The Pros and Cons of FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon)
Amazon FBA programme is a great way to reach prime customer in the UK and beyond. It is cheap to use with no long-term contracts and international in scope. However, there are some quirks of the system which sometimes make it a challenge to manage.
PAYG fulfilment house with benefits
Unlike most fulfilment houses, FBA is pay as you go. You are charged per item, per month for storage and shipping per items. There are no additional fees for deliveries though there are some other charges. Products get listed for sale on Amazon but can also be used to fulfil other channels.
Amazon has created a European fulfilment network which allows products to be delivered to a UK warehouse but be prime eligible throughout Europe (DE, FR, IT, ES). It is also possible to send stock to Amazon platforms outside the EU, but this is more difficult.
Better chance of buy box
Fulfilment method is a factor in deciding who gets highest share of the buy-box on Amazon. Amazon modestly thinks its delivery is the best so promotes its own product and FBA products over merchant fulfilled.
Creating inventory in the Amazon system can be a bit of a pain. Presuming that the item is already in the catalogue, it should just be a matter of uploading a simple inventory file, but often the products will be rejected for strange reasons or will not be eligible for FBA.
Once the inventory has been created then it is time to send over stock to Amazon. This is a laborious process as much of the stock needs re-barcoding, polybagging and box packing lists creating.
Amazon reporting could be brilliant, but instead it makes me want to cry every time I use it. Amazon reports are always missing data so it is very difficult to download the full inventory. This is a problem when trying to answer questions like ‘how much inventory do I have’.