Amazon have published some Amazon FBM tips for merchants who have been using Amazon FBA but are transitioning to FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) for the first time.
Why Amazon FBM trumps FBA during Coronavirus pandemic
We have seen that since Amazon started to push delivery dates out for products which they deem non-essential, that there has been an increase of FBM offers winning the Buy Box ahead of items which are carrying the Amazon Prime badge. This is because Amazon reckons that you can do a better job than they can at the moment of delivering what are deemed as non-essential products faster then they can do it themselves.
Today, the 3rd of April, for example, products in FBA are showing delivery dates as far into the future as the 1st of May. However FBM products (including Seller Fulfilled Prime) are showing delivery dates as soon as Monday the 6th of April. Effectively FBA is running on a four week delivery promise whereas FBM is often showing next business day delivery expectations. There will be a big shift where even Prime members select FBM products rather than wait a month.
Amazon Logistics still has spare capacity
What might seem bizarre to some is that the Amazon FBM tips even suggest using Amazon Shipping to self-fulfil orders. You might wonder what the difference is between them shipping a product from their warehouse using Amazon Logistics and you shipping a product from your warehouse using Amazon Logistics. Indeed, shipping from your warehouse involves more work than everything shipping from a central hub, but Amazon may well be considering social distancing and looking to minimise traffic in their warehouses but it is, at least currently, an indication that whilst their restricting warehouse movements they have plenty of capacity on the delivery side.
Amazon FBM tips
These Amazon FBM tips are Amazon’s own recommendations on best practice for fulfilling your own orders:
Always provide valid tracking information
Amazon customers depend on tracking numbers to find out where their orders are and when they can expect to receive them. Sellers are required to provide valid tracking for their MFN orders when selling on Amazon. For more information, see Valid Tracking Rate or visit our Valid Tracking Rate FAQs.
Manage your delivery time
Amazon provides an estimated delivery time to buyers on the offer and checkout pages so customers know when to expect an item they have ordered from you. We determine the estimated delivery time from the moment a buyer places an order until that order is delivered, taking into consideration handling and transit times. You can modify your handling time and transit time by following the instructions in the Manage your delivery time Help page.
Set your default return instructions
Update your Amazon selling account with valid return instructions for all MFN orders. You can find more information on how to do this on the Set your default return instructions page. You can find more information on the Manage returns Help page.
Confirm your account is updated with a valid return address
When you approve a buyer’s request to return a product, Amazon sends the buyer a return label with your default return address. To support this return process, sellers must provide a valid return address. For more information on how to do this, see Set your default return address.
Comply with Amazon’s Drop Shipping Policy
Drop shipping, or allowing a third party to fulfil orders to customers on your behalf, is acceptable only as long as you adhere to Amazon’s Drop Shipping Policy. To comply with this policy, you must:
- Be the seller of record of your products
- Identify yourself as the seller of your products on all packing slips, invoices, external packaging, and other information included or provided in connection with them
- Remove any packing slips, invoices, external packaging, or other information identifying a third-party drop shipper prior to shipping the order
- Be responsible for accepting and processing customer returns of your products
Fulfil your orders with Amazon’s Buy Shipping
With Amazon’s Buy Shipping, you can buy shipping labels individually or in bulk, ship and confirm your orders, and track your shipments. Buy Shipping ensures that your products are delivered to the customers using a trusted network of shipping carriers. Learn more about the how to use and the benefits on the Buy Shipping services Help page.
Remember, regardless of how you fulfil your orders you are required to comply with all other terms of the Amazon seller agreement and applicable Amazon policies.