|Sun Nov 7 2010 12:01:05|
Amazon Warehouses Over-Capacity - FBA Sellers in Limbo
By: Ina Steiner
There are reports that Amazon.com has stopped accepting oversize items from merchants using its FBA fulfillment service in at least some of its warehouses, and may not fix the problem until the week of Thanksgiving. The problem could not have happened at a worse time as sellers count on holiday shopping orders for a major part of their revenue, and as one seller wrote, "Can you imagine the back log in receiving come November 23? It will take over a week for listings to go live."
According to third-party sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon, some warehouses are rejecting shipments with the following notice:
"Due to higher than expected demand for FBA fulfillment services for Oversize items, we are temporarily unable to accept this and any other Oversize items (any packaged unit that does not fit within an area of 18" x 14" x 8" or weighs 20 pounds or more). We expect that you will be able to create shipments for Oversize items by approximately November 22, 2010. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience. Please note that you can continue to send in shipments of smaller items."
Sellers are concerned that it could happen to non-oversize items as well, and one seller reported that Amazon was incorrectly classifying his or her items as oversize. Wrote another seller, "I normally restock through mid-December. I don't want to spend a fortune on inventory one week and then find I can't send it in..."
Amazon.com encourages sellers to use FBA so those items qualify for its free-shipping and Prime shipping offers, and the items get better exposure on the marketplace.
The company told analysts in July it was building 13 new fulfillment centers - it's also expanding in Europe, and in October said it would continue to add additional capacity in the fourth quarter in terms of its fulfillment centers and from an infrastructure standpoint.
Adding to sellers' ire is that Amazon continues to try and attract more merchants to the service with banners on the site. In fact, Amazon FBA is running a promotion in which it offers new FBA sellers a $1,500 rebate.
Sellers said Amazon.com puts notices on self-fulfilled items in early December warning shoppers that those items won't arrive by Christmas. "It won't be very nice if we get stuck to self-fullfill with large inventories due to FBA storage issues and then that sign goes up on our listings again starting early December," wrote one seller.
On Tuesday, Amazon issued press releases stating it was hiring thousands of holiday positions for its fulfillment centers in Lexington and Campbellsville, Kentucky and Las Vegas, Nevada. Fortune magazine reported on Saturday that Amazon.com would buy Quidsi, parent company of Diapers.com, for $540 million.