Selling your products on Amazon means entering into a very slickly-run business, as the ecommerce giant has been around for decades and knows exactly what works best. They’ve had years to iron out kinks and wrinkles, and you get to benefit from their learning curve by hopping on board at just the right time. One of their neatest features is Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), which lets Amazon handle a great deal of the logistics involved with delivery. Let’s take a look at how to maximise FBA so you can take your business to the next level.
How Fulfillment by Amazon Works
Imagine every successful company you’ve ever heard of — Apple, eBay, Microsoft, etc. — and now picture what the organisational structure looks like: there’s not just one person in charge of taking and filling orders, but different departments. FBA works like that, letting you focus on drawing in buyers while Amazon takes care of the heavy lifting involved with fulfilment.
The most prominent way of doing this is you “send” Amazon what products need to be shipped and where, and they do it. So instead of you having to hunt around for envelopes and boxes, place the right postage on it, and send it out, Amazon will take care of the shipping for you (and any returns and customer service involved). All you have to do is prepare and send your items to a central Fulfilment Centre (for the European Fulfilment Network) or Amazon Fulfilment Centres in each country (for Multi-Country Inventory), and you’re on your way (check out your Amazon Seller Central account for more information).
How This Helps Your Business
Your number one goal on Amazon is to move products as efficiently as possible, leading you to Buy Box after Buy Box. One way of doing that is to ship quickly, and FBA lets you do that. Say you’ve been slammed with a busy month with your Amazon listings: you certainly would never dream of ignoring your orders, but you may be sidetracked by a few of them. And the longer you let each one wait, the less time it has to reach its destination. Let it happen enough times, and you’ve started to damage your reputation as a Featured Merchant.
But use FBA, and you don’t have to worry about busy weeks or shipping out orders, only on building your own business. Amazon also won’t pressure for you to send over your entire inventory line, just as much or as little as you’d like. To make it even easier, you pay by use, meaning that whatever storage space and fulfilment charges you accrue, you pay for. One word of warning: if you have slow moving stock or low volumes FBA may be hard to justify as you will be paying Amazon monthly fees to store your inventory.
Using FBA for Non-Amazon Products
If you’ve been wondering whether or not FBA applies to pages outside of Amazon, the answer is yes. You don’t have to sell on Amazon’s marketplaces to take advantage of it, as you can have the backing of their expertise on different channels, such as your own website. The name of this changes slightly to Multi-Channel Fulfilment (MCF), but the concept is still the same: ship your products to a centralised inventory pool, and let Amazon take care of the rest. It’s the best of both worlds, being able to use Amazon and retain the uniqueness of your business.
It works just about the same way as FBA, with you selecting the shipping timeframe that you’ve offered to your buyers. The biggest difference is that MCF doesn’t open you up to the following:
- Free delivery
- Amazon Prime and/or Amazon Gift Wrapping benefits
- Amazon Customer Service
But what you still retain access to is the tracking number for shipments for most MCF orders. You also have the option of using the Amazon logo when you ship, or choosing to go with plain packaging/merchant customised packaging.
Using FBA is a smart way to put the focus back on growing your business instead of getting caught up with the minutiae. After all, who wants to spend time worrying about getting orders out on time when there’s an option that can take care of all of that for you? FBA, for Amazon sellers, and MCF, for non-Amazon sellers, is a fantastic way to put the logistics in Amazon’s hands, using their decades of expertise and power while you use yours to boost yourself into the next level of ecommerce.
This is one of many tips you’ll learn here at RepricerExpress about selling successfully on Amazon. Another one, is using an auto-repricing solution to maintain competitive pricing on your inventory 24/7, ensuring your products find their way to customers’ eyes and repeat Buy Boxes. Take the free 15-day trial and try repricing in safe mode, where your listings can reprice but not affect your live prices unless you’re happy with them.