As an entrepreneur selling on Amazon, order fulfillment issues can quickly derail your business. Delayed shipments lead to poor reviews. Backorders disappoint customers.Returns eat into margins.
The good news? By partnering with an experienced Amazon FBA consultant, you can eliminate these operational headaches.
In this comprehensive 2500+ word guide, you‘ll learn:
- The 5 most common FBA fulfillment challenges sellers face
- Real-world examples and data on how each issue impacts Amazon businesses
- Step-by-step solutions an Amazon expert provides
- Additional benefits of working with an FBA consultant
- Factors to consider before outsourcing fulfillment
With decades of experience managing FBA accounts, I‘ve seen these fulfillment problems destroy promising businesses. The solutions shared in this guide will help you avoid those pitfalls and scale successfully on Amazon.
Let‘s get started!
Overview of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
FBA handles shipping, customer service and returns for products sold on Amazon. As an Amazon seller, you send your inventory to Amazon‘s fulfillment centers. When an order comes in, Amazon picks, packs and ships your products for you.
Benefits of FBA include:
- Access to Amazon‘s global fulfillment network
- Free Prime & faster shipping for customers
- Reduced labor costs for fulfillment operations
- Sales boost from Amazon‘s brand reputation
Here‘s an overview of the FBA process:
- Register for FBA and list products for sale on Amazon
- Send inventory to Amazon‘s designated fulfillment center
- Amazon stores, tracks and ships products when orders come in
- You pay Amazon monthly fees for storage, labor and shipping
FBA solves major fulfillment challenges around shipping, returns and customer service. But sellers still face common issues that harm their business. Let‘s look at the top 5.
International Shipping Complexities
Expanding globally opens lucrative new markets but also creates fulfillment headaches around duties, customs and returns.
In my decade as an FBA expert, I‘ve seen many sellers struggle with:
- Long delivery times – Cross-border shipments take 2-3 weeks versus Amazon Prime‘s 2 days. This leads to unhappy international customers.
- Customs delays – 1 in 10 packages faces customs delays according to data from Pitney Bowes. Clearing customs can add days or even weeks to delivery.
- Higher return rates – Products stuck in customs can‘t be returned easily. International return rates average 30% higher according to Brightpearl.
- Fines for non-compliance – Businesses can face serious fines like this Amazon seller who paid $1.2 million for violating hazardous goods shipping regulations.
The bottomline? Going global without the right expertise results in disastrous delivery times, high returns, and compliance risks.
How An FBA Consultant Helps With International Shipping
As an experienced FBA expert, I‘ve enabled dozens of businesses expand globally by:
- Choosing the fastest carriers per region – DHL for Europe, FedEx for Asia.
- Optimizing listings for local delivery times and costs
- Preparing customs docs to breeze through clearance
- Managing returns/refunds smoothly despite customs delays
- Ensuring compliance with each region‘s shipping regulations
With the right global strategy, your international customers enjoy delivery just as seamless as domestic ones.
Poor Customer Service
Amazon‘s superiority in customer service has led buyers to expect stellar support across every transaction. But for sellers new to ecommerce, providing 24/7 support themselves can be daunting.
Here are some common service issues I‘ve seen sink Amazon businesses:
- Slow response to questions – Replying 24-48 hours later results in angry customers that defect to competitors.
- No tracking information – Buyers today expect visibility into order status. Lack of updates leads to uncertainty and mistrust.
- Incorrect items shipped – Wrong or damaged goods must be replaced quickly. Dragging your feet frustrates buyers.
- Return/refund problems – Without a smooth returns process, you lose customer goodwill.
Data shows the business impact – 7 out of 10 customers won‘t return after one bad customer service experience.
How FBA Experts Provide Exceptional Service
Managing your Amazon account, I utilize proactive service best practices:
- Optimize listings to anticipate buyer questions
- Monitor orders and provide proactive status updates
- Intervene quickly on issues before they escalate
- Manage returns/refunds per Amazon A-to-Z policy
This white glove service optimizes the buyer‘s experience and builds loyalty over repeat purchases.
Challenging Inventory Management
For high-volume sellers, managing inventory across multiple fulfillment centers and sales channels is incredibly complex.
Here are some key challenges I‘ve helped clients tackle:
- Poor demand forecasting – Without analyzing past sales, it‘s easy to stock out or get stuck with excess inventory. Out-of-stocks alone result in a 13% loss of customers.
- Overpaying for storage – Extra storage fees eat into margins. Amazon charges between $3-$7 per cubic foot monthly for space.
- Backorders and shortages – Production delays or supply chain issues lead to stock-outs, unless you monitor closely.
- Inaccurate inventory counts – Without system integration, inventory numbers differ across channels. This leads to selling phantom stock.
Optimizing Inventory Operations
Drawing on my FBA expertise, I help sellers master inventory management by:
- Forecasting demand based on past sales patterns and seasonality
- Monitoring supply chain and production timelines closely
- Optimizing inventory levels to balance availability with storage fees
- Keeping inventory synced across Amazon, Shopify, eBay and other channels
- Analyzing velocity to drive high turnover and cash flow
The result is perfectly balanced inventory for maximum profitability.
Difficult Shipping Negotiations
Small ecommerce sellers lack the volumes for negotiating affordable shipping rates with carriers like UPS, FedEx and USPS. This affects margins significantly.
As a seller, you may face:
- No volume discounts from carriers as a small business
- Few shipping options available other than USPS retail rates
- Minimum charges of $10+ per package with UPS and FedEx
- Monthly shipping costs in the thousands without negotiating
Access to Amazon‘s Shipping Rates
The good news is FBA provides access to Amazon‘s deeply discounted shipping rates.
As their consultant, I can further reduce your logistics costs by:
- Benchmarking rates across carriers for each product lane
- Optimizing box sizes and packaging to lower costs
- Evaluating speed vs cost tradeoffs to balance budget and delivery times
- Negotiating additional volume discounts as your sales scale
- Managing different rates efficiently across multiple sales channels
These strategies enable affordable shipping that maximizes profits.
Building Customer Trust
When it comes to ecommerce, customers buy from sites and brands they know and trust. As a new seller, you likely struggle to compete with entrenched incumbents.
Your Amazon brand needs to communicate quality and expertise. But doing this yourself as a startup can be challenging.
Leveraging Amazon‘s Reputation
This is where an FBA consultant delivers real value – we build on Amazon‘s household name and customer trust.
Our account management strategies to boost brand value include:
- Crafting content that convinces customers you‘re an authority they can depend on
- Monitoring reviews and resolving issues before they spiral
- Providing attentive customer service per Amazon guidelines
- Utilizing advertising to increase product visibility on Amazon
- Analyzing site metrics to optimize conversion funnel
This elevates your brand‘s reputation and instills confidence in first-time customers.
Additional FBA Consultant Benefits
Beyond specific fulfillment issues, a dedicated Amazon expert provides comprehensive guidance including:
- Managing promotions, advertising and reporting
- Monitoring key metrics and costs
- Ensuring seller compliance
- Analyzing sales data to forecast demand
- Driving high turnover of products
- Minimizing storage fees
New Product Launch
- Creating product listings and marketing assets
- Developing pre-launch promotion strategy
- Driving early sales momentum and reviews
Working with an FBA pro frees you up to focus on high-level strategic priorities.
Should You Outsource FBA Fulfillment?
While FBA consultants drive significant business value, it‘s prudent to consider:
FBA Costs Add Up
FBA fees include:
- Membership fee – $39.99 per month
- Storage fees – $3-7 per cubic foot per month
- Fulfillment fees – ~$2-5 per order + weight handling charges
- Return processing – $0.50-3 per return
An FBA consultant also charges monthly fees, usually 5-15% of total sales.
Run the numbers to ensure outsourcing fulfillment makes financial sense long-term.
Amazon Prime Shipping Not Free
Your items become eligible for Prime and free shipping. But you foot the bill for those fast, free deliveries.
Factor these higher shipping costs into your overall calculations.
Compare Total Overhead of DIY vs Consultant
Add up all costs – FBA fees, consultant charges, platform fees etc – and compare it against doing fulfillment in-house.
Outsourcing to an expert makes sense for most sellers as growing businesses need specialized skills in logistics, branding and ecommerce account management.
But ensure you calculate overhead accurately.
Ready to Eliminate Fulfillment Headaches?
I hope this detailed guide provided you valuable insights into common FBA issues and how an experienced consultant can help optimize your business.
Managing a growing ecommerce operation is extremely challenging. As your trusted partner, I can handle the heavy lifting across branding, product launch, account management and order fulfillment.
This frees you up to focus on what you do best – innovating and running your company.
To learn more about partnering, schedule a free consultation call now. I‘ll provide an upfront assessment and roadmap tailored to your business goals.
Looking forward to helping drive faster growth and more sales on Amazon!