Confused about Amazon’s role in 3PL? Here’s what you need to know

I. Introduction: Amazon vs. 3PL – Understanding the Difference

There’s no doubt that Amazon has revolutionized the world of e-commerce. With their ever-expanding fulfillment options and seller support, it’s no wonder that many business owners are starting to wonder, “Is Amazon a 3PL?” In this article, we will unravel this confusion and explain the key differences between Amazon’s services and what a 3PL warehouse does.

But first, allow us to introduce ourselves. We are FBA Prep Logistics, a 3PL warehouse located in Bristol, PA, dedicated to providing top-notch logistics and supply chain management solutions for e-commerce businesses. Unlike relying solely on Amazon, partnering with FBA Prep Logistics can bring numerous benefits to your business, which we will outline later in this article.

So let’s jump in and explore the world of Amazon fulfillment services and how FBA Prep Logistics can provide a superior 3PL experience.

The Basics: What is a 3PL?

A 3PL, or third-party logistics provider, is a company specializing in providing warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping services to businesses. They handle various aspects of the supply chain, such as inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping, so the business owner can focus on other aspects of running their company. The primary goal of a 3PL is to streamline the supply chain process and provide custom solutions that cater to the unique needs of each client.

Amazon Services: FBA and Seller Central

Amazon offers two main options for sellers: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Seller Central. While these services provide some aspects of fulfillment and logistics, they come with limitations and challenges that a separate 3PL like FBA Prep Logistics can help alleviate.

Ultimately, the question remains: “Is Amazon a 3PL?” The short answer is, yes and no. Amazon FBA does function as a 3PL in the sense that it provides warehousing and fulfillment services for online sellers. However, it is specifically designed to cater to Amazon’s marketplace, which means it may not offer the flexibility and specialized attention that a dedicated 3PL does.

FBA Prep Logistics: A Superior 3PL Choice

At FBA Prep Logistics, we understand the value of personalized service, and that’s what sets us apart from Amazon’s offerings. Our experience and expertise in e-commerce and Amazon selling mean that we can provide targeted solutions that cater to your business’s unique needs. Furthermore, our flexibility allows us to adapt quickly to unexpected changes in your business, ensuring a smooth and efficient supply chain process.

Stay with us as we dive deeper into the differences between Amazon’s offerings and the benefits of partnering with FBA Prep Logistics as your dedicated 3PL warehouse.

Amazon’s Fulfillment Services: FBA and Seller Central

Confused about the fulfillment services offered by Amazon and how they might affect your decision on whether to use Amazon as a 3PL? In this section, we’ll dive into Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program and Seller Central to help you better understand your options.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service provided by Amazon that allows sellers to take advantage of Amazon’s vast logistics and fulfillment network. When using FBA, sellers ship their products to Amazon’s warehouses, and Amazon takes care of the rest – including storage, packaging, shipping, and customer service.

Here are some notable advantages of FBA:

  1. Prime Eligibility: FBA products automatically qualify for Amazon Prime, giving your products increased visibility and faster shipping times to Prime members.
  2. Customer Trust: FBA products are backed by Amazon’s customer service and return policies, which can increase buyer trust and potentially lead to more sales.
  3. International Shipping: FBA can help you expand your business to international customers, as Amazon handles the global shipping process.

However, there are also some challenges and limitations when it comes to relying solely on Amazon’s FBA program for fulfillment:

  • Fees: Amazon charges storage and fulfillment fees to sell through FBA. Depending on the size and weight of your products, these fees can add up and eat into your profits.
  • Inventory Control: With Amazon FBA, you might face difficulties managing and controlling your inventory, leading to potential stockouts or excess inventory in Amazon’s warehouses.
  • Commingling Risks: Amazon may commingle your products with those of other FBA sellers, which could lead to issues with product quality or authenticity.

Amazon Seller Central (Self-fulfillment)

Not interested in using Amazon FBA? Another option available to sellers is self-fulfillment through Amazon Seller Central. With this approach, you handle your own inventory and fulfillment processes, either by managing it yourself or partnering with a separate 3PL warehouse like FBA Prep Logistics.

Some benefits of self-fulfillment through Seller Central include:

  1. Control Over Inventory & Fulfillment: With self-fulfillment, you have complete control over your inventory and fulfillment processes, allowing you to manage stock more efficiently and avoid potential issues with commingling.
  2. Lower Fees: By handling your own fulfillment, you can potentially save on the fees associated with Amazon FBA, which could lead to higher profit margins.
  3. Customization: Self-fulfillment gives you the flexibility to personalize your packaging and branding, creating a more memorable unboxing experience for your customers.

However, self-fulfillment also comes with its fair share of challenges:

  • No Prime Eligibility: Self-fulfilled products are not eligible for Amazon Prime, leading to potentially lower sales, as Prime members tend to favor Prime-eligible products.
  • Increased Responsibility: Handling your own fulfillment means you must manage shipping, customer service, and returns, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
  • Shipping Costs: Unlike FBA, under self-fulfillment, you are responsible for all shipping-related expenses, which could be higher if you’re not taking advantage of Amazon’s discounted shipping rates.

Despite the benefits of using Amazon FBA or self-fulfillment through Seller Central, both options come with their own challenges and limitations that could impact the growth and success of your e-commerce business. In the next section, we’ll showcase the advantages of partnering with FBA Prep Logistics as your 3PL warehouse and how they can help you overcome the hurdles presented by Amazon’s fulfillment options.

III. The Advantages of FBA Prep Logistics as Your 3PL Warehouse

As an e-commerce seller, choosing the right logistics solution is crucial for your business’s success. While Amazon offers its popular FBA program and Seller Central, partnering with a dedicated 3PL warehouse like FBA Prep Logistics comes with numerous advantages that can help your business grow and thrive. In this section, we’ll outline in detail the benefits of selecting FBA Prep Logistics as your go-to 3PL provider.

1. Personalized Service

The team at FBA Prep Logistics understands that every e-commerce business is unique and has individual needs. As a result, we provide personalized service to tailor our logistics solutions to meet your specific requirements. Whether this means SKU-specific packaging, specialized labeling, or unique product preparation, we’ll work with you closely to ensure your products are ready and optimally prepared for sale on Amazon.

2. Expertise in E-commerce & Amazon Selling

When you partner with FBA Prep Logistics, you’re not just working with a 3PL warehouse provider – you’re teaming up with a team of e-commerce and Amazon selling experts. We stay up-to-date with the latest trends, tools, and techniques in the ever-evolving world of online sales and apply this knowledge to help your business succeed. Our expertise allows us to optimize your supply chain, streamline your operations, and support you in navigating any potential challenges.

3. Flexibility to Manage Unexpected Changes

Is Amazon a 3PL that can handle sudden changes? Unlike relying solely on Amazon’s services, which may not be as adaptable to unexpected shifts in demand or other unforeseen occurrences, FBA Prep Logistics offers the flexibility necessary to manage sudden shifts in your business needs. We understand the importance of agility in today’s competitive e-commerce marketplace and have the capacity to adapt our services as needed, ensuring minimal disruptions to your sales and fulfillment processes.

4. Efficient Inventory Management

Properly managing your inventory plays a significant role in your business’s growth and profitability. FBA Prep Logistics not only handles inbound shipments and product storage but also offers meticulous inventory management services. This includes real-time inventory tracking, demand forecasting, and effective communication with you to avoid issues like stock-outs or overstocking, which can lead to unnecessary costs and lost sales opportunities.

5. Shipping Optimization

Shipping can be a complex and costly process, especially if you’re relying on Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers. At FBA Prep Logistics, we leverage our industry expertise and strategic location in Bristol, PA, to provide efficient and cost-effective shipping solutions. We work with a variety of carriers and use our knowledge of shipping regulations and best practices to optimize your shipments, lowering costs and ensuring faster delivery times for your customers.

6. Streamlined Supply Chain Management

Effective supply chain management is crucial for e-commerce businesses, and FBA Prep Logistics has the expertise to help you optimize yours. By offering a comprehensive range of services, we ensure that your entire supply chain – from product sourcing and preparation to storage, fulfillment, and beyond – is operating smoothly and efficiently. By utilizing our services, you can focus on growing your sales and expanding your business, knowing that your supply chain management is in capable hands.

7. Scalability

As your e-commerce business grows, so will your need for logistics support. FBA Prep Logistics can scale its services to match your increasing demands, ensuring that your operations remain streamlined and efficient. With our flexible service options and dedication to supporting your growth, you can confidently scale your business without worrying about the limitations of Amazon’s fulfillment services or the challenges of self-fulfillment.

8. Enhanced Brand Reputation

In today’s competitive e-commerce landscape, your brand’s reputation is crucial for long-term success. By partnering with FBA Prep Logistics, you can ensure that your products are not only shipped quickly and efficiently but also packaged and presented professionally. This commitment to quality not only boosts customer satisfaction but also reflects positively on your brand, helping you stand out in the crowded Amazon marketplace.

9. Access to Additional Resources & Services

When you work with FBA Prep Logistics, you gain access to a variety of additional resources and services that go beyond traditional 3PL offerings. From warehousing and logistics consultations to customized packaging design and marketing support, we’re here to help your e-commerce business succeed in every aspect. Don’t miss out on these valuable benefits that come with choosing FBA Prep Logistics as your 3PL partner.

10. Proven Success Stories

Our track record of helping e-commerce sellers thrive on Amazon speaks for itself. With numerous client success stories under our belt, you can trust that FBA Prep Logistics has the experience and expertise to support your business in achieving its goals. By partnering with FBA Prep Logistics, you’ll have the backing of a 3PL provider that understands what it takes to succeed in the world of e-commerce and is dedicated to helping your business reach new heights.

In conclusion, while there may be confusion surrounding the question, “Is Amazon a 3PL?”, it’s clear that partnering with a dedicated and experienced 3PL warehouse like FBA Prep Logistics comes with a wealth of advantages that extend far beyond Amazon’s own fulfillment services. By choosing FBA Prep Logistics as your 3PL provider, you’re not only gaining access to superior logistics support but also joining forces with a team of e-commerce and Amazon selling experts who are committed to helping your business achieve success in the ever-evolving digital marketplace.

IV. Comparing Costs and Services: Amazon vs. FBA Prep Logistics

  • Breaking Down the Cost Structure
    • Amazon FBA fees
      • Fulfillment fees: charged per item based on the package’s size, weight, and category
      • Storage fees: monthly charges depending on the storage space and season (higher during October-December)
      • Additional fees: like long-term storage fees for items stored over 365 days, removal fees, and disposal fees
    • FBA Prep Logistics fees
      • Customized pricing model: tailored pricing based on your business’ needs, such as order volume, shipping destinations, and handling preferences
      • Transparent and predictable pricing: no hidden fees, ensuring e-commerce businesses can effectively budget their expenses
      • Cost savings: working closely with FBA Prep Logistics can result in significant cost reductions compared to using Amazon FBA
  • Additional Services Offered by FBA Prep Logistics
    • Inventory management: Is Amazon a 3PL when it comes to inventory management? While FBA handles limited aspects of inventory management, FBA Prep Logistics provides a more hands-on approach, including real-time inventory tracking and reorder alerts.
      • Effective inventory management by FBA Prep Logistics lowers the risk of stockouts and overstocking, which Amazon doesn’t provide
    • Shipping optimization: FBA Prep Logistics uses its expertise to optimize shipping costs, offer personalized recommendations, and negotiate the best shipping rates with carriers
      • Shipping costs form a significant part of your business expenses; therefore, optimizing them with FBA Prep Logistics can lead to better profit margins
    • Streamlined supply chain management: Our 3PL services ensure a smooth operational flow, including receiving, storing, picking, packing, and shipping your goods
      • We oversee the entire supply chain process, which is essential for reducing overhead costs and improving efficiency – something that Amazon’s FBA program may not provide entirely
  • Additional Resources Available with FBA Prep Logistics
  • Expert support: Our dedicated team at FBA Prep Logistics offers personalized customer service to guide you through the entire fulfillment process and provide solutions for your unique challenges
    • Amazon lacks a personalized touch, which could make dealing with issues more challenging
  • Flexibility: We’re equipped to adapt to unexpected changes in your e-commerce business, such as sudden volume spikes or new product launches
    • In contrast, Amazon FBA has rigid standards and processes that might not accommodate sudden changes
  • Scalability: As your e-commerce business grows, FBA Prep Logistics has the capacity to scale up your fulfillment operations without compromising on quality or service
    • Amazon’s fulfillment centers can face capacity issues during peak seasons, potentially impacting your operations

FBA Prep Logistics offers a wide array of benefits over Amazon FBA, even though the question “Is Amazon a 3PL?” might still be lingering. Through our tailored pricing and additional services, e-commerce businesses can save costs and optimize their operations for long-term success. By choosing FBA Prep Logistics as your 3PL warehouse partner, you invest not only in a warehouse provider but also in an experienced team that’s committed to helping you succeed on the Amazon marketplace. Say goodbye to the hassle and stress of dealing with inventory management, shipping optimization, and supply chain management – let FBA Prep Logistics handle it all while you focus on growing your e-commerce business.

Learn more about efficient PA order fulfillment services for your e-commerce store

Making the Right Choice for Your E-commerce Business

Deciding on the best fulfillment option for your e-commerce business can be a daunting task, especially when you consider the complexities of supply chain management and the array of options available. In this section, we’ll help guide you in making the right choice between Amazon FBA, self-fulfillment, and partnering with a 3PL provider like FBA Prep Logistics.

1. Assess Your Business Needs

The first step in choosing the right solution for your business is understanding your unique requirements. Consider the following factors:

  1. Inventory Size: If you have a large inventory or anticipate rapid growth, you’ll need a provider with the capacity to handle your products efficiently.
  2. Product Complexity: Evaluate whether you require specialized handling or storage conditions for your products. This may affect which fulfillment options are suitable for your business.
  3. Shipping Volume: Analyzing your current and projected shipping volume will help you determine if your business can benefit from the economies of scale offered by a dedicated 3PL.
  4. Order Fulfillment Needs: Evaluate your order processing times, delivery speed requirements, and customer service needs to better understand which solution fits best.

2. Weigh the Pros and Cons of Each Option

To make an informed decision, you have to understand the advantages and drawbacks of each fulfillment option. Below are some key points of comparison:

Amazon FBA


  • Access to Amazon’s broad customer base
  • Ability to leverage Amazon Prime benefits
  • Streamlined order fulfillment and returns processing


  • Strict guidelines and inventory restrictions
  • Potentially high fees, especially during peak seasons
  • Limited control over your brand and customer relationship



  • Complete control over the fulfillment process
  • Potential cost savings if inventory and shipping volumes are low
  • Ability to customize packing and shipping preferences


  • Limited scalability and time-consuming order processing
  • Possible logistical challenges with inventory management and shipping
  • No access to Amazon Prime benefits or Amazon’s customer base

FBA Prep Logistics


  • Personalized and comprehensive logistics services
  • Access to a team of experienced 3PL professionals
  • Flexible solutions that adapt to your evolving needs
  • Cost-effective fees and multiple service offerings


  • May require an initial investment in adjusting your supply chain
  • Business success reliant on a third-party provider

3. Examine the Value FBA Prep Logistics Brings to Your Business

A partnership with a dedicated 3PL provider like FBA Prep Logistics offers numerous benefits, including:

  1. Access to a comprehensive range of services, from inventory management to shipping optimization
  2. Personalized support from a specialized team of e-commerce and Amazon experts
  3. Flexibility and adaptability to accommodate your business growth and changing needs

By partnering with FBA Prep Logistics, your business can experience a seamless and efficient fulfillment process while benefiting from the expertise of a dedicated 3PL provider.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Expert Advice

Navigating the world of e-commerce fulfillment can be challenging. Don’t hesitate to consult with industry experts or reach out to FBA Prep Logistics to discuss your specific business needs. Their team is more than happy to help you determine the best course of action for your fulfillment strategy.

Your Path to E-commerce Success with FBA Prep Logistics

Throughout this article, we have discussed the key differences between Amazon FBA, self-fulfillment, and 3PL warehouses like FBA Prep Logistics. By considering your unique business needs and weighing the advantages and drawbacks of each option, you can make a well-informed decision about your e-commerce fulfillment strategy.

Choosing FBA Prep Logistics as your 3PL partner means prioritizing your business growth and long-term success. You can trust that our team of experienced professionals is committed to providing personalized and effective solutions that enhance your e-commerce operations and elevate your Amazon presence. To begin your journey towards E-commerce success, reach out to FBA Prep Logistics and explore the advantages of partnering with an industry-leading 3PL warehouse.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between Amazon FBA and a 3PL like FBA Prep Logistics?

Amazon FBA is a fulfillment service provided by Amazon, whereas a 3PL like FBA Prep Logistics is a third-party logistics warehouse that specializes in managing e-commerce businesses’ supply chains. While Amazon FBA can be convenient, using a 3PL such as FBA Prep Logistics offers more personalized service, e-commerce expertise, and flexibility for managing unexpected changes.

Can I save money by choosing FBA Prep Logistics over Amazon FBA?

Yes, partnering with FBA Prep Logistics can result in cost savings as compared to Amazon FBA. With a transparent cost structure and a focus on providing excellent customer service, FBA Prep Logistics offers valuable services and resources at a competitive price.

What additional services can FBA Prep Logistics provide for my e-commerce business?

FBA Prep Logistics offers various services, such as inventory management, shipping optimization, and streamlined supply chain management, that can help your e-commerce business grow and succeed on Amazon and other platforms.

How can FBA Prep Logistics support my e-commerce business if I’m new to supply chain management and have never used a 3PL before?

With a dedicated team of experts and their extensive knowledge in e-commerce and Amazon selling, FBA Prep Logistics provides personalized assistance and guidance to help you navigate the complexities of supply chain management while ensuring your e-commerce business thrives.

What are the factors I should consider when deciding between Amazon FBA, self-fulfillment, or partnering with a 3PL such as FBA Prep Logistics?

Consider your business’s unique requirements, including the level of customer service you require, the cost of fulfillment, flexibility in managing changes, and the potential benefits of working with a team of e-commerce experts. FBA Prep Logistics offers a superior level of support and a range of services to help your business succeed and grow on the Amazon marketplace.