The Pros and Cons of FBA and FBM

Are you considering selling products on Amazon and wondering which fulfilment method is right for you? Understanding the differences between Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfilment by Merchant (FBM) is crucial for making an informed decision.

Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is a service provided by Amazon where sellers send their products to Amazon’s fulfilment centres. Amazon takes care of storing the inventory, packing and shipping the products to customers, as well as handling customer service and returns. 

This method allows sellers to leverage Amazon’s vast logistics network and offers the added benefit of making products eligible for Amazon Prime.

On the other hand, Fulfilment by Merchant (FBM) places the responsibility for storage, packing, shipping, customer service, and returns directly on the seller. Sellers using FBM manage their own inventory and shipping processes, maintaining full control over their products from start to finish. 

This method can offer greater flexibility and cost savings but requires more hands-on management.

Understanding FBA

What is FBA?

Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is a service offered by Amazon to sellers on its platform. It's essentially an outsourced logistics solution that takes care of the entire order fulfilment process, from storage to delivery.

How it Works:

  1. Sending Inventory: You send your products to designated Amazon fulfilment centres.

  1. Storage: Amazon stores your inventory in their warehouses, ensuring it's readily available for orders.

  1. Picking and Packing: When a customer orders your product, Amazon picks it from the warehouse, prepares it for shipping, and packs it securely.

  1. Shipping and Delivery: Amazon handles the entire shipping process, delivering the product directly to your customer.

  1. Customer Service: Amazon also manages customer service inquiries related to FBA orders, including returns and refunds.

The Advantages of FBA

Let's explore some of the key advantages:

  1. Prime Eligibility

One of the most significant benefits of FBA is that your products become eligible for Amazon Prime. This unlocks a massive customer base and significantly increases your product's visibility. 

Prime members, who pay an annual subscription fee, enjoy a range of benefits, including free and fast shipping. By offering Prime-eligible products, you tap into this loyal customer base and potentially see a significant increase in sales.

  1. Efficient Shipping and Handling

Amazon has a vast and well-oiled logistics network, ensuring efficient and fast shipping for your products. 

They handle everything from picking and packing to delivery, utilising their expertise and infrastructure to deliver orders quickly and reliably. 

This translates to shorter delivery times for customers, leading to greater satisfaction and potentially increased repeat business.

  1. Customer Service

FBA takes the burden of customer service off your shoulders. Amazon handles inquiries related to FBA orders, including returns and refunds. 

This frees up your time and resources, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business. Additionally, Amazon's customer service team is known for its efficiency and professionalism, further enhancing the customer experience.

  1. Storage and Scalability

Amazon boasts a vast network of fulfilment centres across the globe, providing ample storage space for your inventory. This eliminates the need for you to manage your own storage space, which can be especially beneficial during peak seasons or when dealing with large quantities of products. 

Additionally, FBA offers scalability, allowing you to easily adjust your inventory levels and storage needs as your business grows.

By leveraging these advantages, FBA can significantly simplify your operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and ultimately boost your sales potential on Amazon.

The Potential Drawbacks of FBA

While FBA offers significant advantages, it's crucial to be aware of the potential downsides before making a decision.

  1. Costs and Fees

FBA comes with various fees, including:

  • Storage fees: You'll pay for the space your inventory occupies in Amazon's warehouses, based on size and duration.

  • Fulfilment fees: These cover the picking, packing, and shipping costs associated with each order.

  • Long-term storage fees: If your inventory sits in Amazon's warehouses for extended periods (usually over 6 months), you'll incur additional fees.

These fees can significantly impact your profit margins, especially for low-priced items. Carefully analyse your product costs and projected sales to determine if FBA remains financially viable.

  1. Control Over Inventory

Once your inventory is in Amazon's fulfilment centres, you have less direct control over it. You can track stock levels and request removals, but the physical handling and storage are managed by Amazon. 

This can be a concern for sellers who prefer complete control over their inventory.

  1. Complexity and Restrictions

Amazon has strict policies and guidelines for FBA sellers. These include specific product preparation requirements, packaging standards, and labelling procedures. Additionally, certain product categories or restricted items might not be eligible for FBA. Familiarising yourself with these regulations and potential limitations is crucial before committing to FBA.

By carefully considering these potential drawbacks, you can make an informed decision about whether FBA aligns with your business goals and resources.

Understanding FBM

What is FBM?

Fulfilment by Merchant (FBM) is an alternative approach to Amazon selling where you handle the entire order fulfilment process yourself. 

This means you're responsible for:

  • Inventory storage: You store your products in your own warehouse or designated space.

  • Order fulfilment: You pick and pack orders yourself or through a third-party fulfilment service.

  • Shipping: You arrange and pay for the shipping of each order to your customers.

  • Customer service: You handle all customer inquiries related to orders, including returns and refunds.

The Advantages of FBM

Let's delve into some of the key benefits:

  1. Lower Costs

By managing fulfilment yourself, you avoid the storage and fulfilment fees associated with FBA. 

This can lead to significant cost savings, especially for low-priced items or sellers with high-profit margins. You can also potentially negotiate better shipping rates with couriers when handling larger volumes of orders.

  1. Control Over Inventory

With FBM, you have complete control over your inventory. You decide where to store your products, manage stock levels, and set minimum order quantities. This allows for greater flexibility and responsiveness to changing demand or product trends.

  1. Flexibility

FBM allows you to customise your fulfilment process to suit your specific needs and preferences. You can:

  • Choose your shipping methods: Select the most cost-effective or reliable shipping options based on your needs and customer expectations.

  • Handle custom packaging: Design and implement unique packaging that reflects your brand and enhances the customer experience.

  • Accommodate specific customer requests: Respond directly to customer inquiries and requests, potentially offering personalised service or handling unique situations.

By leveraging these advantages, FBM can empower you to build a more personalised and cost-effective fulfilment strategy, potentially leading to greater control and profit margins.

The Potential Drawbacks of FBM

While FBM offers greater control and flexibility, it's crucial to understand the potential downsides before making a decision.

  1. Responsibility for Logistics

With FBM, you handle all aspects of logistics, including:

  • Inventory storage: You'll need to secure and manage your own storage space, which can be expensive and require additional resources.

  • Order fulfilment: Picking, packing, and shipping each order yourself can be time-consuming, especially as your business grows.

  • Returns processing: You'll need to manage customer returns, including handling the physical return of items and issuing refunds.

This increased workload can be a significant challenge, especially for smaller businesses or those with limited resources.

  1. Customer Service Burden

As the seller, you're responsible for handling all customer service inquiries related to your FBM orders. 

This includes:

  • Responding to customer questions and concerns.
  • Resolving issues with orders, such as delays or damaged items.
  • Managing returns and providing refunds.

Providing excellent customer service is crucial for building positive customer relationships and maintaining a good reputation on Amazon. However, it can be time-consuming and require strong communication and problem-solving skills.

  1. Shipping Speed and Costs

Compared to FBA, FBM orders may have slower shipping times. You'll need to choose and manage your own shipping providers, potentially leading to longer delivery windows for customers. 

Additionally, negotiating favourable shipping rates can be challenging, especially for smaller businesses, potentially leading to higher shipping costs compared to Amazon's economies of scale.

By carefully considering these potential drawbacks, you can make an informed decision about whether FBM aligns with your business goals and resources.


Deciding between FBA and FBM can be a crucial step in optimising your Amazon selling strategy. Let's explore scenarios where each method might be most advantageous:

Scenarios for Choosing FBA:

  • High Volume Sales: If you expect high sales volume, FBA can be a game-changer. Amazon's efficient logistics network ensures faster shipping times and potentially increased customer satisfaction, leading to more sales.

  • Need for Prime Eligibility: FBA makes your products eligible for Amazon Prime, granting them a significant visibility boost and potentially attracting a wider customer base.

  • Limited Storage Space: If you lack adequate storage space for your inventory, FBA's vast network of fulfilment centres eliminates the need for you to manage it yourself.

Scenarios for Choosing FBM:

  • Niche Products: For niche products with limited sales volume, FBA fees might outweigh the benefits. FBM allows you to manage costs more effectively in such cases.

  • Lower Sales Volume: If you're starting with a smaller product range or anticipating lower sales volume, FBM can be a more cost-effective way to manage fulfilment initially.

  • Need for Specialised Packaging: If your products require unique or customised packaging, FBM offers greater control over the packaging process.

Hybrid Approach:

In some cases, a hybrid approach combining FBA and FBM can be advantageous. You can:

  • Use FBA for high-demand products: Leverage FBA's benefits for your best-selling items to ensure faster delivery and increased visibility.

  • Use FBM for niche or low-volume products: Manage fulfilment yourself for products with lower sales volume or those requiring specialised handling.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific business needs, resources, and product range. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each method and consider a hybrid approach if it aligns with your strategy.

Key Takeaways 

By understanding the key advantages and disadvantages of both FBA and FBM, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals and resources.


  • Pros: Faster delivery, Prime eligibility, reduced workload, efficient storage.
  • Cons: Fees, less control, potential restrictions.


  • Pros: Lower costs, full control, flexibility in packaging and shipping.
  • Cons: More work, slower shipping, limited Prime eligibility.

Final Thoughts:

Ultimately, the "best" choice depends on your specific circumstances. 


  • Product type and volume: High-volume sellers and those with Prime-eligible products might benefit more from FBA. Niche products or lower-volume sellers might find FBM more cost-effective.

  • Resources and expertise: If you have the storage space, manpower, and shipping capabilities, FBM can offer greater control and flexibility.

Growth potential: If you anticipate significant growth, FBA's scalability and efficiency can be advantageous.

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