Are there Cons to Online Selling with FBA?

Amazon FBAI am so positive about selling on FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) I want to share with everyone! Using a fulfillment service has radically changed the amount of time I am spending on the day-to-day customer service and fulfillment issues that arise from a typical online business, and I’m really embracing the newfound freedom to explore other online opportunities and options.

I am sharing the FBA opportunity on a Blog, Podcast and a Newsletter right now and working on two different education programs to teach folks how to get started in this exciting 2012 opportunity.

However, do I think that the FBA opportunity is for EVERYONE? While it may be surprising to those who know about and share my enthusiasm, my answer is, “No.”

FBA is truly, in my opinion, the best thing to come along since sliced bread for small eCommerce businesses. FBA is the first economically reachable opportunity for a soloprenuer business to SCALE to the level of a large eCommerce enterprise business. So why do I think it’s not for everyone? Simple, in Kat’s world pretty much everything “Depends” and nothing is the perfect fit for everyone.Scale

Although using FBA will allow you to scale your business, to grow to sales volume you’ve never thought reachable, it also will take away some of the control that most entrepreneurs crave. There are many of us who have worked for ourselves so long we consider ourselves pretty much unemployable. I’m sure if I had no other options that I could go back to working in a bank or in retail and survive, but it would be extremely hard to adapt to someone else’s schedule, someone else’s rules and someone else’s idea of the correct way to do things. These things are very important to most entrepreneurs and are one of the major reasons we started a business.

Many of us started our businesses because we wanted the freedom to decide for ourselves what the right thing to do was and we wanted the opportunity to answer to only ourselves. Although I could argue that once you open the business that is not strictly true anymore – most of us answer to thousands of ‘bosses’ in the form of customers – it is essentially true as we are the ‘deciders’ for policy and more in our own business.

Anytime you choose to use a selling platform to sell your wares, be it eBay, Amazon or another, you are choosing to give up a little of that control. To sell on these platforms you have to agree to play by their rules and conform to their policies. This is hard for many entrepreneurs, as evidenced by the uproar caused every time eBay announces policy changes.

However, the loss of control is much greater when you choose to sell on Amazon and use their fulfillment service. Once you label and ship the items into FBA, the only thing you control is price. Amazon will handle the customer service, the picking, packing and shipping of the item and any returns that should occur. They will not ask you how you would prefer the item be stored, how you’d like to see it shipped, or if you wish to accept a return on that item. This lack of control drives some sellers crazy.

We have had new sellers join the FBA Facebook group and when they read a few posts about customer returns and FBA shipping policies they decided this really wasn’t for them. We have some new FBA sellers who don’t read all the terms and conditions before they start and get very confused and upset. I believe that education is the key and reading the terms and conditions before you start. Once you have the facts if you choose not to join the program, then it isn’t for you. Please weigh all the positives and negatives before you make any business decision.

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About Kat Simpson

Respected as a trusted eCommerce speaker, educator, and entrepreneur, Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years. She is an eBay Education Specialist and Silver Level PowerSeller, who also maintains stores on Addoway, Bonanza, Buy.com, and iOffer. Currently Kat is the producer of popular weekly Amazon FBA Podcast FBA Radio along with Chris Green of FBAPower.