Navigating the Dark Side of Amazon FBA: Returns

It’s a tricky problem for any merchant selling on Amazon: if you’re using fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA), the retail giant puts its own labels over the UPC on your products. That’s fine when products go out to customers – but when an item gets returned to you, that Amazon label is meaningless to your own scanning/returns management system.

Thankfully, Octolan’s FBA returns integration feature helps demystify the process.

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FBA Returns: The Problem

Products sold via the FBA program get sent back to Amazon’s warehouses when a customer initiates a return. When that product arrives at Amazon’s return center, they do their own inspection to decide whether it’s resellable as new or not. If so, no big deal – it goes back in your inventory in Amazon’s warehouse.

If it’s not sellable, they send it back to you – but again, the parcel will have the Amazon label over your UPC, making it impossible to just scan in on your end. You have no way of knowing what product is even in the box, so you have to open every box to determine what returns have come in. Even worse, those Amazon labels are on every individual product, so instead of being able to process a box of returns quickly, you have to manually type it in or look it up.

This turns an already unpleasant experience (having products come back to you) into an exercise in frustration and a big time waster.

Octolan FBA Returns Integration

The much easier way to handle FBA returns is with the Octolan returns app available in Amazon Seller Central. Our app connects to your Amazon seller account to track all of your item returns, and connects your items to Amazon’s labels. This gives you back the ability to scan a return and understand at a glance what’s in every box, where it came from and how to deal with it when you receive it.

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Another crucial reason for this cross-referencing between your products and Amazon’s labels is when you receive a return that doesn’t match what you expected to be in the box. The Octolan app tells you which items should be in which packages, so if you see that an item doesn’t match what Amazon said should be there, you can investigate for fraud.

Finally, the Octolan FBA returns app collects the tracking numbers across multiple carriers and generates RMAs from the Amazon data. This allows you to go to your dashboard and see at a glance what returns you should expect to receive, and when – so you can ensure you have team members available to handle the work of inspecting and dispositioning those returns.

Amazon’s huge audience makes FBA an attractive choice for merchants looking for a higher volume of sales – but their policy of putting their labels on everything can make returns processing a major hassle. With Octolan’s FBA returns integration, you can reduce the stress and get back to making more sales. Find us in Amazon Seller Central or get in touch to learn more.

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