Since it first started in 2007, Fulfillment By Amazon has helped thousands of sellers sell products with relative ease on Amazon. The way it works is, you send your inventory to one of Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers and when the item sells, Amazon packages and ships the product straight to your customer. The days of packaging thousands of items monthly are gone, and with this easy-to-use FBA program sellers are finding more efficient ways of selling online. Although this fulfillment service is extremely popular, it does have its fair share of disadvantages and complicated compliance rules. They say it saves time, money and hassle, but does it really? Depending on the items you sell, size of your business, and amount of inventory you have, using Fulfillment By Amazon may not be the best decision for you.
November 13, 2012—Amazon.com is giving third-party sellers a helping hand. Earlier this week Amazon webstore announced they are offering two new services for sellers using both Fulfillment By Amazon and self-fulfillment. The news comes days after Amazon.co.uk launched a new seller rating system that will impact seller feedback and scores.
The first service pertains to Fulfillment By Amazon and allowing third-party sellers who use the service to choose whether or not their products are shipped using Amazon branded boxes or unbranded. The new service will permit sellers to use their own customized packing slips and contact information, as well as add their company name to the boxes. This is great news for third-party sellers as they now have more control to promote their storefronts and brands through Fulfillment By Amazon.
The second service immensely helps Amazon sellers as it offers discounted shipping rates for self-fulfilled orders. The new service, which is accessed through Seller Central, allows third-party sellers to pay for shipping services, print domestic and international shipping labels, and set default ship-from addresses. This is big news for Amazon sellers as USPS announced earlier this year they are increasing shipping rates at the first of the year.
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November 21, 2012—Fulfillment By Amazon is a great program for sellers,
and Amazon wants to tell you about it. Amazon recently emailed third-party FBA users to update them on new enhancements to their customer delivery and, boast about a little about their service. Earlier this week, Amazon emailed the following to FBA users:
“Amazon is well-known for its relentless customer focus – and FBAA sellers are frequently the beneficiaries of this dedication. Over the past few months, we have made several enhancements in areas like delivery convenience, customer service and our fulfillment network in an effort to continually raise the bar for Amazon customers. Here are just a few ways Amazon is working for you:
- To keep inventory close to customers and expand global reach, we have added new fulfillment centers worldwide, including in California, Virginia, Spain and Germany.
- Amazon also continues to be the gold standard in customer convenience with programs such as Amazon delivery lockers, which are currently available in Seattle, New York, London, and California with more to come, and Local Express Delivery, which delivers products to customers on the day they ordered them in select regions.
- Amazon continues to add new benefits to the Amazon Prime subscription service – and as more customers become Prime members, it means more exposure for your FBA products. Recent additions to Prime benefits include thousands of new streaming movies and television shows, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and new expedited shipping options.”
As the popularity of Fulfillment By Amazon continues to grow, the recent natural disaster of Hurricane Sandy showcased how truly great Amazon’s FBA program can really be. In Amazon’s email to sellers, it said, “thanks to our strategic inventory placement, which spreads products to fulfillment centers across the country. Fulfillment centers in unaffected regions were able to assist our locations on the East Coast, so that deliveries could continue uninterrupted.” Amazon also mentioned that they were able to fulfill the majority of customer orders on time, even with Hurricane Sandy interrupting delivery services on the east coast.
The Amazon marketplace also mentioned the need for sellers to get products into FBA as soon as possible. “Please consider the amount of inventory needed to meet this demand for all of your FBA products deep into December,” Amazon stated in their email this week to FBA sellers. “Last year in late November and early December, Amazon customer response to FBA offers was so strong that FBA sellers went out of stock on many critical products.”
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December 5, 2012—The fees they are a-changin. On Tuesday, Amazon notified third-party sellers that Fulfillment By Amazon fees will increase in 2013, and introduced a brand new fee for returns in certain categories. The notice comes at a horrible time as FBA sellers prepare for the upcoming holidays and New Year.
Third-Party sellers were made aware of the new fee structure on Tuesday when Amazon updated the seller’s central with the announcement. Amazon blames rising transportation cost for the increase and says the new fee structure won’t take place until February 18, 2013. Along with increases in FBA fees, Amazon introduced a new “Returns Processing Fee” for customer-returned products in categories that Amazon offers free return shipping. The new Returns Processing Fee will apply for products in the categories: Apparel; Watches; Jewelry; Shoes; and Luggage.
According to Amazon, offering free returns to customers in these categories helps build customer trust and encourages purchases. “To better reflect our costs, when customers receive free return shipping on products in these categories, the seller will be charged a fee for each unit returned. This fee will be equivalent to the fulfillment fees for an individually shipped unit.”
To better represent transportation costs, Amazon is launching six new product size tiers: Small Standard-Size, Large Standard-Size, Small Oversize, Medium Oversize, Large Oversize, and Special Oversize. On the positive side, Amazon is reducing some of their fees including products that fit into the new “Small Oversize” and “Medium Oversize” categories, as well as reducing the fees associated with Pick & Pack. Amazon also mentioned they are not changing fees for Multi-Channel Fulfillment fees, Zero-Fee Fulfillment, Inventory Storage Fees, or any optional service fees.
In the announcement on Tuesday, Amazon mentioned a slew of improvements they’ve made over the year, along with new services like Amazon Lockers and Same-Day Delivery:
“In the past year, we have made it easier for customers to order and receive your products, including innovations such as Amazon Lockers and same-day shipping in select cities; and we have continued to grow the benefits and membership of Amazon Prime, which this year has surpassed FREE Super Saver Shipping in items shipped. We have also enhanced the FBA and Seller Central experience, through better access to your important business data on the Sales Dashboard and Payments reports; value-added services such as the FBA Label Service; and new ways to reach global customers with FBA Global Export.”
In the next few days, Amazon is expected to update the FBA Revenue Calculator so sellers can view and compare estimated fulfillment costs under the current fee structure and the new fee structure.
What do you thinking of the new Fulfillment By Amazon fees?
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December 17, 2012—Large and in charge, Amazon looks to make room for large FBA items. The marketplace giant is looking to invest over $100 million to open a new 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in DuPont, Washington that will house larger than normal items. Amazon announced the news via press release and said the new fulfillment center will create hundreds of full-time jobs with benefits. Amazon plans to take occupancy in the fall of 2013.
The purpose of the new Amazon Fulfillment center will be to house FBA items that are large in size and volume. At the facility, Amazon employees will pick, pack and ship large items to customers-“anything from canoes to televisions,” Amazon said in their press release. Amazon also mentioned the site is close to one of the largest military installations on the west coast of the U.S. (Joint Base Lewis-McChord) and have committed to hiring at least 1,200 veterans in the coming year.
Other Fulfillment By Amazon locations include Arizona, California, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Amazon also has three international facilities in Europe, China and Japan.
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