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How to Handle Amazon Inventory Levels: All About the Born to Run Program

08 Nov 2021 Iryna Malova

in Amazon

Keeping inventory in stock for Amazon Vendors is not always easy: Amazon’s automated purchasing algorithm determines which ASINs to order based on consumer demand. Getting inventory for newly launched products is even more challenging because these products have no historical data, meaning the automated system that determines Purchase Orders (POs) has no history to work with. So, how can Vendors ensure POs for their new products as well as any others that are running low on stock? Simple: request their own orders through the Amazon Born to Run program.

Born to Run (BTR) is an invite-only ordering program within Vendor Central that allows Vendors to submit their own recommendations for POs that are expected to sell within a 10-week period. These requests can be for either new or existing products and are ideal for:

  • Low inventory and out of stock products
  • Newly launched products
  • Promotional events
  • Holiday spikes
  • PR and advertising periods

Vendors benefit from Born to Run by increasing their inventory position which decreases the risk of products going out of stock and helps capture additional sales during promotions and holiday spikes. BTR also drives future purchase orders by helping Amazon’s algorithm better—and faster—forecast demand for those products that had no previous sales data.

When submitting a Born to Run offer, Vendors should determine how many units they expect to sell in 10 weeks, and what should be done with inventory that remains after the sell-through period. Amazon provides two options for units that are not sold within 10 weeks:

  1. Amazon will keep unsold units. Brands will provide Amazon a ‘retention fee’ equal to 25% of the cost of unsold units.
  2. Amazon may return unsold units. Brands will refund 100% of the product cost for any units returned, plus 10% shipping and handling fees.

We advise Vendors to forecast conservatively and determine BTR quantities based on sales history as well as forecasting reports in Vendor Central. Ad spend is no longer a requirement for BTR, but it is recommended to promote the ASINs to drive greater product visibility and conversions during the sell-through period.

To get started, brands should click on the Vendor Initiated Orders tab in Vendor Central and create a new offer. Amazon will review all submissions and issue POs for approved products. Once submitted, products have 20 days before the sell-through period starts, to account for shipping and lead times, and 70 days for the sell-through period.

Born to Run is a great opportunity to supplement low inventory and is a must for anyone launching new products or planning to run a holiday promotion. Stella Rising uses Born to Run for our vendor clients as part of managing their Vendor Central business to ensure sufficient inventory for continued success. Connect with us to learn more about this important program—and how it can fit within an overall smart Amazon strategy.