By Tony Dobson, managing director, SnapFulfil.
In recent weeks Amazon has refocused its shipping efforts to essential items only - side-lining thousands of sellers who relied on the retail giant to fulfil and ship their orders.
For many of you affected, this will feel like a kick in the teeth at a moment of global crisis and uncertainty and asking, ‘what next and where do I turn to for help?’
What is considered ‘essential’ by Amazon:
- Health and household
- Industrial and scientific
- Beauty and personal care
- Baby products
- Pet supplies
For those of you who fall outside these categories and ‘paused’ all is not lost, as you can turn to an approved Amazon Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM), allowing you to continue to sell your goods via Amazon and meet your customer orders.
Amazon FBM explained
As opposed to paying Amazon to meet all your fulfilment needs from one of their own warehouses, this process allows you, the seller, to list your products on Amazon and take responsibility for managing all storage, picking, packing, shipping and customer support. This gives you total control over your customer service and experience and the opportunity to gather valuable basket data of who, what, where your customers are, so that you can develop a more personalised and targeted approach to business.
Benefits of using Amazon FBM:
- Fulfilment Process Control
Not having all your fulfilment needs with Amazon gives you a certain level of freedom, control of your fulfilment processes and owning the customer experience – from choosing how you package up your goods to your own delivery partners. It is worth being mindful of Amazon’s preferred packaging guidelines, which are available online.
- Improved profit margins
The Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) process comes at a price – so switching to FBM can help improve margins and profits.
- The Need for Speed
Getting your products listed and ready to ship as soon as possible is critical, especially during the coronavirus lockdown, which not being tied to Amazon FBA offers you as you don’t have to wait for them to approve your product listings and you can control delivery of your products to customers.
Consider alternative 3PL partners
For many of you on hold with Amazon it is likely to be a logistical challenge – either you don’t have the infrastructure to store and manage your goods in and out, or available workforce is limited in numbers, either through the need to self-isolate or furlough employees.
This is where a third-party logistics (3PL) partner could be the ideal solution as many have been granted key worker status because of the vital role they provide in supporting the supply chain and fulfilling online orders.
The majority of 3PLs will also have the infrastructure in place, from latest WMS technology to flexible fees, to help you make the seamless switch to Amazon FBM.