Amazon Non FBA Prime?

A small number of selected Amazon sellers have been invited to join a Beta programme called Non FBA Prime.

Sellers have been entitled to use the Amazon Prime next day delivery service for some time if they store their stock in Amazon’s warehouses and distribution centres under what is known as Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA). This incurs fees, but they are offset by what are well known to be a far higher sales rate and therefore profitability.

A new programme is being tested for Amazon sellers who do not use the FBA scheme, called Non FBA Prime. These sellers have good performance metrics including excellent customer service records and fulfilment rates. The scheme requires that the Non FBA Prime sellers buy their shipping labels through Amazon though these can be through different delivery companies to those used by Amazon Prime. They will pay a small fee on top of the delivery charges that the delivery companies ordinarily would, though this helps tie their deliveries into Amazon’s tracking systems, and again they benefit from the Prime brand.

There are now rumours that Amazon non FBA Prime sellers will have to use Amazon Logistics to move their goods. These have not been corroborated by any statement from Amazon and there is no detail to these rumours. If they do come to pass, it could impact smaller delivery companies that rely on Amazon sellers. However, those companies who so far have been invited to use non FBA Prime are reasonably large and can meet the demands of Amazon fulfilment so it won’t be taking from the smallest delivery companies.

The general shape of Amazon to come may well be that of a logistics and warehousing company rather than as a shop that sells everything. With this programme and rumours of Amazon’s ‘Aerosmith’ air freight system in the US, this picture emerges as the direction the online giant is taking. As it morphs so it inevitably will change the market, but until the metamorphosis is complete we cannot say for certain…