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Fulfillment By Amazon- The Advantages and Disadvantages

The introduction of Fulfillment By Amazon has made selling items online easier (and more profitable) than anyone thought possible. FBA is a system implemented with Amazon.com which allows merchants to store products in shipping centers until orders are placed. When orders are received, Amazon will professionally package and ship the product directly to your customer. This innovative system is designed to assist merchants in selling more products while eliminating tedious dirty work like customer service and shipping. Sound too good to be true? Read our compiled list of  the advantages and disadvantages of using Fulfillment by Amazon and make your own decision.

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ShipStation Launches New Service for Fulfillment by Amazon Merchants

January. 18, 2013 ShipStation, the leading web-based shipping solution company for online retailers, announced today its innovative platform is now integrated with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). FBA allows retailers to fulfill orders placed via their own Webstore or other sales channels by storing their products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers and leveraging its complete packing, shipping, and customer service expertise. ShipStation currently serves as the back-end shipping solution for more than 5,000 online stores, many of which have reported massive reductions in their fulfillment times due to the company’s feature rich solution.

By using ShipStation, merchants can create shipping labels for UPS, FedEx, DHL Global Mail and the US Postal Service by seamlessly managing their orders from more than 30 sales channels including marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Sears, Buy.com, Newegg and Etsy, and ecommerce shopping carts platforms like Shopify, Volusion, Magento, and BigCommerce. “We consistently see companies spend upwards of 70 percent of their time and resources on order fulfillment,” says Jason Hodges, co-founder of ShipStation. “ShipStation has always helped to facilitate a seamless, more efficient ‘in-house’ fulfillment process. Now, by integrating with FBA, we offer a new way for merchants to outsource all or a portion of their fulfillment operations to Amazon.”

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Can Amazon’s Flow App help FBA Sellers?

September 25, 2012—Last year around this time Amazon’s subsidiary A9.com launched a new app for iphones called Amazon Flow. The app enables users to scan a product through a live camera that uses both barcodes and image recognition to identify products. Once the image is identified, the app displays Amazon.com product information including customer reviews and seller pricing. Amazon Flow is available for iPhones, iPads and just recently Androids.

Just like taking a picture with your smartphone, Amazon’s Flow works exactly the same as you simply hold your phone over a product or UPC barcode until the app visually recognizes it. The app will then display Amazon’s product information and details as well as any shopping features, customer reviews, ratings, and sharing options via Twitter, Facebook, or email. Amazon Flow will
even decode QR codes so customers can link to web addresses, get email addresses, phone numbers, and any other embedded information. So how would this app help FBA sellers? The answer is simple.

First thing third-party sellers need to know before listing a potential item is the market price—How much is it going for on Amazon? With this app you can scan any potential item you might be interested in and find out what it’s selling for. Within seconds you’ll know if you can make a profit on it or not, helping FBA sellers save time, energy, and money. Sellers can easily point to an item and Amazon Flow will overlay that image with pricing, availability, review, and media content directly over the item in view. Finding products to sell with Amazon By Fulfillment has never been so easy!

Here is a quick video of just how FAST Amazon FLOW is for image recognition of products. FLOW is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android

 

Available as a free download:

Top 5 Things Amazon Sellers Should Do Before the Holiday Season

October 15, 2012—While many people are barely pulling out their Halloween decorations, Amazon sellers are readily preparing for the upcoming shopping holidays. Experienced sellers know this time of year always has the potential for big shopping sales and are usually the first ones to start planning. Experts this year are predicting online shopping to hit historic heights as more and more people are looking to skip the crowded lines and shopping malls in favor of clicking a few buttons on their keyboard. With that said, here are the Top 5 Things Amazon Sellers should do BEFORE the holiday shopping season.

5.) Have Inventory and Supplies Stocked

If you’re looking forward to a successful holiday season of sales then you better have all your inventory and supplies stocked. Sure, having inventory stocked and ready to go is vital but supplies too? Believe it or not, office supply stores aren’t dummies and know these supplies are in great demand during this time of season. They jack up the prices knowing full well buyers will pay almost anything to get the packaging tape, wrapping, labels and anything else required to make shipments. It seems everything is more expensive during the holiday season and we recommend ordering all your supplies and inventory before storefronts start increasing their prices for the shopping season.

4.) Change Shipping Rates

While this isn’t a requirement, experienced sellers know the heart to buyers is in the shipping price. Choosing the appropriate shipping rates can be a great conversion tool as more and more buyers during the holiday season are looking for quick delivery and cheap shipping prices. The less expensive and quicker you can ship your items the better, as chances of converting potential buyers increases ten-fold.  We recommend shortening shipping times and adjusting rates just enough to either match or beat out your competitors.

3.) Increase Seller Rating/Feedback

Amazon sellers know their seller rating plays an important part with not only winning the buy box but having buyers trust them. If your seller rating and feedback is bad, buyers are almost guaranteed to not purchase from you and you run the risk of Amazon suspending your account. Before the holiday rush starts, email all of your previous customers and ask that they leave feedback on their experience with you. Great ratings and feedback can be the difference between someone buying from you and your competitor. Make sure every customer has rated their experience and left positive feedback so you can showcase to all of your potential buyers.

2.) Adjust Prices

Selling on Amazon is tricky as many factors like pricing, shipping, and seller rating play a dynamic part in getting your products featured ahead of everyone else. One simple tool many sellers use is competitive pricing. Depending on the amount of products you list and sell on a regular basis, using repricing software can significantly improve your odds of having the lowest price. During the holiday season we recommend pricing items slightly lower than you normally would to increase the chances of people buying from you. While you don’t need to reprice your products drastically, changing the price a couple cents can make all the difference in the world.

1.) Use Amazon’s FBA Program

Amazon’s FBA program is the crown jewel for sellers during the holiday season. Many have already packaged and shipped their inventory to facilities, knowing full well the earlier their product is inside Amazon’s warehouse the better. Typically, veteran sellers get their products to Amazon before November 15th to reduce receiving time, as anything sent after this date usually gets jammed up in the mailing process. Tips to remember when using Amazon’s FBA to reduce receiving time include: making sure all items on the PO make it into the box, cover all scannable barcodes on any boxes that are not part of the actual product packaging, and make sure all units have a legible UPC or sticker that can be scanned.

*Secret Tip: Remember hearing about Amazon’s same-day delivery program? Well, many experienced sellers are utilizing this option by sending FBA packages to various FBA facilities that offer same-day delivery (Local Express Delivery). Fulfillment centers in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington D.C all offer same-day delivery if orders are made before the cut-off times.

Need A Job? Amazon To Hire 50,000 Seasonal Employees

October 16, 2012—No matter who you’re voting for this upcoming election, there is no denying that Amazon.com is giving people jobs. The e-commerce goliath announced earlier this week they are expecting to hire more than 50,000 seasonal employees throughout the United States for their fulfillment centers in preparation for the upcoming holiday shopping season. That’s a significant number considering the company reported in June to having a total
of 69,000 full and part-time employees worldwide.

While many people may gawk at seasonal work, Amazon is planning on retaining many of the new hires beyond the holiday season if everything goes accordingly to plan. “We’re hiring at our sites across the U.S. for talented individuals to help us deliver a great experience for our customers this holiday season,” Dave Clark, vice president of global customer fulfillment at Amazon, said in a statement. “Temporary associates play a critical role in meeting increased customer demand during the holiday season, and we expect thousands of temporary associates will stay on in full-time positions.”

As experts predict online shopping sales to increase to $96 billion this shopping season, 12% more than last year, Amazon is getting ready for a blockbuster shopping season that may even put Santa Claus out of business.

Candidates interested in working for Amazon during this holiday season can apply directly on their fulfillment careers website located here. Available seasonal jobs range in salaries from $11.00 to $13.50 an hour. 

 

 

Amazon Fulfillment Center In California Ready For Opening

October 17, 2012—Amazon.com made headlines earlier this week when they announced they would be hiring over 50,000 seasonal employees for the upcoming busy holiday months. Now Amazon is making noise in California as construction of one of their fulfillment centers in San Bernardino is finally completed, promising over 1,000 potential jobs to residents.

To fight back online sales tax, Amazon.com decided to build new fulfillment centers all across United States with two new facilities being locating in California. California law allows Amazon to designate which city is a “point of sale” to receive one cent on the dollar for all sales process through fulfillment centers in that location.

Although construction didn’t start until April, the work on the new fulfillment centers finished two weeks ahead of schedule showcasing how enthusiastic the city is about the opportunity Amazon is giving them.

“We are ecstatic about the fact that they’re employing – right now they’re ramping up to employ for the season probably 1,500 people,” Mayor Pat Morris said. “They’ve already got hundreds on board, and many more to come.”

The new 950,000-square-foot Amazon Fulfillment center is located at the former Norton Air Force Base at the corner of Tippecanoe and Central avenues in San Bernardino, CA. Amazon plans to announce the number of jobs at a news conference later this week.

Take a Look Inside Fulfillment By Amazon

October 30, 2012–Fulfillment By Amazon is a wonderful feature that allows millions of Amazon sellers the opportunity to bypass packaging and shipping. Find out how FBA is making life easier for Amazon Sellers.

Fulfillment By Amazon, eh? Canada Launches FBA

November 5, 2012—Canada is known for three things; Maple syrup, wacky lingo, and now FBA. Earlier today, Amazon.ca officially announced it had launched the Fulfillment By Amazon program for Canadian sellers, finally helping third-party sellers have access to Amazon’s fulfillment and customer service resources. This is big news for Canadian sellers as Amazon’s FBA program tremendously helps third-party sellers by completing packaging and shipping duties typically held by merchant sellers. Plus, merchants using Fulfillment By Amazon can now offer customers shipping discounts like Super Saving Shipping and Amazon Prime, which allows customers to avoid paying shipping costs.

“Fulfillment by Amazon is a win-win for Canadian customers and businesses,” says Steve Oliver, director of Amazon.ca. “Customers will benefit from an even greater selection of items with free shipping and a trusted experience, while businesses can take advantage of our world-class fulfillment services and focus their efforts on growing their business.”

Fulfillment By Amazon works in 3 simple steps. First, sellers must ship products directly to FBA centers using special labeling for packages. Once the items are received, Amazon’s fulfillment centers will take care of all processing, packaging, and shipping duties once items are sold. The last step is to maintain all customer feedback and questions regarding products and purchase orders. Fulfillment By Amazon also provides metric tools for sellers to track inventory and sales. To begin using Amazon’s FBA program, seller must have a registered account with FBA or go here.

The Pros and Cons of Using Third-Party Fulfillment Centers

Since it first started in 2007, Fulfillment By Amazon has helped thousands of sellers sell products with relative ease on Amazon. The way it works is, you send your inventory to one of Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers and when the item sells, Amazon packages and ships the product straight to your customer. The days of packaging thousands of items monthly are gone, and with this easy-to-use FBA program sellers are finding more efficient ways of selling online. Although this fulfillment service is extremely popular, it does have its fair share of disadvantages and complicated compliance rules. They say it saves time, money and hassle, but does it really? Depending on the items you sell, size of your business, and amount of inventory you have, using Fulfillment By Amazon may not be the best decision for you.

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