What a year for Amazon FBA costs… First, Amazon increased storage fees to 75¢ per cubic foot for January to September and $2.40 for October to December (for standard products). Then, in July they initiated a penalty for low Inventory Performance Index scores with additional charges and restrictions.
Now, as of September 15, they’re raising long-term storage fees to $3.45 per cubic foot per month on items in the warehouse for 181-365 days. As if ecommerce owners weren’t stressed enough by the South Dakota v Wayfair, Inc.ruling. We already discussed 3 expert ways to lower Amazon FBA fees to help mitigate damages from the fee increase. But sometimes the best defense is a good offense. As in, to make up for the extra costs, sell better.
For FBA sellers, it’s not as cut-and-dry as “selling products people want.” There are a few other factors you have to consider, namely size and weight. Sure, those areas matter to every online store, but with Amazon tightening its belt, those matter more than ever to FBA sellers.
Here’s a quick run-down of products that work best for Amazon FBA.
Size & Weight
For FBA, the smaller, the better — plain and simple. The larger the product gets, the more fees you incur for both shipping and storage, so big products can easily get expensive, especially if they take awhile to sell.
According to the Amazon services, for fulfillment, they break up products into 6 categories by size. However, additional fees also incorporate weight, so you have to consider both. For example, a “large” product that weighs 1 pound is cheaper to fulfill than a same-sized product that weighs 2 pounds — but both are more expensive than a small product.
|Before February 18, 2020||February 18, 2020, and after|
|Size tier||Shipping weight||Packaging weight||Fulfillment fee per unit1||Fulfillment fee per unit1|
|Small standard||10 oz or less||4 oz||$2.41||$2.50|
|10 to 16 oz||$2.48||$2.63|
|Large standard||10 oz or less||4 oz||$3.19||$3.31|
|10 to 16 oz||$3.28||$3.48|
|1 to 2 lb||4 oz||$4.76||$4.90|
|2 to 3 lb||4 oz||$5.26||$5.42|
|3 lb to 21 lb||4 oz||$5.26 + $0.38/lb above first 3 lb||$5.42 + $0.38/lb above first 3 lb|
|Small oversize||71 lb or less||1 lb||$8.26 + $0.38/lb above first 2 lb||$8.26 + $0.38/lb above first 2 lb|
|Medium oversize||151 lb or less||1 lb||$9.79 + $0.39/lb above first 2 lb||$11.37 + $0.39/lb above first 2 lb|
|Large oversize||151 lb or less||1 lb||$75.78 + $0.79/lb above first 90 lb||$75.78 + $0.79/lb above first 90 lb|
|Special oversize||N/A||1 lb||$137.32 + $0.91/lb above first 90 lb||$137.32 + $0.91/lb above first 90 lb|
1Lithium batteries and items that contain or are sold with them incur an additional $0.11 per-unit fulfillment fee.
Products under 20 pounds are considered “standard size.” For a product to be classified as small, it must meet the small size dimensions above and also be under 1 pound.
As you can see, bigger products — both size and weight — incur corresponding fees, so even a product that weighs five pounds less than another will be cheaper to fulfill.
Also, notice the sharp price increase between Medium Oversize and Large Oversize products. If you’re using FBA, only ship Large Oversize products if you have a justifiable strategy — otherwise, think smaller.
For storage, weight doesn’t matter as much as size. Inventory costs are calculated based on a cubic feet, listed in the first paragraph. However, oversized products are priced at a discount. They only cost 48¢ per cubic foot in the January-September period and $1.20 for the October-December period.
Other Product Issues with FBA
It’s worth noting that Amazon FBA charges additional fees for certain product types:
- Clothing: (at least) 40¢ per item
- Plasma & projection TVs with ≥42” screens: $40 per item
- Fragile items: special handling fees (they’re vague about the specifics)
With that in mind, FBA sellers should steer clear of clothing and tech products that may incur a special handling fee. Considering the potential return problems with Amazon Prime Wardrobe if it expands to third-party sellers, Amazon may not be the best outlet for clothing ecommerce anyway.
Larger equipment like TVs are especially costly, since they’re fragile, large, and heavy — the triple threat of FBA fees.
The Profitability Tool
These figures, combined with sales competition and other fees, can be hard to track. Sellers have lines of calculations to determine a product’s profitability — even before it’s released to the market.
Luckily, Amazon offers an automatic revenue calculator that helps you calculate all your fees and potential revenue based on the item’s shipment costs and selling price. First go here: Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator … and then input the item number and other data. It only works for products already in Amazon’s system, though.
Using FBA to ship your products is a necessary evil for Amazon sellers. It’s hard for a merchant to uphold the 2-day shipping requirement needed to be eligible for Prime listings. With FBA inventory management software, you can cut costs by automating some of the operational tasks necessary to run a lucrative ecommerce business – especially when you’ve got the best products for FBA.
Have more tips for choosing the best products for FBA? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published August 2014 and was updated in January 2020 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.