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1. What is Amazon multi-channel fulfillment (MCF)?

Amazon multi-channel fulfillment: what sellers should know

If you're an ecommerce seller active on multiple platforms, juggling different inventory and fulfillment requirements often becomes a challenge. In the quest for seamless business operations, many are turning to comprehensive solutions that manage order fulfillment across several channels. Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is one such service, offering a plethora of features to assist sellers in optimizing their ecommerce operations. 

This article delves into every aspect of Amazon MCF, shining a spotlight on how you, as a seller, can benefit from it and integrate it into your business.

So read on and prepare to revolutionize your ecommerce strategies.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) allows ecommerce sellers to store inventory in Amazon's fulfillment centers and use Amazon's network to deliver orders from multiple sales channels, including platforms outside Amazon like eBay or personal websites.

  • This is how Amazon MCF Works: Sellers list products on Amazon, ship inventory to Amazon's fulfillment centers, and set up MCF in their seller dashboard. Amazon then handles packing, shipping, and customer service for orders from all sales channels.

  • MCF differs from Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) in that MCF supports fulfillment across various platforms, not just Amazon. FBA is focused on storage, packaging, and shipping for products sold primarily on Amazon.

  • MCF offers several benefits, like access to a broad customer base, increased visibility, inventory flexibility, cost-effectiveness, faster shipping, and quality customer service, enhancing brand appeal and customer satisfaction.

  • To use MCF, sellers need an Amazon Seller Central account and must manage inventory and listings. MCF fees include fulfillment and storage fees, with additional costs for removal, unplanned service, and long-term storage.

  • MCF can present challenges like restrictive branding, complex pricing, and customer service management. Partnering with a print on demand platform like Gelato can help overcome these challenges.

What is Amazon multi-channel fulfillment (MCF)?

a happy ecommerce business owner with a background of a bustling fulfillment center / infographic highlighting the numerous advantages of utilizing Amazon MCF

Amazon MCF is a fulfillment method that allows sellers to store their inventory in Amazon's fulfillment centers and utilize Amazon's advanced fulfillment network to deliver orders from multiple sales channels. This means if you're selling products not only on Amazon but also on other platforms like eBay or your own website, you can still leverage Amazon's expansive network to fulfill your orders. 

The service integrates directly into your sales process, interfacing with your various selling platforms and managing your inventory across all channels. When orders (single-unit or multi-unit orders) come in from any of your selling platforms, Amazon pulls the product from your stocked inventory and handles all the packaging, shipping, and customer service associated with that order. Essentially, it's a heavy-lifting service to fulfill orders while you focus on what you do best - sourcing great products and selling them.

Understanding how Amazon multi-channel fulfillment works

If you're an ecommerce entrepreneur or a business owner managing relationships with customers across multiple platforms, understanding the working mechanism of Amazon MCF is crucial. Here's an overview of how it works: 

  1. Product listing: Initially, you’ll need to list your products on Amazon like any other seller. Regardless of whether you're selling these items on Amazon or another platform, the listing has to exist in the Amazon marketplace.

  2. Inventory shipment: The next step involves sending your inventory to the Amazon fulfillment center – a seamless process facilitated through your seller account. Amazon then takes over sorting, storing, and managing your inventory.

  3. Setting up MCF: Once your products reach Amazon's fulfillment centers, it’s essential to set up multi-channel fulfillment in your seller central dashboard.

  4. Orders and fulfillment: When a customer places an order on your storefront - be it on Amazon or another online marketplace, you can direct Amazon to fulfill the order. They'll handle the packaging and shipping and even provide tracking information to your customer.

Amazon MCF vs. FBA

Delving deeper into the realm of Amazon's fulfillment services, it's essential to understand the distinction between Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Both services offer unique features and advantages that can be leveraged for different business strategies.

In the FBA model, you store your products in the Amazon fulfillment centers, and they take care of storage, packaging, and shipping. Primarily, you sell your products on the Amazon platform itself, capitalizing on the prolific traffic and customer base Amazon boasts. On the other hand, MCF provides fulfillment solutions not just for sales happening on Amazon but across multiple platforms. Amazon still handles the inventory, packing, and delivery, but these services extend to all your sales channels, whether that's your own website, a retailer, or even another ecommerce site.

Both MCF and FBA are potent tools in the Amazon toolkit. The correct choice between them depends on your business's unique needs, scale, and multichannel approach. You should consider your business model, potential sales volume, and, importantly, where your audience typically shops when making this strategic decision.

Benefits of multi-channel fulfillment

a step-by-step infographic illustrating how ecommerce businesses can successfully integrate Amazon MCF into their operations

Multi-channel fulfillment is a powerful strategy that offers numerous benefits to sellers, especially those leveraging the expansive ecosystem of Amazon MCF. These benefits include:

  • Access to a vast customer base: By selling your merchandise on various platforms, you can capture different audience segments and create more opportunities for sales. 

  • Increased visibility: Amazon’s multi-channel fulfillment service gives your business the advantage of heightened visibility. With your products listed on Amazon and other sales channels, your brand gets more exposure.

  • Inventory flexibility: Amazon MCF provides sellers with collective control over their inventory, which spreads across multiple sales channels. It’s a simplified inventory management system that boosts efficiency by centralizing inventory control for the seller.

  • Cost-effective: With MCF, you can utilize Amazon's extensive network of warehouses and distribution centers, which helps lower storage and shipping costs.

  • Faster shipping times: Leveraging Amazon's vast logistics network often translates into faster shipping times, enhanced customer satisfaction, repeat business, and a better brand appeal.

  • Quality customer service: With Amazon MCF, Amazon takes on the responsibility of handling customer inquiries, returns, and refunds related to the fulfillment process.

Integrating Amazon multi-channel fulfillment into your business


Unlocking the vast potential of Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) holds the promise of exponential growth for your ecommerce venture. But how do you weave this service smoothly into your existing operations? 

Here's a step-by-step guide to set you up for success. 

First, you need to have an active Amazon Seller Central account. If you're already retailing on Amazon, you're all set. But in case you're not, sign up and go through the Amazon setup process. Once that's accomplished, make your way to the 'Create Fulfillment Order' page on Seller Central. 

Next, start listing the items you plan to sell through MCF. Add in the necessary details of your products, like SKU, quantity, and destination address. As soon as an order comes in from any of your channels, you can either manually input the details or switch on automatic fulfillment. 

One thing you can't overlook when using Amazon MCF is the importance of inventory management. Fortunately, Amazon equips you with exhaustive inventory management tools. These tools help in accurately projecting customer demand, tracking stock levels, and preventing expensive stock-outs or excess inventory.

Furthermore, marrying this service with your existing ecommerce platform could lead to a simplified process. Platforms such as Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce facilitate effortless integration with Amazon MCF. Upon integration, your inventory across all channels is updated in real-time. 

The integration of Amazon MCF into your financial plan doesn't need to be a complex task. With the correct strategy and effective use of the tools and integrations at your disposal, you can use Amazon MCF as a springboard to catapult your ecommerce business into the big league.

Amazon multi-channel fulfillment pricing and cost considerations

a professional calculating costs, understanding and managing

Starting your Amazon MCF journey requires you to make an informed decision about pricing and costs. MCF fees are primarily divided into two categories: 

  • Fulfillment costs: These are associated with the picking, packing, and shipping of orders. It includes the cost of packaging, handling, and transport. These costs depend on the size and weight of the item, along with the time of the year. Typically, peak season, such as during the holidays, tends to incur higher charges.

  • Storage fees: These are charged for the storage space your inventory occupies in Amazon's fulfillment centers. Keep in mind that the fees vary seasonally, with a rise witnessed in the last quarter of the year. 

Beyond the usual charges, there are also additional costs you need to be aware of, such as: 

  • Removal fees: If you decide to withdraw your products from Amazon's warehouses, removal charges apply. These fees vary depending on the size and weight of the items, ensuring the cost is proportional to the logistics involved in handling and returning your products.

  • Unplanned service fees: These are incurred when Amazon personnel need to interfere with your shipping method due to non-compliance with Amazon’s product preparation or shipping requirements.

  • Long-term storage fees: Items stored in Amazon's warehouses for more than 365 days are subject to long-term storage fees.

Overcoming challenges in Amazon's multi-channel fulfillment

a seller thoughtfully focused on their computer/notebook and strategizing

As convenient and effective as Amazon's Multi-Channel Fulfillment program might appear, it's not without its challenges. After all, every business solution comes with its own set of trade-offs. It’s essential to examine these challenges upfront so you can plan your strategy to work around them and mitigate any potential impact on your business operations. 

Restrictive branding 

Sellers who take pride in their branding might find Amazon's MCF service a bit restrictive. When you use MCF, orders are shipped in Amazon-branded boxes which can limit the unboxing experience for your customers, potentially impacting your brand's image and your customer's perception. 

Customer service management 

In MCF, the responsibility of handling customer service and returns falls solely on the seller. If you aspire to offer top-notch customer service, it's crucial to have a plan in place for handling these aspects of the ecommerce business and be ready to devote adequate resources to managing queries and complaints.

Complex pricing structure 

While Amazon MCF can simplify multichannel management, the pricing model can be complex. Amazon's fee structure varies depending on the item size, weight, and time of year, which can make cost calculations difficult and can complicate budget planning. Due diligence in understanding the fees and staying updated with Amazon's policies is a must. 

Navigating sales tax 

Selling on different platforms can complicate sales tax obligations due to various state regulations, particularly in the US. This means you're responsible for understanding and adhering to the tax laws of each state where your inventory is stored and shipped from.

Sell globally with a reliable international fulfillment platform

In the digitally connected era, selling your products to global markets has never been easier. Yet, it poses notable challenges, such as shipping across borders and managing inventory. Amazon's multi-channel fulfillment, with its international aspects, can help circumnavigate these obstacles, enabling you to reach customers far and wide.

Partnering with a trusted international fulfillment platform is essential for an ecommerce business looking to fulfill international orders and aspiring to expand overseas. It not only simplifies logistics but also promotes customer satisfaction by ensuring timely order fulfillment. Ultimately, choosing a robust, reliable platform is crucial to setting your global ecommerce operations on the path to success.

Elevate your ecommerce business with Gelato

If you're one of the many ecommerce businesses exploring ways to streamline your order processing and fulfillment operations, you might want to consider integrating Gelato with your Amazon Multi-channel Fulfillment service. Gelato's robust services synergize well with Amazon, helping you manage order fulfillment for customized products, including wall art, t-shirts, tote bags, phone cases, and mugs, across multiple sales channels effortlessly and ensuring your inventory constantly stays up to date. This integration can help your business run smoother, reduce time spent on manual updates, and focus more on your core activities.

Choosing Gelato not only offers efficient order processing but also unlocks access to a remarkable network of print providers, digital creators, and shipping facilities worldwide, vastly expanding your ecommerce operation's reach. 

So why not take your business to the next level? By integrating Gelato's services with Amazon's Multi-Channel Fulfillment option, you can leverage the best of both platforms for optimized performance. 

Sign up for Gelato today and witness a truly streamlined, efficient order-processing experience!


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