Shipping at Christmas – Is Amazon FBA the solution?

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I always think that I’m fairly efficient when it comes to packing, ensuring that I’ve always got ample supplies of boxes, bubblewrap, jiffy bags, packing tape etc, but it’s not a patch on Amazon’s FBA service. Their highly automated picking and packing operation can ship products faster and probably at a lower cost than most online sellers could ever hope to achieve.

FBA or Fulfilment by Amazon means that you never again have to pick and pack a single order, or if you choose they can fulfil your day to day run rate products leaving you more time to manage your business and source new suppliers and products. It doesn’t even matter if you’re selling on your own website and eBay in addition to Amazon – they’ll still pick and pack all of your orders on your behalf.

Sellers can now also benefit from Amazon’s European Fulfilment Network – You ship your products to a fulfilment Centre located in your home country (e.g. in the UK) and they can be subsequently made available at the seller’s choice on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr and Amazon.it. Currently FBA is available for orders Sold on Amazon in all EU Marketplaces but in the UK you can also use it for Webstore and UK Multi-channel Fulfilment orders.

If you’re about to have your Christmas stock delivered and would like to cut down your order processing time on Amazon and your picking and packing time for website and eBay orders then Amazon FBA might be worth taking a serious look at. Of course if you have excess stock left at the end of the Christmas period you can request Amazon return it to you at any point in time. FBA could work out more cost effective than taking on additional temporary warehouse staff and having to train them at the busiest time of the selling year.

One other advantage is that some Amazon categories such as Toys are closed to new sellers over the next few months as Amazon refuses to let their customers down over the Christmas period. However even if you’ve never sold on Amazon before you can still sell in the Toys category if you let Amazon fulfil your orders with FBA.

Do you already use Amazon FBA, or would you consider doing so over the Christmas period? What would stop you trying the service with a couple of product lines and what could convince you to put the majority of your fast selling lines into Amazon and let them fulfil your orders for you?

7 Responses

  1. We have tried the service this year but our problem is we have to packet it all up anyway to send it to Amazon, all they have to do is drop it in a jiffy bag! (We sell jewellery items)

    So considering I am giving them 25% commission, packing it for them and then they are going to charge me more per parcel than sending it myself by Royal Mail I am not sure it is right for us.

    I think if you have a product like Toys that are already packed and ready to go it is perfect and I would recommend.

    For items that you have to do most of the work for I am not sure it is right.

    Plus also if you start having some of your items sent by Amazon this could effect any quantity discounts from couriers or Royal Mail.

    The other issue we had is sending the goods to them in the first place as they only accept deliveries from a ‘select’ range of couriers. None of which covered our products if they get lost. We had to send special delivery and not only does this cost a fortune, it took nearly two weeks for Amazon to process the stock into the system.

    Stuart

  2. It complicated to work out if its the way forward. Certainly if you factor in warehouse, staff, rates, elec, water, petrol to drive to work, it maybe viable…

  3. I’ve been using it for about 6 months now. Yes, it’s expensive, especially because they insist on classing beads as jewellery and make me pay 25% commissions, but sales of the products I’ve put on there have gone through the roof and it really gives an edge over sellers of similar items not using FBA to have ‘Eligible for FREE Super Saver Delivery’ and ‘Get it by [date] if you order in the next [number] hours’ next to your products.

    The only two things that stop me using it for other channels as well (because I would DEARLY love to have them fulfil all my orders) are that their rates are much more expensive for non-Amazon sales channels and they can’t ship in anything other than Amazon-branded packaging. If they ever change to being able to supply plain or even own-brand packaging, I will happily change my business model to accommodate the increased costs of non-Amazon FBA – and judging by an FBA seller feedback questionnaire I filled out recently, they’re considering it.

  4. We tried FBA but have dropped it for a number of reasons. It sometimes took up to a month for their warehouse to process stock we sent them before it was available for sale. Also we had to barcode everything plus the cost of shipping to Amazon did not make it cost effective. The number of returns rose dramatically due to the free returns, a high percentage of these returned items were classed as not resalable by Amazon so we had to pay for removal at the standard FBA per item rate.

  5. We use a company called Sku logistics based in Swindon. They pack 100’s of orders a day for us and it has proven to be the best move for us.

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