How to do your annual FBA audit

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You will probably want to sit down with your Seller Central web page open to do your audit. Some of the questions might need you to do a little research. But don’t just look at the numbers – keep yourself focused on the questions in the list.

First, how well did your products sell? Were there some that surpassed your expectations? Why do you think they did so well? How can you use that going forwards? For instance, if you’ve spotted a great niche for yoga products for men (a lot of yoga stuff is female orientated), then can you launch more products in that line? Are some products faltering?

It’s also a good idea to look at the shape of your product portfolio. If you have one top product that accounts for most of your sales, and a bunch of also-rans, that’s not very healthy. Think about how to get your other products performing properly too.

Action points: new product ideas. Reprice and promote products that are doing poorly. Cut poor performers.

Did your advertising campaigns and other marketing work? What worked best? Did you have a steady build, or sudden peaks? What types of social media have you not tried yet?

Action points: refine your marketing to reflect what did best this year. Try new social media.

Take a look at your reviews, both good and bad. How are you scoring? Are any black marks coming up again and again?

Action points: if you’re seeing the same complaints a number of times, redesign the product or refine the marketing and your product page information. If there are packaging or delivery issues, get them sorted.

Take a look at your conversion rates. How good are they? Are they rising or falling?

If your conversion rates are not top notch, you may be getting too many people to your page who don’t really want your product. Perhaps your keywords are too wide. Perhaps your product page isn’t as good as it could be. If conversion rates are falling, that might be because of poor reviews, or new competition.

Action points: Build a ‘funnel’ or use negative keywords so that you only get the right visitors. Revise the product listing.

Of course sales are only part of making a successful business. You also need to know how much profit you’re making for each unit you sell. Check that all your products are still profitable. Remember to apply all the costs – Amazon fulfillment costs as well as the cost of the product. Look at the margin (your profit as a percentage of sales price). Is it going up or down?

Action points: reprice or discontinue unprofitable products. If margins are declining, find out why and decide whether to reprice, try to reduce the cost price, or discontinue the product.

Finally, switch off the computer, sit back, and think about your experience last year. Were there any exceptional problems, like stockouts, supply issues, or having your product page hijacked? How do you feel about the business? Were there parts of running it that you didn’t enjoy or put off continually? What did you really enjoy about the FBA business? Are you selling discrete products, or are you slowly building up products in a particular area? How would you define your brand in a few words?

This can help you set your direction for next year. You might decide to outsource aspects of the business. You might decide to concentrate on a particular target user segment or product type. You might decide that your brand is pretty hipster, so that will inform your choice of new products – if they’re too ‘elderly’ or too ‘mainstream’ they might not fit.

Hopefully at the end of the process you’ve got a few action points and a good feel for where you want to go this year. It might even be selling your FBA business! Whatever it is, we wish you the very best of fortune for 2022.

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