Amazon readies fulfillment service for SMBs

Amazon has two new services to host SMBs online stores and process their orders' fulfillment.

Amazon.com is now offering to host small and medium-size businesses' (SMBs) online stores and handle their order fulfillment process.

The two new services, called Fulfillment by Amazon and WebStore by Amazon, are now available in test, or beta, form, the Seattle e-commerce giant announced Tuesday.

Amazon has provided services such as these to large retailers for years, but it is now targeting SMBs that lack the time and resources to handle these tasks.

Retailers that sign up for the fulfillment service send their products to an Amazon depot. When customers place orders, Amazon will pack and ship products and provide post-sales customer service support like returns and refunds.

Fulfillment by Amazon's handling fees start at US$0.50 per item plus US$0.40 per pound and a storage fee of US$0.45 per cubic foot per month. Retailers can also extend to their shoppers special shipping options from Amazon, like free shipping on certain orders.

Meanwhile, WebStore by Amazon handles the hosting of an online store, including bandwidth allotment based on traffic patterns and payment processing. Amazon charges a 7 percent commission on each product purchased, plus a monthly fee of US$59.95. Retailers can choose from various layout options and post their own photos and logo to customize the site.

More information is at http://www.amazonservices.com/businesssolutions.

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