Helping You with Your Amazon FBA Business

Merchant Fulfilling Orders on Amazon

Hello!  Guess what?  I finally Merchant Fulfilled (MF) my first products!  That’s probably not a big deal to many of you, but I’ve been avoiding it for over 3 years.

The reason why I never sold MF before is because I didn’t want to deal with shipping out individual packages.  If you remember, when I started on Amazon, I was working 6 days a week.  The last thing that I wanted was the “pressure” of having to process orders after work.

Then once I cut my hours to one day a week, I still didn’t want to bother with shipping directly to the buyers.  Plus, I didn’t want to deal with delivery problems.  I love that Amazon handles the customer service with our FBA orders.

Why Merchant Fulfill now? 

Because Amazon FINALLY ran out of stock on one of my wholesale items – art pens.

When I first bought the art pens, Amazon wasn’t selling them and I was selling them fast at a $5.71 per-unit profit.  Then Amazon came on the listing and lowered the price.

In this post, I went into more detail about the pricing.  But as a follow-up to that blog post, I didn’t sell any more pens.  Instead, they sat in the warehouse and I’ve been paying storage fees on them ever since.  Also I had 12 more pen sets sitting at home.

One of my Q4 goals is to sell all of my “bad” inventory to regain some of my buy cost money.  Therefore, on December 5, I matched Amazon’s low price to try and sell the remaining FBA pens.  They all sold that same day at a 90 cent per-unit loss.  Despite the loss, I was happy that I regained most of my buy cost back.

A short time after the units sold, I checked Amazon’s price and believe it or not, they raised their selling price by almost $6.00.  Then a couple of hours later, Amazon ran out of stock.  Of course this happened right after I sold all of my FBA units at the lower price.

Below on the right you’ll see where Amazon (orange) raised the price after I sold my units.  🙁

Keepa Chart for the last 3 months.

But I still had those 12 units at home and knew that this was the perfect time to sell them.  I didn’t want to sell them FBA because it usually takes 2 weeks for my items to travel to an east coast warehouse and get checked in.  By then, Amazon might be in stock again.

So I listed them MF and all twelve sold the next day!

Merchant Fulfilling them was pretty easy and I’m glad that I did it.  The pen sets were a great product to start with since they are small and fit nicely inside a small bubble-padded envelope.

As for the money, I made a profit on each unit:

  • On 11 units, the customer selected “standard” shipping and I made a $3.00 to $4.00 profit on each one.
  • On 1 unit, the customer selected “expedited” shipping and I made a $6.27 profit on it.

Moving forward, I’ll still sell mostly through the FBA program.  But I will MF items when it makes sense to do so.

How to Merchant Fulfill

This section is for those of you that haven’t merchant fulfilled yet.

Please keep in mind that I’m not a MF expert but am showing you the steps that I took.

Training Videos

The first thing that I did was log into my The Selling Family account and watched the Merchant Fulfilling videos.  *** This was a bonus course that I received for one of my paid courses – I can’t remember which one though!  🙁

If you don’t have the Selling Family’s MF course, then watch Amazon’s free Merchant Fulfilling videos.  Go to Seller University (sign-in required) and navigate to the “Your First Seller-Fulfilled Order” course.

Shipping Template

In the videos by The Selling Family, Jessica Larrew teaches us how to setup our shipping template.  To do that, you sign into Seller Central and go to Settings -> Shipping Settings.  This is where you setup your shipping options, regions, fees and transit times.  I created a template for items that weigh under 1 pound.  My settings look like this:

I’m offering free shipping for most buyers that select “Standard Shipping.”  For buyers that select “Expedited Shipping,” they pay an additional $8.99 per order plus a weight-based fee.

List Items

When you list your inventory, you want to make sure that Amazon knows that you’re going to handle the fulfillment:

Checking for Orders

Whenever you have unshipped orders, you’ll see them in Seller Central.  They’re pretty hard to miss:

The image above shows that I have one “Pending” order.  This means that Amazon has been unable to obtain authorization for the buyer’s credit card.

Print Packing Slip

Click on “View unshipped orders” and you’ll get this screen:

To print the packing slip, all you have to do is select the order and press the “Print packing slip” button.  You can also select multiple orders and print them all at one time.

Purchase Shipping

At this point, I was glad that I watched Jessica’s Merchant Fulfilled videos because I learned that I needed to “Buy Shipping” before pressing the “Confirm shipment” button.

If you buy shipping outside of Amazon, I assume that you would go buy your shipping and then come back here and select “Confirm shipment” and continue.

However, since I am buying shipping from Amazon, I pressed the “Buy shipping” button.

This brings you to this screen where you enter the package dimensions and select your shipping service.

Once your settings are correct, click on “Buy Shipping.”

Print Shipping Label

It brings you to this screen where you print your shipping label:

You just press the “Download label (PDF)” button and select your printer and print!

Printing the labels correctly was the most frustrating part for me.  I used the two-part labels and had a heck of a time figuring out which direction to load the paper in the paper tray.  I ended up printing several labels 2 or 3 times until they printed on the correct side of the paper.

Once you print your label, Amazon confirms your shipment!

Mail the Packages

Of course, the final steps are to finish packaging your shipments and to mail them.

Packages ready for the post office!

Merchant Fulfill Supplies

I also watched Jessica’s MF training videos right before Q4 so I already had the supplies that she recommended:

Shipping Labels for Laser Printer

Bubble Mailers Padded Envelopes

Of course, you can also use other envelopes and labels and order free supplies from the post office.

Share Your Tips!

I hope this post helped you if you are ready to Merchant Fulfill your first items!

If you’re already an MF expert, please share your tips with us in the comments!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Ree December 10, 2017, 6:00 pm

    I’m excited you finally jumped into Merchant Fulfilled processing, Diana! It’s not hard at all and when it makes sense I do it, too. I private label all of my products so I don’t have to worry about Amazon pulling that crappy trick on me 😡 . That is one of the reasons I stopped doing retail/online arbitrage.

    As for listing MF vs FBA, you can do it two ways… one way is to create two separate offers on your listing. One is FBA and the other is MF. You can leave them both live and just jack up the price on the MF so the FBA wins the buy box as long as there is inventory at Amazon’s warehouses.
    The other method, which is what I now use, is to create the offer as FBA and ship in the inventory. However, once I create the shipment I convert the offer MF so that I can fulfill orders while Amazon takes their sweet time to get the product into inventory.

    Once I see there is stranded inventory for that product, I switch it back to FBA. You just have to periodically filter your inventory for inactive listings and convert them back to MF assuming you have inventory locally to process the orders.

    I like this method because it keeps me from getting confused over the two separate offers and which is which.

    Also, I caved and bought a Dymo LabelWriter 4XL to print my shipping labels. It is a massive time saver and my labels look super professional.

    Hope that helps anyone reading your blog to think about ways to tackle the FBA vs MF listings.

    Cheers!
    Ree

    Reply
    • Diana December 10, 2017, 8:31 pm

      Hi Ree,

      I like the method that you now use. I’m going to try that because sometimes I’ll go deep on a product and have some at home and some at Amazon. This way I can sell the ones at home while I wait for the other ones to arrive and get checked into Amazon. I think your method also avoids you from having two separate SKU numbers.

      My other friend also has a DYMO 4XL and and loves it. I wasted a bunch of time trying to get the label to print on the correct side of the paper. Since I started doing more eBay, it might be something to ask Santa to bring for Christmas.

      I appreciate your tips. They’re very helpful to us MF newbies.

      Diana

      Reply

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About Diana


I am working towards creating a full-time income by selling on Amazon. It's a lot of work but very fun! If you're interested in selling on Amazon, be sure to follow my blog as I'll be providing you with lots of tips!

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