For many sellers of goods, there is no better sales channel than the Internet and, among online buyers, there is no better-known platform than Amazon. However, for sellers taking advantage of the ecommerce giant’s in-house fulfillment service, getting goods delivered successfully to Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers can prove tricky.
"You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else." Albert Einstein
When Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com in 1995, he cannot have envisaged its phenomenal growth. Now the e-commerce company, headquartered in Seattle, is the world's largest online retailer. Its ‘You sell it, we ship it’ offer has been a key part of its success, allowing any business – regardless of its size – to benefit from one of the most advanced distribution networks in the world. With the ‘Fulfillment By Amazon’ (FBA) service, Amazon stores the seller’s products in its warehouses; directly picks, packs and delivers them; and provides the customer service that Amazon buyers have come to trust.
The FBA offer provides sellers with a number of advantages including access to other Amazon marketplaces in Europe; eligibility for the popular Super Saver and Amazon Prime delivery options; and equality with Amazon’s own products in terms of product price sorting on Amazon.co.uk. However, as Amazon is operating a huge distribution network, it is not surprising that participation in the FBA programme means that sellers have to meet certain criteria when shipping their products into Amazon’s fulfillment centres.
Fulfillment by Amazon Center rules
Sellers must request a delivery slot for their goods, with appointments being made on a first-come-first-served basis. Without a scheduled delivery appointment, a vehicle will not be permitted onto one of Amazon’s sites in Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Gourock (near Greenock), Dunfermline, Swansea, Doncaster and Rugeley (near Stafford). Amazon will allocate a specific appointment time within a 1-hour window and any attempt to drop the goods more than 30 minutes before or after the actual appointment will result in the delivery being rejected.
Success in gaining a scheduled appointment depends on completing the required forms, with a clear description of the goods and the volume to be delivered. Once on site, of course, the deliveries also need to be presented on pallets in the correct way. These rules may seem stringent but an operation on the scale of Amazon’s requires this kind of tight control in order to avoid it descending into chaos.
Attention to detail
Through attention to detail and timely return of the necessary paperwork, National Pallets has been delivering goods successfully to Amazon Fulfillment Centers on behalf of a large number of customers. These include family-run businesses selling all kinds of floor covering; retailers of high-quality educational toys, many of which are award-winning; and suppliers of plastic injection moulding solutions. The diversity of products offered by these three examples alone speaks volumes: every customer has different requirements and needs help to ensure that their palletised freight is accepted at the first attempt, every time, by any one of Amazon Fulfillment Centers or in fact any other required destination.
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