To remove, or to dispose; that is the question.
FBA sellers dread nothing more than a customer return. Whichever way you look at it, they stand only to lose. At least, that’s the way things used to be before Amazon introduced the FBA Repackaging Service; a change that finally puts sellers in control of their Fulfilled by Amazon inventory.
To find out what this means for you as an FBA seller, we urge you to carry on reading.
The Plot Thickens
It used to be that sellers would list and ship their FBA inventory to Amazon in perfect, spick-and-span Products can only be listed on Amazon if... More, only to find that some of the items would be returned by the customer. As with all FBA inventory, returns are a lottery if your stock is not labeled and kept separate from other sellers’. Amazon randomly selects the lucky seller who gets to handle the return, even though the item in question may not have belonged to that seller in the first place. To top it all off, Amazon would then say something along the lines of: ‘Pick your poison. Do you want it returned to you, or destroyed? It comes out of your pocket either way.‘
Needless to say, this left FBA sellers feeling slightly distrustful of the service; particularly as they’d have to always keep track of returned and ‘unsellable’ products, create removal orders on a regular basis, and re-ship their products promptly to take advantage of customer interest while it lasts.
For sellers with large inventories who are relying on specialized software to manage their FBA inventory, such as SellerEngine Plus, preparing returned items to be re-shipped to an Amazon warehouse is a walk in the park. Yet, for those using the Amazon website exclusively, returns can be an uncalled for complication.
Good Things Come in Revamped Packages
Fortunately, things are looking up. Amazon is now able to repackage any customer-damaged FBA product returned to its warehouse with a packaging issue, as long as it is otherwise new and functional. No need to have items sent back to the seller, repackaged, and then shipped to the Amazon warehouse. Sellers’ reaction? It’s been a long time coming. After all, it’s not unheard of for sellers to ask Amazon to dispose of perfectly usable products to avoid removal fees.
Understandably, the offer does not extend to branded products with premium packaging. These items will continue to be removed or disposed of at the seller’s expense.
The offer currently applies to Amazon.com sellers only; who can enjoy this service for free, at least for now. All they need to do is check their Repackaging Settings, and select the product categories that they would like to apply the service to. All eligible products in the category will automatically be repackaged and reinstated as ‘New’ inventory.
When it becomes an official ‘paid service’, Amazon FBA repackaging service will cost between $1.5 and $10 per product, depending on the size. By comparison, for ‘small standard size’ items, which are under 20 lbs. in weight and 18 x 14 x 8 inches in size, the return cost would currently be $0.5. Therefore, the seller would pay Amazon an extra $1 to repack, but avoid handling and packaging costs for its return (to say nothing of the actual cost of shipping the product back to the Amazon warehouse.)