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Are you an Amazon FBA seller who wants to fulfill orders from off Amazon channels? Or an eCommerce brand looking to leverage Amazon FBA to fulfill existing orders? Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is a program that you are looking for.
Amazon is a popular online retailer with its own fulfillment services. While they do have several different options to choose from, one of which is the Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) program that allows you to store your inventory within their warehouses. This way, Amazon takes care of fulfilling your products across selected channels, which includes brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment provides a means to expand your business to additional channels with less labor for firms that enjoy outsourcing fulfillment duties. Amazon has a large network of warehouses across the country and a well-developed system for delivering goods quickly. For most firms, this allows you to offer better delivery alternatives in more locations than you could on your own.
In this article, we’ll look at the uses of Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) and get to the detail of this program. We will also take a look at ways for sellers to increase their fulfillment efficiency by using MCF.
What is Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment?
Amazon has a Multi-Channel Fulfillment program called MCF. It is like Amazon FBA in general, but opens up all kinds of different options such as fulfilling your products sold off Amazon using your FBA inventory. You can use the same features and services that Amazon FBA offers as those products sold through its marketplace to those you sell through your own online store or any other channel!
Also need a special mention is that MCF, like FBA, would also handle any customer returns fulfilled using MCF. More details on that later.
One of the main draws of MCF from a merchant’s perspective is the ability to have fulfillment in one place. Still, there are some limitations to which channels you can use it with, for example, Walmart, using Amazon MCF on Walmart orders can get your Walmart account suspended. But many others can not only accept but integrate into MCF seamlessly such as Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Newegg, or eBay.
What are the Fees?
Just like Amazon FBA, there are two types of fees with Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment: Storage Fees and Fulfillment Fees
Amazon charges you a monthly storage fee to keep your inventory in their warehouse. The charge is proportional to the amount of cubic footage your products take up. The amount charged by Amazon is the same as in the Amazon FBA program.
Fulfillment fees are the fees related to pick & pack, handling and shipping. The fulfillment fee is the function of the number of units you send, the time it takes to ship them, and the volume and weight of the product.
Sellers can also use MCF to fulfill overseas orders via the remote FBA program. But the fulfillment/shipping cost will be much higher, so make sure to do your research or you might end up with a negative margin on non local orders.
You can see the Standard 3-5 business days shipping fee card below. For the entire fee card (with the different shipping tiers) you download the pdf here.
Who is Eligible and for what Countries?
Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment is available to anyone who already uses FBA. Once you’ve have inventory in Amazon’s warehouses, it’ll gladly accept MCF orders for any of the other channels you sell-through for the fee mentioned above. But as mentioned some marketplaces, like Walmart, won’t allow this so make sure you comply with the terms and services of any non-Amazon marketplace you operate in.
You can also use MCF if you don’t sell your products through Amazon. To do so, however, you will be required to have an Amazon seller account. Additionally, you need to list your products on Amazon but then select a start selling date that is far enough in the future that Amazon won’t list the products on their marketplace anytime soon.
MCF is also available in the countries listed below:
- United States
Is Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment Worth it?
Obviously, the seller that offers their goods on numerous channels benefits the most from Amazon’s MCF function.
More specifically, MCF makes selling dozens of different SKUs a breeze. When you have several SKUs, it’s already difficult to plan your demand. Imagine having to do inventory management for each of your sales channels independently. Amazon MCF eliminates this extra step by allowing you to stock all of your items in one location for efficient fulfillment and logistics.
Speaking of logistics, your cost of shipping from the supplier side will be much cheaper as you can consolidate all your shipping to one location instead of multiple (which would increase shipping cost).
Your eCommerceoperations will be more scalable if you centralize your inventory. You pay a flat rate for each cubic foot of space you use for your products. With MCF it is simple to increase volume during peak season and decrease the volume during the off-season. This allows for better costs predictability.
How much can Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment save?
With the unmatched speed and efficiency of Amazon logistics, you can fulfill your orders relatively cheaper than other services such as DHL, UPS, or FedEx for the same shipping service.
For example, a standard size Expedited Shipping can cost $9.00 with UPS, while the same service costs $7.69 according to the Amazon FBA rate card.
How can Amazon FBA offer such competitive pricing you ask? It is cause Amazon use FBA as the loss leader that allows it to dominate eCommerce. So it is for the benefit of the seller to leverage FBA even if they do not sell on Amazon.
Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) can handle your Returns
Customers can either return the merchandise to the Amazon Fulfillment Center or have it shipped directly to you with Amazon MCF.
Having the customer return the product to an Amazon Fulfillment Center might be a better option because Amazon also assists sellers in repackaging and stocking the product for sale; however, if you sell perishables or products with a short shelf life, it makes sense to request that the return be made to your address in order to avoid paying a fee for product removal later.
What effect does MCF have on my Inventory Performance Index (IPI)?
The IPI score determines how effective and efficient you are at managing your Amazon FBA inventory. Your IPI score could be influenced by a variety of variables. However, maintaining a balanced inventory level between sales and on-hand inventory and avoiding surplus inventory is a critical one (overstock). MCF can help you avoid extra inventory component of that score and increasing your IPI score.
In short MCF improves your IPI score.
Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment Step by Step
Before we do the step by step, it is assume that you have sent the inventory to Amazon FBA and the inventory under the “Available” status.
1) On the Amazon Seller Central Home select Inventory >> Manage FBA Inventory
2) On the manage FBA inventrory screen find your SKU in the search bar
3) Click on the corresponding check box of the SKU and Click >> “Action ” >> “Create fulfillment order”
4) On the MCF Order Page. Enter the customer address >> Select the SKUs >> Select the Shipping Speed >> Click “Place Order”
Can all this be Automated? eCommerce Platform (Shopify and WooCommerce) Integrations
Ok so I showed you how to do it manually on a per order basis, we are in 2021, so there should be a much be a better way right?
If you are using the following eCommerce platforms, MCF can be integrated:
You can see the entire list of supported integration by MCF here.
What these integration will do is automate the above process, where an order from your website comes in and an MCF order will automatically be place using the customer info from your website.
For many merchants, Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment program good option. You may develop your operations while avoiding the hassle of delivering orders in-house by utilizing Amazon FBA network. While it has a lot of advantages, it also has some drawbacks such as branding and customizations (customer will get Amazon branded box).
Amazon’s grip on the eCommerce market is tightening, but it’s also incredibly competitive, making it less viable for new sellers. As a result, more businesses are turning to other sales channels to compensate for Amazon’s poor margins. MCF enables such shops to grow their businesses while maintaining their current operations.
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