Do you sell goods online? Whether through your own website, social media or other third-party platforms, ecommerce offers reliable returns if you can get it right. UK consumers are understood to have spent £141.33 billion online in 2020 – a 35% annual increase, driven in part by the pandemic.
Delivery can make or break a seller’s success, however, with delays, damage or poor communication likely to lose customers for good. Thankfully there are several options for sending parcels these days that don’t rely on regular trips to the Post Office. That includes shipping internationally to the USA, Europe, and almost anywhere else you can think of.
One such option is to outsource your shipping to a third party like Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). This involves sending products to Amazon warehouses for them to pick and ship as and when you sell.
Below we look into the pros and cons of outsourcing your parcel delivery to FBA.
Advantages of FBA
It’s easy to see the appeal of using a fulfilment centre. The number one advantage for many is convenience, with outsourcing removing much of the hard work that comes with picking and shipping parcels yourself.
This could give you more time to focus on growing your business. It can also ensure that customers still receive their orders on time when dealing with volumes of sales that might otherwise overwhelm you and cause delays.
FBA also manage returns and 24/7 customer service, which can take further weight off your shoulders and provide reassurance to buyers. Be it responding to enquiries, inspecting returns or updating inventory, handling returns can be a pain at the best of times.
You also won’t need to worry about having too much or too little storage space to hold your products. So what’s not to like?
Disadvantages of FBA
Despite all those benefits, there are several drawbacks to be aware of before settling on your delivery method of choice.
First and foremost, FBA doesn’t come for free. You’ll pay storage fees for putting your products in their warehouses, while fulfilment fees go towards delivering them to your customers. You’ll need to make sure your products are still profitable once these costs come out.
Using FBA also brings pressure to sell quickly. Your storage fees go up the longer your items sit there, which could cause problems if you’re not on your game. You’ll also need to be prepared to see more returns coming your way as Amazon’s flexible returns process can lead to more impulse and test purchases.
Having everything out of view can also make tracking inventory trickier than if you’re more closely involved.
Is using a fulfilment centre like FBA right for your business? Make sure to research all your shipping options before making such an important decision.