Amazon is making it easier for sellers who use its FBA fulfillment service to split shipments to multiple fulfillment centers – as long as they are using Amazon’s preferred shipping carriers.
According to an announcement today, sellers can use Box-Level Inventory Placement. “For eligible inventory, we’ll separate your shipment into multiple box groups, allowing your products to reach our fulfillment centers faster.”
Some sellers commenting below the post were unclear on what it meant. A frequent commentor replied, “In the past it would cost more to send 10 boxes to 5 different FCs, and would be considered 5 shipments. Now I can pay the 10 boxes to 1 FC cheaper price (considered 1 shipment) but they will have different labels/addresses and go to the 5 FCs instead of the 1 and having to go through Amazon Transfer.”
Sellers like the idea of sending inventory to a single Fulfillment Center located nearest to them to save on inbound shipping costs, though it seems unlikely the program gives them any greater flexibility in selecting the destination warehouse. On the other hand, once the inventory is at Amazon facilities, inventory stored in multiple places around the country have a better chance of reaching customers faster – a benefit Amazon touted in today’s announcement.
There’s no change to shipment fees or current logistics with the new program, and Amazon said sellers would have full visibility into the shipment status for each of their box groups.
No action is required from sellers – “Once you select a partnered carrier as part of your shipping plan, we’ll let you know if your shipment qualifies for box-level placement. We’ll contact your partnered carrier directly to process the shipment.”
One seller wrote, “This happened on my last FBA shipment. I processed exactly as normal where my package would all go to one fulfillment center near me. Instead for the same price it processed as 3 different fulfillment centers. I paid no more than my normal fulfillment load would cost and it got shipped automatically to their appropriate fulfillment center. My thought is that it saves amazon time and money to get the boxes in and turn around and reship them to different fulfillment centers.”
Other sellers expressed frustration after over a year of facing severe restock limits. One seller said, “The restock limits debacle has cost me many thousands of dollars as Amazon sends me scrambling to set up 3PLs and that laughs at me when they boost storage limits without warning and without any guidance about the future.”
You can find the announcement on Amazon Seller Central.