Wie Sie als Hersteller und Lieferant unter Amazons explodierenden Logistik-Kosten leiden und was Sie dagegen tun können
Anyone who has ever ordered multiple items from Amazon at the same time knows this phenomenon: even if you say in the checkout process that the order should be combined into as few partial deliveries as possible, multiple packages are guaranteed to arrive, often even on the same day.
That’s simply because Amazon’s logistics are built to be customer-centric. Parcels should reach the customer as quickly as possible, higher transport costs were previously accepted for this, margins were secondary.
That’s exactly what’s changing.
U.S. news portal Bloomberg has reported that Amazon’s logistics costs rose 43% to $25 billion in the U.S. in 2017, outpacing revenue growth (31% in 2017).
Of course, Amazon has been keeping a close eye on this development and started to counteract it a long time ago. For example, “plus products” were introduced. These are small-priced items that can only be ordered if the total shopping cart at Amazon is over 20 EUR.
Now, however, it can be observed more and more that Amazon is trying to take retailers and manufacturers to task and pass on some of the high logistics costs to them.
Marketplace merchants are noticing this in the increased FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) fees, restrictions on warehousing, and significantly higher “penalty fees” for long-term inventory (i.e., items stored in Amazon fulfillment centers for more than 6 months).
But manufacturers or wholesalers who supply Amazon directly (vendors) are also noticing changes in Amazon’s purchasing behavior.
Was ändert sich für Sie als Vendor gerade am Bestellverhalten von Amazon?
Amazon versucht Sie zum Dropshipping zu bewegen
Direktversand-Programm – die Lösung für alle Langsam-Dreher?
You can find these instructions on the start page of your VendorCentral. In addition, you are regularly bombarded with corresponding emails, and Amazon’s vendor managers also point out the advantages of the Amazon Dropshipping program with nice regularity.
The background is clear: Amazon saves on warehousing costs and purchase prices are usually lower because duplicate transport costs are avoided. But the risks for you are not without: The first 90 days the products are not marked as Prime, but with “Usually ready to ship in 3 to 5 days”. Only when the 3-month trial period is complete and your delivery timeliness meets Amazon’s high standards will the customer see Prime logo and next-day delivery.
This increases the bounce rate for dropship items in the first few months, and you are very likely to lose market share to the competition.
Second challenge: Your logistics department must be equipped to ship individual items to the end customer. Especially if you produce mass consumer goods and normally only ship your goods by the pallet, not always self-evident.
Sie werden mit dem Einkauf großer Mengen gelockt
Bulk-Requests – Spatz in der Hand oder Taube auf dem Dach?
You know how it is: Amazon usually orders in small batches and orders 2-3 times a week to avoid overloading the warehouse space as much as possible. This rule is being deviated from more and more frequently. Once a month, suppliers receive so-called “bulk requests” or “quantity purchase requests”.
Amazon orders larger quantities here and stocks up for longer periods, contrary to the actual system. In return, a discount is demanded. These demands range from a moderate 5% to an unworldly 50% discount on your purchase prices.
It may make sense for you to accept these requests positively, but should be considered individually on a case-by-case basis.
[box] The most important question for this is: Would I sell the same quantity to Amazon in the same period of time without volume buying or is it safer with the requested discount to sell the entire quantity immediately -> “bird in the hand or pigeon on the rooftop”?[/box]
Neuen Artikel listen, 3 Tage warten, Erstbestellung da? – Vergiss es!
Bewährte Mechanismen funktionieren nicht mehr
In the vast majority of cases so far, Amazon has ordered newly listed items from you in a timely manner. In small quantities, but it was ordered. A few clicks per week on the new item were enough for the Amazon algorithm to trigger an initial order with the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, that is no longer so self-evident. If the Amazon system calculates that the item yields too little margin to be profitably stocked and shipped, it will not be ordered.
Not even when an Amazon customer pre-orders the item on the product detail page.
This is the first time that Amazon has deviated from its previously propagated strategy of absolute customer centricity.
[box] A field report: An Amazon customer calls the manufacturer. He wanted to buy a TV on Amazon, ordered it, despite the status “currently out of stock”. When nothing happened for a long time, he called Amazon’s customer service and was referred directly to the manufacturer. He should call there, maybe he can buy it there directly.[/box]
Just a year ago, that would have been unthinkable. Amazon would have pulled out all the stops and even sold the item below cost price if necessary to satisfy the end customer.
Amazon reduziert seine Produktpalette
Selbst Topseller werden ausgelistet – nichts ist mehr sicher
And another pillar of Amazon’s philosophy is also shaking: “We want to offer our customers the widest possible choice of items.”
In the meantime, the restriction applies here: “But no longer at any price”. Large-volume items with a low purchase price, such as 20-liter gasoline or water cans, have a particularly hard time. They block a lot of storage space and yield little. When you have to decide whether to put a 20-liter gasoline canister in what is actually a constantly overflowing warehouse and earn maybe 3 euros on it, or fill the same space with 10,000 SD cards, it’s perfectly understandable that the canister gets the short end of the stick.
This has gone so far that Amazon itself has completely delisted top sellers and no longer buys them itself, leaving them entirely to Marketplace dealers.
Was können mögliche Lösungsansätze sein?
Was können Sie als Lieferant tun? Welche Möglichkeiten und Optionen stehen Ihnen zur Verfügung?
Dropshipping -> Check your slow movers on Amazon. Direct delivery here can be a way to keep the item available for the Amazon customer. You can find detailed instructions here: Link
Product Bundles -> Offer a set of two or a set of three for margin-critical items. The shipping costs are immediately put into perspective and are better distributed. Of course, the need and usefulness should be checked beforehand. For example, how many residential consumers need a set of three 20-liter fuel cans? As a vendor, you basically have two options for bundling: soft bundles and hard bundles. We have summarized the differences and procedures for you here: Link
Price calculation absolute instead of relative -> The usual approach to calculating purchase prices for Amazon is a percentage markup, which includes the company’s own profit margin in addition to the Amazon Back conditions. Especially for items in the lower price segment, you should also keep in mind the (calculated) costs that Amazon has for picking, packaging and shipping to the end customer when calculating purchase prices. A good reference point for this is Amazon’s own FBA calculator. Actually designed to make shipping through Amazon (FBA) palatable to merchants on the Amazon marketplace, it is a good indication of the level of internal logistics costs of the respective items.