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Amazon Unveils New High-Volume Listing Fee

Amazon unveiled a new fee on Thursday and said it was lifting SKU limits to 2 million active non-media SKUs, effective immediately. For sellers who had to spend the last year with SKU limits of 25,000 or 100,000, raising the limit is progress.

In addition, Amazon is implementing a new High-Volume Listing Fee beginning in February 2015 for sellers who wish to exceed 2 million active non-media SKUs. The fee is $0.0005 per SKU. According to a letter sellers received on Thursday:

The High-Volume Listing Fee will only apply if you exceed 2 million active non-media SKUs in a given month and will apply to all Sellers. For example, if you have a total of 3 million active non-media SKUs in a given month, the fee will be $500 (3,000,000 SKUs – 2,000,000 = 1,000,000 SKUs x $0.0005). If your SKU count changes over the course of a month, we will look at when you had the highest number of active non-media listings in that month when calculating the fee.

When we begin calculating the fee on February 1, 2015 you can maintain as many non-media SKUs above 2 million as you are willing to pay for each month. The fee will be calculated monthly and shown in the next month’s statement. To avoid this fee entirely, you can reduce and maintain your number of buyable non-media listings to 2 million or fewer.

Amazon began placing limits on novelty SKUs earlier this year, as EcommerceBytes reported in several stories. The policy affected merchants who listed items with a large number of variations such as novelty Tshirts that are offered in many sizes, colors and styles. As a result of the limits, given with little notice, some merchants had to lay off staff – see Amazon Disrupts Novelty Sellers’ Businesses.

Different sellers had received different limits, and an Amazon spokesperson had told EcommerceBytes, “We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience. The change is to help customers easily find items they are looking to purchase and to encourage our Sellers to prioritize the most popular items that customers may have an interest in.”

In its letter to sellers yesterday, Amazon said, “We are making this change in response to feedback from sellers with large inventories who want the opportunity to list additional products on Amazon.com.”

One reader appeared to be speechless, forwarding the letter with the comment, “Wow. Just wow.” That seller had told us in February the limits were devastating to their business.

Another reader forwarded the letter from Amazon, and said thanks to the fact that they had a limit of 100,000 SKUS this year, their sales had plummeted from nearly $100,000 to less than $20,000. “I guess someone there finally did the math. Amazon lost of lot of money by slamming me with this limit all year,” the merchant wrote.

Amazon said sellers who wish to list more than 2 million non-media SKUs sooner than February 1, 2015, should contact Seller Support to request early adoption of the High-Volume Listing Fee.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.