Is the Amazon FBA Small and Light Program Worth it?

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Amazon’s Small and Light program is the answer to a frequent seller complaint about Amazon FBA program fees being too high for certain products. Third-party sellers with smaller items below a certain price point just can’t make a decent profit after paying FBA fees. With the Small and Light program, sellers can pay much lower FBA fees, opening up more product opportunities on the marketplace.

This can obviously be seen as an attempt by Amazon to secure more FBA users. The question for sellers is whether the Small and Light program is in fact worth it. So, let’s take a look at what it’s all about on the surface, and dive into the many requirements to enroll in the program.

Amazon’s Small and Light program is the answer to a frequent seller complaint about Amazon FBA program fees being too high for certain products. Third-party sellers with smaller items below a certain price point just can’t make a decent profit after paying FBA fees. With the Small and Light program, sellers can pay much lower FBA fees, opening up more product opportunities on the marketplace.

This can obviously be seen as an attempt by Amazon to secure more FBA users. The question for sellers is whether the Small and Light program is in fact worth it. So, let’s take a look at what it’s all about on the surface, and dive into the many requirements to enroll in the program.

What is Amazon FBA Small and Light?

amazon small and light

According to the Amazon FBA Small and Light help page, it’s “a fulfillment solution for fast-moving, small-and-light products priced at $15 or less.” This already gives us a clue into how sellers can make decent profits using this program – they must be able to sell larger quantities quickly. Otherwise, they cannot take advantage of the lower FBA per-unit fulfillment fees.

The Small and Light program also has longer shipping times than standard FBA fulfillment. Prime customers can expect to receive their orders within three to five business days. This is already long compared to what Prime customers are used to. Everyone else, moreover, has to wait six to eight business days for their orders to be delivered. However, an upgrade to three to five day shipping for non-Prime customers is available for $0.99.

FBA Small and Light Program Benefits

Now, to focus on some positives you can enjoy before we show you the long lists of requirements:

  • pass savings on Amazon FBA program fees to customers to increase the potential for sales
  • become Prime eligible
  • customers enjoy the Amazon A-to-z Guarantee, increasing the potential for sales
  • no minimum order requirement – the usual $25 minimum for add-on items does not apply

Where is Amazon FBA Small and Light Available?

Currently, the FBA Small and Light program has a limited foot print. FBA Small and Light is only available in the United States. FBA Small and Light UK or any other country is not currently available. Amazon has also not specified if they plan to increase the Small and Light programs coverage. Our expectation is that the United States is a testing ground to see how cost-effective Amazon can be with the fees compared to the normal Amazon FBA program fees.

Amazon Small and Light Product Eligibility

This Amazon Small and Light program page states that it is open for items under three conditions:

  • Customer price of $15 or less
  • Dimensions of 16” x 9” x 4” or less
  • Weight of 15 ounces or less

These conditions could be easily met by most third-party sellers. It is not actually that simple, however. There are many more requirements and prohibitions involved.

fba small and light

As always, Amazon reserves the right to reject any seller or ASIN that does not meet its standards. In terms of the Small and Light program, this means that before even considering enrollment, a seller must already be using FBA but not be in the invitation-only Premium Placement Program. Furthermore, the products for enrollment must NOT be:

  • In any condition other than New
  • Temperature-sensitive
  • Crushable
  • Existing FBA product offers with manufacturer barcodes, or commingled offers – they must use Amazon barcodes
  • ASINs on more than 90 days selling fewer than 25 units in the previous 4 weeks or expected to in the next 4 weeks
  • ASINs with more than 30 units of the same offer in standard FBA – inventory already in standard FBA is not eligible for the Small and Light program, so sellers must create a new offer for that ASIN to be enrolled
  • Slow-moving products (ASINs offered on Amazon for more than 90 days that have sold fewer than 25 units in the last four weeks)

Assuming the above qualifications, there are several product types that are still NOT eligible for the Small and Light program:

Restricted Products

In addition to all the laws and regulations governing product sales in the United States, Amazon has additional policies. The list below is extensive, but unfortunately not exhaustive. Moreover, even product types listed on the Amazon site as permitted can be considered non-eligible in the final analysis. This gives Amazon a lot of leeway to reject certain items when reviewing Amazon Small and Light product enrollment.

Small and Light program restricted

AlcoholAnimals & Animal-Related ProductsArt – Fine ArtArt – Home DecorAutomotive and PowersportsComposite Wood ProductsCosmetics & Skin/Hair CareCurrency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift CardsDietary SupplementsDrugs & drug paraphernaliaElectronicsExplosives, Weapons, and Related ItemsExport ControlsFood & BeverageGambling & LotteryHazardous and Dangerous ItemsHuman Parts & Burial ArtifactsJewelry & Precious GemsLaser productsLightingLock Picking & Theft DevicesMedical devices and accessoriesOffensive and Controversial MaterialsPesticides and Pesticide DevicesPlants, Plant Products, and SeedsPostage Meters & StampsRecalled ProductsRecycling electronicsSex & SensualitySubscriptions and PeriodicalsSurveillance EquipmentTobacco & Tobacco-Related ProductsWarranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and GuaranteesOther Restricted Products

Sellers Beware

Any product listing previously approved that is enrolled in the Small and Light program (including approved FBA products) will come under scrutiny. Not only can enrollment be rejected, but if the product is found to violate the law or Amazon policies (listed or unlisted), it can result in:

  • suspension or termination of selling privileges and business relationship with Amazon
  • destruction of inventory in fulfillment centers without reimbursement
  • permanent withholding of payments
  • civil and criminal action and penalties

This is all in place to protect Amazon customers, the site says. Of course, it protects the marketplace as well. Regardless, it makes FBA Small and Light enrollment both difficult and dangerous.

FBA Prohibited Products

Since Amazon Small and Light is specifically FBA, the FBA-specific product restrictions apply as well. Below are the products that are prohibited from FBA (you will see overlaps with the above Restricted Products):

  • Alcoholic beverages (including non-alcoholic beer)
  • Sky lanterns or floating lanterns
  • Vehicle tires
  • Gift cards, gift certificates, and other stored-value instruments
  • Products with unauthorized marketing materials (pamphlets, price tags, other non-Amazon stickers, etc.)
  • Pre-priced labels or products

In addition, products that have not been prepped according to FBA packaging and prep requirements will not be accepted, such as:

  • Loose packaged batteries
  • Damaged or defective units
  • Labels not properly registered with Amazon before shipment
  • Not matching the registered product
  • Non-compliant with agreements between Amazon and seller
  • Illegally replicated, reproduced, or manufactured (products identified as counterfeit will be destroyed and any removal requests for the same will be denied)

As above, this list is by no means complete, as Amazon also reserves the right to deny any products that they deem unsuitable, without any explanation of what this term refers to. There are also additional guidelines to note about Categories and products requiring approval and Expiration-dated FBA inventory.

Adult Products

The visibility of explicitly sexual or potentially offensive adult products in the sexual wellness category is restricted on Amazon. This includes adult personal products that:

  • are designed for use in sexual activities
  • have explicit images, titles, or any other content intended to sexually arouse
  • have packaging with sexually graphic images or
  • display or imply sexual activity in descriptions or images
  • are intended only to promote or enhance sexual activity
  • exploit minors
  • promote non-consensual sex acts
  • violate local, state or federal laws
  • are phallic shaped

Dangerous Goods (Hazmat)

Sellers take full responsibility for any products they attempt to list and enroll in Small and Light FBA. This means due diligence in researching items that are regulated as hazardous materials, a.k.a. hazmat.

Briefly, Amazon defines hazmat as any substance or material with physical or chemical properties that pose possible health, safety, environment or property risks during storing, handling or transporting. This includes flammable, pressurized, corrosive or other harmful substances. This means that not only toxic products are restricted, but also such items as phones, household cleaners, perfumes, beauty products, and spray paints.

Products identified on Amazon’s website as hazmat include:

  • Apparel – hats and vests with rechargeable batteries, hat stiffeners, apparel stain removers
  • Automotive – engine and tire care, interior and paint care, oils and fluids, lead-acid batteries, batteries, airbags
  • Baby – grooming and skincare, antibacterial
  • Beauty and personal care – spray deodorants, hairspray, hair colors, perfume, essential oils, self-tanning lotions and sprays, antiseptics and disinfectants, verruca and wart treatments, insect repellents, aftershave treatments, cleaning cartridges (electric shavers), hair removal solutions and treatments, shaving creams or foams, nail polish
  • Books – songbooks, magazines with beauty product samples, e-books devices, e-readers
  • Consumer electronics – powerbanks, cell phones, chargers and batteries, darkroom supplies, speakers
  • Food and beverages – aromatic essential oils, high alcohol content, pressurized container / aerosol format, spirits
  • Health and household – cleansers and cleaners, dishwashing liquids and powders, laundry liquids and powders
  • Home improvement – grills, pest and insect control
  • Office – cartridges and toners, equipment cleansers, tape, adhesives and glue, markers, highlighters, pens and refills
  • Pet products – ear and eye care, flea, fly, mosquito, lice and tick control, itch remedies, deodorizers, aquarium glass cleaners, aquarium water treatments and test kits
  • Shoes – light-up shoes, sole and shoe stain remover, shoe polish
  • Sports and outdoor – airsoft supplies, camp stoves, hand warmers, e-bikes and e-scooters, bike tools and equipment, batteries, life-saving vests
  • Toys – battery-operated toys, arts and crafts, building kits, chemistry sets, painting and repair kits, kits with sprays, crackers
  • Video games – controllers, wireless and Bluetooth headsets, gamepads

As above, previously approved products will be reviewed again for the Small and Light program and may be marked for disposal without reimbursement if they are deemed hazardous after being shipped to Amazon fulfillment centers. A review of eligible FBA products is also in order, and a negative outcome can result in suspension of sales, any or all shipments, and inventory disposal without reimbursement.

FBA Small and Light Program Fees

Because of the longer Prime delivery timeline, Small and Light FBA orders come with significantly lower FBA fees than normal. Plus, long-term storage fees for Amazon Small and Light items start at $0.25 per unit from 181 to 365 days, and $0.50 per unit for longer terms.

Here are the main differences you can expect to see between regular FBA and Small and Light:

Small and Light fba fees

Here’s a comparison between Amazon Small and Light program fees and standard Amazon FBA program fees:amazon fba program feesPer-unit savings can be as much as $0.72 for parcels and $1.32 for flat packages. These numbers increase when comparing to FBM.

There’s a possible additional 5% discount for customers covered by FBA for orders of 2 or more units priced under $5 from the Consumables category (except Apparel).

Small and Light program fees non-media

Other example computations can be found under the Program fees section of Amazon’s FBA Small and Light page.

NOTE:  There are often discrepancies between seller computations and actual Small and Light fees. Always check your expected fees and send your computations to Amazon support to ask for confirmation before prepping any inventory. Then, you will be able to spot any fee errors down the road and be better informed when you open a case. Remember, for these fast-moving low price-point items, a few cents each in ignored reimbursements can add up to big losses, so take this seriously.

Additional Considerations

We highly recommend that you review the following additional guidelines that affect the Small and Light program as they are likely to further influence your decision to enroll in the program:

You should also download the Small and Light brochure and enrollment guide as quick references as you contemplate enrollment.

Amazon Small and Light Packaging and Prep Requirements

The Small and Light program has different prep and packing requirements than standard FBA, and uses specific fulfillment centers. Here are the criteria you must meet:

  • products successfully added to Small & Light Inventory
  • individual packaging in clear poly bags, manufacturer, or seller case packs for same-ASIN units OR in bundles with clearly labeled quantities

amazon small and light packaging

  • same-ASIN units in a box must be bundled together in a plastic bag, manufacturer/seller case pack (i.e. boxed or shrink-wrapped), or other means of grouping

amazon small and light warehouses

  • each bag, outer case, or shrink-wrapped bundle labeled with total quantity of sellable units OR a packing list must be included in each shipping box

amazon small and light packaging

  • each individual unit with scannable manufacturer barcode linking to a single ASIN OR an Amazon FNSKU if not OR with an Amazon barcode

fba light and small

  • safely package breakable items and sharp objects – broken or crushed items will be rejected and removed or disposed of at the seller’s expense
  • a minimum of 24 units per ASIN/SKU in each shipment
  • shipment contents matching the shipping plan
  • each shipping box not exceeding 25 inches on any side and/or weighing more than 50 pounds
  • only front-loaded single-stacked pallets under 22 skids per trailer

NOTE:  All units that have been properly prepared for Small and Light should be available for purchase within 5 days after Receiving. If yours are not yet available, you should contact Amazon immediately to find out what’s wrong and attempt to rectify before your inventory is marked for disposal without reimbursement.

This list isn’t exhaustive, so it’s best to download or review the FBA Small and Light Prep Guide on Amazon in detail and confirm with Amazon support anything that isn’t covered there before proceeding to enroll.

fba small and light program enrollment

Small and Light Product Enrollment

If you’re still with us after all of that, then here’s what you need to do to get started.

  1.  Check that the listings you’ve added for Small and Light are prepped for the above requirements; e.g. with correct pricing, weights and dimensions.
  2.  Review the FBA Small and Light enrollment guide.
  3.  Navigate to the Small and Light product enrollment page. (Ensure that you add MSKUs (NOT ASINs) to the template. Remove any extra spaces before or after to prevent upload errors. Meticulously check your entries against the samples provided on the template. Save the sheet as a tab-delimited text file (.txt) for upload.)
  4.  Upload your file. (Professional sellers can check back in 5 minutes for processing results and look over Processing reports for any errors they need to fix.)

With all these requirements, you’re probably wondering, “What, if anything, is left to sell through the Small and Light program?”

And if it’s even worth all the effort and risk.

Suitable Products for Amazon FBA Small and Light

Here’s a quick recommendation for spotting good items for enrollment, provided that the basic, simple requirements listed earlier in this post are satisfied:

Look for products in your catalog that are bought in large quantities via single orders.

Hint:  you have probably set these to FBM because they are low price-point items that you can’t afford the FBA fees for. The key here is that the more single orders you get for Small and Light items, the better your profit margins become.

Remember that you must be able to significantly improve your profit margins with Amazon FBA Small and Light for it to be worth your time and effort. You must price competitively, but never at the detriment of your margins.

When you have the right product for the Small and Light program, make sure that you can:

  1.  Properly manage your inventory before enrolling. It’s vital that you maintain just the right levels of stock if you are to succeed.
  2.  Guarantee highly optimized listings. It’s essential that you have a great listing to remain competitive. And don’t forget positive reviews and feedback.
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