Amazon holds the distinction of being an eCommerce industry disruptor, thanks to its two-pronged approach of technological innovation and scalability at mass. Extending its fulfillment services to non-Amazon sellers is yet another feather Amazon has added to its cap. With 9.5 million sellers worldwide, it’s not surprising that 73% of sellers use FBA to sell, which turns the lens to a subset- Amazon multi-channel fulfillment.
Amazon MCF is a fulfillment service subset of Fulfillment by Amazon(FBA). In this model, sellers pay MCF fees to store goods in Amazon’s warehouses and ship them from there out to the customer. Let us take a closer look at how Amazon MCF works.
What is Amazon MCF?
Amazon MCF is run by Amazon for sellers on marketplaces and websites outside of Amazon. If you run a shop on site for people to place orders from, those items are inventoried in an Amazon warehouse. Amazon will process orders coming in from a non-Amazon sales channel and deliver them to your customer.
Although it is an operational overhead for non-Amazon sellers to outsource fulfillment, the advantage is that they get access to a wider network and dependable shipping options. So dependable, in fact, that in 2021, Amazon’s fulfillment expenses reportedly amounted to 75.1 billion USD, according to Statista, which is a 22% hike from the previous financial year!
These are the steps involved in Amazon multi-channel fulfillment
- Amazon receives Website orders
Once your website is integrated with Amazon, orders placed get automatically sent to an Amazon warehouse.
- Inventory at Amazon fulfillment centers
Amazon receives orders and chooses warehouses from their network to store products in.
- Amazon ships the order
Amazon will pack and ship the order after tallying the delivery option selected against the options available. Amazon prioritizes FBA over MCF orders.
How to facilitate Amazon MCF Shopify
If you were, or are currently using the Fulfillment by Amazon service, the latest announcement on Shopify’s website mentioned that the service will be unavailable after September 2022 and that sellers will need to use multi-channel fulfillment. Here’re the steps to follow to sync up your Amazon inventory with WebBee
- Deactivate FBA.
Go to shipping and delivery from your Shopify admin portal. Navigate to accounts and integrations and click on “Manage Integrations”. You can then deactivate fulfillment by Amazon.
- Select Shopify under inventory managed by
Go to the products page and click on any product. Hit the edit button under the variant section. Click on the save button after selecting Shopify from the inventory managed by from the drop-down menu.
- Add App
Install the Shopify. Once downloaded, click on the next button to begin the onboarding process. Go to your Amazon Seller Central account to authorize multi-channel fulfillment.
Differences between Amazon MCF and FBA
|Seller’s website and/or marketplaces||Amazon||Channel|
|Sellers are in charge of inventory while Amazon stores orders, packs and ships them. Shopify sellers receive tracking details from Amazon once the order is dispatched.||Sellers send Amazon the inventory for stocking products at the nearest fulfillment centers. Once the products are checked in, the seller is “in stock”. Packing, shipping and even refunds and returns are dealt with by Amazon. Shipped orders are branded with the Prime Badge.||Operating mechanism|
|MCF fees are calculated by weight and product size tier. The tiers are|
Storage and fulfillment fees apply.
|Referral fee+ fulfillment fee+ closing fee applies||Fees|
|MCF is available across the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the UK.||FBA is offered globally via 185 fulfillment centers.||Coverage|
Beneficial Feature Updates For small scale sellers
Channel-based order blocking
Presently, Walmart and eBay prohibit sellers from using Amazon MCF due to the Amazon-branding on shipping boxes. In response to this, Amazon is offering sellers the option to send orders in unbranded, blank boxes which will keep your order separate from FBA inventory. For a 5% surcharge, you can block MCF from those channels that expressly forbid Amazon. According to a 2022 Jungle Scout survey of 3,500+ sellers, however, 40% of users use Walmart’s fulfillment services while 36% of users use multichannel fulfillment, a subset of FBA services.
New small standard size
Amazon MCF accepts items that weigh less than 2 ounces.
Improved on-time shipping
Amazon introduced two-day shipping for all MCF orders in line with its commitment to fast and consistent delivery.
AfterShip, the Hong Kong-based shipping tracking startup integrates with Amazon logistics to track shipments through Etsy and Wish. You can send tracking numbers to your customers and provide order updates via SMS, emails, and Facebook Messenger to keep them informed.
5. Inventory Performance Index (IPI)
Amazon now determines inventory performance by the MCF order volume which qualifies sellers for unlimited storage. You can view the index from the Seller Portal.
The Upsides and Downsides of Amazon MCF
- Simple pricing structure
MCF’s pricing structure comprises storage and fulfillment fees which you can compute from the table to estimate your fulfillment expenses. Unlike FBA, there is no referral fee.
- Favors non-Amazon Sellers
Since its launch four years ago, Amazon MCF has evolved to provide integrations with major platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce. It is presently beta testing unmarked boxes in place of its branded packaging which opens up the avenue to sell on marketplaces that compete with Amazon (such as Walmart).
- Fast shipping and fulfillment
Amazon MCF offers priority (next day), and two-day shipping which helps small-scale sellers meet customer expectations. Timely shipping and delivery still remain Amazon’s USP placing it ahead even of recent dropshippers.
- High fulfillment costs
Although the fee structure is self-explanatory, MCF fees are about 40 to 50% higher than FBA fees. For example, the FBA fee for a small standard package is $2.48 while the same under MCF works out to be $5. It’s worth noting that these fees apply more to those items that are stored in Amazon warehouses beyond a year. Put simply, merchants who sell items that are low in demand will find MCF unfeasible.
- Brands don’t have control over where their inventory is stored
While it’s the seller’s responsibility to maintain inventory and stock updates, Amazon decides which warehouse to store your inventory in, giving brands lesser control over where it will be.
- Certain products will not be fulfilled
Amazon MCF does not fulfill product categories deemed hazardous such as aerosols and lithium batteries.
Amazon MCF Fees
Amazon multi channel fulfillment fees are calculated by;
- Product volume and item dimensions.
- Product size tier.
- The item’s unit weight and dimensional weight.
Storage and fulfillment charges. The former is charged based on the cubic footage volume of space occupied by the products while the fulfillment fee depends on the units shipped, duration, and product volume and weight.
1. How do you do MCF?
The amazon MCF accepts fulfillment orders on products that are sold through any eCommerce sales channel.
- You can send your inventory to the Amazon fulfillment centers.
- After checking in the inventory, you need to submit an order request to Amazon
- Amazon will store, pick, pack and ship the order directly to the customer.
- Get the tracking details from Amazon.
- You can opt to have customers return orders back to the Amazon fulfillment center for processing.
2. Does eBay allow Amazon MCF?
As of March 2022, eBay allows Amazon MCF to enable sellers to fulfill orders. All one needs to do is submit order fulfillment requirements online and ship the product to a fulfillment center from Amazon’s wide network. Amazon will store the inventory until a buyer orders from eBay. Amazon will then pack, ship, and dispatch the order for delivery to the customer.