Things are changing with Amazon!
Writing from a freight forwarder‘s standpoint and in a context of handling many importers using Amazon fulfillment centers, we are observing a shift in pricing and service provided by the Amazon fulfillment centers.
Issues range from taking a few days to reply to inquiries and pricing that seems too hard to control. Because Amazon has their own systems and requirements, which the Amazon sellers are subjected to, sellers often end up with a more elevated cost than anticipated.
In a recent example, we handled a case where an importer was buying from China using our freight network that, at first, dealt through Amazon fulfillment center.
Our importer had a large inventory that was not moving as quickly as he needed it to. It took Amazon a long time to decide on a storage ratio at a higher price that was not quoted.
It seems the storage rate ratio was dependent on unknown factors not clearly indicated to our importer. This factor alone affected the livelihood of the inventory and our customer had to retrieve his shipment and opted to use a non-approved fulfillment center, which ultimately gave him far more control over unforeseen costs.
How to Resolve these Spreading Issues
Importers working through Amazon can dramatically simplify the relationship by taking the fulfillment elsewhere, leaving Amazon to handle the sales through their site where your products can be found.
Should you use an Amazon-Approved Fulfillment Center?
The largest benefit to working with an Amazon-approved fulfillment center is eligibility for Amazon Prime. Amazon third-party approved fulfillment warehouses provide access and eligibility to Amazon Prime. Many Amazon shoppers will actively seek out products eligible for Amazon Prime because it offers free shipping and, many times, a quicker delivery if the shopper is a Prime member.
It is worth noting that Amazon requires a six hour-window to get the order out for products to remain eligible for Amazon Prime status. The downside is that someone is paying for the Prime status in one way or another and that falls mostly on importers working through Amazon approved fulfillment centers so that the customer can enjoy their free and fast shipping.
If you choose to utilize a non-approved fulfillment center, it entails you using your own warehouse or the forwarders’ warehouses and ship it directly to the buying consumer without the Prime status. However, you will have more control over how and when your item ships to your customer as well as the ability to shop around to find the best pricing for warehousing your goods.
Our involvement with our existing Amazon customers is strictly based on experience. We strive to keep the steps simple and economical for our shippers. We are already hands-on with our customer's shipments and we will work on setting up your shipment from China or elsewhere.
We will make sure you are utilizing the proper Incoterms (freight terms), harmonized code, shipping, clearing, duty, labeling to meet the Amazon strict requirements, along with warehousing and distributing. An all in freight concept that does not impact your sales.
Importers working or wanting to work with Amazon, we support and share this wonderful Amazon web. We simply are sharing the acquired knowledge and our well established freight network to bring you the simplest and best results out there.