Amazon's New Fee Policy for Sellers: Changes to Fulfillment Services Explained

Amazon is reportedly set to introduce an additional fee for sellers who opt not to utilize the company's fulfillment service, according to reports from both Bloomberg and CNBC. Information gleaned from documents examined by these outlets indicates that Amazon will commence the imposition of a fee on each product that merchants choose to ship independently.

This fee is anticipated to take effect starting October 1st and will be applicable to sellers who are part of Amazon's Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program. Unlike the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, the SFP initiative enables third-party vendors to directly sell Prime-designated products from their own warehouses, bypassing Amazon's involvement in the logistical process. Consequently, sellers participating in SFP are obligated to maintain the swift delivery standards of one to two days, including weekend shipping, as outlined by the Prime service.

Although Amazon initially introduced the SFP offering back in 2015, it suspended new enrollments in 2019. The reopening of the program's waitlist only recently took place in June of this year, a move reportedly made by Amazon to appease regulatory authorities. The motivation behind Amazon's decision to introduce this fee remains unclear, and the company did not promptly respond to queries from The Verge seeking more details.

The impending 2 percent fee arrives at a possibly inopportune moment for Amazon, as there are indications that the Federal Trade Commission is preparing an antitrust lawsuit against the retail behemoth. This new fee also compounds the existing 8 to 15 percent commission that Amazon already deducts from orders conducted on its platform.

Nevertheless, this additional charge could be interpreted as Amazon's strategy to incentivize sellers towards adopting its in-house services, thereby affording the company greater control over the logistical aspects while capitalizing on the escalating costs of the FBA service. However, such a move could potentially attract heightened regulatory scrutiny, particularly given that a seller previously accused Amazon of coercing merchants to use its FBA service back in 2019.

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