Why is my Amazon Associates Income Lower than I Expected?

I added up all my Amazon Associates sales and it comes to a lot more than what it is showing as Revenue.  What is going on? Why is the Revenue I am getting Commissions on always less than my Ordered Items?

Group By: Tracking ID for the total Ordered Revenue
Group By: Tracking ID for the total Ordered Revenue

First, you don’t have to add up your sales. Just click Group By: and choose Tracking ID for the total.

The Ordered Items tab shows you the Ordered Revenue. The Earnings tab shows the Revenue and your Commission off of it.

Ordered Revenue is the dollar value of everything people have ordered during the time period the Report is for.

Until the item ships, you don’t have any Commission.

Three Reasons Revenue is Lower

The Revenue will probably always be lower than the Ordered Revenue for three reasons, back-orders, cancellations, and returns.

Sometimes things are back-ordered and haven’t shipped yet. The most expensive things people order through my site take a while to ship. Stores (Third Party Sellers) don’t keep inventory on really expensive things. Some of them are made to order. (Before I had the website, I sold the same items in a showroom. They took time there, too.) You will eventually get the commission, unless the order is canceled.

Sometimes people cancel an order before it is shipped. Last year when everyone was locked down, I had things take longer to ship and I saw a lot more cancellations. But usually they seem pretty rare.

The Reports page shows your Returned Items. They make me sad. Especially when they are really expensive. One big return can make your whole day negative.

Download Reports to Sort Fee-Earnings, Fee-Orders and Returns in Excel
Download Reports to Sort Fee-Earnings, Fee-Orders and Returns in Excel

Download Reports

Amazon makes it pretty easy to see the gist of what is going on with a glance, but if you want to, you can track things more meticulously.

Ordered Revenue subtracts Returned Items. If you run a report (Download Reports tab, top right of Reports page), you can match the sales with returns and figure out what is on back order.

It’s a lot of math to think about and I really hate math. And it doesn’t change anything. But, if you want to match up your orders and commissions, it’s easier to do with a Report.

Reports can also give you an idea what products people are actually buying, and where the money is. It only gives the Product Title, which doesn’t always include the brand name.

Can I Avoid Returns?

What can you do to avoid Returns? Not much. People return things to Amazon. Any time I see someone buy two or three very similar items, I can pretty much depend on them only keeping one and sending the rest back.

I only recommend products from companies I know make good quality products. But once my site visitor clicks that link, they see all of the very similar products on that page. They often order a cheap knockoff, and then return it. I don’t get it. Sometimes they pay nearly as much for something from some company with an unpronounceable name that looks nearly identical.  And then return it. Sad.