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With Amazon FBA the marketplace takes care of all fulfillment for you. This is associated with numerous advantages because your offers become more attractive for Prime customers, for example. To make the whole thing worthwhile Cost aspects and you don't end up paying more, let's take a closer look at who Amazon FBA is worthwhile for.

I'll explain that now:

  • How Amazon FBA works 
  • What requirements you need to fulfill to participate
  • All important advantages and disadvantages of the fulfillment program
  • How high the Amazon FBA costs and fees are

Weigh up your decision carefully.

What is Amazon FBA?

The abbreviation FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon, i.e. shipping processing by Amazon. This shipping service model allows sellers to hand over the tasks involved in shipping their products to Amazon. This contrasts with the FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) shipping model, in which the goods are either stored and shipped by the seller themselves or by a fulfillment service provider other than Amazon. Even though the term "shipping by Amazon" is usually used in German, FBA involves more than just shipping the products.

The FBA service includes:

  • Storage of the articles
  • Order processing
  • Packing
  • Shipping
  • Customer service in local language
  • Returns processing and returns

What Amazon FBA costs and the advantages and disadvantages of using Amazon FBA are explained in this article.

How does Amazon FBA work?

If you use Amazon's shipping service, you place the shipping of your products in the hands of the online retailer Amazon. For this purpose, your own products must be sent to one of Amazon's warehouses and restocked as required. When an order is received, the product is located in the warehouse by Amazon's picking and sorting system, then packed and shipped to the customer. Amazon also provides the customer with a tracking number as soon as this is available. If the customer has any questions or is dissatisfied with the product, they can contact Amazon's customer service at any time or submit a return, which is also processed by Amazon. It is clear that with FBA, the retailer transfers all essential tasks associated with the receipt of an order to Amazon.

Amazon FBA process in detail

Step 1 - Change shipping method to "Shipping by Amazon"

First of all, you need a seller account with Amazon. If you don't have an account yet, you can find out more in the Setting up an Amazon seller accountwhat you should pay attention to when registering. You then need to create the products for which you want to use Amazon FBA. If you need help, the article on the Uploading products through the procedure. Now you can select the option "Shipping by Amazon" as the shipping method for your newly created or existing items. The quickest way to do this is to navigate to the "Total stock" overview, tick the desired products and then select the "Change to 'Shipping by Amazon'" option at the top under Actions.

 

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Step 2 - Send products to an Amazon logistics center

Then switch to the "Inventory shipped from Amazon" view and tick the products you want to send to an Amazon logistics center again. Now select "Send item to Amazon/Add to stock" from the drop-down menu. Click on "Go" and Amazon will guide you through the shipping process. First of all, you need to enter the quantity, the sender's address and, if you are storing the items for the first time, the dimensions of the items. You also have the option of sending individual items together (i.e. different items in one box) or "unmixed boxes" (i.e. only identical items in one box) to Amazon. You must then provide details of the desired shipping company and print out and attach any required labels. Once the shipment has been sent, the tracking number must be entered and the shipment marked as "sent".

Labeling of the articles

The decision about labeling the products is part of the preparation for shipping. If you are sending products to Amazon for the first time, you have to decide whether you want to label them beforehand or not. Both sides have advantages and disadvantages.

Items without a label are assigned to items of the same type and condition in the logistics center and can then no longer be linked to you as the seller by the customer. On the other hand, you save time when preparing your products and Amazon can process the products faster in the logistics center.

Items that have been previously labeled clearly identify you as the seller. They are not mixed with identical items. In addition, you can track your stock on Amazon at any time. However, this also means more time spent preparing shipments and a slightly longer processing time on Amazon's part. If you want to save time but don't want to miss out on the benefits of labeling, you can use Amazon's labeling service for a fee of €0.15. However, some items cannot be shipped without labeling anyway, including media items such as books and video games, but also clothing, jewelry and any items that are not in "new" condition.

Products not eligible for Amazon FBA

Furthermore, there are products that do not qualify for the FBA program at all. These include all dangerous goods that are defined by international and European regulations. These include, in particular, chemicals and mixtures of substances that pose a risk to people, animals or the environment if stored or handled improperly. Products that are classified as dangerous goods by the IATA are also excluded from shipping by Amazon in most cases. Pharmaceuticals, cigars and wine are also not eligible for Amazon FBA. Before you prepare your items for shipment to Amazon, it is therefore worth taking a look at the complete list of products not permitted for Amazon FBA. You can find the list here (seller account required).

Step 3 - Items are offered with "Shipping by Amazon" and Prime

All items that use Amazon FBA are labeled "Shipping by Amazon". Customers often trust this shipping method more than shipping through a retailer. In addition, all eligible FBA products receive the Prime logo and are therefore shipped particularly quickly and usually free of charge, which makes your product particularly attractive for Prime customers.

Step 4 - Shipping the items to customers

When an order is received, Amazon's web-to-warehouse picking and sorting system searches for the ordered item in the logistics center and then takes care of the packaging and subsequent delivery, which is possible throughout Europe with FBA. In addition, the customer receives a tracking number as soon as it is available.

Step 5 - Customer service and returns

Those who use the Amazon FBA shipping option also pass on the task of customer service to Amazon. This aspect can also be viewed from two sides. On the one hand, direct customer contact as a seller is very valuable in terms of customer loyalty and feedback. In addition, you probably know your product best and can provide a qualified answer to specific questions about the product. On the other hand, a lot of work is taken off your hands. Especially for international shipping, Amazon's customer service also offers the advantage of communication in the respective national language. Returns and refunds are also part of the FBA program and will be handled by Amazon from now on.

 

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The Amazon FBA services in detail

Below you will find a detailed list of the services that FBA includes.

Included Amazon FBA services

Prime logo
Products that are shipped by Amazon automatically qualify for premium shipping and accordingly receive the Prime logo, which is usually automatically associated by customers with free and hassle-free shipping.

Shipping-by-Amazon logo
In addition, the products receive the shipping by Amazon logo. Many customers place greater trust in products that are shipped by Amazon itself.

Europe-wide shipping
FBA allows you to ship your products via all European Marketplace sites. There are three options available. Details can be found in the section "International sales with Amazon FBA".

Fast removal, packaging and dispatch of products
As already mentioned, you no longer have to worry about shipping the products after you have sent your goods to an Amazon warehouse. When an order is received, Amazon takes care of picking the products, packing them properly and shipping them. As Amazon has already perfected these processes, the process from order receipt to delivery is very fast.

Tracking number
As soon as the parcel has been handed over to a transport company, Amazon forwards the tracking number to the customer so that they can track where the parcel is currently located.

Customer service available at all times
With FBA, Amazon also takes care of customer service. Amazon's customer service is available to customers around the clock. It answers customers' questions in the respective national language.

Returns processing
Processing returns can be a lot of work under certain circumstances. This task is also taken over by Amazon when using FBA. The same applies to refunds.

Optional Amazon FBA services

Labeling
If this service is required, Amazon equips the products with a barcode.

Preparation service
This service includes the special preparation of products such as liquids or fragile items. By attaching adhesive tape, bubble wrap, etc., such products can be shipped safely.

Gift wrapping service
If this service is used, customers can have selected products gift-wrapped.

Multi-channel shipping
Thanks to multi-channel shipping, FBA can also be extended to sales outside of Amazon (e.g. via your own web store).

What are the advantages of shipping through Amazon (FBA)?

  • Use of the Amazon warehouse: Because your products are stored in Amazon's logistics center, you don't have to worry about finding storage space elsewhere
  • No minimum requirements: Amazon has no minimum stock requirements. You can therefore send as much (or as little) as you wish to the warehouse. However, care should be taken to ensure that there are always enough items in stock
  • Focus on corporate growth: Tasks such as shipping products, returns processing and customer service are no longer necessary for you or your employees. The time and resources that are saved can be invested in new projects
  • Better product placements: Products whose shipping is handled by Amazon are usually displayed higher up in the search results
  • Higher chance of Buy Box placement: Prime-qualified products are used for the Buy Box usually preferred. As FBA automatically qualifies for Prime, the likelihood of your product making it into the Buy Box increases
  • Greater attractiveness for customers: Customers often prefer products that are shipped by Amazon. On the one hand, because Amazon is often more trusted than unknown sellers and, on the other, because they also benefit from fast and usually free Prime shipping for customers
  • EU shipping: The methods already presented within the FBA program enable uncomplicated shipping throughout the EU
  • Customer service in local language: Amazon's customer service, which is available to your customers 24/7 in the respective national language with FBA, offers a great advantage, especially if you often ship to other European countries
  • Can be extended to sales outside Amazon if required: With multi-channel shipping, FBA can also be used outside of Amazon, for example for your own webshop

What are the disadvantages of Amazon FBA?

  • Costs: Of course, Amazon does not offer the service free of charge. More detailed information on Amazon FBA costs follows in the next section
  • Complete control delivery: By using Amazon's shipping service, the entire process from receipt of the order to delivery of the goods is taken out of your own hands. It is then no longer possible to influence these processes
  • Packaging with Amazon logo: Personalized boxes or other externally recognizable references to your own brand are also no longer possible with FBA. The products are shipped in Amazon parcels, suggesting that Amazon is the seller of the product

International shipping with Amazon FBA

Retailers who use Amazon's shipping service and also sell their products outside Germany on Sell on Amazon can choose from three different shipping solutions. Amazon offers the following for this purpose: Pan-European shipping by Amazon, European shipping network and stock in the marketplace country.

Program Central Europe

The Central Europe program itself is not a solution for international sales, but it is a prerequisite for one of these solutions, namely pan-European shipping by Amazon. For this reason, the program is briefly explained below.

Due to growing demand and the aim of increasing efficiency, Amazon has expanded its German shipping network. In addition to the domestic logistics centers, sellers with German inventory can now also store their goods in Poland and the Czech Republic. Taking advantage of this option is even more cost-effective when using Amazon FBA, as those who wish to store their inventory exclusively in Germany must pay an additional shipping fee of €0.50 for each "Shipping by Amazon" unit. This fee does not apply to participants in the "Pan-European Shipping" program.

Pan-European shipping through Amazon

If you want to use Amazon's pan-European shipping service, send your stock to one of Amazon's logistics centers in Germany. Amazon then checks the demand and distributes your goods accordingly to all European Amazon marketplaces. In this case, only the local "Shipping by Amazon" fees are due. The prerequisites for using pan-European shipping by Amazon are participation in the "Central Europe Program" and tax registration in seven countries for which Amazon offers tax packages.

European shipping network

Using the European Shipping Network enables merchants to make their products visible to international customers on all European marketplaces. The corresponding product listings are translated into the marketplace language for this purpose and displayed there as usual. When a customer orders the product, a cross-border delivery is made from the domestic logistics center to the customer's shipping address abroad.

Stock in the marketplace country

Alternatively, goods can also be sent directly to international Amazon logistics centers for storage. In this way, the products are available on the relevant marketplaces and, compared to using the European shipping network, only the local "Shipping by Amazon" fees are incurred when ordering. In this case, however, the retailer is responsible for inventory management and demand forecasts.

Amazon FBA costs: Overview of fees

The use of FBA does not have a fixed price. Amazon advertises that there are no subscription fees and that the price depends on the services used. The price is therefore made up of the storage fee and the shipping services incurred. The sales fees must also be included. All price references listed below refer to the status as of July 2023 and were taken from the official price information of the Amazon Services Europe taken from.

Storage fees

First of all, Amazon has no minimum stock requirements. This means that no minimum space must be occupied in the warehouse or a minimum number of goods must be provided. How much space the products take up in Amazon's warehouse can therefore vary greatly. The storage fees are due monthly and are calculated based on the cubic meters used in the warehouse.

There are seasonal differences: the monthly fee is lower in the low season from January to September than in the high season from October to December. The item size also plays a role, as a different monthly fee is charged for oversized products than for standard-sized products. In addition, different storage fees apply to standard size items in the "Clothing and shoes" category. Items in this category can be stored more cheaply than items in other categories. The following table shows an overview of the applicable prices:

Size

Standard size

Oversize

Category

Clothing and shoes

All categories

All categories

Season Jan.-Sep. Oct-Dec. Jan.-Sep. Oct-Dec. Jan.-Sep. Oct-Dec.
Fee (per month, per m3) 18,36 € 23,11 € 30,60 € 42,73 € 18,00 € 25,00 €

We also inform you about any Long-term storage fees you should be aware of.

If items are not sold and take up space in Amazon's warehouse for a certain period of time, you must monthly costs take into account:

  • Storage time between 271 and 300 days: 46,58 € / m3 (with exceptions)
  • Storage time between 301 and 330 days: 46,58 € / m3 (with exceptions)
  • Storage time between 331 and 365 days: 46,58 € / m
  • Storage time of more than 365 days: 170 € (for media articles it can also be 0.10 € / unit if this value is higher)

For the exceptions mentioned, surcharges in these categories are only due from 331 days:

  • Clothing and shoes
  • Watches and jewelry
  • Suitcases, rucksacks and bags

Here you will find detailed information on the topic Long-term storage fees at Amazon.

Shipping charges

In addition to the storage fees, Amazon FBA also incurs costs for each shipment that Amazon carries out for you. The shipping fee is flat rate per unit paid. The dimensions and weight of the item are the main factors influencing the price. The price per unit can therefore vary greatly. In addition to listing the prices, Amazon Services Europe also offers a Cost calculator which can be used to determine the corresponding prices. This is also suitable for weighing up whether the use of FBA could be worthwhile. The following table shows a list of shipping fees per unit shipped for local shipping:

UK (£) DE/PL/CZ (€)
FR (€) IT (€) ES (€) NL (€)
Small envelope, dimensions ≤ 20 X 15 X 1 cm
≤ 0.80 kg 1,71 £ 1,90 € 2,70 € 3,11 € 2,53 € 1,77 €
Standard envelope, dimensions ≤ 33 X 23 X 2.5 cm
≤ 0.60 kg 1,81 £ 2,09 € 2,80 € 2,24 € 2,84 € 1,92 €
≤ 0.210 kg 1,98 £ 2,23 € 3,34 € 3,37 € 3,18 € 2,11 €
≤ 0.460 kg 2,11 £ 2,39 € 3,82 € 3,60 € 3,42 € 2,24 €
Large envelope, dimensions ≤ 33 X 23 X 4 cm
≤ 960 kg 2,48 £ 2,74 € 4,45 € 3,90 € 3,57 € 2,71 €
Standard package, dimensions ≤ 45 X 34 X 26 cm, unit or volume weight < 11.90 kg
≤ 0.150 kg 2,14 £ 2,53 € 3,94 € 3,52 € 2,82 € 2,39 €
≤ 0.400 kg 2,27 £ 2,81 € 4,59 € 3,94 € 3,30 € 2,65 €
≤ 900 kg 2,44 £ 3,22 € 5,32 € 4,59 € 3,60 € 3,08 €
≤ 1.4 kg 2,60 £ 3,76 € 5,51 € 4,94 € 4,05 € 3,62 €
≤ 1.9 kg 2,84 £ 4,09 € 5,62 € 5,16 € 4,11 € 3,88 €
≤ 2.9 kg 4,06 £ 4,57 € 6,90 € 5,98 € 4,67 € 4,34 €
≤ 3.9 kg 4,44 £ 4,95 € 7,34 € 6,70 € 5,58 € 4,36 €
≤ 5.9 kg 4,53 £ 5,02 € 7,36 € 7,11 € 5,64 € 4,37 €
≤ 8.9 kg 5,18 £ 5,41 € 7,99 € 7,96 € 6,04 € 4,54 €
≤ 11.9 kg 5,18 £ 5,41 € 7,99 € 7,96 € 6,04 € 4,59 €
Small oversize, dimensions ≤ 61 X 46 X 46 cm, unit weight < 1.76 kg, volume weight < 25.82 kg
≤ 0.760 kg 5,06 £ 6,39 € 9,36 € 9,24 € 7,32 € 6,68 €
≤ 1.26 kg 5,87 £ 6,41 € 9,75 € 9,72 € 8,03 € 6,85 €
≤ 1.76 kg 6,05 £ 6,43 € 10,39 € 9,86 € 8,13 € 6,92 €
≤ 1.76 kg 0.01 per additional kg 0.01 per additional kg 0.01 per additional kg 0.01 per additional kg 0.01 per additional kg 0.01 per additional kg

FBA fees for other sizes and weights can be found via the link above. For example, oversizes over 60 kg and bulky products are listed there. Amazon offers a total of 10 packaging sizes.

Note: Also check if your products qualify for the Small and Light program. You can find out more about these discounted Amazon FBA fees below.

Further fees

At first glance, Amazon only advertises the storage fee and shipping costs. However, the long-term storage fees mentioned above indicate that further fees may apply. First of all, it must be borne in mind that the transportation of the products to one of the warehouses must be paid for at certain intervals. Possible shipping to other EU countries entails further costs. There are also fees for optional value-added services per item. These include, for example

  • Returns of goods (for free returns)
  • Labeling of articles (€ 0.09 to € 0.35)  
  • Packing in bubble wrap (€ 0.45 to € 1.20)
  • Packaging in foil bags (€ 0.35 to € 0.80)
  • Sealing with adhesive tape (€ 0.25 to € 0.65)
  • Packing in opaque foil bags (€ 0.35 to € 0.50)

The costs here also vary by country and are listed for Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

  • Disposal (divided into country zones (Zone 1 and Zone 2) and weight, from €0.45 to €8.17 per unit)

Sales fees 

The sales fee is due per product sold. However, it is deducted directly from the sale so that you do not have to pay it afterwards. How high the costs are depends on the product category. A minimum sales fee per item applies here, but the fee is calculated as a percentage. For example, backpacks and handbags are subject to 15 % and a minimum of €0.30 per item.

You can find a detailed list here on the topic "Sell on Amazon".

Small and Light Program

The Small and Light Program offers retailers a shipping solution for small, lightweight products with high turnover rates. Participation in the Small and Light program offers the following advantages for qualified products:

  • Free shipping for "Amazon Prime" customers
  • Free shipping for non-Prime customers from €29 order value
  • Reduced shipping fees for retailers
  • Qualification of the product for Amazon's A-to-Z guarantee
  • Reliable shipping and customer service from Amazon
  • Free lightning offers for Small and Light products

But what requirements must a product meet in order to qualify for the Small and Light program? There are currently three shipping sizes that qualify for participation in the program.

  • Standard envelope
  • Dimensions: 33 x 23 x 2.5 cm
  • Weight: from 60g to 460g or less
  • Price: max. 11 €
  • Extra-large envelope
  • Dimensions: 33 x 23 x 6 cm
  • Weight: max. 960 g
  • Price: max. 11 €
  • Small package
  • Dimensions: 33 x 23 x 6 cm to 35 x 25 x 12 cm
  • Weight: from 150g to 400g or less
  • Price: max. 11 €

For example, a large package with the following dimensions would not be permitted from 33 x 23 x 6 cm, a weight of 400 g and a price of about 11 €.

If there are qualified goods in your stock, you can register them for the program as follows:

  1. First of all, you need a merchant account with Amazon.
  2. Select "Shipping by Amazon" as the shipping method.
  3. You can then register your products for the program on the self-service registration page.
  4. Once the products have been registered for the Small and Light program, they must be prepared and shipped to an Amazon logistics center. A minimum quantity of 24 units per product is required.

Amazon Small and Light countries

Small and Light is a good way to test international shipping at a local level. This allows you to achieve a greater reach and find out how your products are received abroad. 

Make yourself one here Overview of the fees and further details.

Is Amazon FBA worth it?

Before rushing to use the FBA shipping service due to its tempting advantages, it should be carefully considered whether it is worthwhile (financially).

If you sell small quantities of items via Amazon, don't need a lot of storage space and can cope well with the effort involved in order processing, FBA will hardly be worthwhile. In this case, you can benefit from maintaining personal contact with your customers and sending personalized packages to which you are clearly assigned as a seller.

If you sell higher quantities but with very low margins, the financial aspect is too important. In this case, the use of FBA will rarely be profitable.

The use of FBA is most worthwhile for many sales of high-margin items. On the one hand, the cost of shipping processing is high in this case, so outsourcing these tasks makes a significant difference. At the same time, the products need to be in stock in large quantities, so the storage space probably needs to be rented anyway. The high margins outweigh the costs of Amazon FBA. The seller can invest the time and other resources saved in new projects.

Conclusion on Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)

Overall, shipping through Amazon has a number of advantages. One of the biggest is probably the Prime qualificationwhich has several positive effects on sales. However, the disadvantages, especially the Amazon FBA costsshould be considered. Before using the service, it should therefore be carefully weighed up whether the use of FBA is, on the one hand, a Great simplification of work for the seller and, secondly, whether it is financially worthwhile. To answer the latter question, the Amazon Services Europe cost calculator be consulted.

In general, the use of FBA is suitable for Products with low margins hardly worthwhilewhile products with high margins are much better suited. Before deciding on Amazon FBA, it may also be worth researching alternative fulfillment service providers.

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Frequently asked questions about "Shipping by Amazon"

How many Amazon logistics centers are there in Germany?

There are currently (as of July 2023) 20 logistics centers in Germany where items with "Shipping by Amazon" are stored. The locations of the centers include Graben near Augsburg, Bad Hersfeld (two logistics centers), Leipzig, Rheinberg, Werne, Pforzheim, Koblenz, Brieselang, Dortmund, Winsen, Helmstedt, Kaiserslautern, Hof-Gattendorf, Gera, Achim, Frankenthal and Großenkneten. The European logistics network comprises more than 60 logistics centers.

Does the use of Amazon FBA have an impact on Buy Box opportunities?

The decisive factor here is above all the Prime qualification, which normally goes hand in hand with the use of Amazon shipping. Your offer will be significantly more attractive with the Prime logo, especially for the numerous Prime customers. Amazon shipping can also have a positive impact on your seller performance. These two factors can definitely improve your chances of Buy Box placement. The same applies to the competition for the "Buy used" field for books, DVDs and other media items.

How are the fees incurred for Amazon FBA invoiced?

Those who participate in the "Shipping by Amazon" program will receive an electronic invoice once a month by email for all fees and charges incurred. Credit card information and authorization for Amazon to charge the card for these purposes are required.

Is there a minimum number of products that must be sent to a logistics center?

There is no minimum number of products, so the number of items you want to store is entirely up to you. You can actually send in just one item. At the same time, there are (almost) no upper limits.

Where can I get the labels I need?

If you decide to label your items before sending them to Amazon so that they are not mixed with the stock of identical products, you must print and apply them yourself or alternatively use Amazon's labeling service. To apply the labels yourself, you will need unprinted self-adhesive labels. These are available from office supply stores or directly from Amazon. You will receive the labels to print out during the shipping preparation process, which Amazon will guide you through when you register a product for FBA. The labels contain a barcode and the product name.

What happens when the stock in the logistics center is running low?

If your entire stock in the logistics center is used up, your product can logically no longer be offered with "Shipping by Amazon". To avoid this, you should regularly replenish your stock. To do this, navigate to "Stock shipped by Amazon" in the seller account and select the option "Send/supplement stock" for the relevant products. You will then be guided through the shipping process again.

How must the shipping cartons be labeled to Amazon?

In addition to the optional labeling of the individual items, it is also necessary to attach labels to the boxes when shipping to a logistics center. You will also receive these labels during the shipping process and can then print them on blank self-adhesive labels. These labels are stuck to the outside of each box that is to be shipped. In addition, a packing slip must be clearly visible inside each box. This is also generated and printed during the shipping process.

Can I reclaim items that have been sent to Amazon?

A return order must be created in order to receive items that have already been sent to a logistics center. Processing can take up to 14 days. The costs for the return shipment must be borne by the seller and are not covered by Amazon. You will usually receive an invoice for the return shipment within 45 days of receipt of the order.

What happens to items that are returned by customers?

After the return, Amazon first decides whether the product is still in the same condition as before and can be relisted. If this is the case, it will be returned to your stock. Otherwise, you must decide within 90 days whether the return should be disposed of or sent back to you. If you do not make a decision within this period, Amazon will decide between the two options.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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