I started using Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) two years ago with some trepidation. I had read horror stories about lost shipments and increased negative feedback and returns, but I was drowning in media, and was starved for time in the evenings due to my caregiver activities for my elderly mom.
So, one Sunday, I signed up for FBA, followed Amazon's step by step directions, and by Monday afternoon, had dropped off three boxes of books at the local UPS store for shipment. It was time-consuming at first, but relatively painless. On Wednesday night, Amazon had received, checked in, and began "receiving" my inventory. Shortly thereafter, in my "View Your Orders" section on Amazon, I noticed that my FBA inventory was already selling fast, and my inbox was filling up with "Amazon.com has shipped the item you sold" emails.
Granted, many of the items that I sent in had low rankings, and would have sold relatively quickly anyway. However, FBA items in your inventory get a boost from a competitive pricing scheme, and the fact that many shoppers get free shipping on your items thanks to Amazon Prime and/or the Super Saver Shipping promotion.
It's a great feeling when your online inventory sells, obviously, but it's an even better feeling when your inventory sells, and you don't have to worry about packing and shipping. In fact, once Amazon has your inventory in house, they even handle any customer service issue, including returns.
Overall, I've had a good experience with FBA, with very few returns, and overwhelmingly positive feedback.
FBA does have its drawbacks, though, and one seller likened it to the
Hotel California, where "you can check out any time you like, but you
can never leave." Not totally true, but if you wish to quit the program,
you have to pay Amazon to either send your books back, or to dispose of
them. However, even if your inventory doesn't sell, as long as you only have one each of your items, it's free warehouse space until the right buyer comes along.
The chart below shows my sales over the last seven days. My seller-fulfilled sales are somewhat disappointing, but the FBA sales have more than made up for it.
Another plus of FBA is that when you put your store on vacation, FBA keeps plugging along, semi-guaranteeing you at least some income while you hopefully are resting and relaxing away from your computer, or taking one of those Disney vacations that we all save up for.
These weeks are just flying by, and it's amazing that it's Friday already. I hope everyone has a productive and profitable weekend.