WIKI: Stickerless Commingled vs. Stickered Inventory

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inventory
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#1

Under Settings --> Fulfillment by Amazon you’ll see an Inventory Setting section with the option to enable Stickerless Commingled Inventory.

What is Stickerless Commingled Inventory?

Basically, this option allows you to determine if your inventory will be stored together (commingled) with the inventory of other sellers by having the Stickerless Commingled Inventory option Enabled.

If you have this setting Disabled, your inventory will be considered Stickered or Labeled and will be kept separate from the inventory of other sellers.

Even though your inventory would be mixed with that of other sellers, Amazon will still track how many units of inventory you’ve sold and you will get proper credit for each of those sales.

Example of How it Works

Let’s say you are selling the same Lego set as three other sellers (Bob, Joe and Bill). Each of you has 100 units of inventory (400 units total) and the account settings are as follows:

You - Enabled Stickerless Commingled Inventory
Bob - Enabled Stickerless Commingled Inventory
Joe - Disabled Stickerless Commingled Inventory
Bill - Disabled Stickerless Commingled Inventory

Each of you has inventory at the same Amazon Fulfillment Center. Your inventory will be mixed together with Bob’s (200 units together), but Joe and Bill’s inventory will be kept separate (100 units each). Over the course of one day, the customers have placed orders for a total of 20 units:

You - Sold 7 units
Bob - Sold 3 units
Joe - Sold 6 units
Bill - Sold 4 units

The 10 units that you and Bob sold will be pulled from the bin of 200 commingled units, but Amazon will track the allocation between you and Bob, so you will have credit for 93 units of remaining inventory and Bob will have credit for 97 units of remaining inventory. At the end of the day, the commingled lot of inventory for future orders will have 190 units remaining.

Joe will have a separate lot of inventory with 94 units remaining and Bill will have a lot with 96 units remaining.

So, why would you and Bob choose to commingle your inventory? The benefits are that it’s more likely there will be units of inventory in a fulfillment center close to a customer who places an order, resulting in a better customer experience. It also allows you to send inventory to an FBA warehouse with only a UPC code (instead of an FNSKU code), which can eliminate additional labeling costs in some cases (discussed in more detail below).

What Should You Choose?

I’d say the biggest factor in deciding whether or not to Enable or Disable this option is if you are a private label seller of your own branded products. If so, I would generally recommend that you Disable the setting.

The reason for this is that as a private label seller, you should be the only one selling your product. However, you will sometimes find that another seller is offering an unauthorized version of it. By keeping your inventory separate from theirs, you can be confident that potentially different versions don’t get mixed together with yours.

If you’re not a private label seller, your decision is based on different factors. Assuming there are other sellers offing the same products as you, choosing Stickerless Commingled Inventory can help customers receive their orders quicker if another seller has inventory in a closer warehouse. Since the inventory is “shared” Amazon will ship the closest unit (regardless of who provided that specific one), but it would be deducted from your inventory levels.

As a non-private label seller, the products you are selling will already have a UPC code printed, so by choosing Stickerless Commingled you wouldn’t have to do any more labeling. In this case, you might be better off choosing Stickerless Commingled since there are few benefits to using Stickered Inventor. You would just send in your inventory with the UPC code and have it commingled with other sellers.

Now, in addition to the “business model” reasons cited above, I have had an instance where Amazon just didn’t allow me to use Stickerless Commingled for one of my products. I was forced to used Stickered Inventory even though I had already had my supplier print my UPC code onto the packaging. This means that I had to pay Amazon $0.20 per unit to label the products with an FNSKU for my first order and change my packaging later. While it all worked out in the end, I would have avoided this problem if I had used Stickered Inventory from the beginning.

One thing to keep in mind is that the option is enabled/disabled at the account level. Once you set it create a product listing, the Stickerless Commingled option for that product is frozen. The only way to change it at that point is to delete your list, change the Stickerless Commingled option, then create a new listing. So, it’s best to know what approach you want to take before you create your product listing.

In no case will you ever want to have BOTH a UPC barcode and FNSKU barcode showing on your product at the same time. Multiple barcodes will confuse Amazon and are not allowed.

The Amazon help section on the subject can be found here:

If you need a better understanding of the difference between a UPC code and an FNSKU code, please refer to the wiki article on the subject: Understanding Barcodes - UPC vs. FNSKU.

This post is part of the Ultimate Wiki Project


The Ultimate Wiki Project: Selling on Amazon FAQ
WIKI: Understanding Barcodes - UPC vs. Amazon FNSKU
WIKI: Understanding Barcodes - UPC vs. Amazon FNSKU