchability, which negatively impacts sales.
(*No spark of joy moment*)
2. Product page structure
Are your product pages easy to navigate? Or do they look like a house of pre-KonMari magic touch? Two fundamental principles of Amazon catalog structure are:
- Variations of size, color, flavor, size should be grouped within the same product page (Amazon calls this a ‘parent/child’ relationship)
- Duplicate listings, i.e two or more separate pages of the exact same product should be merged into one
Let’s look at an example:
Two highlighted product pages below are the same product, one is a single bottle, and another one is a pack of 12 bottles. Since it’s exact same sauce both offers should be grouped on the same product page as two options for customers to click on: single, 12 pack.
If I am a customer not familiar with this brand, and I arrive at the 12 pack listing I will navigate away, because I don’t need 12 bottles of shrimp cocktail sauce. A lost opportunity for a sale. If the product page has both single and a 12 pack options, I am likely try buy a single bottle, since it’s low risk. Sale saved.
3. Inventory Catalog in your Seller Central portal.
What does your ‘Manage Inventory’. Are their duplicate listings? Old listings for products that you will not sell again? Clutter in ‘Manage Inventory’ can lead to mistakes, missing potential issues (example, overcharges in FBA fees), and, most importantly, makes reporting and data analysis unnecessarily more complicated.
Here are suggestions:
- Review Inactive Listings in your ‘Manage Inventory’ tab and close listings for products that you do not plan on selling future
- If you have any any duplicates for the exact same SKU (for example, an originally created listing had a wrong SKU name, and since SKU name can not be changed, you created a different one), delete the one you are not using (it should be in ‘Inactive’ status)
It is important to note that there can be a many:one relationship between listing in Manage Inventory and a product page. In other words, it is possible to have two listings in your Inventory that are connected to the same product page (a typical example is one listing for Merchant Fulfilled method, and one for FBA). THerefore, you want to make sure you do not delete any Active and Unique listings.
As a business owner or a manager you are facing with myriad decisions each day, myriad of data points, and myriad of issues. Growing a brand is not easy. And the more you can to aid your decision making and business clarity, the better you can strategize and implement. And just like a tidy house or a clean office desk creates better space to think, create, and put into action, a clean Amazon ‘house’ will create space for better decision making and operating for both you and your team.
But, I get it. Account maintenance, inventory reconciliation may still not not spark joy in you, then contact us, so we can KonMari your Amazon account into a joyful state of readiness for profits and big decisions.