Ask one merchant how they feel about Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) and you’ll be told nothing but how fantastic it is. Go and ask someone else, and you’ll hear more negative opinions of what FBA is. While we here at RepricerExpress tend to be in favour of FBA, we know it’s a highly individual decision and decided to put the information in black and white so you can decide for yourself.
A Rundown of FBA in 100 Words or Less
You pay a little fee each month and in return, Amazon takes care of packing and shipping your orders. You send your inventory to Amazon so that every time you get a sale, they send pickers through their warehouse to select the product and send it to its new owner. If anything goes wrong with the order or delivery, Amazon takes care of things. They also offer help in the way of 24/7 customer support in the languages of the marketplaces it sells in and provide tracking information.
Having said all that, let’s now take a look at what the advantages and disadvantages of FBA are.
Advantages of FBA
Frees Up Time: You can’t put a price tag on having time to grow your business and focus on strengthening it.
Storage Space: It’s entirely taken care of, and you don’t have to worry about stepping over boxes to reach your bed or kitchen.
Reputation: Amazon’s got a solid name and buyers trust it. When you back up your line with Amazon, you increase your chances of landing a sale.
Shipping Protocols: Don’t want to hassle yourself with complicated customs regulations and shipping practices? You don’t even have to make it a whisper of a thought.
Amazon Prime: FBA translates into automatic qualification for Amazon Prime, which your Amazon Prime buyers will be very happy about.
Returns: Amazon will take care of all of that for you, from talking to the buyer to sending them a new product.
Sell Volume: The FBA fees, along with Amazon’s commission, may seem like it’s hard to get a profit — until you see just how much more your sell rate has increased.
Listings: Yup, you can use other people’s listings for your own, adding even more time saved by using FBA.
Money-making Tips: Bundle and multipack your items for even bigger profits.
Disadvantages of FBA
Cost: FBA isn’t free, and can eat up your profit margin if you sell large, heavy and/or inexpensive items.
Co-mingling: Your inventory is sorted by like, and the product that goes to your buyer may not necessarily be the one you sent Amazon.
Order Volume: It can be tricky to ascertain how full you need to keep your inventory, particularly around busy times like holidays.
Control: You give up a lot of it because Amazon packs and ships their way, so you don’t get to suss out cheaper materials or routes.
Sending to Amazon: You have to follow very specific ways of sending your inventory to Amazon, like labelling products individually.
Competition: We don’t want to say you’ll have to start sleeping with one eye open, but you should definitely be aware of Amazon cutting into your potential revenue.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time: If selling on Amazon is your sole occupation, it can pay off to use FBA. But if you’re a casual seller, then the costs may cut into your profit margin too much.
Patience: It may take time to see a profit, and the trial-and-error period — where you may be in the hole for a while — can be uncomfortable to bear.
What to Sell? Market research is necessary to know what the efficient-selling items are — and which ones to steer clear of.