What Does It Mean When an Amazon Order Is Pending?

A ‘Pending Order’ is a new order that needs to be verified by Amazon. The status will change to ‘Preparing for Shipment’ once all checks are complete.

  • Pending is the first status in Amazon’s fulfillment process after an order has been made. During this point, Amazon conducts several verification checks.
  • Unseen pending orders can lead sellers to oversell products accidentally—Sellercloud prevents this by reserving inventory for pending orders.

The term ‘pending’ is pretty broad and can rile up the imagination—“Has something gone wrong?” or “Is something broken?” you may be asking yourself.

Sellercloud is here to demystify what a pending order means on Amazon and to get straight to the point.

A pending order is often nothing to worry about, and there is often little sellers can do about it. Only if an order has been ‘pending’ for a significantly long period should it be a concern.

In this article, we’ll explain what pending orders mean in Amazon, how long you may have to wait, and what you can potentially do about it.

What Do Pending Orders Mean on Amazon?

‘Pending’ is an order status within Amazon’s order fulfillment process after checkout.

It refers to orders placed by customers still awaiting confirmation before they can begin processing and move on to shipping and delivery.

It might be easier to think of it as ‘pending fulfillment’—the order has been placed, and now checks must be completed.

Pending orders can frustrate sellers because if an order remains in pending status for a long time, it slows down fulfillment.

Understanding this is important because customers may become irate and blame the seller for the slow delivery.

According to an article by Wonderment, one of the most common e-commerce customer complaints is wanting an update on order status.

Late deliveries also have a significant impact on customer retention. According to a post by Website Magazine, 69% are less likely to shop with a seller if their product is not delivered within two days.

Meanwhile, Supply Chain Brain found that “55% of respondents will abandon shopping with a retailer altogether after receiving a late delivery two to three times.”

What Happens to the Orders That Are Pending on Amazon?

Amazon puts pending orders through a series of checks to ensure that the buyer and the seller are eligible to make the transaction and that nothing suspicious is taking place.

Do note that Amazon hasn’t disclosed how it checks orders in detail, which is likely because such information could be exploited.

Some of the checks that take place include:

Payment Verification

One of the most crucial checks, Amazon verifies the customer’s payment details to ensure the payment they’re valid and the account has sufficient funds or credit to complete the transaction.

Verification is complete if there are no issues or discrepancies with the payment transaction.

Address Validation

Amazon also needs to verify the buyer’s shipping address to ensure that it’s accurate, complete and meets the requirements to complete the delivery.

This includes verifying the address format, zip code, and compatibility with the shipping carrier’s guidelines.

Product Availability

Amazon verifies the availability of the ordered item(s) in its inventory.

This involves checking stock levels, ensuring the product is in stock and ready to be shipped, and confirming that there are no issues with fulfilling the order.

Seller Performance and Account Verification

Amazon may check a seller’s performance metrics and account status. This ensures that the seller is not suspicious and is up to Amazon’s customer service and product quality standards.

Fraud Detection

Amazon employs sophisticated systems and algorithms to detect and prevent fraudulent activities.

These systems analyze various factors, including customer behavior, order patterns, and payment information, to identify and mitigate potential fraudulent transactions.

What Happens to an Order after Pending Status?

Pending status is only a tiny step in Amazon’s fulfillment process. Once this step is complete, there are several more stages to complete.

Knowing the different steps will give you some context into how small a step pending is in the fulfillment process.

  • Order Confirmation—Amazon has validated the order, and it is ready for processing.
  • Preparing for Shipment—as its name suggests, this status means the order is being packaged and prepared for dispatch.
  • Shipped—the order has now been passed onto the carrier.
  • Delivery—the order is now out for delivery to the buyer’s address.
  • Order Completion—the final stage, when the order has been delivered.

If you’re worried about a pending order that’s taking longer than expected to verify, know that as soon as it changes to ‘Order Confirmation,’ any issues have been resolved.

Why Is a Pending Order Taking So Long?

There are quite a few reasons why some pending orders take longer to process than others. Often it has something to do with the verification checks the order is subject to.

The issue can differ depending on whether the buyer, Amazon, or the seller causes it.

The Issue Is on the Buyer’s End

For example, if the payment information provided by the customer requires additional verification or validation, Amazon may put the order in a pending state.

This can happen if there are issues with the payment method or if the payment is flagged for potential fraud.

Card authorization issues often happen to buyers who have purchased through Amazon with the same card before, but there may have been something different about the payment that concerned Amazon.

For example, the card details are correct, but they placed the order to a different address, or the customer ordered from another device.

To mitigate fraud, Amazon makes additional checks that leave the order in pending status for longer.

Additionally, the address may be incomplete, mismatch the billing address, or an address that does not meet the requirements for successful delivery.

The Issue Is on Amazon’s End

Amazon can run into inventory issues that can lead orders to remain in pending status for longer than usual. Often this is the result of product availability.

Suppose you use FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon). In that case, Amazon can sometimes incorrectly display that a product is available when it is out of stock and may place the order as pending until it becomes available.

In other cases, Amazon might be unable to find your product in their fulfillment centers. Amazon may take a few days to determine what happened before the order can proceed.

The order may have to be canceled if they cannot locate the product. Additionally, surges in demand can also cause delays in restocking.

Aside from inventory management problems, different payment or shipping options offered to buyers can also put products in pending status for longer.

Some customers may choose the ‘convenience store payment’ option but didn’t finish or verify it.

If that’s not the case, the buyer may have qualified for free shipping, and your product is part of a larger order of several products from different merchants.

It may be that the buyer needs to add one or two more products to their cart to complete their total order and get free shipping.

In that case, the order will remain pending until all products have been ordered.

You should also remember that on busy periods, such as Black Friday, Prime Day, or Christmas, Amazon deals with many orders simultaneously, which may mean they remain pending for longer than usual.

In rare cases, there might be delays or technical errors in Amazon’s order processing system, causing orders to remain pending for longer than usual.

These delays could be due to technical issues, high order volumes, or other operational factors.

Finally, not all reasons for pending status are inventory-related. If a product is a pre-order that has not been released yet, it cannot move forward until the stock is available.

The Issue Is on the Seller’s End

Amazon may conduct additional checks on third-party sellers when processing an order, resulting in pending status lasting for longer than usual.

These checks can be triggered if a seller’s order defect or late shipment rates don’t meet Amazon’s standards.

Another issue that can delay a pending order is if Amazon needs to coordinate with them to confirm stock availability and shipment details.

How Long Do Amazon’s Pending Orders Take?

Typically, a pending order races through the checks above in about 30 to 40 minutes. After this point, the order is released to the merchant.

As mentioned above, some logistical or payment issues could mean an order stays in pending status for a few days.

In extreme circumstances, Amazon can take up to three weeks to process pending orders and move to the next step.

An interesting fact is that Amazon doesn’t display the time of the day on the buyer’s order detail page or on their invoice, only the calendar date.

Because of this, it can make it harder to calculate how long an order has been pending.

Nevertheless, if an order has been in pending status for over an hour, sellers should consider contacting Amazon’s support to find out why.

What to Do About Pending Orders on Amazon?

Often, you can’t do much about a pending order but be patient. You can’t do anything about any issues Amazon or the buyer are experiencing.

If an order has been stuck pending for an unusually long time, be assured that the issue will likely resolve itself and is probably out of your control.

This is especially the case if the pending status has only recently appeared. Amazon may still be conducting the necessary verifications or awaiting stock availability.

It is advised that you keep an eye on your Amazon account and email for any updates or notifications regarding any pending orders.

Amazon may provide updates on the order’s progress or request additional information from you. Stay vigilant to ensure you don’t miss any important communications.

Perhaps the only real thing you can do is contact Amazon’s support to inquire about the order status, seek clarification on any issues, or request assistance resolving the pending status.

If the order has been held on pending status for an extended period and beginning to concern you, you can consider canceling it.

Can Amazon Cancel a Pending Order?

Amazon can and will cancel a pending order if it fails to meet one of its checks. The most common reasons for Amazon to cancel an order are if there are payment or address issues.

For example, if the card used in the transaction is invalid, doesn’t hold enough funds, or if Amazon suspects it has been used fraudulently.

Furthermore, there may be issues if the shipping address cannot be verified or, for whatever reason, the address doesn’t meet Amazon’s requirements.

There is also the chance that the product is simply unavailable or out of stock, or if Amazon has some concerns about a third-party seller, Amazon may also end up canceling an order.

Lastly, though unlikely, there is always the possibility of a system error or a glitch that could end up canceling the order too.

How to Cancel a Pending Order?

Sellers can cancel pending orders from Manage Orders within Amazon’s order management system, which allows them to view and manage orders.

The seller simply needs to click ‘Cancel Order’ to cancel a pending order, though they must provide a reason for canceling the order, which should be justifiable. Once canceled, the buyer will receive an email.

However, once a pending order has advanced to a status like ‘Preparing for Shipment’ or ‘Shipped,’ the cancellation process may require different steps, such as initiating a return or refund request.

You may want to consider how canceling an order could affect your relationship with Amazon and the buyer. This is particularly important when canceling many orders at once, which sellers can do by file upload.

Amazon sets performance metrics and policies for sellers regarding order cancellation, and excessive cancellations or patterns of poor order management can negatively affect these metrics.

Furthermore, the buyer may not wish to shop with you again, which could impact your reputation as a seller.

Both factors highlight the benefits of waiting patiently for the issue to resolve itself instead of intervening and canceling the order.

Being proactive is unnecessary and can harm your business’s reputation with Amazon. If pending orders are not impeding your company’s operations, it’s often better to leave them.

If you are adamant about canceling an order, it is advisable to communicate with the buyer and explain the cancellation clearly.

Transparent communication helps maintain a positive buyer-seller relationship and avoids potential dissatisfaction.

Also worth noting is that buyers can cancel an order up to 30 minutes after the purchase, while sellers can cancel an order right up to the point before shipping the product.

If the buyer cancels an order, you will see it in the Manage Orders menu but will not be able to access it.

Handling Amazon Pending Orders in Sellercloud

Amazon pending orders can majorly impact a seller’s inventory when selling on multiple online marketplaces.

Merchants using tools to manage their e-commerce operations on multiple platforms can find that pending orders do not show up and are only received once they progress to the next status.

Furthermore, because orders typically remain pending for 30 to 40 minutes, merchants can end up not knowing about the order for that length of time.

An order may be ‘pending’ on Amazon, but it doesn’t exist yet for the seller. This can mean merchants are underprepared for when they are finally received.

For example, a seller may have just sold their last product stock, not knowing that someone purchased the product 20 minutes earlier on Amazon, and it’s waiting in pending status.

When the order finally reaches the seller, they can’t fulfill it because the last one just went out the front door.

Sellercloud mitigates this issue with ‘pending order reserves,’ a feature that informs sellers of how many orders they have in pending status and reserves inventory for pending orders.

This prevents sellers from overselling on other channels. Sellercloud also sends inventory updates to Amazon to account for those pending orders.

But that’s not all, Sellercloud even goes a step further, and if the buyer orders a kit assembled on demand, it will reserve the inventory of the components.

Sellercloud similarly reserves inventory for other channels and has various types of reserves so sellers can have accurate numbers of how much is available for sale at any given moment. 

Key Points

Take these key points with you!

  • A ‘Pending Order’ is an order still being verified by Amazon before being sent to the merchant. It is a normal procedure that takes place for every order.
  • Typically, an order is in pending status for 30 to 40 minutes. However, there are many reasons why an order may take longer to be verified.
  • Orders can remain pending for a variety of reasons that could be related to the buyer, Amazon, or the seller.
  • Sellers can cancel pending orders, but more often than not, the cons outweigh the pros, and it’s simply better to wait patiently.
  • Sellercloud prevents e-commerce sellers from overselling products when selling on multiple channels by reserving inventory for pending orders.
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The Sellercloud team is dedicated to providing you with insights and content that can help guide your business strategy in a meaningful way. With 10+ years in the e-commerce space, our goal is to share our knowledge and ideas with you to help you achieve your business goals.