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Choosing a Fulfillment Alternative to Amazon FBA

A warehouse manager scanning barcodes on a pallet
Last Modified: March 29, 2024
Amazon FBA isn’t the only option when it comes to fulfillment operations. Check out some other reliable and tested alternatives we’ve found that can help out your retail business.
Jacob Lee
November 23, 2020
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The International Warehouse Logistics Association suggests using fulfillment alternatives to Amazon FBA to diversify your operations. One great alternative is hiring a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to handle your fulfillment needs. Other excellent options include fulfillment by merchant and in-house fulfillment centers. 

Strictly using Amazon FBA can limit the fulfillment operations of a business. Exploring different alternatives will open up new opportunities that companies can use to their advantage. It will also give businesses a higher degree of flexibility in their operations. 

Our guide below provides you with the critical information you need to find the best fulfillment alternative to Amazon FBA. 

Why You Should Use Alternatives to Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)

Amazon FBA offers exceptional fulfillment services to their sellers. Nonetheless, there are some areas where FBA can fall short for businesses. Relying on this option alone can also stifle small enterprises in a variety of ways. 

Reasons to look for fulfillment alternatives to FBA include:

  • Increased inventory control
  • Reduced fees
  • Customization
  • Scalability

Amazon’s fulfillment program is great if you’re selling goods quickly. However, they’re not a good option if you’re storing goods for a long time. Using other fulfillment companies and strategies will be needed for longer storage. 

FBA’s fee structure can be complex and costly, especially for oversized items or products with longer storage times. Exploring alternatives may lead to significant savings on fulfillment and associated fees.

Alternatives to FBA often allow for more personalized packaging and branding options. For business owners really looking to establish themselves as a brand, standing out is crucial. Customization can help your products stand out and provide a unique unboxing experience for your customers.

As your business grows, you require a fulfillment solution that can adapt to changing demands. Many alternatives offer scalable solutions without the constraints of Amazon’s stringent policies.

If you’re an Amazon seller that’s struggling with any of these areas in your fulfillment operations, then you should seek out an alternative to replace or compliment your current setup. 

Read our article on inventory tracking technology to learn how you can keep track of all your commodities. 

A customer opening a box they ordered

Great Alternatives To Amazon FBA

The landscape of fulfillment options is vast and varied, providing a variety of other options that cater to different business needs. We’ll discuss some of the best Amazon FBA alternative strategies  you can implement.

Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)

FBM is a model where the seller takes control of the entire fulfillment process. This means you’re responsible for storing inventory, packing orders, and handling shipments. 

Sellers on Amazon are subject to the company’s policies and decisions. They also have to pay FBA fulfillment costs, which we’ve included.

Amazon FBA Fulfillment Costs

Shipping weightCost
Small Standard (2oz to 16oz)$3.06 — $3.65
Large Standard (4oz to 20lb)$3.68 — $6.62 + $0.08oz per 4oz interval above 3lb
Large Bulky (0 to 50lb)$9.61 + $0.38/lb interval above the first lb
Extra-large (0 to 50lb)$26.33 + $0.38/lb interval above the first lb
Extra-large (50 to 70lb)$40.12 + $0.75/lb interval above 51lb
Extra-large (70 to 150lb)$54.81 + $0.75/lb interval above 71lb
Extra-large (150lb+)$194.95 + $0.19/lb interval above 151lb

Provided by Amazon

To circumvent FBA requirements and expenses, many sellers have switched to FBM. While FBM requires more hands-on management, it offers greater control over operations and can be more cost-effective when managed properly.

Other benefits of FBM include:

  • Shipping control
  • Brand personalization
  • Direct customer service

Sellers can choose their shipping carriers and potentially negotiate better rates, especially if they have an established relationship with carriers. FBM also gives sellers the opportunity to include personalized branding materials in their shipments. 

This enhances the purchasing experience for customers and increases brand recognition. Handling customer service directly can lead to better relationships and feedback, which sellers can use to address concerns and queries with a personal touch. 

Join A Fulfillment Network

Another FBA alternative is joining an e-commerce order fulfillment network. This is essentially a system of warehouses and distribution centers strategically located to store, pack, and ship products directly to customers.

E-commerce order fulfillment networks work by allowing businesses to send their freight to various facilities. After an order has been purchased, the software will determine the best warehouse to fulfill the order. E-commerce order fulfillment networks are beneficial because they have the same core functions of FBA, but without the extra fees. 

In-house Fulfillment Centers

In-house fulfillment centers are a great alternative to Amazon FBA if you’re looking for a more hands-on approach. Businesses that own warehouses have complete control over picking, packing, and shipping of their products

With this method, you’ll also be able to upscale or downscale your operations as you see fit. The only downside to this FBA alternative is the expenses associated with it. Buying property and building a warehouse can be costly. 

Therefore, in-house fulfillment warehouses are best for businesses that already have capital saved up and earn a steady profit. We would encourage small businesses to use one of the other fulfillment strategies mentioned and thus keep overhead costs manageable. 

3PL

3PL providers have their own fulfillment warehouses and logistics experts that coordinate shipments. These providers offer a comprehensive suite of services that cover the entire logistics process.

  • Picking
  • Packing
  • Shipping
  • Short and long term storage
  • Consolidation 

At its core, a 3PL provider takes on the responsibility of managing your inventory. This ensures your goods always arrive in shape and reduces the burden of fulfilling your orders. 

A row of semi trucks parked next to one another

Benefits of Using A 3PL As An Alternative To FBA 

The best alternative to Amazon FBA is hiring a 3PL to handle your fulfillment operations. Before hiring one, you should know why it’s such a great replacement. 

  • Flexible pricing
  • Reduced overhead
  • Dedicated customer service
  • Ease of scaling
  • Market expansion

3PL providers often have more flexible pricing models compared to Amazon, potentially lowering logistics costs for businesses. A 3PL will also reduce overhead expenses associated with owning a fulfillment warehouse like equipment management, hiring staff, and leasing space. 

If a business ever has questions or concerns regarding the fulfillment services of their 3PL, they can contact a dedicated customer service representative of the company. This makes resolving any problems easier to accomplish. 

Scaling fulfillment operations is much easier with a 3PL. As your business grows, a 3PL can easily adjust to your changing needs, handling increased order volumes without the need for you to invest in additional infrastructure. 

Finally, most 3PLs have a presence all over the country. This will help a retail or e-commerce business reach more customers. 

Fulfillment and Distribution Is Ready To Be Your Amazon FBA Alternative

If you’re looking for a 3PL to be your fulfillment alternative to Amazon FBA, then look no further than Fulfillment and Distribution. We have a team of experienced supply chain professionals and premier services that will enhance the way you fulfill orders. 

Our services include:

  • Pick & Pack Fulfillment: Efficient and accurate order fulfillment tailored to your specific needs.
  • Kitting Services: Custom assembly of your products for promotional offerings or bundled sales.
  • Retail Fulfillment: Expert handling of your retail distribution needs, ensuring your products reach their destination on time and in perfect condition.

Let Fulfillment and Distribution be the backbone of your logistics, so you can focus on what you do best: growing your business. Fill out your risk-free quote on our site today to get started. You can also get a hold of our team at (866) 975-0749 for any questions about the services we offer. 

Looking for a solution to store and ship your products seamlessly? Let R+L Global Logistics be your fulfillment and distribution partner.

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