Amazon said, “We’re updating our requirements for Seller Fulfilled Prime to ensure that it provides customers with a great and consistent Prime experience.” In a notice sent to Amazon sellers, which was seen by CNBC, the company wrote that “Beginning Oct. 1, members of Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime program will pay the company a 2% fee on each product sold”. Obviously, sellers see “the new fee as an attempt to pressure them into using Amazon’s logistics services rather than fulfilling orders themselves,” as per sellers interviewed by Bloomberg. Jason Boyce from Avenue7Media says that “We’re sitting here waiting for the FTC to take action against Amazon for antitrust issues, and this fee shows Amazon is not scared at all,”
Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide selling partner services, wrote “These optional, paid services aren’t required for succeeding in the Amazon store — some independent sellers run thriving businesses without them — but many sellers choose to use them because they offer impactful opportunities to drive their business growth at lower cost”. It is worth noting that “Amazon has been accused of having too much power over the some 2 million merchants who use its platform, which captures about 37.6% of all online spending in the US”.
According to the Bloomberg report, “The new fee targets merchants who use Seller Fulfilled Prime, a service that lets them handle logistics themselves and still get an Amazon Prime badge, which lets customers know they can expect quick delivery. These merchants often sell bulkier items such as furniture that don’t mesh well with Amazon’s highly automated warehouses, which are designed to mostly handle smaller products”. One popular seller on Amazon said that “the fee will cost his company approximately $1 million a year, forcing it to raise prices. He will probably continue to use the service because Amazon has so many customers but notes that he’s not getting anything extra in return for paying the fee”. In 2019, a merchant accused Amazon of “using its dominance in e-commerce to force sellers to use its logistics services” which was echoed by other sellers and is now a focus of FTC’s antitrust case against Amazon.