Playing outside Amazon’s rules: how to sell without FBA

By Oleg Mikhailenko
Published in Solutions
June 30, 2022
3 min read
Playing outside Amazon’s rules: how to sell without FBA

In today’s day and age, many ecommerce merchants owe their initial success to their decision to sell on Amazon. It’s not hard to understand why. The Amazon FBA service, where the ecommerce juggernaut handles the entirety of the fulfillment and shipping process, makes it so virtually anyone can sell on the marketplace so long as they have the ability to provide merchandise, without worrying about how to sell to Amazon’s warehouse. The FBA program offers a lot in the ways of speed and efficiency, but it may be the case that you’re sacrificing a lot of freedom and scalability for the right to display that shiny Amazon Prime badge on your products. Is there a way to get all the benefits of being an Amazon seller without tying yourself to processes that may not be right for your business? Read on for the full story.

What’s the difference between FBA and FBM?

FBA, or fulfilled by Amazon, means that you have your products delivered directly to Amazon’s intake facilities. From there, they handle the rest, from picking to packing to shipping. For this service they charge a per-item fee alongside an order fee, which can add up after a while. Many merchants, however, especially ones at the beginning of their ecommerce journeys, believe that this fee is well worth the benefit of not having to deal with the finer points of the fulfillment process.

FBM, or fulfilled by merchant, is the opposite. Your products are listed on Amazon’s marketplace, but all fulfillment and shipping is handled by you yourself. This is some extra responsibility, yes, but also represents a greater deal of control over your customers’ experience. Instead of being dependent on Amazon’s infrastructure, where any mistakes on their behalf will negatively affect your product reviews, the buck instead stops with you. While it’s not quite the solution for how to sell on Amazon for free, it represents fewer fees up front.

Will dropping Amazon FBA hurt your business?

Not necessarily. As long as you can promise two-day shipping, the stats show that 80% of prime shoppers are just as likely to buy a FBA product as a non-FBA product. When you choose fulfillment yourself, however, you have more control over custom packaging, the care taken with your items, and choosing custom-tailored solutions that make the most sense for your business. There’s even ways to arrange for certain types of dropshipping, if you’re looking for how to sell on Amazon without inventory. The world becomes your oyster.

What are the drawbacks of FBA?

First, there’s the matter of where to buy products to sell on Amazon FBA. Amazon may not accept certain products that they consider to be unwieldy, of non-standard size, or not profitable to pick, pack, and ship. If you deal primarily with this type of merchandise, you may feel out of luck.

Secondly, sellers are asked to provide four weeks of cover so merchandise can be evenly distributed across warehouses. This makes sure customers all over the country are seated comfortably within the Prime 2-day delivery range. However, their calculations of four weeks of cover may not actually be representative of the actual figures, leaving you feeling disconnected from the fulfillment process.

Lastly, if you’re selling through FBA, it makes the matter of scaling your operations to other selling channels more difficult. If you want to open up a storefront on Shopify, Ebay, or even your own dedicated store, it can be a hassle to set up all the necessary fulfillment operations from scratch. Meanwhile, when you’re already going the FBM path, that infrastructure exists to begin with.

In conclusion

The choice between FBA and FBM really comes down to how many online marketplaces you’re utilizing to sell your merchandise. Single-outlet sellers will often do better with FBA, while multi-channel merchants might want to give FBM a try assuming they’re already handling distribution for their other storefronts. But no matter which option you choose, P2Pseller has your back when it comes to booking warehousing, logistics, and transportation services that won’t break the bank. We allow small companies to find equal footing with regional and national giants, meaning you’re able to find the best solutions possible for your unique business needs and see all costs and fees totally in advance. We’d love to have you on board for the ecommerce revolution so you can grow your business bigger and better than ever before.


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P2Pseller can help jumpstart your Amazon journey

Oleg Mikhailenko

Co-Founder, CEO P2Pseller

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