Originally published June 27, 2019; Updated November 9, 2021.
For sellers and brands, the opportunity to reach customers on Amazon’s marketplace is clear. However, the costs of doing business with Amazon are more murky.
In 2021, Amazon assesses fees simply for the privilege to sell on its site, as well as to utilize many of the programs and resources that help businesses thrive on the marketplace.
The total fees can vary widely from seller to seller depending on the type of products they sell and many other factors. Let’s take a look at some of the most common selling fees and when they apply.
Professional Selling Plan
The very first fee that a new seller encounters is the $39.99 monthly subscription fee for Professional Sellers. Professional sellers are sellers who plan on retailing 40+ items per month and want access to advertising and other tools.
Individual Selling Plan
Individual sellers (those who plan on selling fewer than 40 items per month) are charged $0.99 per item in addition to referral fees and variable closing fees.
About Selling Plans
Similar to the annual Amazon Prime fee for buyers, the subscription fee provides sellers a certain status and a specific view into the marketplace that they wouldn’t see otherwise. It also serves as the baseline, compulsory fee that is to be paid before all others.
Professional sellers should expect other fees (we’ll go into those later), but they will never be charged a “per-item” subscription fee like individual sellers.
What is the Amazon referral fee? Sellers are responsible for paying Amazon a percentage for every item sold; this is called a referral fee.
The referral fee varies by product category, but in all instances, it’s calculated by deducting the percentage from the total sale price. This can include the price of the item as well as shipping and gift wrapping, but excluding any of the Amazon tax calculation service figures.
Referral Fees By Category
The fee can vary from anywhere between 8 and 45%, based on the product’s category. There are minimum referral fees in most categories.
Amazon charges an additional closing fee for a select set of media categories. This fees category includes sellers who have media products listed in the following categories:
- Software & Computer/Video Games
- Video & DVD
- Video Game Accessories
If a product falls into one of these categories, the seller is responsible for paying a closing fee of $1.80 for each media item sold, regardless of its listing price.
How fulfillment fees work depends on whether you ship by Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) or Fulfillment By Merchant (FBM).
FBA fulfillment fees are broken down by apparel and non-apparel. Within those distinctions, fees are then calculated per unit based on product dimensions and shipping weight, not on the measurement of the packaging.
Non-apparel fees range from $2.16 to $138 per unit plus additional costs for additional weight. Apparel fees range from $2.16 to $6.08 per unit, again with an additional possible cost for additional weight.
Special Handling Fees
For items shipped by FBA, Amazon charges a special handling fee that applies uniquely to televisions. If the television is 42 inches or larger it incurs the special handling fee of $40.00 assessed on a per-unit basis at the time of shipping. This can also apply to smaller televisions if they need special handling based on weight or fragility.
Lithium Battery Fees
Similar to the special handling fee for televisions, the lithium battery fee applies for a very specific set of products when handled by FBA. If a product contains a lithium battery, a fee of $0.11 per unit is applied at the time of shipping.
If you fulfill orders yourself or use a 3PL, you set your own shipping rates and then receive a credit from Amazon in that amount. There’s an exception for books, music, videos, and DVDs. For these products, Amazon sets the shipping rates and that’s the amount they credit to sellers.
For sellers who use FBA, in addition to the fulfillment fees, there are storage fees. These fees are charged monthly, based on the daily average volume of inventory in Amazon warehouses. The cost increases every year from October to December. Use the monthly storage fees report to track these fees.
Storage Fees For Most Goods
Storage fees are assessed for most goods according to the following rates.
January – September
Standard size — $0.75 per cubic foot
Oversize — $0.48 per cubic foot
October – December
Standard size — $2.40 per cubic foot
Oversize — $1.20 per cubic foot
Storage Fees For Dangerous Goods
Items deemed to be dangerous goods incur steeper fees for storage. Instead of the storage fees cited above, dangerous goods are charged according to the following chart.
January — September
Standard size — $0.99 per cubic foot
Oversize — $0.78 per cubic foot
October — December
Standard size — $3.63 per cubic foot
Oversize — $2.43 per cubic foot
Unplanned Services Fees
If products arrive at a fulfillment center and aren’t prepared or labeled according to Amazon’s specifications, they have to be rerouted within the fulfillment center for special problem-solving.
In this case, Amazon may charge you unplanned services fees. These fees are charged at the unit level based on the problem that Amazon must solve for you and the severity of the problem.
Amazon barcode missing — $.20 – $.40
Taping — $.20 – $.40
Bagging — $.70 – $1.40
Bubble wrap — $1.00 – $2.00
Long-Term Storage Fees
Amazon charges long-term storage fees for items remaining in their warehouses beyond 365 days. Calculations are made on a first-in-first-out basis using an inventory snapshot on the 15th of the month.
The amount of the fee is calculated based on unit volume or per unit, whichever is greater. You will be charged $6.90 per cubic foot or $0.15 per unit, whichever amount is greater.
Removal Order Fees
To remove stock from FBA storage, Amazon charges Removal Order Fees. These fees are calculated based on size and shipping weight and are charged on a per-unit basis.
Inventory Placement Service Fees
Another optional fee for FBA storage is the Inventory Placement fee. When you send products to Amazon, they may split that into multiple shipments to go to multiple locations for more efficient fulfillment.
You can optionally sign up for the Inventory Placement Service which allows you to ship to a single location and then Amazon will divide up your products and reship to distribute them strategically in their fulfillment centers.
Inventory placement fees are determined based on unit size and weight, and divided by standard size and oversize categories.
1 pound or less — $0.30
1 -2 pounds — $0.40
Over 2 pounds — $0.40 + $0.10/pound above the first 2 pounds
5 pounds or less — $1.30
Over 5 pounds — $1.30 + $0.20/pound above the first five pounds
Strategic Account Services Fees
Amazon sellers can optionally sign up for Strategic Account Services (SAS) Core. This provides you with an account manager who can give you personalized recommendations to grow your business on Amazon, guidance on what beta programs might be right for your business, and help managing issues that may arise.
The cost for Strategic Account Services is $1,600/month + 0.3% of your total sales in the previous month plus tax, with a fee cap of $5,000/month. The program requires a minimum commitment of three months.
High-Volume Listing Fees
For non-media products which are associated with a High-Volume Listing SKU, Amazon charges a fee of $0.005, per SKU.
For serious sellers, this fee could become a hefty one. However, it should be noted that Amazon waives the High-Volume Listing fee for the first 1.5 million SKUs. This is a monthly fee that is calculated by Amazon and shown on each statement.
Rental Book Service Fees
If you rent textbooks, you will have to pay Amazon’s Rental Book Service Fees. The fee is assessed at the time of the rental order on a per unit basis of $5 per book rental.
Refund Administration Fees
One of the great things about Amazon is that it provides standardized, round-the-clock customer service (although Amazon has strict expectations of sellers when it comes to providing customer support).
If you refund a shopper, Amazon will issue you a refund of the associated referral fee. However, they will apply a Refund Administration fee of $5 or 20% of the referral fee, whichever is lesser. So in essence, Amazon deducts the Refund Administration Fee from their refund of the Referral Fee.
To promote your products on Amazon, increase their chances of discovery, and therefore boost your sales and profit, you can implement advertising. Costs for promoting products within search are calculated on a cost per click (CPC) basis. CPCs vary widely across categories and fluctuate seasonally as well.
Amazon additionally offers several other advertising opportunities to build brand awareness and move shoppers through the advertising funnel. Teikametrics’ expert analysts can help you to understand what advertising is likely to cost you as well as what the value will be to you in terms of ROI.
Final Thoughts On Amazon Fees
That covers Amazon fees at the time of this writing. The major fees you can expect to pay are subscription fees and referral fees.
If you use FBA you’ll also pay fulfillment fees and storage fees. There are several other fees that are either optional or come into effect under specific circumstances, such as high-volume listing fees or advertising fees.
For a (mostly) full view of the current 2021 Amazon seller fees, take a look at the Selling on Amazon Fee Schedule. There, you’ll find important fine print that will help you get a better sense of what you should expect to owe, by product and by category. If you’re selling on Amazon.ca, refer to the Amazon.ca Fee Schedule.
Keeping close tabs on which of these fees Amazon is charging you and whether they’re calculating accurately will help to keep your business strong.
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