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Best Alternatives for Amazon FBA in India

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

June 3, 2024

8 min read

India is a diverse market. It is not consistent across states and is spread out over a large area. The eCommerce market comprises several sellers who sell on different platforms like marketplaces, websites, social media, or a combination of these. 

Over 1,20,000 sellers sell on the eCommerce marketplace giant Amazon, with most of them being SMEs. Since most SMEs have adopted the eCommerce marketplace model, they have also resorted to the fulfillment means offered by them.

Most sellers who sell on Amazon face a tough choice between the easy ship, self-ship, or Fulfilled by Amazon model. Sellers who don’t have the capacity or resources to take care of their inventory, storage, and shipping despite having brilliant products to offer usually choose Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA to get their products delivered across the country.

FBA is only applicable if you sell on Amazon. However to increase sales and reach a maximum audience, you need to have alternative sales platforms. You need to sell on different platforms, like through your website or social media platforms, to reach more audiences. With the advancement in technology, you can now sell through WhatsApp as well. 

How will you fulfill your orders then? What are the alternatives you may have? These are the questions most sellers ask when they try to expand their reach by selling on different platforms. Thus, to make the search easier for you and get you started, in this blog we have listed a few alternatives for Amazon FBA and why you should go with them.

Amazon FBA Alternatives

Top Reasons to Look for Amazon FBA Alternatives

Here are the top five reasons to look for alternatives to Amazon FBA:

  1. Chances of Delivering Incorrect Product

Amazon fulfillment centers are filled with inventory from different sellers. Products falling under similar categories are allocated the same slot irrespective of their brand/sellers. Thus, there is a possibility of picking and shipping incorrect products. This can cause inconvenience to the customers, leading to dissatisfaction. It also adds to the work as you have to manage the return/ refund. Such a problem does not arise if you have a dedicated storage space for your products.

  1. Limited Scope for Brand Promotion

Imprinting the delivery parcels with the brand name and logo or using the same colour scheme as your brand is an excellent way to promote your business. It helps increase your brand visibility. However, you won’t get the chance to promote your business this way when you choose Amazon FBA. This is because, in such a case, the packaging displays Amazon’s branding. If you want to highlight your brand name on packages reaching your customers, then Amazon FBA is not a good choice. You must look for Amazon fulfillment alternatives.

  1. Restricted Control on Inventory

One of the main reasons to look for alternatives to Amazon FBA is that the programme gives limited control over the management of your inventory. Adding or removing inventory from Amazon fulfillment centers can be difficult for the sellers. The process is tedious and challenging. Limited access to inventory management can lead to financial loss.

  1. Complicated Payment System

Amazon FBA’s payment structure is not that easy to understand. The company charges various types of fees including variable, circumstantial and fixed fees. It has broadly divided its rates into three categories. Here is a look at these:

  • Seller Fees – This fee is charged for using Amazon as a platform to sell your products and services.
  • Storage Fees – As the term suggests, it is charged for using their storage space. The charges vary depending on the amount of space you are using to store your inventory.
  • Fulfillment Fees – This fee is charged for various warehouse operations such as packing, shipping, picking and delivering the goods.

Amazon’s payment plans are not clearly defined as the charges vary based on flash sales, events and other factors. Moreover, the company is quick in imposing penalties even for the smallest of defaults.

  1. Stringent Regulations for FBA Preparation 

Amazon has strict regulations that retailers are required to follow diligently to get their orders fulfilled by FBA. It is essential to follow their specific guidelines related to packing and labelling for FBA prep while sending products to their fulfilment centers, or else your items wouldn’t be accepted. This adds unnecessary load on the retailers by increasing the time and money involved in the process.   

3PL Providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment 

The Third-party logistics providers is are a powerful alternative to Amazon FBA. 3PL providers cover all operations starting from storage, inventory management, warehouse operations, picking, packaging, first mile, and last-mile operations. These companies offer you a chance to save on costs by avoiding additional handling fees that you pay to Amazon.

Shiprocket Fulfillment is one such provider that offers you end-to-end warehousing and fulfillment solutions for your business.

If you are looking for a solution that gives you complete control over inventory and offers you FBA like services at nominal prices, Shiprocket Fulfillment is your ideal match. Not just this, but you also get 30 days* free storage with them.

Shiprocket Fulfillment allows you to store your inventory in different warehouses throughout the country. This helps you decrease delivery time, increase customer satisfaction, reduce returns, offer next-day delivery, and optimize fulfillment.

Shiprocket is a well-known logistics provider across the country. We provide integration with 25+ courier partners for shipping products to over 24,000+ domestic pin codes. With Shiprocket Fulfillment, we offer you a chance to store your products in technologically optimized and advanced warehouses that have top-class operations for picking, packing, inventory, and warehouse management.

3PL companies offer you a chance to save on costs by avoiding additional handling fees that you pay to Amazon. Unlike Amazon’s FBA that charges high storage rates, Shiprocket Fulfillment offers you a free 30-day storage period if your product ships in 30 days and processing rates start at just Rs. 11/unit. 

The competition on Amazon is tough, and if you have a strong customer base on your website or social media channel, you must not compromise on fulfillment just because you cannot sign up with FBA. Instead, you must look for Amazon fulfillment alternatives, the 3PL companies, and accelerate your business.

Pros and cons of 3PL Companies

Pros of 3PL Companies 

  • Quick Onboarding
  • Reasonable Rates 
  • Next-Day Delivery 
  • Professional Storage & Management

Cons of 3PL companies 

  • Communication Gaps
  • Reduced Control
  • Difficult to match Amazon Prime standards

Amazon’s Fulfillment by Merchant 

Next, if you ship heavy items that you cannot afford to transport to fulfillment centers, you can opt for Amazon’s Fulfillment by Merchant model. This gives you the flexibility to ship with other courier partners than those provided by Amazon Logistics Network. 

Since you will have complete control of handling and shipping your Amazon orders, it means that you do not need to pay any additional fees to Amazon. But, you will need some additional storage space and resources to manage your inventory and pack and ship orders.

Pros and cons of Amazon Fulfillment by merchant

Pros of FBM

  • Complete Control of Inventory & Handling
  • Higher Profit Margins
  • No Storage Fees

Cons of FBM 

  • Additional Overheads 
  • More Investment

Seller-Fulfilled Prime 

If you sell high-value items or products with seasonal demand and feel that you need to store them at your warehouse and ship them directly to customers, you can choose the Seller Fulfilled Prime option on Amazon. 

Under the seller fulfilled prime option, you can pick, pack, and ship your order the same day to all the prime customers. The major advantage is that you can ship directly to prime customers from your own warehouse.

Pros and cons of seller fulfilled prime

Pros of Seller Fulfilled Prime 

  • Control over Inventory
  • Chance to sell to Prime sellers
  • Greater profit margins

Cons of Seller Fulfilled Prime

  • High Standards of Fulfillment
  • Same-Day Handling of Order

Self Storage 

For sellers who are alright with splitting their inventory between Amazon and other channels or have just started their D2C or social commerce venture, self-storage is the option for you. 

Self-storage indicates that you will take care of all the fulfillment operations that include storage, inventory management, order management, picking, packaging, and logistics on your own. If your inventory volume is not large and the number of incoming orders does not cross more than 10 per day, you can easily invest the necessary time and resources into managing a self-storage setup. 

This model is beneficial as it is cheap, does not require much labor, and earns from all the profits. But on the contrary, it is time-intensive and requires you to be on your toes at all times. If there is a fluctuation in orders, you will have to deal with it yourself or look for additional resources. This can be a separate option, but it cannot be ideal for a long-term plan.

Pros and cons of self storage

Pros of self-storage

  • Cheaper than FBA 
  • Complete control of inventory 
  • Choice of logistics partner 
  • Flexible

Cons of self-storage

  • Unreliable 
  • Time-intensive 
  • Short-term storage

Conclusion

Amazon FBA is the pioneer of quick deliveries and a seamless delivery experience. But, just because Amazon provides it doesn’t mean you cannot find alternatives to Amazon FBA. According to your business needs, look for the right fulfillment option and get started. If you pick FBA and do not have ample sales, you will be losing out on profits! Therefore, make an informed decision and leap your business. 

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