In the world of online retail, there’s every reason to sell across several channels to reach the widest audience possible.
That means maintaining your own website, as well as a presence on the likes of Amazon, eBay and Walmart, to name a few.
But with more sales channels comes the need for a smooth order fulfillment process. Chances are you’ve heard about the benefits of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), but a lesser-known service offered by the e-commerce giant is Multi-Channel Fulfillment—which could bring cohesion to the chaos of selling on multiple sales channels.
What is Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment?
For the uninitiated, Amazon offers a service called FBA that handles third-party sellers’ back-end operations. This includes storage, fulfillment and customer support.
Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is a program within FBA, although it’s available with or without the service. But if you do use FBA, your existing inventory will serve both Amazon customers and customers from your other sales channels.
The benefit of keeping all your inventory in one place and having orders fulfilled by one company is obvious—everything is centralized. That means any changes you need can be made with one phone call and quality control is consistent across all your sales channels. It’s simple and it saves time—but how about saving money?
The cost of using MCF
Amazon’s fees vary widely depending on weight, size and destination, so let’s take a look at some examples. (Note: these prices are per one unit order, with incremental discounts for greater numbers as mentioned on the fees page.)
- Standard shipping (3-5 days): $5.85–$5.95 depending on size and weight. Anything over 2 lbs costs an additional $0.39 per lb. There are incremental discounts for orders of more than one unit as well.
- Expedited shipping (2 days): $7.90 – $8.35 (+$0.39/lb above 2lb).
- Priority shipping (next day): $12.80 – $13.85 (+$0.39/lb above 2lb).
These fees are for domestic shipping. Click here for international pricing.
The fees vary from region to region: order handling is $13.60, Pick and Pack is $0.60 regardless of where you’re shipping to, but the weight handling fee per pound is different:
- Europe: $2.20/lb
- Americas: $2.60/lb
- Asia and Oceania: $3.00/lb
- Africa and the Middle East: $3.60/lb
These prices refer to the first 15lbs, with an additional $0.50 for the next 16–20 lb of order weight.
How to use MCF
Here’s how it works. A seller receives customer shipping information and passes it on to Amazon, which picks, packs and ships the order.
All the seller has to do is navigate to the « Manage FBA Inventory » button in their Seller Central Account, pick the products to be fulfilled and select “create fulfillment order.” Next, enter the customer’s details, along with the order ID number and, optionally, a note to be printed on the package. Amazon will provide a price estimate before the order is submitted.
That’s it! Sellers can also choose to send a “flat file” of several orders at once. It’s a straightforward process that can streamline the shipping and fulfillment process significantly.
It’s worth noting that MCF users gain access to Amazon’s fulfillment network, operational expertise and trusted shipping options for all their orders, from wherever they’re placed. That means they can offer customers one- and two-day shipping options, differentiating their products from competitors with speedy delivery.
Remember, consistently faster shipping speeds mean better feedback from customers, which is of paramount importance to winning the Amazon Buy Box.
Capitalize on that customer satisfaction by using feedback software to target positive reviews.
Offering fast, reliable delivery via a trusted fulfillment service and following up at the right time with personalized feedback queries is a sure-fire way to get more positive reviews—which frees up time for you to focus on fine-tuning your e-commerce business.
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