Setting Up Amazon FBA as Your Shopify Fulfillment Engine
Last year, we discussed all of the great ways that you can get Amazon and Shopify to work together. In this article, we're going to go a bit deeper into one important element of this - fulfillment. Here's how Amazon can help you to pick, pack, and ship orders for your Shopify store!
When a business is operating as a marketplace seller on Amazon, it often means they’re using FBA, or Fulfillment by Amazon, to deliver orders to customers. Those brands are paying Amazon to fulfill orders, as well as manage the returns process and some elements of customer service. It’s a slick, cost-effective setup that appeals to many retail brands, and it’s not exclusive to the Amazon shopping experience, either.
Thanks to a process called Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF), Amazon is able to provide FBA for orders made through your Shopify store too. When a shopper makes a purchase through your eCommerce site, an API integration between Shopify and Amazon enables multi-channel fulfillment that passes the order on to Amazon, which does the rest of the work for you!
Here are the steps required to get this all working...
Activate Amazon Fulfillment
If you don’t have an Amazon Seller Central account, you’ll need to set this up first. This account will allow you to set up Amazon FBA and link your Shopify store to your Amazon account. You'll then, of course, need to have items set up in Amazon and active inventory in Amazon's warehouse.
In your Shopify platform, you'll need to set up your Amazon.com integration in the "Shipping" section of "Settings." You should set order fulfillment to automatic, which allows Amazon to automatically begin processing and fulfilling orders for your customers. This provides the fastest service possible for your customers, and it alleviates fulfillment demands on your end.
Set Shipping Rates
The next step is to set up an appropriate "Shipping Profile." Although businesses are free to set their own shipping rates, you’ll want to make sure shipping rates are in line with the shipping services and costs presented by Amazon. And you’ll want to keep Amazon’s own fulfillment rates in mind to make sure you aren’t losing money by undercharging shoppers for shipping and delivery. Of course, you can always choose to charge less than Amazon does for the shipping as a way to drive sales if you want!
You may also want to have different prices established for the different types of shipping offered by Amazon, which include Standard, Expedited, and Priority zones. Again, make sure your prices set through Shopify are a fit for the rates Amazon charges, and make sure criteria for determining shipping costs are consistent with Amazon’s methods, assuming you want to stay in the black.
Add Products to Fulfillment by Amazon & Go Live!
One of the most time-intensive aspects of setting up Amazon FBA for your Shopify store is making sure product listings and information are consistent across both platforms. This includes information like item name, SKUs, product weight, and other information that Amazon FBA will use to fulfill your order. Syncing your price may also be a critical part of the process. Various third party plugins to Shopify (or standalone "Product Information Managers" - PIMs) can help you to do this automatically. If you have a large catalog, this can be essential!
You’ll want to monitor the fulfillment process, especially initially, to make sure orders are going through properly. If you notice that orders are getting stuck in processing and/or rejected by Amazon, it likely indicates a problem with how orders are being transmitted through the system.
Before You Begin: A Note on Branding
As you set up Amazon FBA for your business, you’ll need to keep in mind that orders fulfilled by Amazon will be delivered in Amazon packaging. For many businesses, the downsides of Amazon packaging are outweighed by the efficiencies and convenience of its fulfillment system, especially when integrated with Shopify or other DTC platforms. Still, it’s something your business should be aware of as you start this fulfillment arrangement.
The powers of Amazon and Shopify combine to give your brand an excellent platform to facilitate fast, efficient fulfillment that saves your business money and encourages growth. Best of all, Amazon FBA is easy to set up, making it a great way to manage fulfillment while focusing your resources on other aspects of building your business.
If you'd like to discuss your brand's eCommerce strategy on Amazon, Shopify, or any other channel, let us know. We're here to help!