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Fast-track your Path to Winning with an Amazon FBA Consultant
Selling on the Amazon marketplace has become increasingly competitive, and sellers must be strategic in order to succeed. One strategy that many Amazon sellers have found to be valuable is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Amazon’s premiere fulfillment option allows sellers to pay to store their products in Amazon’s warehouses and have Amazon handle the fulfillment process, including shipping and customer service. However, even with the advantages of FBA, there are still many challenges that sellers must overcome to be successful, including product sourcing, Amazon listing optimization, and inventory management.
Fortunately, an FBA consultant can be an invaluable resource for Amazon sellers struggling to meet the demands of participating in this popular e-commerce model. FBA consultants are experts in Amazon selling who can provide guidance and support to sellers looking to maximize their online sales and profits. They have the experience and knowledge to help sellers navigate the complex world of Amazon selling, from managing Amazon’s inventory rules to optimizing listings for maximum visibility and sales. With their guidance, sellers can avoid costly mistakes and make informed decisions that will help them grow their business on Amazon.
FBA is essential to Amazon success
Obviously, the decision to use Amazon’s FBA service comes with added costs. In addition to paying standard seller fees on orders, Amazon will also charge a fulfillment fee based on the type and size of the product. Storage fees for the space that inventory takes up in an Amazon fulfillment center are yet another cost that results from using an FBA model for sales.
However, in most cases, these costs would simply originate elsewhere, such as from in-house employees or a different logistics provider. By partnering with Amazon on fulfillment, sellers enjoy an easier path to Amazon Prime status for their products, reduced customer interactions and more streamlined processes for returns.
That’s because over 100 million American households are Amazon prime members. Prime shipping gives these members two-day shipping across the United States. Customers like this and search for it when buying products on Amazon. At Amify, we often see a 50-100 percent increase in sales when a brand moves to Prime eligibility.
In addition, Amazon is the largest shipper in the U.S. This allows them to have the lowest shipping rates in the country, and luckily they pass these along to FBA customers in the form of low shipping rates.
For most products, we find the FBA shipping costs are 30-50 percent cheaper when compared to a brand shipping products themselves (even when comparing two-day shipping on Amazon to five-day for other carriers. The considerable cost difference requires a Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) brand to either increase its price or be willing to accept much lower (or even negative) margins.
FBA sellers also benefit greatly from the fact that Amazon handles the majority of customer service and returns. When using FBA, Amazon will answer most customer service questions and take responsibility for any late-arriving shipments. This allows businesses to focus on making great products rather than responding to “where is my item?” questions all day.
There are, however, a few circumstances when using FBA may not be the best option for sellers of certain items. Certain large products, such as furniture, can be shipped more efficiently using FBM than FBA. The costs can be minimized substantially by skipping the additional expense of shipping to an Amazon warehouse.
Other products, such as compressed gas or meltable chocolates, are prohibited from FBA. Therefore, FBM becomes the only way to get these restricted products to buyers. Also, some items that require a more vigorous returns policy can also be better served by FBM. For instance, Amify used to work with a drone company that had a return rate of roughly 20 percent. Customers would purchase the drone, fly it into a wall and break it, then return it to Amazon for a full refund claiming it was defective. By using FBM, brands like this can have more control over which Amazon returns they can accept.
Making the most of FBA goes beyond shipping
Clearly, FBA consulting can strengthen a brand’s Amazon presence, but one of its most essential capabilities is an informed and well-defined strategy. The relationship between an Amazon agency and a seller can add an invaluable perspective when building a plan to reach their marketplace goals. As the dominant e-commerce platform, selling on Amazon is a high-stakes undertaking for any business. Getting started is relatively simple, but finding success and maintaining it is much harder. An experienced FBA partner can help newcomers establish and maintain a healthy Amazon seller account.
In addition, poorly-managed inventory can negatively affect a company’s bottom line. A reputable Amazon FBA consultant can provide cost-saving logistics solutions. These agencies have experience with Amazon’s FBA guidelines to ensure that products remain in stock for customer orders and that businesses can avoid the expensive aged-inventory fees that Amazon can charge for stagnant inventory. Their technology and experience can keep the correct number of your items in stock at the right time by offering supply strategy, demand planning, tracking, storage monitoring and returns management.
Whether from Amazon or elsewhere, one of the advantages of e-commerce is the incredible amount of data that sellers can access. There’s often an overwhelming number of reports available regarding inventory, shoppers, advertising, buyers and more. The most effective FBA experts will be ready to help your brand identify growth potential and leverage the deepest data to increase brand awareness.
And remember, it’s not just about monitoring this enormous cache of data. It must also be appropriately analyzed to reveal actionable insights that optimize and grow Amazon sales. In particular, Amazon sellers can benefit from a partner that utilizes the platform’s proprietary reports via Seller Central and supplements those metrics with outside data to create a fuller picture of a brand’s strengths and weaknesses.
When to consider an Amazon FBA partner
It’s not uncommon for retailers to find success in traditional sales or via a direct-to-consumer website before attempting to add Amazon to their sales mix. If, however, a brand finds its performance on the leading online marketplace to be lackluster compared with its other channels, that could signal a problem with the strategy or execution on the platform rather than a product weakness.
These circumstances may be a good reason to ask for help from an experienced Amazon FBA partner. Although Amazon FBA sellers can expect some support from the global retailer when it comes to getting started on the site, it won’t match the service that an agency can provide.
In some cases, brands can even see their ability to get help from Amazon decline as they become more established sellers, and Amazon’s resources shift toward new businesses that will impact their own growth more. With an Amazon FBA consultant, you know exactly who to contact about your account and can be confident that issues will be resolved with urgency.
An FBA expert can be incredibly helpful for sellers transitioning to FBA or considering an even more significant leap from Vendor Central to Seller Central. Most likely, the partner you choose will have gone through the process before and can guide you through a less stressful changeover. Before beginning any significant Amazon-related transition that is on the horizon for your company, speak to several Amazon agencies about how they could reduce risks and maximize the benefits.
Remember, Amazon is constantly evolving, so staying informed about the latest policy changes, newest tools and fluctuating costs without help is nearly impossible for most businesses. The ones that try a do-it-yourself approach can struggle to develop a strategy that works consistently for their brand. This can lead to unpredictable sales rather than steady growth. Since experienced FBA agencies are plugged into Amazon’s current trends and deeply understand the status quo, they can make your brand’s experience on the site much less volatile.
Find the right Amazon consulting expert for your business
One of the first things a brand should investigate when considering an Amazon FBA consultant is the experience the partner brings to the table. It’s typically best to find an agency that can provide vast and deep expertise. Leadership or team members considered Amazon experts can be valuable, but be sure to inquire about how that type of resume matches your company’s goals. If it was in an irrelevant role, it might not be as attractive of a feature.
Similarly, an agency with direct experience in your product category may seem ideal, but sellers are often better served by matching an agency’s strengths with the brand’s goals.
You should also know who will be responsible for your account at the agency. The last thing your brand needs is to find out after closing the deal that you’ve never actually met the person leading your Amazon plan. Seek clarity on how accounts are managed, how responsibilities are shared among your account team, and who your company’s primary point of contact will be.
In addition, It’s essential to determine how progress toward your goals will be measured. Remember, immediate success on the Amazon platform is rare and instead requires commitment and determination. That’s why both the FBA seller and its Amazon FBA service need to be on the same page regarding the milestones that matter.
Another factor worth considering is that Amazon agencies may have proprietary technology supporting their claims to help a brand optimize for FBA. When considering an Amazon consulting service with its own technology, take the time to understand how they use these tools and what data they rely on to power them.
Different agencies may focus on their analysis of various functions of an Amazon business, which may vary in alignment with your goals. Also, brands should avoid agencies that position any technologies as the singular solution for a company. Instead, finding a provider that offers a productive mix of tech and hands-on oversight is best.
It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to pay close attention to an agency’s previous results and current clients. Reviewing case studies, especially those with parallels to your company’s challenges, can reveal insight into the agency’s fit as an Amazon partner. It’s also helpful to examine Amazon accomplishments over time. For example, have they been successful as Amazon’s logistics offerings have evolved, or is it limited to a smaller window that raises questions about their current or future effectiveness?
Navigate the challenges of FBA with Amify
Building a successful Amazon business is hard work. Turning to a proven Amazon consultant to help you navigate hurdles like FBA logistics, Amazon advertising and the pursuit of the Buy Box can be the difference between flourishing and frustration.
Consider the difference Amify can make. Our team of more than 60 experts has helped drive $400 million in sales and average 100 percent growth for our clients in the first year after they turn to us. Contact us today to find out how our Amazon consulting services can help do the same for your business.