There are a lot of moving parts to consider as an ecommerce business owner. You have to purchase products, choose software, and select platforms. Plus, you have to decide how you’re going to get the products to the customers.
Fortunately, shipping companies and fulfillment providers help with the delivery part of the process.
You can hire a third party fulfillment company to handle the storing, packing, and shipping duties. This way you can focus on other areas of your business while the professionals fill the customer orders.
Many companies, large and small, offer fulfillment services. Some are specialized in their field and just offer fulfillment services while others operate as a sales platform and offer fulfillment services.
Amazon FBA is one well-known fulfillment company that falls within the latter category. Amazon offers fulfillment services but is also a top online sales website.
What is Amazon FBA?
Amazon FBA, also called Fulfillment by Amazon, offers fulfillment services for ecommerce businesses. Basically, you pay to have Amazon store your products in one of its many warehouses. When a purchase order comes in, the Amazon team will pack up the products and ship them to the customer.
Using Amazon FBA saves you the hassle of finding storage space and storing your products. It also takes the task of packaging and shipping the products off your plate and puts them in the capable hands of Amazon professionals.
Amazon sellers can use Amazon FBA to handle the products sold on the website. Amazon FBA is also available to sellers who offer products on their website and other multichannel sales platforms.
Here’s how Amazon FBA works:
- You send products to Amazon FBA.
- Amazon FBA stores your products in one of its many warehouses.
- Customers buy your products through your ecommerce website.
- Amazon FBA professionals pick and pack your products.
- Amazon FBA ships the products to your customers.
It’s that simple!
Amazon FBA offers two-day delivery service and easy shipping options. With 65 global Amazon fulfillment centers and more than 110 U.S. fulfillment locations, there’s an Amazon warehouse close by.
If your business accepts returns, don’t worry about the process. Amazon FBA also handles return processing so you don’t have to.
Check out the following details on Amazon FBA pricing, features, and integrations to decide if this fulfillment company is right for you.
Amazon FBA Pricing
Amazon FBA provides ecommerce sellers with a detailed fulfillment fees list. And with no set-up Amazon FBA fees, the company makes it easy and inexpensive to get started.
Some fulfillment providers charge receiving fees. But, with Amazon FBA, the receiving fees are free, so long as specific guidelines are followed.
Product storage prices vary. The costs range from $0.75-$2.40/cubic feet, depending on the product size categories.
As for picking and packing, the cost varies depending on the size and weight of the items.
Amazon FBA Features
Amazon FBA offers many enticing features that draw ecommerce merchants in.
This fulfillment company offers ecommerce sellers access to two-way inventory management. With two-way inventory management, you know what products are in stock and what products are headed out the door.
With the Amazon FBA software, you can also track your inventory along each step in the process. When you have a lot of inventory, this is essential. Even ecommerce shops that stock limited inventory will find this data extremely useful and necessary. When you know how much inventory you have, you know when it’s time to add more products to the Amazon warehouse.
If your company specializes in subscription box sales, you’ll like that the Amazon FBA business is well-versed in this area. The Amazon team knows how to prepare this product for shipment and get it to your customer’s door with ease.
Amazon FBA also offers advanced reporting capabilities with its software. This means you get detailed reports on your product inventory, shipment updates, and current order completion status.
Amazon FBA doesn’t offer address verification and custom packaging. If you want address verification or custom boxes for your products, you might want to consider other providers. However, if the lack of these items isn’t a make or break situation for you, Amazon FBA might still fit your needs.
Amazon FBA Integrations
When you consider Amazon FBA as your fulfillment company, you need to ask about integrations. Integrations are what connect the Amazon FBA services to your site platforms.
As you check out the offerings of Amazon FBA, see what ecommerce, multichannel, and shipping integrations this company offers. Then compare their offerings with your site platforms to see if there’s an easy connect between the two.
You want the sales and delivery process to be as easy as possible. When your platforms can integrate, successful sale completion results.
Access to integrations between your site and your fulfillment provider’s software is extremely important. When these two things connect, you can rest easy knowing things won’t fall through the cracks. Sales and fulfillment services will go smoothly if everything fits together right and the software systems connect.
Fortunately, Amazon FBA receives positive reviews for its comprehensive integration offerings.
For ecommerce platform integrations, Amazon FBA can connect with some of the big names in the business. These include WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Shopify.
Ecommerce Platform Integrations
When Amazon FBA can connect with your ecommerce platforms, every time a customer completes a sale on your site, it goes straight through to Amazon FBA.
With this type of convenience, you know the company can fulfill the orders quickly and correctly.
And it takes the work out of having to manually put the order through to Amazon FBA. Everything is automated and integrated, so the job is done for you.
You can sell your ecommerce products through Amazon but you might also use other online channels, too. If you sell products through other merchants and use Amazon FBA, you want to be sure Amazon FBA software integrates with the software of these other merchants.
Amazon FBA offers multichannel integrations with Amazon, which is no surprise. You can also use the Amazon FBA software with eBay if you sell your products through this site.
However, if you sell products through Walmart, Amazon FBA software doesn’t integrate with this sales site. So, you’ll have to consider other options if you want multichannel integration with Walmart.
With the Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) service, you can use API plugins to link your inventory to ecommerce channels.
This provides simplified operations, fast fulfillment, and flexible scale for you to grow your business.
When you sell products online, having access to shipping integrations with your fulfillment company is essential. You want the Amazon FBA software to integrate with the software of as many shipping companies as possible.
With this in mind, it’s important to know what shipping software and Amazon FBA software connect.
Amazon FBA offers shipping integrations for FedEx, UPS, and USPS. If you want to use DHL, there is no shipping integration offered by Amazon FBA for this shipping provider, so keep this in mind.
Ensuring shipping integrations makes the entire transaction as smooth as possible. Your fulfillment company and shipping company are connected, which makes for a seamless transaction.
Ease of Use
Whichever fulfillment provider you use, you want to be sure that the services offered by the company make the process as easy as possible. Ease of use not only deals with the integrations the company offers but the customer service it provides to you, the online seller.
Amazon FBA offers a couple different customer support choices where you can reach out and ask questions.
You can contact the Amazon FBA team through their 24/7 support email system. You can also visit their help center to see if the answer to your question is there.
Unfortunately, Amazon FBA doesn’t offer live chat, phone support, or a dedicated account manager to handle your customer questions and issues.
So, if any questions arise, you might not get the answer you need right away like with some other fulfillment companies that offer 24/7 live chat assistance or 24/7 phone support.
Amazon FBA Alternatives
If you’re not completely sold on Amazon FBA as your fulfillment provider, check out the offerings from some of the competition.
ShipBob offers fulfillment services similar to Amazon FBA. When you sign up with ShipBob, your company will get storage, packing, and shipping services fulfilled.
This fulfillment company provides services suitable for most ecommerce companies. So, whether you are an ecommerce entrepreneur or a medium-sized ecommerce business, ShipBob can handle your fulfillment services with ease.
ShipBob offers pricing based on the quantity of the products. Monthly storage fees start at $5 and ShipBob charges $0.20 per order pick. As for receiving fees, the price is $35.
If you want a fulfillment provider that has an easy-to-navigate user interface, multiple fulfillment locations, and plenty of ecommerce integration options, ShipBob might be the right provider for you.
Another Amazon FBA alternative is eFulfillment Service. This ecommerce company assistant offers warehouse storage, pick and pack services, and shipping.
This fulfillment company tailors its services to ecommerce startup companies. So, if you are new to the business, eFulfillment Service might be the right option for you.
eFulfillment Service prices are based on volume and storage. There are no set-up fees, so you can get started selling with no up-front costs. Plus, there are no minimum order requirements.
eFulfillment Service also provides an in-house IT team, so if you have any technical difficulties along the way, a company representative is there to help.
Red Stag Fulfillment
Red Stag Fulfillment is an Amazon FBA alternative you might want to consider. This fulfillment company offers shipping, packing, and storage services.
With Red Stag Fulfillment as your third party provider, you get same-day shipping options and video monitoring so you know what’s going on at all times.
Red Stag Fulfillment also specializes in bulk products. Therefore, if your ecommerce website sells furniture, outdoor equipment, and other bulky items, this provider might be right for you.
There is a 100 order monthly minimum, so if your ecommerce store is just starting out or doesn’t meet this criteria, other fulfillment providers may work better.
Red Stag Fulfillment charges $100 for set-up fees, $13.25 per pallet for receiving fees, $2 per bin and $15 per pallet for monthly storage fees, and $2.25-$2.65 for the first pick and $0.30 each additional pick.
Rakuten Super Logistics
Rakuten Super Logistics offers fulfillment services which might be perfect for your ecommerce company.
With Rakuten Super Logistics, you get two-way inventory management, address verification, subscription box services, and advanced reporting options. However, if you’re looking for a custom box packaging option, Rakuten Super Logistics won’t work for you.
Rakuten Super Logistics gives individual quotes for its rates. Also, the company has a 250 monthly order minimum, so this fulfillment provider is a good one for larger businesses with high monthly order rates.
Is Amazon FBA Right for You?
So, now that you know what Amazon FBA offers, is this fulfillment provider and software right for you? It depends!
To figure out if the FBA program is right for you, consider the following questions:
Will You Be Shipping to Locations Around the Globe?
Before you sign up with Amazon FBA, or any other fulfillment provider, consider where your products will be going. Will you be selling your ecommerce store items to people around the globe? Or will your product mainly be offered in your country?
If you’re shipping products to different countries, Amazon FBA can help you fulfill these shipments with ease. Amazon has U.S.-based warehouses plus international warehouses. When it’s time to fulfill your orders, your shipments leave from the warehouse closest to the customer.
With many warehouses throughout the world, Amazon FBA provides quick shipping, no matter where your products are going.
Therefore, Amazon is a great choice whether you’re shipping to surrounding states in the U.S. or other countries.
Do You Specialize in Subscription Box Services?
Amazon FBA offers subscription box services. And with a brand like Amazon, you better believe the packing and shipping process is done fast.
If your ecommerce site focuses on subscription box services, Amazon FBA has the fulfillment solution for you. Amazon handles this specialty product service so you don’t have to do so.
Amazon FBA is also well-versed in this type of packing and shipping, so you can send out new products each month with ease.
The only downside is that the shipment won’t be in custom packaging. But, if that’s okay with you, Amazon FBA is a good option to consider for subscription box fulfillment.
Is Advanced Reporting Important to You?
Keeping track of your inventory, customer orders, and other product listing details is important. With the Amazon FBA advanced reporting dashboard you can keep an eye on these things with ease.
When you use the Seller Central data, you can track how your company is doing with sales on Amazon.
To really tap into the strength of the Amazon advanced reporting data, you may have to purchase separate software and tools to expand your knowledge.
But, if you’re looking for the main data reports, you can check out this information on your seller account dashboard.
Other fulfillment companies might offer better inventory and shipment tracking software with their services. You might find that ShipMonk or ShipBob offer better software to keep your sales, inventory, and shipment information orderly.
Do You Want Fast Shipping?
Fast shipping is essential in this business. Your customers want their orders as quick as possible and Amazon FBA can help you deliver.
If you want the fastest fulfillment company, Amazon FBA is at the top of the list. Two-day delivery and even same-day delivery is available in certain cases.
If you’ve ever ordered products from Amazon, you know how quickly this company delivers. You can apply that same delivery speed to the products you sell on your ecommerce site by using Amazon FBA. Plus, with fast delivery, you won’t get negative reviews on this aspect.
Some other fulfillment companies also offer speedy delivery, but they may not be as quick as shipping through Amazon FBA.
If fast delivery is one of your must-have items, look further into what Amazon FBA offers its vendor customers.
What Does Your Budget Look Like?
Before picking a fulfillment provider, take a close look at your budget. Fulfillment rates vary greatly from one company to the next, so you need to know how much you can spend on fulfillment services. This will also help you determine profit margins.
When you use Amazon FBA, you don’t pay for the packing, shipping, and handling separately. You pay an FBA fee that includes all these steps completed by Amazon employees. The cost depends on the weight and size of your product.
With a set pricing list, you can estimate how much the FBA services cost and compare these prices to what other fulfillment companies charge.
If you can afford Amazon FBA services and like what this company offers, you may find this popular brand name fulfillment company is right for you.
Is Customer Service Important?
As an ecommerce business owner, you might have questions along the way. For this reason, you want access to your fulfillment company should questions arise.
Amazon FBA does offer customer support in the way of email. However, there are not too many other ways to contact the company when you have questions, negative feedback, or positive feedback.
Other fulfillment companies offer every possible communication tool for their sellers, while Amazon FBA doesn’t go that far.
If customer service is important to you as a seller and you want easy access to your fulfillment provider, take a look at the competitors and see if their contact style is better.
Do You Want a Well-Known Brand Name As Your Provider?
Amazon is a huge name in the ecommerce business. One of the biggest names, in fact.
Therefore, if you want the help of a well-known company that’s used and trusted by many, Amazon might be right for you.
However, this isn’t to say the competitors are new to the industry. FedEx Fulfillment is another well-known name that does a lot of fulfillment business. ShipMonk also has its own loyal following with ecommerce site owners.
It’s important to look beyond the name and focus on the individual services. This way you can decide which fulfillment provider will serve your company best. And whichever fulfillment company you choose, you want the customer experience to be exceptional from start to finish.
Leave Your Review
If you are a current Amazon FBA customer, let others know about your experience. Leave a review as to your thoughts on this fulfillment provider!