As much as we focus on and rave about selling on Amazon using the FBA program (Fulfillment By Amazon), there are actually times when we feel it is beneficial to Merchant Fulfill (MF) items.
This means that instead of Amazon processing the order (as is with using FBA), you will process and ship the orders yourself to the customer.
There are six scenarios where we would merchant fulfill as well as recommend that you consider it too.
- When Amazon is temporarily out of stock on the item.
- When there are NO OTHER SELLERS on the listing.
- During Q4
- When we have Grocery or Healthy & Beauty items with an expiration date that’s too close for FBA, but still ok for MF.
- When an item is Hazmat
- It’s Q4 and you aren’t able to sell using FBA at all (this is new for 2016)
We Merchant Fulfill When Amazon Is Temporarily Out Of Stock
Sometimes we scan an item that shows great profit and rank, but upon researching in Camel Camel Camel or Keepa, we realize that Amazon WAS selling the item and JUST ran out. See how we use these tools to research our items here.
This explains the great rank and increased price (supply versus demand, right?).
At this time, it doesn’t make much sense for us to send the item into Amazon FBA. By the time that it arrives and gets checked in, it’s likely that Amazon will already have the item back in stock and the price will probably be similar to what we paid for it.
I’m sure you can think of some scenarios where this has happened to you before, right?
So, instead of sending the item to FBA, we will just list it merchant fulfilled and get as many sales as we can before Amazon comes back into stock.
This can work really well at any time of the year, and especially well during Q4! Q4 is a time when Amazon is constantly coming in and out of stock on items.
We Merchant Fulfill When There Are No Other Sellers
There are times where we come across items and not only is Amazon not selling the item, but there are NO sellers at all. Man, what a goldmine!
When this happens, we will often list some units merchant fulfilled so that we can get some quick sales, while the rest of the units are on their way to Amazon.
If we only have a few units available, then we will list them merchant fulfilled to see if they sell quickly. After a few days if we still have some in stock, then we will send some (or the rest) of them into Amazon for FBA.
We like to have them listed right away so if people are looking for them they can get them right away. Instead of waiting 10 or so days for them to arrive at Amazon and go up for sale.
When we have a lot of stock of the item, we will list some merchant fulfilled and then once the rest arrive at Amazon we will pull the merchant fulfilled ones and send those into Amazon as well.
We would rather them sell FBA in this case because we don’t have to process them or keep them at the house.
So in this case, we get the best of both worlds, quick sales and then FBA.
We Merchant Fulfill The Most During Q4
We tend to do most of our merchant fulfilling in the Fourth Quarter (Q4), when there are so many items that are really hot and will sell RIGHT NOW if we just list them.
Plus, they usually fall into one of the two categories mentioned above (Amazon is just out of stock, or everyone is out of stock).
With Q4, we are also up against some deadlines and merchant fulfilling helps us to get the sales quickly and make sure that our stuff sells before the holidays are over.
Lately shipments are taking longer and longer to arrive at Amazon and be checked in and ready to ship. If it takes 10 days to go from my house to Amazon and ready to sell, I can’t send anything in past December 5 or so.
If you want to know more about selling on Amazon during Q4, make sure to check out our Q4 Profits Training, which comes with an ebook and multiple videos to teach you the skills of being super profitable in Q4! There is still time to cash in on this season, but don’t wait too long.
We Merchant Fulfill Health, Beauty & Grocery Items
Selling items with expiration dates can be tricky sometimes.
Amazon requires them to be at the warehouse, quite a bit longer than you are able to sell them on Amazon.
So, if we miss the deadline for them arriving at FBA, we can still merchant fulfill them with ample time and have them sell before the cutoff.
For more details about selling items with expiration dates, check out this post!
We Sell Hazmat Items Via Merchant Fulfilled Since They Can’t Go FBA
When an item is listed as Hazmat (Hazardous Material) inside of Amazon, we are not able to sell it FBA.
This usually means that there is an ingredient that is considered dangerous or flammable.
But it doesn’t mean that they can’t be sold at all on Amazon, or that you can’t ship them at all.
When an item is deemed Hazardous, it can not be shipped using AIR shipping. But, they can be shipped ground!
If You Just Started Selling On Amazon During Q4, You Can ONLY Merchant Fulfill
In 2016, Amazon threw a slight wrench into the selling game. They said that any new seller who had not completed a shipment prior to October 10th, they would not be able to sell using the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program at all, until December 19th, 2016.
The good news is, you can still sell products via Merchant Fulfilled!
You can sell in the non-restricted categories and ship the items yourself.
Since it’s Q4 when this happened, there are still lots of opportunities to sell on Amazon, you just gotta do a little more of the work yourself 🙂
Keep in mind, you are not able to Merchant Fulfill toys this year though, they are restricted to merchant fulfillers who haven’t met certain criteria.
So there you have it!
The six reasons why we recommend selling Merchant Fulfilled over FBA.
Do you ever prefer to merchant fulfill your items?
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