Did you know you can use Amazon to fulfill orders that come in through eBay, your own website, and other channels? However, one vendor says merchants should think twice before using Amazon Multi-channel Fulfillment (MCF), and offered several reasons why it believes it could lead to problems for merchants.
The first has to do with the merchant's branding. Daniel Sperling-Horowitz, President of Zentail, told EcommerceBytes that Amazon no longer offers brand-neutral packaging, pointing to this thread
from last September. "This means all packages shipping from Amazon's fulfillment centers contains Amazon packaging and branding except in limited situations where the product purchased can ship without packaging," he said.
Sperling-Horowitz cofounded Zentail
, which offers multichannel management software and is an official partner of Jet.com, Walmart Marketplace, and eBay. "We were a top 5 seller on Jet.com during their 6-month beta in 2015 when members of their founding technical team encouraged us to open up our software for other sellers. We phased out our own retail operations in 2015 to focus entirely on building out our multichannel services."
Using FBA for multichannel fulfillment hurts sellers' ability to sell on other channels, he claims, specifically Walmart, Jet.com, and eBay:
"FBA MCF is against Walmart's policies. Walmart has begun suspending sellers that have ignored their warnings," he said.
"Using FBA for fulfillment to Jet customers is not effective because Jet determines the winning seller based on factors including proximity to the customer - this information cannot be communicated to Jet for product in Amazon's fulfillment center network."
EcommerceBytes has discussed the practice by some sellers of using Amazon to fulfill eBay orders. But Sperling-Horowitz said Zentail's data shows those who do "significantly underperform sellers that have an alternate fulfillment method."
"We believe eBay suppresses sellers that use FBA MCF from search results because they do not want their customers receiving Amazon-branded packaging. eBay and other channels can easily do this because some growing percentage of FBA MCF orders are delivered by Amazon Logistics, which uses un-trackable and uniquely coded tracking numbers," he said.
This seemingly contradicts what an eBay moderator told sellers
in April when he said it was okay for sellers to drop-ship from Amazon (he didn't make a distinction between using MCF or ordering from Amazon merchants and having them ship directly to the buyer).
But Sperling-Horowitz raised a point that explained why eBay sellers might have problems when using Amazon to drop-ship or to fulfill their goods: Amazon Logistics.
If you order items from Amazon, you may have noticed that sometimes your orders come with packages labeled "AMZL" and "AMZN_US." That indicates they're being delivered by Amazon, not shipping carriers or couriers. And according to Sperling-Horowitz, eBay, Jet, and Walmart don't consider Amazon Logistics tracking to be "valid tracking," and each channel requires greater than or equal to 95% valid tracking.
He also said Zentail clients have experienced periodic delays in fulfillment performance for FBA MCF fulfillment orders - "such delays can cause sellers to lose their Top Rated status on eBay, and negatively affect performance metrics on all non-Amazon channels. Performance metrics play a critical role in a seller's ability to win orders."
Note that EcommerceBytes didn't see where Walmart specifically banned Amazon fulfillment services by name, but it prohibits sellers from using any branded boxes and specifically prohibits the use of its competitors' boxes ("Amazon, eBay, Sears, Rakuten, etc."), and we confirmed that Amazon Logistics is not a supported carrier and is excluded from its list of valid tracking methods.
Amazon declined to comment for this story.