There’s no doubt that Amazon FBA is the go-to fulfillment option for most Amazon sellers, but if you're selling small and cheap products, it makes little to no sense. All those FBA fees can easily eat into your margins, which could already be pretty thin to begin with!
Enter FBA Small and Light.
This FBA program is designed to cut fulfillment costs for Amazon sellers who ship products that are, well, small and light. This article will go over what the FBA Small and Light Program is all about, its pros and cons, and how you can enroll your eligible products.
Related Listening: E361: What I Learned While Working at an Amazon FBA Warehouse
What is the Amazon Small and Light Program?
Straight from the horse’s mouth, the Small and Light program is a cost-cutting program that reduces fulfillment costs for sellers and allows you to pass the savings onto your customers.
Stated differently, it’s basically the best way (and for some, the only way) to be profitable if you’re selling small, cheap, and fast-moving products.
If your products are eligible for this program, you can enroll them and reap some serious benefits, but, as we'll discuss later on, it's not without a few drawbacks.
Which Products are Eligible for Small and Light?
As of April 28, 2022, Amazon has updated the eligibility criteria for FBA Small and Light, with slightly larger and slightly pricier items now being eligible for enrollment into the program, consequently allowing more sellers to enroll their items. To be eligible, your products to be eligible for FBA Small and Light, it has to tick three main boxes: It has to weigh 3 lb or less, measure under 18 x 14 x 8 inches or less, and be priced at $10 or less.
On top of those key criteria, your product must not fall under Amazon’s list of restricted items. These include temperature-sensitive items like chocolates and slow-moving products, as in those that have sold fewer than 25 units in the last four weeks.
Also, the products you enroll in this program have to be in new condition. Products in any other condition (i.e., Used) are not eligible for FBA Small and Light.
So, here’s a quick checklist you can go over to see if your product qualifies for this program:
- It has to weigh 12 oz. or less;
- It has to measure 18 x 14 x 8 inches or smaller;
- It has to be priced at $10 or less;
- It must not be under a restricted category;
- It must be New;
- If existing ASIN, it must have sold at least 25 units in the past month; and
- It must comply with the Prepping/Shipping guidelines. (We'll get to this one in a bit.)
Do your products qualify so far? If not, there are several other ways to save on FBA Fees and Referral Fees. Check out Dave’s guide below.
What are the Advantages of Small and Light?
I mentioned earlier that the key benefit to FBA Small and Light is that it cuts your costs of fulfilling orders. That's pretty big, but there are other perks, too.
You Can Save on Shipping Fees
Paying much lower fulfillment costs is the biggest advantage to enrolling your items in Small and Light. As of writing, these are the fulfillment fees under FBA Small and Light.
Let's imagine you’re selling a pop-up card wallet that weighs 2.32 oz. Based on the table above, you’ll be shipping that out at $2.47 per unit under FBA Small and Light, whereas it will set you back but it will only cost you $3.08 under standard FBA.
Doesn’t seem like much, does it? But imagine that you sell 1000 units a month. That’s an easy $610 in savings under FBA Small and Light.
Below is a price comparison for our example earlier, with the 5% surcharge at the time of writing already taken into account. You can check out Amazon's full FBA fees breakdown here.
|FBA Small and Light||Standard FBA|
|Size||15 x 12 x 0.75 inches|
|Weight||< 6 oz.||6+ oz. to 12 oz.||< 6 oz.||< 6 oz.|
Your Products Will Be Prime-Eligible
Another selling point (at least according to Amazon) is that your products are Prime-eligible, meaning, your listings will rock the Prime badge—one of many Amazon badges that can spice up your listings.
That’s free visibility to Amazon Prime members, which are pretty active shoppers if you ask me.
But here's the catch: Prime customers will actually be looking at free shipping within 3 to 5 business days, instead of the 2-day guarantee, so that “benefit” could hurt more than it helps.
As for non-Prime customers, they'll get free standard shipping within 6 to 8 business days.
No Minimum Order Requirement
Another pro is that customers won't have to satisfy any minimum purchase requirement. Standard FBA only grants free shipping if you order $25 or more of eligible items.
Amazon has also ended the dreaded add-on item feature, so customers can now purchase your small and light products by themselves and not just as add-ons or afterthoughts.
A relatively recent update, FBA's Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is now available for Small and Light.
So, if you're also selling your products on Walmart, Shopify, or other marketplaces, you no longer have to ship them from anywhere else. Just take note of the corresponding fees.
Your Can Offer Discounts for Free
Under FBA Small and Light, some small products priced at $5 or lower and fall under the Consumables category (e.g., Beauty and Grocery) are eligible for a 5% discount if the customer orders two or more units.
No action is required from you, and Amazon will shoulder the costs of the discount. In other words, you’ll be offering discounts without incurring any costs.
What are the Disadvantages of FBA Small and Light?
Aside from the 3-5 day shipping (instead of 2-day) that we mentioned earlier, there are a few downsides to FBA Small and Light that you might want to watch out for.
Some Big Marketplaces Aren't Covered
Small and Light is offered in a number of different countries, and the fees and requirements may differ, depending on which marketplace you are selling in.
Some marketplaces, such as Amazon.ca (Canada), Amazon.mx (Mexico), and Amazon.com.au (Australia) are glaringly absent. That's pretty weird, since those are big marketplaces in their own right.
Specific Prepping and Shipping Requirements
The prepping and packaging requirements for sending inventory in FBA Small and Light are different (and a bit more specific) than in Standard FBA. If you happen to ship products that do not comply with the requirements, your shipment could be set aside at the fulfillment center.
That said, if you can live with a bit of extra work, we'll talk about how to ship your small and light items into the FBA centers further down this article.
Items Ship in Poly Bags and Jiffy Bags
This one could be problematic for those who ship fragile products like glass. In fact, Amazon warns sellers outright to properly package their items to avoid breakage during shipping.
Some some sellers also report cases of incorrect or missing items under Small and Light, although Amazon also does that quite a lot under Standard FBA. It's probably a good thing that products enrolled in FBA Small and Light are covered by Amazon's A-Z Guarantee.
Summary: FBA Small and Light Pros and Cons
Here's a recap of the advantages and disadvantages of FBA Small and Light.
FBA Small and Light Pros
- Much lower fulfillment costs
- Prime badge could bump up your sales
- No minimum order requirement
- You can offer free promotions for certain products
- Multi-channel fulfillment is now available for Small and Light
- A-Z Guarantee could boost customer trust
FBA Small and Light Cons
- 3-5 day (not 2-day) shipping, despite being “Prime-eligible”
- Not available (yet) in some big marketplaces
- Additional prepping and shipping requirements
- Items are shipped in poly bags or Jiffy bags
How Do I Enroll My Products in FBA Small and Light?
Now for the nitty-gritty.
Firstly, you have to already be signed up for Amazon FBA. Enrollment in Small and Light is a simple two-step process: (1) enroll your items through Seller Central; (2) send your inventory into the fulfillment center.
Step 1: Enroll your products
Amazon has a Get started portal on the FBA Small and Light page, which will take you to the enrollment page on Seller Central, but you can also search for Small and Light on Seller Central to access the same page.
On the enrollment page, you have two options: Quick enroll + or Download a template. If you're enrolling less than 100 MSKUs, the first option lets you enroll existing MSKUs or check if they are eligible. The second option lets you download an Excel file, which you can fill up with the MSKUs of products you want to enroll in the program.
Take a look at Amazon’s guide to enrolling new ASINs into the Small and Light program.
If you're going the template file route, there are 3 tabs:
The Upload tab is where you will key in the MSKUs that you want to enroll in Small and Light. If you need help in creating new MSKUs for Small and Light, Amazon has an offer creation guide.
Key in your MSKUs, not the ASINs. They are the SKUs that you yourself assign to your products. In our example below, SNL001 is our assigned MSKU for a product we would like to enroll in the program.
After filling out the file, give it a quick save (You only need to save the Upload tab) and go back to the enrollment page for uploading.
Once done, you can check the enrollment status below to see if Amazon has approved your items.
To further confirm, you can view the item on your Seller Central dashboard and check out the FBA fees. They should now reflect lower fees under FBA Small and Light.
One thing to note: product delisting from the program is automatic. Meaning, the moment you price your items above $7, it will be reverted back to regular FBA.
Step 2: Ship your products to Amazon FBA
The next step is to prepare your inventory and ship it to Amazon. They provide a detailed prep and packaging guide.
Among the requirements are that same-ASIN products must be in clear plastic bags, manufacturer, or seller case packs and that each individual unit has a barcode. You can print and slap on an Amazon barcode during shipment creation if you have no barcode available.
You must label each same-ASIN bag or pack with the total quantity of sellable units—a minimum of 24 units per SKU must be sent in each shipment.
Falling short of this 24-unit minimum or sending in products that are not eligible to begin with will cause your shipment to be sidelined at the FBA center.
It’s possible to ship multiple SKUs in a single box, as long as each SKU meets the requirements.
Lastly, take note of the general FBA requirements that also apply to Small and Light:
- Shipping boxes must not exceed 25 inches on any side; and
- Shipping boxes must not weigh more than 50 pounds.
When you make a sale, Amazon uses a standardized packaging weight of 0.7 oz. for every package under FBA Small and Light, while in Standard FBA, it's 4 oz. for standard-size packages. You can also avail of Amazon's optional FBA Label Service at $0.10 per unit under Small and Light.
After sending your inventory into Amazon FBA, you're good to go. Be sure to monitor your sales and keep your inventory up to avoid losing customers or having your products delisted from the program.
Amazon FBA Small and Light is an easy way to save on fulfillment costs if you're selling small, cheap, and fast-moving products. Sure, a dollar-per-unit (or even less) in savings is not much, but it adds up as you sell more units. Plus, you can pass the savings onto your customers to help establish some brand loyalty.
There are cons as well, but if you're shipping small items that sell like hotcakes, FBA Small and Light makes logical sense.
What do you think about FBA Small and Light? Let us know in the comments down below!