Step by Step guide for bulk updating individual item information for items in the Amazon Handmade category including the Production Time
Article by Bob Estrin
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Introduction: Making bulk changes to your Amazon item listings Bulk update method 1: Multiple fields Bulk update method 2: Production Time only Warning / Disclaimer Production Time field information Leave a Comment
Introduction: Making bulk changes to your Amazon item listings:
When I need to do many changes to a lot of listings of a similar nature, I tend to open as many as 20 listings at a time first in the Manage Inventory screen and then go in to edit those 20 listings repetitively. After those 20 listings are edited, saved and closed, I then open up the next 20 listings. I keep track of where I left off if I need to continue my edits at a later time. The Manage Inventory screen tends to keep the items in order so I can tell where I left off if I do not try to change the item’s listing order by clicking on one of the heading fields.
I find using the browser Firefox is reasonably fast with Internet Explorer being much slower. You should find the fastest browser for you and use that when doing mass item changes.
I have found using a copy/paste type software speeds up similar changes or wording to a large number of listings.
In 2018, Amazon Handmade has added the ability to bulk edit (change) many selected Handmade fields using the menu option "Inventory" and the "Add Products via Upload" feature. When the number of inventory items is too great to do manually one at a time in the edit mode, you have another option to change those inventory items differently. Be careful when you try bulk editing the first time and try it with only a few items until you are sure you have the procedure correct. You can cause problems on a more massive scale when changing a great number of fields using bulk editing if you do things incorrectly. I have tried it and was able to change different fields such as my title, description, how my products are made as some examples successfully. While this feature can also be used to add new items, since not all fields are available to add, it seems easier to just copy a similar existing listing to create new item listings. You can not add or update existing Handmade customizations with this tool. See the section below for more detailed information about using the bulk upload or "Add Products via Upload" feature.
This article shows two different ways to do bulk updates on Amazon Handmade items. The first method will handle a bulk update on many of the different specific fields in the different Handmade categories and is more flexible. This first method uses a different template for each Handmade sub-category and can handle most fields except for the customization fields. The second method is a more simplified process but is only good for updating a few fields in which one of them is the Production Time field. This second method should work for all Amazon Handmade categories using the same template. This second method will allow more sellers to do bulk updates on the Production Time field.
One thing you may want to consider is learning how to do this in advance so you have the knowledge when you may need it. During the busy 4th quarter you may not have as much time to learn a new skill. I have already used the bulk update feature in a variety of ways with some being to capitalize my titles, do global updates to many of my descriptions and update the How are my products made field. While this feature is not sexy and more utilitarian, if used in a variety of ways, it can increase your sales as it may lead to new wording that may not have been worth changing manually but maybe worth changing using this technique.
If you used the bulk update feature, let me know in the comment section below.
Using the Amazon bulk upload feature to do mass changes to existing item listings: This example shown below is the modifying of the Production Time fieldThe seller may want to do a bulk upload update change on the Production Time field if you are going on vacation and do not want to put your shop on Vacation Mode. By added additional Production Time, you would be able to continue getting orders and then start on those orders when you get back from vacation and still get your orders out on time. When you put your shop in vacation mode, you remove your Seller Fulfilled items from Amazon search and from displaying on Amazon. You may also want to increase your Production Time, if you are so busy at that time of the year, to extend your Production Time so you have more days to complete your orders and not ship them out late. Extending you Production Time can be used if your area is going to be in a snowstorm or hurricane. It may be easier to do this manually and at a lesser risk if you only have under 30 main selling items to change. I found out that the Amazon department that handles bulk updates is called the Feed department.
You can now change the Production Time field, for seller fulfilled items, in bulk update instead of calling up each item in edit mode and changing it one at a time. You can also use this same bulk update method to change the Production Time field back to what it was previously.
While this example shows the steps for changing the Production Time field, you can use this same information to add or modify other item fields such as the Title field, Description field or any of the numerous fields listed in the bulk update file layout that you can download for your specific categories that your inventory items are in. You can manually hand type a change to an existing item field or once you have your information in the report spreadsheet layout, you can do numerous find and replace commands to change your wording on the whole item field or just a part of a field for numerous items at once. This is a particularly powerful utility and can be used in many ways to adjust existing item field information.
You can see two example file layouts further below. One layout is for the specific category Handmade Products / Home & Kitchen / Artwork / Photography. Another layout is for the specific category Handmade Products / Jewelry / Earlings / Droop and Dangle.
When doing bulk updates on fields that may have a length character limit, you do not want to enter any values over that character length limit. I do not believe the system will notice if you go over the length limit during the bulk update review. As of 2019, look at the length for the title field (200 characters), product description field (2000 characters), style keyword field (100 characters) and the search term keyword field (249 characters).
Bulk update method 1: Updating a Single or Multiple Fields:
General steps I took to update the Production Time field which also does an update of the Quantity field even if it stays the same value:
1. First, create the bulk update spreadsheet. The fields on this spreadsheet will vary depending on which Handmade category you have your items in. If you have multiple Handmade categories, I believe you will need a separate bulk update spreadsheet for each category.
Go to the menu option Inventory / Add files via upload. Then select the Download an Inventory File option.
Select the different Handmade categories in the group columns to match to your product sub-category.
Select the type of template in which I chose Advanced since that template had the fields I needed for my changes.
Click on the Generate Templates button.
After the template is completed, select the link to download the template and save it under a descriptive name.
Shown below is the screen to create a blank bulk update spreadsheet file used for a specific category. This spreadsheet layout is later filled in with data to create the bulk update Upload spreadsheet file used to update the item records field changes.
2. Go to main menu and select Inventory, then select Inventory Reports.
Select report type All Listings Report and click on Request report button.
This screen is used to request the "All Listings report".
Wait for your report to be created and then download the report to view. You may be able to save the file and then call it up to view or directly open it in a spreadsheet program.
3. The seller will request the creation of the All Listings Report using the screen above. This is originally a text (.txt) file and is called up in a spreadsheet program and the .txt file is converted to an All Listing Report spreadsheet as shown below. You can see the fields seller-sku and quantity listed below that can be transferred to the bulk update Upload spreadsheet created in step 1. Also, the title and description field are shown which will help you determine which item lines to keep and which item lines to delete. If the quantity field has no value, then this is an FBA item, shown on line 7 and 8 below, and those lines can be deleted since FBA items do not use the Production Time field we are changing. If you have 300 listings and you only want to change 60 listings belonging to this specific Handmade category, you will end up with 60 listings in this spreadsheet after you are done with it. In this example, I will end up with five listings to be changed.
In this example of updating the production time field, I chose not to select any FBA items, so I sorted the spreadsheet by the quantity field column so that all the blank values, which are FBA items, are on the bottom. When you are changing the Production days field, you do not want to have FBA listings being updated because when doing this type of bulk update, you only want to change items that require the change.
If I was changing the title, I would delete all the item lines that I was not modifying the title on. Then I would transfer the fields seller-sku and item-name (title field) information listed below that can be transferred to the bulk update Upload spreadsheet created in step 1.
4. I select all the item lines from this spreadsheet version of the All Listings report shown above that I want to change and delete the rest of the item lines. I used the Title, Description field and the SKU fields to help me identify and determine which item lines to keep. In my sample, I will keep the first six lines and delete the last two that I do not want to include. This results in now having a spreadsheet of only the items that I want to change as shown below. In this example, I am only changing information for five items. In reality, you really should be changing a lot more items at once to make this procedure efficient. If you only have a small number of items to be changed, then this should be done manually on an individual basis.
5. Now I have the two columns that I want to copy from the All Listing report spreadsheet above to the bulk update upload spreadsheet below. I first copy the SKU column and paste it on the bulk update upload spreadsheet. I then copy the Quantity column and paste it to the bulk update upload spreadsheet. You want to make very sure that the Quantity values match up to the correct SKU fields.
Note: Since your item's inventory quantity may change rapidly if you are a fast seller, your quantity's will be set for the items you chose to change based on the value when you downloaded the All Listings report. If you are a fast seller, you may want to not wait long or to the next day to complete this process. If you sell an item after you run the All Listings Report that was selected to be updated using the bulk update spreadsheet, the quantity field for that item will go back up to what the quantity was before the sale. For most fields that do not change that often unless the seller manually changes them, this is not an issue.
Note: One option when when updating the quantity and production time fields is to put your Amazon Handmade shop in vacation mode during the short time you are doing the update. While you will not sell any of your seller fulfilled items while your shop is in vacation mode, you will prevent your item inventory numbers from changing, which would be caused by sales, during the short time this bulk update takes. You can then take your shop off of vacation mode right after the update is completed. This is a special situation related to the item quantity field and you do not need to put your shop on vacation for fields that do not change such as your title or keyword fields.
For the bulk update upload, you need to enter both the Quantity field and the Production Time field together in the bulk update spreadsheet as shown below. The Update Delete field will be set to PartialUpdate. The Seller SKU field requires an item's SKU number. You will need to enter the Product Type and Sub Category fields as needed to match your Handmade category. This spreadsheet example is the Handmade category under the bulk update upload file Home & kitchen / Wall Art / Photographs. Your bulk update upload spreadsheet will be different to match the categories that your items are in. I would not mix items from different Handmade categories on the same bulk update upload spreadsheet if the spreadsheet layout is different for the different categories.
When you are done selecting which items you want to update the Production time for, you can copy the whole seller-sku column shown above down to the item-sku column below.
You would then copy the whole quantity column shown above down to the quantity field column below.
You would then manually type in the Production Time field below next to the item. They can be different Production Times per item, but my example has them all as 6.
Note: For all the standard fields in this Bulk update file (template) that you leave blank, these values will not be changed from the values already under that item listing.
Note: While this example covers modifying the Production Time field, if you wanted to change the Title, you would fill in the Product Type, Seller SKU, Title, Sub Category and Update Delete column fields. After this is done, you can modify the titles as needed. You can use the Find / Replace option to change similar wordings.
You would fill in the Product Type field to the appropriate value for your category for each line. This may not be the wording "guildhome" for your category.
You would fill in the Sub Category field if not already populated by the system. This value will change with different subcategories. If you click on the Sub Category box, a popup selection will give you a selection of Sub Categories to choose from or just one to select.
You would fill in the Update Delete field to "PartialUpdate" for each line when doing updates to existing listings. Make sure for the Product Type and Update Delete field that you use the correct capitalization that matches what Amazon wants. Do not leave this Update Delete field blank on any line that has information on or it will erase many of your fields.
When you are done with all your field modifications, which in this example in changing the Product Time fields,
you would save the bulk update update spreadsheet under a name. In this example, I will call it bulk-update-production-time.xlsm.
Note: You can see the top three spreadsheet row lines in a different color below. These three lines are used by Amazon and should not be modified in any way or it will cause errors. You can start adding your item information starting below these three lines used by Amazon. The bulk update file section below only shows selected item fields used in this example.
At the bottom of the bulk update file layout you will see some different spreadsheet tabs as shown below. Each tab show some information about the spreadsheet template that has some useful information in it such as field definitions and also what valid values that can go into each field. The information in these tabs are worth checking out.
The following shows the other fields that can be filled to update your item listings even though my sample shows the update of just the Production Time field. This utility is much more powerful and can be used in a variety of ways to update your item listings. The following layout is for the specific category Handmade Products / Home & Kitchen / Artwork / Photography that I use in my sample.
The following layout is for the specific category Handmade Products / Jewelry / Earlings / Droop and Dangle. You can see that it is different from the layout listed above for a different Handmade category. Each specific Handmade category probably has a different layout to meet the specific field requirements of that category. This specific category has many more fields to handle jewelry stone information. I had to break the layout below into two pieces so you would be able to read the different field titles.
6. You would now do a final review on this bulk update spreadsheet. You want to visually look to find any errors and correct as needed.Double Check these things and you may save yourself a lot of issues:
a. Verify that you entered the SKU numbers and not the ASIN numbers in the Seller SKU column.
b. Verify that you entered the correct Product Type in the Product Type column and fill in the column all the way down to the bottom of your item list.
c. Verify that you entered the correct Sub Category for your specific Handmade category. This field should be filled out all the way down to the bottom of your item list.
d. Verify that you entered the term PartialUpdate in the Update Delete column and fill in the column all the way down to the bottom of your item list. PartialUpdate is used when updating existing items.
7. Now you run the bulk update spreadsheet under an Amazon edit check.
++ Go to the menu option Inventory / Add Products via Upload / Check and upload your inventory file.
On this screen below select File type: Inventory Files for non-Media Categories.
Enter your bulk update file.
Enter an optional email address.
Press the Check my file button and wait for the report.
Check the resulting spreadsheet report for any errors on the bulk update spreadsheet file. Correct as needed and rerun the Check my file again once you correct any errors. Just to let you know, this Amazon error check does not catch every error which is why you have to be careful and check your item information in your bulk update spreadsheet for errors a few times.
The screen shown below is used to test your bulk update file (top part of the screen) and then run the bulk update file again to update the item listings (bottom part of the screen).
8. The screen shown below is the results of the Amazon checked file summary on the bulk update file. In this example, you see that 5 item lines were checked with no warning or error messages.
The screen shown below is the bulk update report which shows the error results of the bulk update file after the items are updated. In this example, you see that 5 item lines were checked with no warning or error messages.
9. When the bulk update spreadsheet is free of errors, you can run the feed processing file update to modify your item information.
On this same screen shown above, but on the bottom section:
Select File type: Inventory Files for non-Media Categories.
Enter your bulk update file
Enter optional email address.
Press the Upload button and wait for the report.
10. Check the results of the Feed Processing Summary and look for any errors. This previous process should of updated your item information.
11. Go to Manage Inventory and check random item listings that you updated in edit mode to verify that the update worked and no other fields, other than what you changed, are modified. In this example, the Production Time and Quantity were updated, but you can use this same procedure to change other item fields. In this single item example, the General Info edit page shows a Quantity of 8 and a Production Time of 6 which is the same values as on the bulk update spreadsheet used to update the items. It may take up to 15 minutes for the updates to display on your item listings depending on the number of changes.
I would check the first item more carefully listed on the top item information row of the bulk update spreadsheet to verify it is okay. I would then check one or more items in the middle of the list and at the end of the list.
After you run the item information update, your updated information will display under the item in the edit mode. If you do not see the update in the actual item information that displays to the Amazon customer, you may need to wait a while for that information to update and display to the customer. Also, if the item information still does not change for the customer, you could try to close your browser and then reopen it to clear out the Amazon item screen information in the computer's memory.
12. Once you do this for a small test batch and you have the procedure down, you can set up again to do a larger batch of changes of additional items.
13. After your changing the Production time to a longer period to handle a vacation or just because you can not handle the number of orders you currently have, you may want to eventually change the Production Time fields back to where they were such as when you get back from vacation or are caught up with your orders.
Since the inventory quantity may have changed while on vacation, you may want to check to see if you need to manually adjust the bulk update spreadsheet to the current accurate inventory quantity for your sold items. You would also want to change the Production time listed in the bulk update spreadsheet back to the way it was before. I am not sure why Amazon has tied the Production Time and the Quantity fields together but this should be fixed. One option is to start the procedure from the top with a new All Listings Report getting information on your more current inventory quantities and then adjust the Production Time field back to the way it was before.
If you are changing other types of fields such as the title, you obviously would not need to go back in and change the title fields back.
An easy way to copy a field down to the last row such as the Product Type, Update Delete or Occasion is to place your cursor in the lower right corner until you get a black plus sign. You then drag the plus sign down the rows. This results in the top value "Christmas" to be seen all in the other fields as shown below. This is a real time saver.
The following shows an example of updating other fields in the bulk update spreadsheet which included the Product Description, How the products are made?, Product Tax Code and Is Gift Message Available. This bulk upload can be used in a variety of ways to update your item listings. In this example I am updating four fields in one run, but you can modify one field at a time if you want and do separate runs.
You will see the required column fields for each item line such as the Product Type, Seller Sku, Update Delete and Sub Category on the sample bulk update spreadsheet below. Also shown below are additional fields in other columns that are to be updated.
Bulk Update of Production Time field - Second Method:
This section shows the steps to update the item quantity and production time values for item SKU's you wish to change in bulk. You can use this method to update the production time field information. With this method, which uses a simpler template, you will only be able to update the few fields listed on this template.I recommend that you read the previous steps on bulk updating as they will help you understand this method also. I also recommend that you read the disclaimer below since doing bulk updates incorrectly can cause damage to your item information.
You first want to call up the screen that allows you to download the Price and Quantity template which has handling-time (Production Time) as one of the fields at the following link: (Click here for the link).
Once this screen is up, click on the Price & Quantity file template link to bring up the spreadsheet template.
Open the spreadsheet template with your default spreadsheet program such as Excel. See the sample Price and Quantity template below. You may need to click on the Enable Editing or Enable Content button.
Click on the Price Template tab at the bottom of the template and you should see a blank Price & Quantity Template that looks similar to the sample below.
You are now ready to add your item information in the Price & Quantity Template as shown below.
If you have only have a few production times items to adjust, you can just hand type in the SKU field, quantity and the handling-time fields into the Price & Quantity Template. The system requires the quantity field as well or you will get an error. You would just update the three fields for all items that you wish to change the handling-time field which fills in the Production Time field for those sellers fulfilled items. You would not enter any SKU's that are for FBA items that you send to the Amazon warehouses since the Production Time field is not used for FBA items.
Another method is for when updating the production time for many items.
1. I would run and create your own All Listings Report, a sample of the report shown below. Review instruction earlier to run the All Listings Report and place the information in an Excel spreadsheet format. You may want to optionally put your shop in vacation mode before running this report. You can later take your shop off of vacation mode after you complete your production time bulk update process.
2. Sort the quantity column (Z to A order) which will place all seller fulfilled items, with a quantity > zero, on top and FBA items on the bottom.
3. I would then delete all the FBA item lines from the spreadsheet which would have no quantity.
4. You can then copy the entire SKU column from the All listings Report to the related Price & Quantity template SKU column.
5. You can then copy the entire Quantity column from the All listings Report to the related Price & Quantity template Quantity column.
6. Then on the Price & Quantity template, you can just keep the item lines that you want and delete the rest.
7. Then manually add the number of days (Production Time) to the 'Handling-time' column on the related Price & Quantity template.
8. After reviewing the information you have entered, you will eventually have to save this Price and Quantity template Excel file as a text (TXT) file for later updates to Amazon. The file has to be saved as a text file and not an excel file to work.
Note: The first and second bulk update method forces you to list or fill in the item quantity field in the bulk update template when the Production Time (handling-time) field is filled in, even if you do not need to update this item quantity information. From the time between when you get your fresh item quantity values from the downloaded inventory report to the time you run the bulk update on the quantity and production time item fields, the item quantity may have changed and not be current. If you sold any seller fulfilled items or had seller fulfilled items in pending mode, this may result in your quantity for those items changing before you do the bulk update. This could result in your quantity of those items to not be accurate after the bulk update. If you are a seller who sells a lot in a shorter period, this will affect you more. Try to limit the time between the time you first enter your information into the bulk update template and the time you run the bulk update to reduce the chances of loading incorrect or outdated item quantities.
Note: One option is that you could also temporary place your shop on vacation mode, such as for an hour during a nonbusy selling time, which would stop sales of your seller fulfilled items during this type of change so that the item quantity does not change. When your shop is on vacation mode, you then run the All Listings Report. After you run the Production Time bulk update, you would then place your shop off of vacation mode. This would simply prevent any on your seller fulfilled items having the item available quantity changed during your Production Time update process.
9. The next important step is to visually review for any errors on the template. For your first time, you try this I would only change the Production Time for 1 or 2 SKU's only to test the process. Once you have this procedure mastered, you can update as many SKU's as you want at one time.
10. You now need to save this spreadsheet template file. Save this file as a Text file. You will get a few pop-up messages in which you select Yes on. You want to name the file something that says what the file is for such as PRODUCTION-TIME-UPDATE.TXT. If you save this file in an Excel file format, you will not be able to use it for the update.
Note: When you get back from vacation or just want to adjust your production time back, you can run this procedure again to place the handling-time (Production time) back to what it was before. You may have to update the Quantity field to what the current quantity levels are since they may have changed since your last template update. It may be best to just rerun the Inventory report and get the updated inventory values again before changing back the production time.
11. After the spreadsheet information is filled out, as shown above, you bring up the menu option Inventory / Add products via upload / Check and upload your inventory file. You will see the screen below.
12. In Step 2 - Upload File section, select the File Type "Price and Quantity File".
13. Then under File Upload, enter your spreadsheet template name which will be a text file. In my example, I called my file "Flat.File.PriceInventory.us-4.txt", but I am sure you can come up with a more descriptive name.
Note: This Price and Quantity template does not have the option to run the top section (Step 1) of this screen to check your text file for errors.
14. You can run the bottom Step 2 - Upload file shown above to update your item records with the updated information such as Quantity and Production Time by pressing the lower Upload button.
15. After you run the bottom step 2, you can select the link Monitor Update Status tab option as shown above and you will see the upload progress screen shown below. When the file is uploaded, you will have the option to see the upload report. You can save or view the update report by clicking on the Download your processing report link shown below.
16. Review the processing report. Look for any errors and if all the items have been updated. In my sample update of just one SKU, here is my processing report shown below and it shows that it processed all records successfully. The above example does show two SKU's entered but I only did one SKU for this test.
As you can see below, the item Quantity of 10 and the Production time of 8 displayed below matches to the numbers added to the first Price and Quantity template above.
17. As part of your testing procedure after you do the update, you should call up a sample number of different items looking to see if the fields updated to the correct values and other fields that should not have changed, did not change. At this time, your Production Time field has been updated for all item SKU's requested.
18. If you placed your shop on Vacation Mode earlier, you can now take your shop off of vacation mode.
Warning / Disclaimer:
Doing bulk updates can be complex, technical and dangerous which could cause harm to many listings at once if something goes wrong. You also need to know how to do basic spreadsheet functions. After reading this example procedure steps, you may decide that this procedure is not for me and make the item changes manually. Handmade did not even have this function for the first three years and sellers did well without it. If you decide to go forward and do this for the first time, you should first test on 1 item to see how the process works and then test on about 5 - 10 items to see if all the expected changes that were made were done correctly without effecting item fields that should of stayed the same. You also want to verify that your items stayed in the correct category. You also want to verify that your SKU numbers match or lineup with the other fields you are changing before you do the update. The more items you are bulk update changing, the more careful and double-checking you should do before you do the bulk update.
If you choose to do bulk updates of your item listings, you are taking on the responsibility. My general guidelines here are not meant to cover every type of situation that you may encounter and are meant to give you only a starting reference on how this process works for the bulk update changing of the Production Time field in the Handmade category. You need to do your own research before doing bulk updates. Amazon has numerous videos on this bulk update subject.
If you do not fill in the Update / Delete field and leave it blank, it will erase most all of your item information for the SKU items you are trying to update and that would be bad. Make sure you fill it in with either Update, PartialUpdate or Delete for each line and do not leave this blank. Amazon will not catch this as an error. I have only tested with the PartialUpdate option to update existing item listing information.
If anyone has any problems with the bulk updates or instructions, let me know and I can adjust what I have written. As a general guideline, do not share your item SKU numbers with anyone on an open forum or web where the general public can see them since these are hidden from customer view. ASIN item numbers show up to the customer, so they are not so secret.
Now that I said all that, once you get used to the item bulk update procedure from doing it a number of times, you will find it easier, helpful and save the seller time in a wide variety of situations. If you try it out the first few times with only a small number of item changes, you reduce your risk while on your learning curve.
Amazon Handmade Production Time Field:
I would at least give your self at least two processing days and that’s if you have the items already created or can create them pretty quick. You could put down as one processing day if you have the item already created and boxed ready to ship out but I would not recommend that. I add a few extra days to my processing time to account for normal business delays happening or I want to take a day off.
Amazon will also ding your metrics if you mail off the item late so it is always better to mail all your items on time or early. If you mail an item late and the item still arrives at the customer early, it is still a late shipped item to Amazon. If you have lower volume sales, it is even more important to not do things to hurt your metrics since it takes longer to fix them with future orders percentage-wise.
Sellers must make sure a tracking number is entered on Amazon if using shipping outside of Amazon. It is easy for Amazon to track as they now require a high percentage of your shipments of packages to have a tracking number.
One thing Amazon frowns on is late deliveries. I do not think your metrics are affected if your package arrives late, just more of a shipping on time metric. A late arrival could affect your metrics if a customer complains about an issue. As the veteran Amazon marketplace sellers say, " Under-promise and over-deliver." Even if you have some extra time to send out an item, the customer will appreciate the items shipping and arriving early. When Amazon calculates the customer's package arrival time, Amazon does not count Saturday and Sunday as shipping days. When packages arrive early, you are more likely to get a favorable product review or seller feedback.
Another issue that can cause problems is that Amazon in on West Coast time so if an order comes in at 11 pm Washington State time and it is 1 or 2:00 AM, the next day your time, you will still lose a day in processing time and shipping estimated arrival dates. It may affect you even more if you need to send out the package in an expedited manner. I feel that Amazon should use the U.S. seller’s local time when calculating the order date, but that is not how it works.
Amazon allows sellers to have a processing time going out as far as 30 days. I would pad my processing days a little to give more room during busy times or for other reasons but I feel that Amazon and customers favor items that have a shorter processing time and shorter processing times can increase your orders. I do not recommend that you pad your processing time too much when not needed. If your items are highly customized and it does take some extra processing time, you are better off with a realistic processing time than take a chance of mailing out too many packages late.
In the situation in that the Seller Fulfilled order was in pending mode for several days, the processing time starts once the order is complete and out of pending status.
Production time field / Guaranteed shipping:
Although Amazon uses the wording “Production time”, it is really the number of production days the seller needs to send the item out. You can list a longer production time and of course send it out early to the customer. It is always best to have your production time as few days as possible while leaving an extra day or more to make sure you get your items shipped on time. I have heard that Amazon will favor those listings with a shorter production time. Customer’s favor shorter production times since they always want to get their ordered items faster and sometimes you are competing against other sellers with similar items with a faster production time. You can set this production field up to 30 days but better if some of your items are pre-made and can set with only a production time of few days.
The Production time is not really connected to the shipping time. Sometimes the customer may confuse this and order faster expedited shipping and think the item will be sent out right away and arrive much sooner. If you have a production time of 4 days and the customer pays for priority shipping, the order can be mailed within the 4 days of production time and then the customer will get the package 2-3 days later.
My understanding is that if the seller offers Premium 1 or 2 day shipping (guaranteed shipping) to customers for a specific Seller Fulfilled item and your customer selects this shipping method, your production time does not come into effect and is really overwritten to 0 days. From what I have read, if you are on the east coast, if someone orders before 1 PM (could be different depending on time of year) you have to ship same day and after 1PM you can ship the next day. Handmade sellers should perhaps not offer Premium 1 or 2 day guaranteed shipping on items that they do not have in stock or that cannot be sent out right away. Their is a difference between 2 day guaranteed shipping and regular priority 2 or priority 2-3 day shipping. Guaranteed 2-day shipping, which is much more expensive, guarantees that the shipper will get the item to the customer in two days after it is shipped when regular priority shipping may arrive at the customers in 2 days but it is not guaranteed. There is a difference between 1 day guaranteed shipping or what I call overnight shipping and regular priority 2 or priority 2-3 day shipping. Guaranteed overnight shipping, which is very expensive, guarantees that the shipper will get the item to the customer in one day after it is shipped when sent before the deadline for overnight shipping for that shipping carrier for that day.
Setting production time field additional days for holidays:
In early December, you may see a message on your Seller Fulfilled item order pages that says “Arrives before Christmas” above the item price. Eventually this message will change to “Expected to arrive after Christmas”. This message is displayed by Amazon on the item order page well before Christmas even if you feel you can get your Seller Fulfilled items created and shipped out in time to arrive to the customer by Christmas. These messages are probably based on your items processing time, possibly shipping distance and type of quicker shipping methods that are available.
I have found that this “Expected to arrive after Christmas” message just stops or greatly reduces your Seller Fulfilled orders. Customers may purchase a higher percentage of orders from Prime or FBA closer to the holiday deadline and this can hurt your sales if you are only a Seller Fulfilled seller. If you have popular Seller Fulfilled items, you may want to pre-make them ready to ship and then lower your production time for these items to 2 days at the beginning of the Christmas season. You can raise the production time when the holiday season is over or you run out of those ready-made items.
This is just a notice if you have not seen this before that a Seller Fulfilled item even with short production times will have this notice closer to Christmas while the Prime or FBA orders will still have a message “Arrives before Christmas”.
Fellow sellers, please enter your comments.
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