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FBM Vs FBA for Amazon Sellers - Differences Explained

Just like the age-old debate of Coke versus Pepsi, deciding between Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) can be equally important for Amazon sellers. You've probably heard about the ease FBA offers by taking care of storage, packing, shipping, and customer service. 

But, have you considered the control FBM gives you over your operations? Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each, grasping their impact on your profits, and aligning them with your business model is essential. There's more to explore and discover here. So, are you ready to dig into it?

What's the Difference Between Amazon FBA and FBM?

selling on Amazon - FBM vs FBA

To decide which way to take in your Amazon seller journey, it's essential that you note the key distinctions between Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM), particularly regarding logistics handling, customer service, and returns management.

When it comes to Amazon FBA vs FBM, the primary difference lies in who handles the heavy lifting of order fulfillment. With FBA, Amazon takes charge of storage, packing, and shipping of your products, as well as managing customer service and returns. This allows you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as enhancing your product listings for better visibility and sales. According to Jungle Scout report, 89% of sellers use the

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program with just 32% also using Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)

On the other hand, if you opt for FBM, you're responsible for these tasks. You store your products, pack and ship orders, and handle customer service and returns. While this may seem challenging, it also gives you more control over your business operations.

The choice between FBA and FBM is a strategic one based on your business model, resources, and goals. FBA might be more suitable if you're dealing with high-volume sales and want to utilize Amazon's infrastructure and Prime eligibility. FBM, however, might be a better fit if you want greater control over your inventory and customer interactions and are prepared to handle the logistics yourself.

Each method has its pros and cons, and comprehending these can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business objectives.

Pros and Cons of Amazon FBA

pros and cons of Amazon FBA

When you consider the advantages of using Amazon's FBA, you'll find that it's not only user-friendly but also offers Prime eligibility. This makes your products more attractive to the millions of Prime members who benefit from fast, free shipping. This can significantly boost your product visibility and, in turn, your sales.

However, there are a few drawbacks to ponder. One of the main disadvantages of Amazon FBA is the higher fees. These include fulfillment fees, storage fees, and long-term storage fees, which can eat into your profit margins.

Another con is that you have less control over your shipping and packaging. Amazon handles this, and while it takes the burden off you, it also means you're at the mercy of their processes.

Lastly, there's the issue of commingling, where Amazon may mix your inventory with that of other sellers who sell the same product. Although this can speed up the fulfillment process, it also risks your customers receiving a counterfeit or damaged product.

Pros and Cons of Amazon FBM

pros and cons of amazon FBM

Shifting focus towards Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM), you'll find that it gives you greater control over your inventory and shipping processes, balanced against the challenges of managing customer service and logistics. This model allows you to oversee every detail of your business, from storage to shipment, ensuring the quality of services provided to your customers.

The greater control over operations can translate into lower costs compared to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With FBM, you're not paying Amazon for storing and shipping your goods, potentially giving you higher profit margins. However, this cost-effectiveness can be offset by the expenses involved in setting up and maintaining your own infrastructure for order fulfillment.

Handling customer service is another aspect you need to take into account with FBM. In contrast to FBA where Amazon handles customer queries and returns, with FBM, you're responsible for all customer interactions. This can be a challenge, but it also offers an opportunity to build direct relationships with your customers.

When it comes to logistics, FBM can be more complex. You're in charge of packing, shipping, tracking, and handling any shipping-related issues. This requires efficient systems and processes, which can be a steep learning curve if you're new to e-commerce.

Lastly, FBM might lead to slower growth, especially if you're a small seller. Without Amazon's vast logistics network and Prime eligibility, your products may not get the same visibility, potentially impacting sales. (you could qualify for Seller Fulfilled Prime, though) But with smart strategies, such as effective PPC management, you can overcome these challenges and successfully run an FBM business.

Comparing Profitability: FBA vs. FBM

comparing profitability FBA vs FBM

While considering FBM's benefits and challenges, it's equally important to examine its profitability factor, which varies greatly between FBA and FBM depending on factors like the scale of operation, product category, and market conditions.

If you're operating on a large scale, FBA might be more profitable due to its efficiency and access to Prime customers. However, the fees associated with FBA can eat into your margins, especially for low-cost items. FBM can potentially offer higher profitability here since you're in control of storage and shipping costs.

A significant portion of FBM sellers, about 28%, generate more than $25,000 per month in revenue, which is higher compared to only 12% of FBA sellers in the same revenue bracket.

Product category also plays a significant role in profitability. Items that are bulky, heavy, or have special storage needs might be less profitable under FBA due to higher storage and fulfillment fees. Conversely, FBM could prove more profitable for these products, provided you have the infrastructure to handle storage and shipping.

Market conditions, such as seasonal demand spikes, can also impact profitability. With FBA, you might struggle to keep up with sudden increases in demand due to Amazon's storage limitations. But with FBM and a robust inventory management system, you can quickly scale up to meet market demands.

Lastly, using AGL brand analytics can help you make data-driven decisions about which fulfillment method best aligns with your business goals. By analyzing sales data, customer behavior, and market trends, you can optimize your operations for maximum profitability, whether you choose FBA or FBM.

Which Amazon Fulfillment Method Should Sellers Use?

Choosing between FBA and FBM for your Amazon fulfillment method isn't a pivotal decision; it mainly depends on factors like your business size, product type, and your ability to handle logistics. If you're running a small store, starting with FBM might be a sensible choice. It allows you to maintain control over the packing and shipping process while saving on Amazon's storage and fulfillment fees.

However, as your business grows and the demand for your products increases, you might find it challenging to handle logistics, especially during peak seasons. That's where Amazon FBA steps in. With this fulfillment method, Amazon takes care of storage, packing, and shipping, freeing you up to focus on growing your business. Additionally, FBA products are eligible for Amazon Prime, which can greatly boost your sales.

The product type also plays an important role in this decision. For example, if you sell large or heavy items, the high FBA fees might eat into your profits, making FBM a more profitable option. Conversely, if your products are small, lightweight, and have a high turnover rate, FBA might be more lucrative.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors determine whether FBM or FBA is more cost-effective for a seller?

You'll find that FBM or FBA's cost-effectiveness depends on your product's size, turnover rate, and how much control you want over storage, packaging, and shipping. Balancing these factors helps you make the best choice.

What are the pros and cons of Amazon FBM?

Why does FBA matter to Amazon sellers?

What is the difference between FBA and FBM?


In the end, it's all about what suits your business best. If you're after ease and convenience, let Amazon do the heavy lifting with FBA.

But, if you crave control and hands-on operations, FBM is your ship to steer.

It's a tug of war between convenience and control, and the winner depends on your business needs.

So, weigh the pros and cons, scrutinize the profitability, and set sail on the Amazon sea that best fits your journey.

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