Amazon FBA Changes

How Amazon FBA Changes are Affecting SMBs

As we all know, Amazon is the juggernaut of ecommerce. Many sellers not only sell on the platform, they also use Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). But Amazon FBA changes, both regulatory and monetarily, are affecting sellers…and not in a good way.


What is Amazon FBA?

In this day and age, any seller worth their salt is on Amazon. When asked about where online consumers start shopping, 63% said they start their search for products on Amazon. It’s a crucial, trusted platform; easily the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon has 6.4 million total sellers worldwide. Amazon is the ecommerce hub of the century. If you intend to sell products online, it’s imperative your products are available on Amazon.

One of the reasons consumers prefer Amazon is because of the famous expectations for free, two-day shipping. In this digital day and age, consumers have come to expect near instantaneous results. Unfortunately, as an SMB it can be difficult to process orders with the speed and efficiency of a global shipping empire. When left to your own devices, it can be intimidating to face the pressure of a time crunch to get products out the door within the two-day window. It can also take a hit to your profits when you’re absorbing the cost of the shipping.

For these reasons, the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) option available to sellers seems like a lifesaver. Sellers ship their products to one of Amazon’s 185 global fulfillment centers. From there, the Amazon warehouse employees handle the rest of the shipping process for you, including packing items, shipping them to consumers, tracking the order, and handling the return & refund processes as well. One advantage of Amazon FBA – products are automatically eligible for Prime two-day shipping. It sounds like a dream come true for SMBs since it mitigates the need to handle your own shipping procedures.


The 2020 Boom and Amazon’s Initial Response

With the Coronavirus outbreak, millions of individuals were quarantined within their own homes. The only link to the outside world was the internet. As such, ecommerce absolutely flourished. The convenience of shopping online was too great a temptation to resist. 300 million active customers flooded to Amazon in 2020.

Unfortunately, with this rise in Amazon sales came Amazon FBA changes to the behind the scenes systems. This included sudden enforced rules about storage pricing that drastically and immediately crippled many SMBs on the site. On March 17th in 2020, just as the COVID outbreak was gaining traction in the USA, Amazon sent an email to all active sellers indicating they would no longer accept shipments of “nonessential products” to the Amazon warehouses.

Given the unprecedented circumstances, the sudden change in storage procedure didn’t come as a surprise. Amazon chose to prioritize high-demand products including medical supplies and household staples – like toilet paper – until April 5th.


The Hardest Hit are SMBs

Unfortunately, this change was devastating to the SMBs that use Amazon FBA. According to Steven Yates, CEO of Prime Guidance, sellers of nonessential items saw orders drop by up to 60 percent. From there, the difficulties for SMBs on Amazon only grew. In the beginning of the year, an estimated 2.5 million sellers were active on the site; by the end of the year, only 1.5 million sellers were still active.

This drop in sales was tactfully avoided by the Amazon advertising team. Amazon Seller Central saw a 55 percent increase in sales in the 2020 year but only measured those sales from April 15th to January 2021, bypassing the sharp decline during the start of the pandemic.

The 2020 year only continued to get harder for FBA sellers on Amazon. In July 2020, the online giant announced a new ASIN-level quantity limit. What did that mean? It limited the maximum unit quantity sellers could ship to Amazon fulfillment centers. In crisis mode, sellers grew discouraged with the sudden changes.


2021 Amazon Policy Updates

After the debacle of March 2020, Amazon recognized that the pandemic had produced a tough year for all retailers, and chose to postpone the announcement of increased fees until later in the year to give businesses a chance to adjust.

However, this strategy of announcing fees later than usual had the opposite effect because there was no leeway for sellers to adjust to the new requirements once announced. Amazon posted an announcement on April 22, 2021 at 10:37 pm about a change that took effect that very day.

This announcement reversed ASIN-level quantity limits. Instead, restock limits would be set by storage type. This change in policy was advertised as a more flexible system, in response to seller complaints. However, this updated system actually further restricted the amount of units that could be sent to fulfillment centers.

With the immediate implementation, the announcement also meant that many sellers suddenly had a large percentage of overage, meaning they would need to remove that percentage of their current inventory from the Amazon warehouses before they could ship anything inbound.

With all the changes implemented, it has become clear that Amazon intends for FBA to be for short-term supply, not the virtually unlimited fulfillment service of the past. Sellers dependent solely on Amazon run the risk of losing profits if another sudden policy implementation occurs, because sellers with no other option are forced to accept these restrictions.


Improve Your Approach

Thankfully, FBA is not the only option when it comes to selling items on Amazon. It’s critical to have your products on the site, but depending entirely on Amazon leaves you vulnerable to any unexpected changes in Amazon procedures, and Amazon is their own business trying to stay afloat.

In the past, we’ve discussed alternatives to Amazon FBA. You can instead use one of the other two avenues available to independent sellers to fulfill customer’s orders through Amazon, which grants you the ability to diversify your channels. With Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM), sellers can fulfill consumer’s Amazon orders themselves or outsource to an order fulfillment company like One World Direct. In the case of Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP), sellers fulfill orders through a hybrid of Amazon FBA and FBM options. With either avenue, sellers are no longer dependent solely upon the whims of Amazon.

Partnering with a 3PL, instead of being Amazon dependent, also allows you to adopt a multi-channel strategy, selling your products through other channels like Walmart, Target, Nordstrom, Wish, etc. without the extra hassle of fulfilling those orders yourself.

Are Amazon FBA changes affecting your business? Then get in touch with us at sales (at) owd (dot) com.

Fulfillment Costs

Fulfillment costs are based on three criteria: size, weight and delivery time.

OWD offers five service levels: economy (7-10 days); Standard (5-7 days), 2-Day, Overnight and International.

Starting At


Per Unit


Donec ut ligula eu ante blandit congue pulvinar ut turpis.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Phasellus vehicula risus a libero placerat, quis ultrices velit tempus.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Cras tempus augue eget dictum aliquam.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

International Shipping

The old way to ship internationally

DDU means Delivery Duty Unpaid – where the buyer pays for all of the import fees at delivery.

Unexpected import fees give buyers sticker shock – not good. When they refuse to pay, you’ve lost a sale and must pay to return your product, or abandon it.

DDU is an old idea whose time has passed. For these reasons and more, OWD doesn’t recommend DDU for e-com sellers.

The best way to ship internationally

DDP is an acronym for Delivery Duty Paid. DDP means that the seller pays for all the duties and import fees.

With DDP, your customers won’t be surprised with unexpected customs charges – good!

With OWD’s landed cost calculator, your foreign customers will know exactly what their various VAT, customers and duties will cost. No unhappy surprises.

Ship flat-rate anywhere in the world starting at:


One World Direct, B.V.

For large-scale operations needing a full solution in Europe, there’s OWD Europe, based in Amsterdam.

We Make Contact Center EASY

Sell More with Live Agents

The Services

OWD handles phone calls, e-mails and web chat eighteen hours a day from our own state-of-the-art facility.

We’ll handle your inbound sales and customer service contacts.

You get career agents who speak American English and know how to sell.

The Costs

$99 gets you 200 calls, e-mails or chats handled every week.

You get your own phone number and custom e-mail.

We do a lot more. Call for details.

More than a Call Center

Get Virtual Assistants as needed

One World’s contact center in Mobridge, South Dakota.

The Voice of Your Brand

We Make Returns EASY

Returns? Yuck.
One World has a simple solution.

All-Inclusive Returns

OWD’s all-inclusive Returns service provides simplicity and high-end customer service. OWD includes a pre-printed return label as part of your packing slip. Your customer need only drop it in the mail.

What’s included: packaging slip with return label, QC inspection, re-bag, re-tag and return to stock. What’s excluded: postage cost, poly bags and any special packaging.

Base Price


Add-On Services

Call For Quotes