The question asked of me recently was ‘why aren’t you using Amazon’s wonderful Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) service?’
To answer this I’ve got to ask myself…
Do I believe Amazon’s FBA service to be as wonderful as it’s cracked up to be? My answer is yes, but with some reservations.
Do I use Amazon myself? My answer again is yes…but not for everything.
How Fulfilment by Amazon Can Help You?
There are a number of positives.
It can increase your Sales – Using Fulfilment by Amazon you give your products a competitive edge, compared to non-FBA listings, as your handling, packing and dispatch costs are lower than you might achieve fulfilling products yourself. You are granted greater visibility on the Amazon site, than comparative standard listings, which of course translates into more sales.
Members of Amazon Prime – An annual subscription service – are allowed free shipping on all Amazon fulfilled goods, which gives you a clear price advantage over your non-FBA competitors.
Sell Easily Across Europe – Using FBA allows you to tap into fulfilment options across Europe, specifically France and Germany, without additional marketing costs, or the need to worry about the language barrier.
Save Time and Money – By dispensing with the standard requirements of premises and staff, you save time and money. From the privacy of your front room you can compete on level terms with most small to medium sized businesses.
Increase your Customer’s Satisfaction – Amazon is all about customer care. Amazon has a high degree of perceived trust with its customers, this same level of trust is automatically transferred, by association, to all your products.
Fulfil Orders from Your Own Site and other Channels – You don’t even need to be selling on the Amazon website to benefit from using FBA, as they offer a multi-site fulfilment service ie you can sell from your own website and still take advantage of FBA.
Where Fulfilment by Amazon is Less Useful?
There are a number of negatives.
Fulfilment by Amazon Restrictions
FBA will not handle certain products. For a full list you would need to consult the FAQ section of their website, but in short, FBA will not handle:
- Hazardous goods
- Large or heavy goods e.g. washing machines or fridges.
Amazon cannot Answer Specific Customer Questions on your Behalf
For instance, I don’t use FBA for selling my music CDs. This is because CDs are so small and easy to store, pack and post, that I’m happy to fulfil them myself.
One of the downside of using FBA is that if a customer asks you a specific question about your product e.g. the name of a composer, the record label, the country of manufacture, the date of manufacture, what the cover design is like, whether a CD contains a specific track or not etc., etc., then I like to be able to go and pick up the CD, inspect it and then reply straight away.
If all your CDs are in a FBA warehouse in Bedfordshire or Wales, then you will be unable answer your customer enquiries, which could lose you a sale. Such questions come up with sufficient regularity for it to be worth my while fulfilling my CDs from home.
However, that’s not to say that I don’t use FBA at all, as I do. I use them for large, heavy, bulky items…such as books. The same with many household goods where I simply ran out of storage space at home and was happy for FBA to take care of this problem for me.
Either way, it’s great to have the option of choice and to know that the Fulfilment by Amazon service is there should we need it.The latest suite of autoblogging products.