Did you know that having a solid invoice management system could make or break your Amazon seller status? Let us explain.
Legitimate Inventory and Authentic Products
Not only do you rely on invoices to get paid, you may need them to prove to Amazon that your inventory is legitimate — that is, if Amazon or its customers have an issue with one of your products being counterfeit or used.
So what do we mean by this? With more and more people selling on Amazon these days, the ecommerce giant has cracked down on its policies to ensure all Amazon sellers are selling authentic products – not knock-offs of a popular brand or a used item that’s marked as new, for example. To prove an item’s authenticity, you need to provide receipts or invoices showing where you purchased the item and – ideally – its chain of custody.
This may sound daunting, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. So whether you want to be prepared for a product dispute from Amazon, navigate Amazon invoicing or need help with your billing, here are six ways to streamline your invoice management.
Avoiding (or Easing) Amazon Product Disputes
1: Find reputable suppliers who provide detailed invoices
To avoid questions about the authenticity of your products, opt to work with wholesale suppliers or directly with manufacturers. If you’re working with a liquidator or other third-party supplier, ask them who their sources are and/or if they can trace their items back to the manufacturer. And always ask to see a sample invoice before you make any purchases to ensure it includes the information Amazon will ask for (including the full name of the product, UPC code and chain of custody).
If they aren’t willing to provide this information, consider that a red flag and move on to a supplier who doesn’t have anything to hide. Setting yourself up with reputable suppliers now will give your business – and invoice management – a strong foundation for success.
2: Don’t fake an invoice. Ever.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately Amazon sees its share of bad actors selling counterfeit goods and providing fraudulent invoices. As a result, Amazon has cracked down on its policies and is much more stringent when it comes to invoice verification. Simply put: they can spot a fake invoice when they see it, and could ban you from selling the product in question — or worse, shut down your Amazon business altogether.
3: Private Label Sellers have an advantage
Amazon Sellers with their own private label products that are totally unique to Amazon’s platform are at an advantage because by definition the product can’t be counterfeit. Private Label Sellers have control over their supply chain and can be specific on the invoices, UPC bar codes, product descriptions, etc. All of this control allows you to customize your documents and invoices to exactly match Amazon’s requirements.
If you’d like to learn more about selling Private Label, check out our friends at Private Label Podcast.
Help with Billing and Invoice Management
4: Make sure your business information is consistent
It’s good practice to provide all of your vendors with the same personal and business information so that everything is consistent across the board (and especially when it comes to your invoices).
Any invoice you share with Amazon, for example, should include the same business information that they have on file for you, including your business name (LLC and/or “dba”) and shipping address. If they receive an invoice that has a different address, you may need to provide documentation to clear up the discrepancy — and as a business owner, you shouldn’t be spending your time on these types of logistics.
5: Use an invoice management tool
There are a variety of invoice management tools to help you streamline how you create, file and search for your invoices, including your Amazon invoices and those you have for other vendors.
Don’t forget to always keep a copy of your invoices in PDF/electronic format. You don’t need a scanner and can take a picture with a smartphone using an app such as Tiny Scanner.
Some business owners lean on bookkeepers or assistants to handle this sometimes seemingly endless paperwork, while others look at software solutions like Quickbooks, Shoeboxed or FreshBooks, to name a few. Online services like these make it easy to access and search for an invoice – so when and if you need to pull up an Amazon sales invoice, for example, you can do so in a matter of minutes.
Properly managing your invoices has another benefit: better inventory management. You can enhance your invoice strategy with an inventory management tool such as Inventory Labs, which can help with product sales value and accounting, allow you to proactively manage costs and prevent errors with suppliers — ultimately saving you money.
6: Consider invoice factoring
As an online seller, you’re all too familiar with gaps in receivables. When Amazon doesn’t pay you for weeks after making a sale, your business’ cash flow and growth are stunted. But luckily there is a solution for this: invoice factoring.
Essentially, invoice factoring companies, like Payability, give you an advance on your sales so you can continue running and growing your business. If you’re interested in learning how Payability’s solution could help you, contact our sales team today.
All in all, invoicing is a critical component to the success of your online business. What other invoice management solutions have helped your business?