Rome (Italy). On October 6-27, 2019, the Special Synod for the Panamazon Region will take place on the theme “New paths for the Church and for an integral ecology”.
On September 21, 2019, the Holy See Press Office announced the List of Participants of the Special Synod for the Amazon.
For the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sisters Maria Carmelita of Lima Conceição, Provincial of Laura Vicuña Province of Manaus (BMA) and Sister Mariluce dos Santos Mesquita of the Province of St. Teresinha (BMT) will participate as auditors.
The main objective of the Synod is “to find new ways to evangelize that portion of the people of God, especially indigenous peoples, often forgotten and without the prospect of a peaceful future, also due to the crisis of the Amazon forest, lung of fundamental importance for our planet”.
It is the life of this green lung of the earth that is at the center of the work commissioned by Pope Francis, as written in the Working Document of the Assembly published on 17 June 2019. “A great ecclesial, civil, and ecological project will speak to the world of a territory – which extends over nine countries and inhabited by 34 million people, of which over three million are indigenous, belonging to more than 390 ethnic groups – still little known even though fundamental for the very existence of life on our planet, as the site of more than a third of primary forest reserves, therefore biodiversity, water, and oxygen”.
The desire is to evangelize all peoples, all cultures, and to set out to overcome difficulties and sow hope (Pope Francis).
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Fulfillment by Amazon vs. Fulfillment by Merchant?
As an Amazon seller, you have two primary options:
1) Use the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program and pay Amazon to store and ship your products to customers
2) Ship orders out yourself, which is known as seller-fulfilled or Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM).
A third option is to do some of both. Whatever your strategy, it should be reviewed from time to time to ensure it makes sense for your evolving business. Let’s look at a few pros and cons for FBA and FBM.
Amazon is proud of its FBA program and encourages sellers to use it to fill customer orders. It’s a great service that takes a lot of the headache out of selling online, but there are some things to be aware of before you jump in. Here are a few points to consider:
- Prime enrollment. This is one of the biggest benefits to FBA. As a third party seller using FBA, all your products are automatically enrolled in Amazon’s Prime program. It’s estimated that Amazon has 60 to 80 million Prime members who shop more frequently and spend more than non-Prime members.
- Buy Box wins. There are many factors that go into winning the Buy Box and fulfillment method is a big one. An FBA seller can generally price a little higher than an FBM offer and still hold the Buy Box.
- Freed-up time. With FBA, Amazon takes on the task of filling your customer’s orders including customer service and returns. For some sellers, this is a big benefit. FBA allows you to focus your time and resources on growing your Amazon business, instead of spending it on the logistics of storing, packing and shipping your inventory to customers.
- Lower shipping rates. It’s likely that the fees Amazon charges to ship your products are lower than what you would get through your own shipping account. If that is the case, using FBA will lower costs and increase your profit margin.
- Complicated fees. Amazon charges different FBA fees, including fees for monthly storage, order fulfillment, pick-and-pack and weight handling. These fees vary depending on the size of your item and can be complicated to calculate on your own. Use the FBA revenue calculator or the Fee Preview report to determine what you are paying in fees for each of your products.
- Long-term storage fees. Amazon does not want to store your goods indefinitely. Long-term storage fees are charged on the 15th of each month for inventory that has been at FBA for more than 181 days. You will need to be aware of your inventory age and have a plan to sell through or remove your older inventory to avoid these penalty fees.
- Limited access. If there are quality problems with your inventory or the wrong product is being sent out to customers, sellers are obviously not able to walk into the warehouse and review their inventory. You will need to either have it removed and shipped back to you, or rely on Amazon’s employees to double check the product inside their fulfillment centers.
There are a number of reasons why sellers would choose FBM over FBA, but there are also contrary reasons. Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages:
- More control. If you store and ship your inventory yourself, you will maintain hands-on access to your inventory whenever you need it.
- Lower costs. Because Amazon’s fees are based on the size of the item, if you have a large item with small margins you will want to compare the costs of using FBA vs. handling fulfillment yourself. This is especially true for items that have a slower turn rate.
- Faster turn rates. Going FBM for low-priced items under $6-$8 will keep them out of Amazon’s add-on program. This program is designed to save Amazon shipping and handling costs and requires that a customer purchase $25 worth of merchandise before Amazon will ship out an add-on item. This deters some customers, and you may find you can increase sales velocity by shipping these items yourself.
- New Prime program. Amazon recently rolled out a new program that allows you to enroll seller-fulfilled products in the Prime program. Sellers have to apply to the program and show that they can meet Amazon’s strict shipping standards.
- Required discipline. Amazon is fanatical about customer service and will penalize sellers for late and incorrect shipments. Without a strong, quality-controlled process, you will make mistakes. Those may lead to a lower seller-health rating, which affects how you show up in search and reduces your chances of winning the Buy Box. Too many errors and Amazon could suspend your seller account, even permanently.
- Lower selling price. To win the Buy Box and compete with other FBA sellers, you may need to keep your sales price low. This will affect margins and could start a pricing war.
These are just a few of the considerations that should go into choosing a fulfillment strategy. Many Amazon sellers actually find that their strategy is neither 100 percent FBM or FBA, but a mix of both. You should be aware of the pros and cons for each option, specifically the costs associated with them, for each of your products. As your selling on Amazon business grows and evolves, continue to revisit your fulfillment options and make the best decision based on your business and your bottom line.
Okay, so I bought season 1 (this boxset) a few months ago thinking, 'it's inexpensive right now, it's popular, and I need to watch it someday, but I probably won't get so into it that I feel the need to own the rest of it, right?' and then, I watched an episode 3 days ago. I finished the series in about 2.5 days, and would have done it faster if I hadn't been sick and unable to sit up the whole time. I'm so excited about it that I even wanna show my mom this series! I think she'll like it since her and I are fans of Supernatural, and this is pretty similar in a way.
This next part is so parents can know what's in it, or so that kids who have seen a little of the series can know whether they'd need to watch it in secret or out in the open.
For those of you who want to know of the general content, it has some cursing in it, but they never say the f-word (can't remember if they ever said the s-word, but they said the d-word and b*****d a lot). There's quite a bit of violence, but I wouldn't call anything in this series scary. There's no romance (a nice change of pace for me), there's no ecchi (which means no panties or naked boobs or softcore sex), but there is one scene where someone accidentally grabbed someone else's boob one time, but he immediately got away from her and apologized profusely (I'd say which character, but I don't wanna spoil anything. Not that that scene is some sort of major series turner or something, which it isn't). Also, there are lots of things like government conspiracies and religious cults (don't worry. If you're a Christian like me, their god is like the sun god or other stuff like that. Just treat it as a good story and ignore it. If you are a kid reading this and thought you wanted to show it to your parents and they're psycho-religious, you may wanna keep this hidden just to be safe). And naturally, as it says in the title, there's Alchemy. So they're drawing circles and using magic type stuff, mixed with tons of scientific knowledge (to the parents, know they're not chanting to Satan--or anyone in that matter--I swear).
The voice acting is AWESOME. I had recently finished rewatchign Ouran High School Host Club, and I knew that the same guy who does Tamaki in english also does Edward, so I thought "I wanna hear him talk some more" so I watched the series. I almost NEVER watch a series in English first (I rarely watch them in English at ALL but this was truly special).
*****This next part contains some spoilers. If you're not okay with spoilers, it'd be good to skip this part.*****
The series starts off showing Ed and Al using Alchemy when they were about five years younger or so. They were trying to bring back their mother by using the forbidden human transmutation, and Al ended up having his body sucked into a vortext. It is later explained that Ed had to literally give an arm and a leg to save Al, and he bound his little brother's soul to the armor in the corner of the room, which is really hard for Alchemists to do.
Then, after that, it skips ahead five years for two episodes (and you almost feel like you're being thrown into the middle of the series instead of having more of an explanation first), and then they go back to when they were kids and explain what really happened (which I just spoiled above), and also how Edward got his leg and arm made of metal (which is called auto mail). Over time, things are explained about how Edward became a state alchemist when he was only twelve, and things carry on from there.
That's really all I needed to say. As for the opening and ending theme songs, there is one opening them for the first half of season 1 (didn't care too much for it), one ending theme for the first part (can't remember it), the second ending theme song (Ready Steady Go, which I love) and the second ending theme song which whenever I watch it, it always sets the mood for the next episode perfectly. I love the music, but I stayed for the story, basically. I regret nothing.
The only thing I regret is not already having the second season in my possession, and not having the money to buy Brotherhood, which is two boxsets after season 2. (I convinced my mom to buy it because it went down to a little over 12 bucks). When I get in season 2, I'll own 51 episodes of it. It'll be the longest anime I have ever owned so far, and as I keep collecting, the most expensive, too.
Sorry for this long, rambling review. I hope it did you some good, and helped you decide whether you would be interested in it or not for the content. it's hilarious when it's trying to be funny, when it's sad it's tear jerking, when it's dark, it's SUPER dark. This series did everything right (I just wish that all the episodes of every season, plus the OVAs and movies, were in one boxset).
I love Fullmetal Alchemist!
Amazon FBA vs FBM
FBA (Fullfilled by Amazon) is Amazon’s warehousing and fulfillment service that allows sellers to send inventory to an Amazon warehouse and have their orders shipped by Amazon. FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) is a fulfillment method in which the seller takes full responsibility for storing inventory and shipping orders.
When you use FBA, Amazon charges a fulfillment fee and a monthly inventory storage fee. With FBM, you can store and ship items yourself or outsource fulfillment to a 3rd-party (that isn’t Amazon).
Deciding which method to choose can be difficult if you don’t understand the pros and cons of each program. In this article, we’ll do our best to explain and demystify FBA and FBM so you can pick the fulfillment option that is best for your business.
Pros & Cons of Amazon FBA
With Amazon FBA, Sellers send inventory to an Amazon warehouse and when an order is placed for their item on Amazon, the order is automatically fulfilled by Amazon. Amazon will also cover customer service and returns related to that order.
When you use FBA, Amazon charges a fulfillment fee and a monthly inventory storage fee.
- The fulfillment fee covers costs related to picking, packing, shipping, and providing customer service.
- The monthly inventory storage fee covers the cost of storing items in Amazon’s fulfillment centers.
These costs are in addition to any referral fees (Amazon’s commission for sales on its marketplace).
Pros of FBA
Items fulfilled through FBA are eligible for Prime shipping. This means that customers with an Amazon Prime subscription can receive your item with 2-days shipping at no additional cost (even 1-day shipping in some areas). This increases the sales potential of your items because Prime subscribers are eager to take advantage of fo rapid delivery times.
To put the opportunity into perspective, there are more than 110 million Prime subscribers in the US alone. They are much more likely to purchase an item that has the Prime badge than an item with standard shipping.
Examples of Prime badges which indicate an item is eligible for Prime shipping.
Winning the Buy Box
When you compete with other sellers who offer the same item on Amazon, getting your offer into the Buy Box is essential.
The Buy Box is where the “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” buttons are located on a product page. At any given time, a sale made through the Buy Box is awarded to only one seller. 85% of all sales are awarded through the Buy Box.
Fulfillment is one of the most important variables that Amazon considers when deciding which seller wins the Buy Box. Basically the faster, cheaper, more convenient, and more reliable your shipping and delivery are for the customer - the better.
Amazon considers FBA to have essentially perfect metrics across these variables. This means using FBA can greatly increase your odds of winning the Buy Box when competing against FBM sellers.
If you want to learn more about strategies for winning the Buy Box, then see our in-depth article on the subject here.
Focus on Selling, Not Fulfilling
Hiring, training, keeping track of inventory, negotiating carrier rates, buying shipping materials, shipping on time, shipping the right items… when it comes to managing your own fulfillment, the list of responsibilities is long.
Managing a well-oiled shipping and warehousing operation is hard. Amazon already has a state-of-the-art fulfillment infrastructure set up to process and ship your orders on time. Also, the FBA program allows sellers to scale easily since they don’t need to add staff or warehouse capacity as order volume changes.
Many Amazon sellers prefer to focus on sourcing, developing great products, marketing, and selling. They are more than happy to let Amazon manage the day-to-day fulfillment operations for them.
Amazon is tight-lipped on exactly how their A9 search algorithm works.
While Amazon won’t publicly state this, it’s generally agreed that FBA is a ranking factor that plays into the search algorithm. In search, FBA offers likely have an advantage over FBM offers, all else being equal.
As we already mentioned, when you use FBA, Amazon covers all the customer service and returns processing for that order.
While you will miss out on opportunities to speak to your customers directly, it does ease the support overhead that online merchants face.
Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF):
The MCF program is an added bonus for multi-channel merchants. MCF works similarly to FBA, except Amazon will fulfill orders from any sales channel, not just the Amazon marketplace.
You can utilize Amazon’s fulfillment centers to ship orders from your own website or another marketplace. Inventory in Amazon’s fulfillment centers can serve both Amazon customers and your customers on other channels.
But be prepared to pay. The fees for MCF are higher than FBA.
MCF can also be used as a standalone service, for those merchants who don’t want to participate in the Amazon marketplace.
Cons of FBA
This could be a pro or a con depending on the types of items you sell and on your business’ competence in fulfillment.
Small, light, and fast-selling items are more cost-effective in the FBA program than heavy, bulky, and slow-moving items. In addition, storage fees are seasonal and rise between October and
Fees for standard-size non-apparel and apparel items
Monthly inventory storage fees
Also, while Amazon is very efficient at warehousing and fulfillment operations, there are many merchants out there who are very good at this too.
Merchants with a high level of expertise in logistics may find that they can do it cheaper than Amazon. For these merchants, the benefits of FBA need to be weighed against the extra cost of using FBA.
If you already have an Amazon Seller Central account, you can use Amazon’s free FBA Revenue Calculator to compare FBA with your own fulfillment costs.
Loss of Control
With FBA, you can’t walk down to the warehouse floor and inspect your own products. And it’s very unlikely Amazon will let you go to their facilities for your own inspection. You have to trust that Amazon won’t break or mishandle your inventory.
When you use FBA, be prepared to do things Amazon’s way. If you’re a seller that wants to be very hands-on with your own inventory and the fulfillment process, then FBA may not be for you.
Packaging and Labeling Requirements
Amazon has strict requirements on packaging and labeling of inventory before they’ll accept items into their warehouses.
If you don’t properly prepare your inventory to meet these requirements, you risk Amazon rejecting an inbound shipment. Then you’ll be spending time and money retrieving and re-prepping your inventory.
There is a whole industry for FBA inspection and preparation services that act as a middleman between Amazon and your supplier. The time and cost of preparing your items for FBA should be considered when evaluating the program.
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What is FBM? Pros & Cons of Amazon FBM
With Fulfilled by Merchant model (previously referred to as MFN or the Merchant Fulfilled Network), you can store and ship items yourself or outsource fulfillment to a 3rd-party (that isn’t Amazon). Either way, the seller is responsible for meeting Amazon’s service levels related to shipping and orders. In addition, the seller must provide customer service and returns processing for FBM orders.
Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)
The SFP program is a variation of FBM that allows sellers to participate in Prime shipping without using FBA.
In order to show the Prime badge on your offers, you must commit to fulfilling orders with 2-day delivery at no additional cost for Prime subscribers. Seller performance standards are higher than FBA and only high performing sellers are eligible for the program.
Sellers must pass a trial period that lasts between 5 and 90 days to prove they can maintain the performance standards described below.
- Ship over 99% of orders on time
- Same-day handling for orders placed before order cut-off time
- Have an order cancellation rate of less than 0.5%
- Use Amazon Buy Shipping Services for at least 99% of orders
- Sellers must agree to the Amazon Returns Policy
- Allow for all customer service inquiries to be dealt with by Amazon
Seller Fulfilled Prime provides some of the same benefits as FBA, such as increased sales potential from Prime subscribers and advantages over standard FBM in the Buy Box.
Pros of FBM
More control over inventory and fulfillment
FBA gives you control over your inventory and fulfillment processes.
For example, merchants have more flexibility when it comes to replenishment schedules and inspecting their stock. Also, Amazon had been known to change FBA processes and policies which can be disruptive for sellers.
For other merchants, owning the entire customer experience is important. Using branded packaging and dropping marketing inserts into packages is only possible with FBM.
Less Amazon fees
Companies for whom logistics is a core competency can increase their margins by using FBM if their fulfillment costs are lower than FBA’s fees.
There are also a few fees we haven’t mentioned yet like ‘returns processing fee’ that applies to some categories, ‘long-term storage fee’ for stock that remains unsold for longer than six months, and the ‘stock removal fee’ for pulling inventory out of Amazon’s warehouses.
Cons of FBM
Less Buy Box power
All other factors being equal, FBA offers will beat standard FBM offers for the Buy Box.
FBM sellers can improve their odds of winning the Buy Box by offering Seller Fulfilled Prime. Just note that FBA will still have a slight edge over SFP when it comes to the Buy Box, but SFP is much better than standard FBM.
If Buy Box competition for your products is hyper-competitive than FBA might be the better route.
No SEO Perks
FBA offers a slight boost in search compared with FBM offers. FBA isn’t a magic bullet that will make keyword ranking and SEO efforts obsolete, but it does help.
Customer service and returns responsibilities
With FBM, the merchant handles customer service and returns which takes time. But this is not always a bad thing.
FBM sellers can get a better understanding of customers’ needs and pain points when they interact directly with them. This can lead to valuable insights and ideas for their business.
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FBA vs FBM - what to choose?
To sum it up, there are clear benefits to both programs.
FBA offers perks for SEO and the Buy Box while making items automatically Prime eligible. Merchants, especially Amazon-only sellers, may prefer a hands-off approach to fulfillment and customer service that allows them to focus on selling. For an additional fee, Amazon will fulfill orders from other sales channels through the MCF program.
With FBA, the perks are great but come with a host of fees.
FBA vs FBM comparison chart
FBM gives merchants greater control and predictability over their inventory and fulfillment operations. Sellers with expertise in logistics and efficient operations can improve their overall margins. Sellers also have greater control over the customer experience when it comes to customer service. SFP lets merchants participate in Prime which increases the sales potential of their items.
While FBM sellers lose some SEO and Buy Box perks comparted to FBA, it grants more control to merchants who are ready to take on the added responsibility.
Through the Eyes of Fellow Experts
Here's a piece of advice contributed by Ethan McAfee, Founder and CEO at Amify, a company that specializes in maximizing Amazon profit:
''In 99% of situations, FBA is the better solution for brands selling on Amazon. Customer satisfaction, cost efficiency and customer service are the top reasons sellers should be choosing FBA.
For example, selling on FBA allows products to be Amazon Prime eligible which many customers demand - as a matter of fact, there were 112 million Amazon Prime members as of 2019. Another benefit for customers is that brands selling on FBA ensure that products are shipped in 1-2 days as opposed to about 5 days for FBA merchants.
As far as cost efficiency, it's significantly cheaper (in most situations) than using FBM because Amazon has the best freight rates in the country and passes them on to the seller. Lastly, the customer service benefits - Amazon handles the returns and customer service included in the price.
Now here's the 1% of times where FBM is the best decision for sellers. FBM is the right choice for you if you are selling larger or heavy products like furniture because FBA is not made for most larger products. Another reason to use would be if you run out of FBA inventory and need to use FBM as a backup plan.''
Other Amazon-related articles you may find useful:
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