Did you know Amazon allows you to use their warehouses to send inventory to non-Amazon customers? For a small processing fee, Amazon sellers can use FBA to fulfill other web & eCommerce orders, including 1-day and 2-day shipping options. Professional sellers don’t even need to have an Amazon listing for the inventory they intend to ship using Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF).
What is Multi-Channel Fulfillment?
MCF is a means for your Amazon inventory to be shipped to non-Amazon customers. You can utilize this feature to send bulk orders to distributors, send replacements or samples, or fulfill non-amazon orders coming form your website or other eCommerce marketplaces. In essence, Amazon is willing to function as a 3PL warehouse for you.
How do I Use Multi-Channel Fulfillment?
You have a couple options when it comes to creating MCF orders. You can go in and manually set up a shipment. This is a very easy process that does not take much time. To manually enter an order, go to Manage Inventory, and choose “Create Fulfillment Order” from the menu.
If you have a large number of orders to enter, the manual method can be a bit clunky and start taking more time than you may want it to. To work around this, you also have the option of using a bulk upload to enter multiple orders at once.
When you create your order, you can enter any reference ID (such as other platform order/invoice numbers). You also have the option to include the customer’s email, which will allow the system to send automatic shipping updates.
This feature can also be used to send bulk orders to your distributors. To do so, Amazon asks that you enter the distributor name & PO number into the following packing list fields:
- Ship To Address>Full Name
- Order ID
Should you need to cancel an order for any reason, this is also easily done from your Manage Orders view. Any order showing as Planning, Pending or Processing can be cancelled. You will only be charged for items that have shipped (so if a partial shipment has gone out, you would be charged for those items only).
Multi-Channel Fulfillment API Integration
There are a variety of software options out there to choose from. You can check out Amazon’s Fulfillment Outbound Shipment API or look into software integrations. A couple highly recommended integrations are ShipStation and Woo Commerce. We have personally worked with ShipStation and find their interface very user-friendly. After a 30-day free trial, they have very affordable plans, starting s low as $9 per month. If you are already a Shopify user, you can check out their apps as well; Amazon MCF by WebBee has high reviews and a free trial period.
Amazon’s MCF system also allows for customization of your packing slips. This is great, as it may help avoid confusion for customers who are not expecting an Amazon package. You can include your company/brand name, and other notes related to the order. You can adjust these manually, or create default text in your FBA Settings.
We’ve previously discussed FBA Global Export, which is one of 3 methods Amazon has in place for you to ship products to customers internationally. You can use these same feature coupled with MCF to reach a global audience from your website.
How do Multi-Channel Fulfillment Returns Work?
So, this feature sounds great, but you are wondering how to handle returns. Amazon gives you two options here. You can have returns go straight back to FBA, and they will handle them like any other return: check it’s condition, put back into circulation if applicable, hold unsellable inventory for you to remove/dispose as desired. You can also choose to have returns go directly to you.
Once you have your return settings entered, you can easily authorize MCF returns. Just like you would manage any other Amazon return, you can go to your Manage Orders screen, look up the Order number, and authorize the return. This will generate an RMA and return shipping label that you can send to the customer. Returns going back to FBA are trackable, and you will see the inventory credited to your account within 45 days.