NEW YORK — Amazon is once again raising costs for third-party sellers — this time with a holiday allowance for sellers who use the company’s fulfillment services to package and ship items to customers.
From October 15 to January 14, sellers will receive an average compensation of $0.35 per item sold through Amazon’s fulfillment services in the US and Canada, according to a message the company sent to merchants on Tuesday.
It is the second rate hike imposed on merchants by the online retail giant this year. In April, the company added a 5% fuel and inflation surcharge to offset rising gas costs and inflation, which are close to the highest level in four decades.
To use Amazon’s fulfillment services, sellers already have to pay a fee that varies based on the size, weight, or category of an item.
In the message sent on Tuesday, Amazon noted that the holiday season increases fulfillment and logistics costs due to the volume of shipments being transported. The company said it has cushioned these cost increases before. But seasonal spending was now reaching “new heights,” it said.
“Our sales partners are incredibly important to us, and this is not a decision we have taken lightly,” the company said.
CNBC first reported on the fee increase.
Holiday price adjustments are not new to Amazon. Last week, the US Postal Service said it had filed a notice to implement a temporary price increase to cover additional handling fees during the holiday season.
But at Amazon, seller fees — and their repeated raises — are a matter of debate, given that the company controls much of the e-commerce market. Critics argue that the company’s excessive fees could potentially ban sellers from its market.
“Monopoly companies tend to raise prices, and that’s what we’re seeing here,” said Stacy Mitchell, an Amazon critic and co-director of the anti-monopoly group Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Amazon’s dominance of the online market means that small businesses have little choice but to pay.”
Last month, Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said in a media call that third-party sellers accounted for 57% of total units sold on Amazon during the three-month period ending June 30, the highest in the history of the Amazon. company.
The Seattle-based company’s second-quarter earnings report also found that the total revenue Amazon collects from third-party sellers was up 13% from the previous year, while its own retail revenue was down 4%.
This story has been updated to correct that vacation pay ends on January 14, not January 23.
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