It's not uncommon to offer both FBA and FBM on the same item, in case you run out of stock of the FBA item or vice-versa. Same price, same delivery dates... but the FBA product will outpace your FBM product dramatically.
So those merchants that try to FBM exclusively are put at a double disadvantage - rank worse in search, and get harshly penalized if a product is delivered late (even though once it leaves your warehouse, it's up to the USPS/UPS/FedEx meet their delivery promise).
Also, the article alleges FBA fees are not in-line with market rates for 3PL, and the close tie between Amazon's Logistics Network and Marketplace has caused a price increase to consumers, which harms consumers unfairly - thus the Anti-Trust case.
I've bought FBM and had stuff come from china in a flimsy envelope crushed. I've no idea how they can justify shipping this crap internationally.
FBA from a customer standpoint is simply more predictable. I can get extremely short delivery times (most are next day where I am for some reason instead of two day).
Did they do any analysis of whether customers are willing to pay more for FBA? I wouldn't be surprised if they were. You also tend to get fewer boxes if you do FBA. I did a bunch of third party orders once for an electronics project (think 30 different small things) most were FBM and all came in separate small boxes which is ridiculous.
This is by Amazon's design too.
If you use the "Buy Box" (add to cart button on the product page), it's quite difficult to see who you're buying from and from where the item ships from.
However, if you select "More offers from..." button, hidden on the page pretty well, you can see exactly where the product ships from, and expected delivery dates, as well as seller feedback ratings and number of feedbacks (giving you an idea of size of the seller).
Many of us FBM's have primary websites we sell on that make majority of our annual revenue, and our own distribution network.
Guess what? The same products we sell on Amazon are cheaper on our website - and we'll still get the product to you in 2-3 days, often with Free Shipping too. We don't have to pay Amazon fees that way, and we stand behind our company name - we're not going to screw you over in some shady way like pretend to be American but actually ship from China.
It's insane that we've spent all this money, and decades building our own fulfillment network, warehouses, and processes - but when we sell on Amazon, we're compelled to use their FBA just so we can sell enough product there to be worth our time.
I bought direct from an Instagram ad. Turns out they wanted me to wait for their next shipment despite saying "in-stock" - 2-3 months. When I said refund me they said no wait, we DO have it in stock! That is shady.
All this took lots of back and forth. I couldn't just cancel without talking to them, I had to figure out their system for submitting requests etc.
Amazon sells predictability in part. Their business accounts let me ad a GL code to my order and ties into a statement that can be paid by check within 30 days through an AP system on our side (also electronic).
I don't drink coffee but I imagine Starbucks does the same otherwise why would everyone go there?
Amazon's big risk is their marketplace and the crap in there. They should clamp down HARD there. That is getting us to consider moving business purchases elsewhere.
Sounds like you were buying from an arbitrage seller, our more commonly called a drop shipper our crossdocker in industry terms. Basically they don't stock the products they sell. They buy goods when they sell goods, and hope you won't notice. Sometimes it works out, if their source can ship quickly... But in your case... It didn't. That's not really an online store... Unfortunately, only online reviews will be able to help you stay away from that.
I can't speak for all online stores, and certainly if your organization has an approved vendor list then things are set... But many of us are happy to accept PO's, setup NET accounts, and more. You'll also get a more personal touch with a company that cares about your business instead of you just being another number.
As an aside, take a look at Quill for office supplies. They'll treat you right.
The real trick would be to account for shipping in the calculations.
There's more to this game then you seem to think. The thing Amazon has that you're missing is customers that trust you. That's not cheap.ans easy to acquire.
Go sell it on your website with free shipping. Nobody cares.
So try a few online stores... There's a few you've probably heard of, Newegg, DSW, Chewy, and more. We'll earn your repeat business, otherwise you move on to some other online store.
That's how this business works.
How'd you come to trust Amazon in the first place? You tried a purchase, and were satisfied with the experience. They earned your trust just, like any store, physical or virtual.
People develop trust relationships with the online places they shop. They aren't trusting their credit card, they're trusting the merchant to not need to use the credit card security/safety features.
None of those stores you mentioned are anywhere near amazon or have amazon's customer service reputation.
The idea isn't "howd you come to trust amazon" but "how do you compete with amazon while they have more trust and better shipping than you."
I and everybody else dont shop at infinite places. You check the usual suspects when looking for something. You dont say "I'll take a bet I'll get this at the advertised price and shipping time because I have a credit card."
I want that thing. I dont want to fuck around with my credit card company and then order the thing from someone else.
You are mistaking the problem amazon had with the problem everyone else has - trying to compete with amazon.
Initially, you didn't trust Amazon. They earned your trust somehow, no?
The same with any other company.
I highly doubt Newegg is going to throw away their entire business and reputation just to screw you out of $100.
In fact, I'd wager they take your customer relationship more seriously because they are smaller than Amazon.
Meanwhile, as evidenced in this thread and others anytime Amazon comes up... Amazon seems perfectly willing to throw away their relationship with you over $100 of counterfeit goods.
You'd be dead wrong. Newegg was bought by Liaison Interactive in 2016 and has been in steep decline since.
They lost their customer service advantage to amazon years before that.
Customer service isn't a checkbox its a series of systems and when one company does it better they win.
If you're unhappy with your purchase amazon will take it back, most of the time you won't pay shipping. Newegg doesn't enjoy the same reputation.
Amazon does have an issue with counterfeit goods I don't understand given their data driven supply chain, so I hope they can solve it soon. If not someone else will eventually figure it out do better.
Also, we shouldn't laser focus in on just one company. Newegg was an example... and it's still the place to buy computer hardware. Their customers do enjoy free returns, and often free shipping too.
Zeroing in on just Amazon is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
In the end, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
Amazon could figure out which 3rd parties supplied it and get them to better police their supply line.
Newegg is not "the place" to buy computer harware. and its reputation is garbage.
I'm not sure what their deal is but the local Kohl's will actually PACK and ship your stuff back to amazon - then gives you a 40% discount to the store in my case.
I just actually screwed up and bought something expensive that turned out not to be a good fit from a non amazon seller (no return). I'm going to eat the loss and buy from amazon for the next - my own fault there.
And... it's more expensive than FBM if you've already got your own staff, warehouses, carrier agreements, etc... which is part of the Anti-Trust argument the article is making (being compelled to use FBA).