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Amazon is adding a 5% surcharge for FBA sellers

The company cited fuel and inflation costs as the reason for the surcharge, which takes effect on April 28.

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Amazon Packages (Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash)

Inflation often brings talk of costs that get passed on to consumers. In the case of Amazon, third-party sellers are feeling the downstream effects.

Citing rising inflation and fuel costs, Amazon will implement a 5% surcharge, effective April 28. This surcharge applies to sellers in the US who use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), through which the company offers storage, logistics and delivery for merchants. In details outlining the changes on Amazon Seller Central, the company said the surcharge will be applied to FBA fulfillment fees for both apparel and non-apparel items.

The surcharge will be the first of its kind for the company, albeit one that is not designed to be permanent.

“In 2022, we expected a return to normalcy as COVID-19 restrictions around the world eased, but fuel and inflation have presented further challenges,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an email to CNBC. “It is still unclear if these inflationary costs will go up or down, or for how long they will persist, so rather than a permanent fee change, we will be employing a fuel and inflation surcharge for the first time — a mechanism broadly used across supply chain providers.”

The latest move came on the heels of US government data that showed inflation reached its highest level in 40 years. The US Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index showed that inflation rose 8.5% year-over-year in March, which was the highest jump since 1981. Rising fuel costs were a key factor in the price spike. According to a digital price index released by Adobe on the same day, online inflation increased 3.6% over the same time period.

For Amazon, the recent announcement was the second time in the last six months that the company announced a new charge for FBA sellers. In an increase that went into effect in January, the company permanently increased fulfillment fees by an average of 5.2%. At the time, the company cited rising operations costs in the pandemic.

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5 strategies for optimal inventory management on Amazon

Accurate inventory is now essential for Amazon FBA sellers, writes Emplicit's Evan Sherman.

a cart with boxes on shelves

Amazon used to be a lot more laissez faire about how Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) sellers used their fulfillment centers. Sellers could send in inventory, and, while the space wasn’t unlimited, if their sales were not as forecasted they would simply pay long-term storage fees. Sure, if a seller’s inventory management was poor enough they would have their inventory storage limits reduced and pay higher storage fees, but this was just an incentive not to let things slide too much.

However, in 2022 Amazon reduced storage limits overall to the point where some FBA sellers had sales and catalog size impacted, and in March 2023 Amazon revised their inventory system. There is now an incentive for FBA sellers to be highly accurate with inventory management because Amazon will reward them with increased storage limits. Precision is a carrot now, rather than a stick.

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