This week, sellers on Amazon signed into their Seller Central accounts to see a widget update on the front page regarding Remote Fulfillment on Amazon.
The update, which appeared in a blue box displaying Attention across the top, briefed sellers that their account was going to be automatically enrolled in Remote Fulfillment with FBA between July 1 and September 15 of this year. This update from Amazon falls in line with the more recent program auto-enrollments that the seller has not chosen to be a part of, and we want to take this opportunity to discuss what Remote Fulfillment is, the potential benefits of enrolling in the program, as well as additional questions sellers should be asking.
What is Remote Fulfillment on Amazon?
Remote Fulfillment (previously known to some as NARF or North America Remote Fulfillment) is a program that Amazon provides which allows sellers to offer products and ship to customers in Canada and Mexico using their FBA inventory in US Fulfillment Centers. When enrolling in this program, Amazon handles the fulfillment to the customer across the border and handles import duties and fees, making the expansion into those countries easier for sellers.
Potential benefits of Remote Fulfillment
Aside from the opportunity to expand into Canada and Mexico with less effort than launching an FBA business in those countries, using Remote Fulfillment allows sellers to gauge the necessity and collect data regarding sales trends and interest in those countries. Essentially, it acts as a testing ground for sellers to determine long-term what their interest is in Canada and Mexico, while not having to place inventory or set up operations in those countries.
Questions sellers should be asking about Remote Fulfillment
Whether Remote Fulfillment is right for a seller is going to be unique to every business; some sellers have distribution agreements or additional sellers in Canada and Mexico that might make taking advantage of the program less ideal. Other sellers may have tariff and import regulations that keep their products from being eligible for Amazon to move the products across the border. All sellers should be looking at their business and determining if Remote Fulfillment makes sense for their business model and running a profitability analysis using the Remote Fulfillment fees (because of course, Amazon has its own pricing structure for the program) before opting into the program.
What do sellers need to do now?
In response to the release by Amazon, all sellers must make a decision:
- Opt-out of Remote Fulfillment by clicking on the widget and unselecting both Canada and Mexico and saving those settings
- Leave the settings as they are, and wait for communication from Amazon during the given date range that you have been enrolled in the program
What's next if I want to be in the program?
If Remote Fulfillment is of interest to you as a seller, and you have chosen to opt-in to the auto-enrollment, your work is not quite done. While Amazon has not released exactly what they will be handling once the enrollment takes effect, we know from experience that there will be additional steps taken by the seller to ensure proper setup of the program. Amazon is going to create the listings within the account, but it will be up to the seller to ensure proper pricing is set, all SKUs are set up correctly and the products are flowing properly. It is also going to be up to the seller to monitor sales in those countries and adjust their replenishment into the US Fulfillment Centers to account for a potential interest in the products.
If you would like additional information or if you are interested in partnering with Retail Bloom to help you navigate the launching and maintenance of Remote Fulfillment, contact our team of experts to learn how Retail Bloom can help.
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