Amazon.com is sending some of its small-business retail “partners” a special holiday gift: Higher fees.
Starting in February 2014, Amazon Webstore users—businesses that have set up an e-commerce site through Amazon and have access to various Amazon services—will pay much higher fees in order to operate their online stores and sell their products. Businesses that operate an Amazon Webstore and sell their products on Amazon will see their monthly subscription fees jump from $0 to $79 per month. Webstore clients who do not sell products through Amazon will see their monthly fees rise from $39.99 to $79.
Moreover, transaction fees for Webstore sellers who sell their products on Amazon will double from 1 percent to 2 percent of sale proceeds.
As tech blog The Next Web put it, “We would advise selling as many of your products on Amazon as you can before February."
So far Amazon has not announced fee increases for its Pro Merchant program—a different service for merchants who only sell products through Amazon but don’t use its e-commerce platform. Fees will also be rising in February for merchants that use Amazon’s FBA Fulfillment Services, according to EcommerceBytes.com.
The fee hikes are sure to upset and surprise the thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses that rely on their Amazon Webstores to sell products both on and off Amazon. They may be feeling at the mercy of the retail giant, which clearly knows it has the power to raise its merchant fees due to its stronghold on online sales.
Merchant fees have also shown themselves to be a very effective moneymaker for Amazon. Professional merchant commissions made up between 9 percent and 12 percent of Amazon’s $48.1 billion in 2012 revenues, according to TheDailyDot, and Amazon takes up to 15-percent commission on some items.
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