Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a useful digital marketing opportunity for milspouse-owned businesses. If your business sells and ships products, you may want to familiarize yourself with this e-commerce tool.
What is Fulfillment by Amazon?
FBA allows you to market your product through the e-commerce behemoth. Crucially, it is also a way for your business to streamline the ordering and shipping process.
Essentially, you send your products to an Amazon fulfillment center. At that point, in exchange for a return portion from sales, Amazon takes it from there – including the shipping. Amazon describes it as, “You sell, and we take care of the rest.”
How To Get Started with Fulfillment by Amazon
To check it out, visit Amazon’s FBA page.
They have an option to sign up if you’re already selling with them, as well as a “New to Amazon” button. Read the fine print underneath: there’s currently a fee of $39.99 a month, as well as selling fees.
Fulfillment By Amazon Handles More Than Shipping
As their helpful video explains, FBA also stores your product for you at their fulfillment centers and even handles customer service.
The Benefits for MilSpouse-Owned Businesses
First of all, there’s Amazon’s ubiquity. There are Amazon fulfillment centers all over the country, and around the world. Once you’ve sent your products to a fulfillment center, you don’t have to worry about hauling your inventory all over the world with each PCS move (and figuring out where to store it at your new house).
Additionally, FBA lists among their special services inventory management tools. You can also provide free two-day shipping for Prime members! They can even help you out with shipping supplies like shrink wrap and bubble wrap for an additional fee.
Finally, with Fulfillment by Amazon, you gain access to Amazon’s millions of customers worldwide.
You can manage your business and its inventory on the move with the Amazon Seller mobile app.
Amazon also has created Amazon Storefronts for Military and your business has a chance of appearing there which could mean more sales for you.
Two Types of Fees
FBA has several other fees associated with it. Fortunately, they take the guess-work out of figuring out fees and prices. Their Seller Central feature provides inventory management tools, including a revenue management calculator.
These fees cover the cost of having Amazon pick, pack, and handle your customer’s orders, as well as weight handling.
Inventory Storage Fees
These charges occur monthly, and are based on the size and age of your products.
Be Aware, It’s Not Totally Fool-Proof
Before you send your products to an Amazon fulfillment center, you will have to prep them for shipping yourself. That means letting FBA know which items and how many you of them want to make available for sale.
You then need to label and prepare your items according to Amazon shipping guidelines. Apparently, their requirements can be pretty strict, so be advised. FBA also designates which fulfillment center you are to send your items to.
Furthermore, you will be charged long-term storage fees for any inventory that remains at the fulfillment center longer than 365 days. However, upon request, they will remove and dispose of inventory for you (there’s a fee for this, too).
Some potential downsides also include more returns, since Amazon facilitates this process. Another issue for military spouses could be state taxes, which may vary upon where you’re located as well as the location of your designated fulfillment center.
Is FBA For You?
The figure is all over the Internet: of Amazon’s top 10,000 marketplace sellers, 66% use FBA.
Of course, each milspouse business owner has to decide for themselves which platforms work for them and their product. E-commerce is hard work, and military life has plenty of challenges already.
Depending on your product, business model, and revenue, you may find the opportunity cost of FBA worthwhile during frequent cross-country or international moves.