Some people love roller coasters while others won’t go near them with a ten foot pole. Being a seller on Amazon is certainly full of unanticipated twists and turns. The incredible speeds make this quite a thrilling ride and there certainly is never a dull moment. Whether you’ve been on this adventure for a second or for years, nothing stays the same. And that’s a good thing, isn’t it? You want your Amazon business to continuously evolve which means you’re constantly learning and adjusting to any changes that both the market and Amazon thrusts in your direction. The two main capabilities every seller needs to tune into (or acquire) are: Adaptability and flexibility. Going with the flow in a proactive way makes those ups and downs a lot less scary. So buckle up and enjoy the excited of this amazing Amazon seller ride.
Heads Up: 2017 FBA Fee Changes
In case you missed the 2017 FBA Fee Change notification by Amazon, we wanted to make sure you were aware so that you can prepare and not lose out on profits this year. According to Amazon, “FBA fees in the U.S. in 2017 have been adjusted to reflect the changing costs of storage, fulfillment, transportation, and customer service.”
Although the first round which targeted Order Handling, Pick & Pack and Weight Handling fees were consolidated into a single, per-unit Fulfillment Fee back in February; there are upcoming changes (July and October) that will most likely affect your Q3 and Q4 budgets. We want you to plan ahead for this.
The Cliff-notes to February’s changes:
- For large standard-size items over 1 lb., the fees increased. Small, medium, large and special oversized items all saw an increase in their base FBA fees.
- In February, the Zero-Fee Fulfillment discount for standard-size items costing over $300 stopped being in effect. Sellers must now pay the same per-unit fulfillment fee as other standard-size items based on the product size tier.
July Fee Changes…
Effective July 19, 2017, Amazon will make it a habit of asking you to send inventory to multiple fulfillment centers. If you want to consolidate to send shipments to fewer warehouses or to just one, then you’ll use Amazon’s Inventory Placement Service. But there is a per-item service fee when you do that and the rate depends upon the number of destinations you choose.
Ongoing Changes that Crescendo in Q4:
Starting in October, storage fees will skyrocket. January – September fees are at $0.64 per cubic foot, whereas October – December will be $2.35 per cubic foot. Indeed! Amazon used to only make these massive FBA storage fee increases in November and December, but this year they’ve increased fees for every month of Q4. There is a method to their madness though, they really want to discourage FBA sellers from shipping deadbeat, slow-moving products that take up prime real estate in their fulfillment centers.
Because these fee hikes affect virtually every seller on Amazon, expect to see prices increase across the board in Q4.
Does Your Product Operate by Batteries?
Starting June 2017, when you select FBA for your listing, you will be required to provide additional information about any products that are batteries, contain or are sold with batteries or may be considered dangerous goods (a.k.a. hazardous materials or Hazmat for short). The size of the battery doesn’t matter in case you were wondering.
Dangerous goods are present in many consumer product categories, including personal care such as flammable fragrances, groceries, home goods and any other products with batteries.
This isn’t to harass sellers by the way. Amazon works diligently to keep their warehouse employees and products safe. Thank you kindly Amazon.
What’s the solution if you have a battery-powered product? Sell it as “battery not included.”
To learn more about dangerous goods, please refer to the Dangerous Goods Identification Guide.
On June 6th Amazon sent out a press release about making its Prime membership program more affordable to customers on government assistance programs – including food stamps. The program will bring the cost of Prime down from $10.99 per month to just about half that, at $5.99 per month instead. This only discounts the cost of using Prime, it cannot be used to make purchases, nor can it be used to pay for membership.
The discounted membership will have all the perks associated with Prime, including free streaming video and music, free photo storage, access to the Kindle lending library, ability to shop from Amazon’s Essentials (those low-cost everyday products).
Perhaps Amazon is trying to move away from it’s reputation that those who pay for Prime are only buying non-essential, luxury products. This may actually be a big step toward confirming that people shop on Amazon because they’re looking for good to great deals. Add free shipping into the total order cost and shoppers will find Amazon’s offerings unbeatable.
Who wants to stand in line at WalMart all day anyway?
For anyone using the unlimited cloud storage plan on Amazon’s Drive, June 8th the infinite becomes finite. With the exception of Prime subscribers still getting unlimited storage for photos; the ship has sailed for everyone and everything else that goes beyond 5GB.
Was it their plan all along to lure people in? Maybe. What started out as an bold move in the competitive consumer cloud storage arena; two years later Amazon is saying now it’s time to pay the Pied Piper.
What’s unusual for Amazon is the fact that no one gets grandfathered in and instead, current Amazon Drive customers who have the old unlimited storage plan will only be able to keep it through its expiration date. Thereafter, you’ll have 180 days to either get rid of anything over the free 5GB or start paying for a data plan….or worse – Amazon will start deleting data for you!
Perhaps it’s time for some cloud cleaning.
And More News About Alexa!
For all of you Alexa lovers (don’t deny it) Amazon keeps her AI skills jumping forward with fresh updates. What can she do for you now? Well, she has two new ways to make the most of your time. Alexa can set named timers (Alexa, set brownie timer for 20 minutes) AND you can ask for a proactive reminder about an upcoming event or task (Alexa, remind me to drop off the dry cleaning at 5 pm on Wednesday). When the time comes, that cool Tron-looking blue light ring will appear on your Echo device and Alexa will remind you as commanded. This is super handy for all of you busy people and multi-taskers.
If you’re wondering how to get this update, relax. It will happen automatically and remotely on Amazon’s servers.