Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) hasn’t been around that long, but Amazon has already rolled out another new feature to help improve the online marketplace experience for both buyers and sellers.
While Fulfilment by Amazon was set up to help sales on just one channel, i.e. Amazon itself, Multichannel Fulfilment (MCF) was designed to help retailers grow and boost sales across all their channels, including their own online stores and other online marketplaces.
Multichannel Fulfilment is technically a sub-feature of Fulfilment by Amazon, but it takes things a step further by expanding FBA’s capabilities for commerce over several channels. With MCF, you can have Amazon fill orders for products that you sell from your own website and elsewhere. Nifty, isn’t it?
Let’s take a closer look at Multichannel Fulfilment and what it can do for you.
What is Multichannel Fulfilment?
In recent years, Amazon has been working hard to give both retailers and consumers a better experience on the platform. The Multichannel Fulfilment program is one of the latest features the company has come up with to simplify the selling process for retailers and to improve the customer experience for buyers.
If you’re a retailer, it’s meant to help you expand your business. If you’re a customer, it should make shopping easier. How does the MCF program do this?
As a retailer, Multichannel Fulfilment gives you access to Amazon’s extensive order fulfilment network, multiple trusted shipping options, and logistics services and expertise. Wherever you’re selling your products from, be it Amazon or elsewhere, Amazon does the legwork of fulfilling the order. It stores your products in its warehouses, picks the products from your inventory, packs them up, and ships them to your buyers.
Whatever channel your sales are coming from, Amazon also handles the returns and any customer service issues and tasks for those orders. If you sell on more than one marketplace, this is an incredibly convenient way of keeping all your inventory together and linking all your e-commerce business processes. It comes in handy as you diversify your inventory and grow your business.
Fulfilment by Amazon vs Multichannel Fulfilment
Fulfilment by Amazon automates the order fulfilment process so that sellers can focus on the more important tasks for their business. This allows the retailer to compete with the bigger third-party sellers on Amazon. FBA offers services like front page listings, warehouse management, packaging, customer support, returns, and one-day shipping.
Multichannel Fulfilment does all this and more. While FBA only handles sales from your Amazon storefront, MCF lets you use Amazon to fulfil orders from all your e-commerce channels beyond Amazon.
If you are considering the FBA program and wondering if you should avail of MCF as well, this is what it boils down to. Do you sell from other sales channels, such as your own website? Or are you planning on expanding your business across numerous channels sometime in the future?
If you answer yes to either of these questions, then you will find Multichannel Fulfilment useful. If you haven’t branched out into other sales channels just yet, start with Fulfilment by Amazon. As you become more familiar with online selling, you can slowly but steadily expand and use Amazon’s MCF for multichannel management.
If you are already an FBA user, your existing inventory will be used to serve both your customers on Amazon and your customers from other e-commerce channels.
Is Multichannel Fulfilment available in Australia?
Yes. If you are a seller on Amazon Australia, you can use Multichannel Fulfilment. You will find it in the FBA Features and Fees section on the Amazon Seller Central.
The various fees for Multichannel Fulfilment orders are here. This page includes the standard-size product tiers, product examples to help you with the MCF fee structure, and a guide on determining the outbound shipping weight.
What are the benefits of Multichannel Fulfilment?
MCF is all about operational inefficiency. Let Amazon handle your orders so you can concentrate on the tasks that will help you boost your business.
The same logistics, technologies, and expertise that drive Amazon Prime will enable you to provide expedited or priority delivery options for all your orders. Amazon lets you offer 1-day, 2-day, or standard delivery no matter what sales channel the order came from. And because your products are already stored in an Amazon warehouse, there’s no need to deal with a third-party shipping or warehousing company.
One of the best reasons to avail the MCF program is that it lets you expand your business without upping your fixed costs. Multichannel Fulfilment is particularly helpful in managing seasonal spikes without the need for additional resources.
Though Amazon handles the order fulfilment, you still have control over your inventory. You can ask Amazon to return your inventory at any time.
While there are limited options for branding under the MCF program, you do have some leeway in terms of brand promotion. You can choose to have your products sent out in plain brown boxes instead of using the ones that bear the Amazon logo. You can also have a custom message printed on the packing slips of every order shipped.
What are the drawbacks of Multichannel Fulfilment?
Multichannel Fulfilment has the same strict guidelines on restricted items as Fulfilment by Amazon. If you’re considering using MCF, make sure to check the list of Prohibited Products.
All that support and expertise comes at a price. While the fees start off reasonable, factors like amount and weight of products, length of storage, and shipping options can drastically increase those fees.
If your inventory languishes in Amazon’s warehouses for too long, you can lose a lot of money. Long-term storage fees can be quite steep, so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t have stock sitting in storage for more than 180 days, which is the point at which Amazon cleans them up.
Have any questions about Amazon Multichannel Fulfilment? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.