There are situations where a single SKU sold on Amazon can produce two or more identical FBM listings on the offer page. One of those FBM offers will be fully controlled via the Inventory screen on Amazon Seller Central and will deduct stock levels properly. Whereas the other one will just stay there with unchanged stock levels - allowing buyers to keep buying this product despite the SKU being out of stock in the Seller Central.
These listings are called "ghost" listings or "phantom" listings on Amazon. As far as we know, the solution to this problem is deleting the SKU from the Amazon inventory and then adding it back.
For more information on this and maybe new and better solutions to this problem, please refer to Amazon Seller Central forums and general search on Google for the following keywords: Amazon ghost listings.
How to check for a ghost listing in Linnworks:
When you encounter an overselling case with an item you have listed as an FBA listing, then via Linnworks the simplest way to check whether this is due to a ghost listing is as follows:
- a) Open Orders screen: Right-click on the order -> View -> View Order XML
b) Open Orders BETA: Right-click on the order -> View order -> Properties -> Order XML
- In the XML check OrderWithItems -> Order -> FulfilmentChannel - in a ghost listing case this would say MFN even though the SKU is from an FBA listing.
- Now check Items -> OrderItem -> SellerSKU. If you already know that this is the SKU on your FBA listing, then it is clear that you have a ghost listing case. If you are not sure, proceed to step 4.
- Go to Settings -> Channel Integrations -> Mapping button on the channel line the order came from
- Search for the SKU from the XML. If there is a tick on the FBA column, then you are dealing with a ghost listing.
Why ghost listings can happen when using Linnworks:
By default whenever you list or link an FBA listing in Linnworks, then the system automatically enables the Ignore sync setting. This is done to prevent Linnworks from sending any stock level updates to this listing as all stock levels for FBA listings should be handled by Amazon themselves. If the Ignore Sync tick is removed, then Linnworks sends stock level updates and an extra listing - as described in the beginning of this article - is created.
Mostly this happens in two cases:
- The Ignore Sync is unticked by a user.
- The Ignore Sync is unticked when you are using Stock Item Linking import without specifying a value in the Ignore Sync column.
Linnworks automatically adds the Ignore Sync tick back to the listing if it still remains an FBA during the next Listing Download sync, but this only runs once every 12 hours. If there is a stock level update to the SKU prior to the sync finishing, updates are sent to the channel for the FBA listing as well.
To prevent the issue:
- Make sure your users know not to untick Ignore sync for FBA listings.
- When using Stock Item Linking import, be sure to add the value TRUE to the Ignore Sync column for any FBA SKUs you are linking.
If you are not sure which SKUs are FBA, use the Channel Items export in Linnworks to receive a CSV with full details of the listings as in the Channel Mapping screen. You can identify in the CSV which SKUs are marked as FBA.