Duplicate Listings: Turning a Headache into an Opportunity

By Tami Ben-David
Published on September 18, 2011 | 791 views

Duplicate Listings

A well-known fact to professional Amazon sellers is that Amazon’s catalog is far from perfect. Ideally, every item in the catalog should have a single listing, uniquely identified by its UPC code. In reality, items often tend to have more than one listing. This may stem from sellers’ desire to create new, unique listings. Thus, for example, a new listing can result from bundling an item with an accessory and assigning a new (purchased) UPC code (e.g., Phone X with a Memory Card) or from listing the same item with a different title or attribute (e.g. Unlocked Phone X). Although Amazon tries to minimize the number of duplicate listings, this merely results in a never-ending cat-and-mouse game.

An interesting fact is that each of these duplicate listings has its own life, sales rank and pricing. Thus, while being a headache for Amazon (and for consumers), these listings create an opportunity for sellers, allowing them to list the same item with various prices and profit margins. Naturally, sellers might want to put items on all of these listings to maximize the exposure. However, listing the same inventory multiple times bares a risk of overselling, as the inventory needs to be constantly monitored and managed.

Here I would like to explain how the Feedvisor’s Amazon Repricing and Inventory Management Solution solves this problem.

The first issue is what amount of inventory should be allocated to each of the duplicate listings. When managing manually, one would typically spread the inventory across listings, so that the sum of the listed inventory would not exceed the physical inventory. This can help to prevent an oversell, but it also severely limits sales.

The Feedvisor approach is to put the entire inventory on each of the listings. This way, the sale potential is maximized. The amount of inventory is decreased every time one of the listed items is sold. This technique is possible due to a frequent, automated inventory monitoring and balancing.

The second issue is how to determine the pricing of each of the duplicate listings. Often, these listings have different levels of competitiveness and, therefore, different pricing. Here, again, automation is necessary.

Feedvisor employs its intelligent repricing algorithms to frequently review and adjust the price of each of these listings. These repricing algorithms continuously evaluate your, as well as your competitors’, Amazon rank and adjust your prices to keep the Buy Box at the highest possible price level in any given circumstances.

The third issue is how to analyze profitability for an inventory SKU in an environment where both the prices and the inventory constantly change. This is typically complicated even further by the fact that product sourcing costs also fluctuate (especially if you are selling electronics). Assuming that you have multiple such items in your product portfolio, this becomes a nontrivial issue.

Which sales you are profiting from the most? Which items should you keep ordering? These questions are the focus of the Feedvisor Business Intelligence module, which collects data points on each sale, applies your cost structure when the item is sold and calculates profit. These profit and sale price values are then aggregated across all listings to generate the overall figure for a period in question. Given the complexity of these calculations, this analysis often leads to surprising results, with the most and the least profitable items not necessary being the ones long assumed by the seller. Therefore, conclusions from such profitability analysis may have profound implications on future strategies.

To summarize: Duplicate listings on Amazon are the reality. However, a sophisticated automation can help to turn this headache into a powerful opportunity to increase sales and profitability. This can be achieved by applying appropriate inventory-balancing techniques, an intelligent repricing platform and powerful analytics, capable of dealing with the constantly changing inventory, pricing and cost structure.

Visit Amazon Repricing Software to learn more on Feedvisor’s Amazon Repricing and Inventory Management solution.

About the Author

A British ex-pat, Tami been writing and content-strategizing for Israeli tech start-ups for the last 5 years. When she's not writing nerdy content, you can find Tami on open water charity swims or traveling to far-flung countries.

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