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Amazon FBA For Multi-Channel Fulfillment

Last time I talked about using Amazon’s Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) service for multi-channel fulfillment.  I.e., keeping all of your inventory at Amazon, and letting them do the pick, pack, and ship for your sales on other venues such as eBay and Sears.  The main point of the post was that you need to keep your inventory levels reported at all 3 venues in sync, so that when you sell a product on one venue the reduced number of products available will be updated on all 3 of them.  If you don’t keep them in sync you will oversell products and have to cancel orders.

There’s a new service available with FBA multi-channel fulfillment that I wanted to mention.  As I’ve discussed before, one of the best things about using FBA for your fulfillment is that you no longer need to touch individual orders, Amazon does it for you.  Having to personally touch individual orders is extremely time consuming.  By having a 3rd party service provider do this for you, it frees you up to do more value-added activities like searching for more products to sell.  Until now, though, when using FBA you had to manage returns personally.  While the number of returns is much smaller than the number of sales, it’s still significant and it too is extremely time consuming.

Recently, though, Amazon announced that you can now have them handle returns on your multi-channel (non-Amazon) sales.  It doesn’t get you out of 100% of the work, of course.  You still have to handle refunds (Amazon doesn’t receive any funds when you sell on other venues, so they can’t issue refunds).  And you have to go to your Amazon seller account and create a shipping label for each return.  But Amazon will handle the physical item return and, if it’s still in new condition, return it to your Amazon inventory.


Reminder: Congress is working on bills to require online retailers to collect sales tax in all states, rather than just states where they have a physical presence.  There are literally thousands of tax districts in the United States, the time and cost of collecting and remitting the correct sales tax could easily be prohibitive for a small retailer.  Ask your Representative and Senators to ensure any online sales tax bill requires a simplified method for collecting and remitting the tax, such as a flat sales tax paid to the Federal government, which would distribute the funds to states proportional to their populations.


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