Online retail sales are at an all-time high, which is why so many sellers are wondering whether they should consider Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) gives sellers access to Amazon’s distribution network and customer services. Multi-channel fulfillment leverages some of this, but there are of course some restrictions.
Amazons Multi-Channel Fulfillment leverages Amazon FBA, by allowing sellers to integrate external orders with their fulfillment network.
It isn’t very complicated; let me explain how it works.
What Is Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment?
Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment is an optional service for those who have a professional seller account.
Here are some of the strengths of the program:
- Amazon can handle your website orders via their FBA network.
- You can send and receive orders in your country as well as on other European platforms.
- If you’re already an Amazon seller, your process doesn’t have to change as FBA will be handling all of your fulfillment, you can continue to send products directly to the necessary fulfillment center.
- Multi-channel fulfillment is available all over the world.
The graphic above shows how Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment can allow you to expand even if Amazon isn’t your primary source of sales.
Can You Use Amazon Fulfillment Without Selling On Amazon?
You don’t need to sell your items on Amazon to use Amazon multi-channel fulfillment and in turn Amazon FBA.
You will, however, need a professional selling account, individual account holders will have to list their products on Amazon.
In this article, Amazon answer, a lot of the Multichannel fulfillment (MCF) Frequently asked questions.
An important point to mention, if you have a professional selling account and you wish to use MCF without listing your item on Amazon.com, you’ll have to create a listing, BUT by setting a sale date far into the future, the offering won’t become live on the platform.
How Does Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) Work?
MCF uses Amazon FBA for fulfillment, so it works in the usual way.
Sellers send their inventory to an Amazon fulfillment center and as orders come in, Amazon picks, packs and sends them out to the customer.
With Multi-channel fulfillment, Amazon FBA can fulfill the orders that come in away from the Amazon platform.
If you have your audience away from Amazon, this is perfect! You can make use of their fulfillment network, whilst saving on the Amazon referral fee!
Usually, all FBA orders are covered by Amazon’s customer support and return policies, with MCF things are slightly different.
MCF does support returns to Amazon fulfillment centres, but your customer will have to come to you for the usual support (since the sale hasn’t taken place on Amazon).
Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is ideal for sellers wanting to fulfil orders via other channels. The pricing is different, as are the service and customer support levels.
Most marketplaces accept Multi-Channel Fulfillment, but not all – Walmart is an example of this.
Products cannot be sent to Walmart in Amazon-branded boxes – this would have to be done through a different fulfillment partner, there are plenty of third party fulfillment options you can consider.
In terms of shipping, MCF comes with standard two-day and 24-hour shipping, each of which has different pricing tiers. Unfortunately, shipping tends to work out more expensive than FBA. Before you dive in make sure you’ve worked out all of your associated shipping costs.
Multi-Channel Fulfillment by Amazon Conditions
The main MCF condition is that you need to send inventory to a fulfillment center within the geographical network that Amazon specifies.
Over and above this, you will also have personalized calculation fees. Amazon charges sellers per shipment, which includes:
- A storage fee measured in cubic meters per month
- A shipment fee based on the size and weight of each package
- Optional returns, packing, and labelling fees
Let’s take a closer look at the pricing.
Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment Fees
Storage and fulfillment fees are what make up most of the final MCF costs. What is different is unlike FBA, you won’t need to pay the 15% referral fee for orders placed on your website.
Storage fees depend on seasonality. Peak shopping seasons attract a rate of $0.69 to $2.40 per cubic foot for standard sized products.
Sellers pay a fee for every order that needs to be fulfilled. Fees are based on shipping speed, package weight and number of items per order.
Is Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment Right for You?
Allowing Amazon to fulfill your orders can help you save on costs, plus, the shipping is probably faster than you could handle yourself.
To decide whether Amazon MCF is right for you, let’s look at the pros and cons.
- Amazon is efficient. Amazon has developed a deep understanding of order fulfillment. They have refined their technology and processes to manage warehouses, staff, and customers effectively.
- Inventory is Stored in One Place. Amazon has one of the largest fulfillment center networks in the world. Instead of managing warehousing yourself, Amazon does the heavy lifting for you.
- Faster Shipping. Amazon’s supply chain optimization is what makes it possible to offer quicker shipping to customers.
- Save on Amazon Fees. By using MCF, you can save on the Amazon referral fees; you also control a lot more of the customer data.
- Not All Sales Channels are Supported. As of the time of writing, Amazon only integrates with Shopify and WooCommerce. If you sell via BigCommerce, eBay, or Walmart, Amazon you’ll have to use a 3rd party connection like order desk to connect to orders.
- Amazon Branding is Added to All Orders All packages arrive in Amazon-branded boxes. Unfortunately, this puts a damper on efforts to grow your brand on and outside of Amazon. Customers order from your brand, but they arrive in Amazon’s packaging – quite confusing.
- You Can’t Sell Just Anything If you decide to go down the MCF route, there are limitations on what you can sell. Restricted categories include subscriptions, toys, and games. Amazon states that they can choose not to fulfill orders at their discretion.
Can Amazon Fulfill Shopify Orders?
Yes, in the USA, you can directly integrate the two through Shopify. Shopify and Amazon are a top combination for a lot of sellers; in the video below, I talk about the different ways that you can take advantage of Shopify and Amazon as an integration.
One thing to mention, if you want to fulfill Shopify order through Amazon from outside of the US, you’ll need to use a third-party service like order desk to connect the two, this is what we use to great effect.
Are you sitting there thinking, what the hell is Shopify? If so, give this a read.
Let’s Wrap Things Up
It has to be said, managing different distribution channels on Amazon can be complicated, particularly as part of a multi-channel network. However, the multi-channel fulfillment model helps alleviate some of the complexity.
Unfortunately, there are a few limitations, but we’ve always got on well with the program. Anyway, hopefully, this article has answered all of your questions, if however it hasn’t, please drop a comment below and I’ll try my best to help you out.
Recommend Read: The Pros and Cons Of Selling On Amazon