For many online marketers, participating in Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) relieves them from packing and shipping chores and lessens their need for warehouse space. It also promotes sales by giving sellers access to Amazon Prime members. Even non-Prime shoppers seek out FBA products for the free standard shipping offered on some orders.
Sellers who carry small, inexpensive items don’t benefit from FBA as much though. The low cost of their merchandise makes it difficult for buyers to compile orders meeting the $35.00 minimum required for free shipping. In fact, shipping a single small item may cost more than the sales price – a deterrent to sales.
Free Shipping – No Minimum Order
Amazon’s new program, FBA Small and Light, seeks to change that situation. Small and Light products ship for free with no minimum order. Prime membership is not required. Buyers can expect delivery in 4-8 days from a Kentucky warehouse dedicated to the Small and Light program.
FBA Small and Light is for products less than 8 ounces in weight and priced under $10.00. Amazon limits item sizes to 9 x 6 x 2 inches. Sellers must apply to have their items included in Small and Light, but all sellers are now eligible to take part. A link on Amazon’s Seller Central provides access.
Of course there are Amazon fees associated with the Small and Light program, but Amazon aims to fulfill orders at a lower cost than sellers can do for themselves. This program would seem to be ideal for high-volume low-cost consumables.
Competition for the buy box is always a focus for Amazon third party sellers. There is no indication that FBA Small and Light products will fare better than regular FBA offerings, but it seems likely that participation in any FBA program gives a seller an advantage over fulfillment by merchant sellers. Merchants should watch the performance of each item to determine the value FBA Small and Light provides regarding sales volumes.
Getting shoppers to buy more low-cost things through the marketplace is good for Amazon. The number of orders placed by a buyer over the course of a year is a factor shoppers use in determining the value of investing in an Amazon Prime membership. It is common knowledge that Prime members typically spend more money at Amazon than non-members, so encouraging customers to place more orders by offering free shipping with no minimum purchase is an intelligent strategic move for the marketplace.