If you’re shipping to Amazon, you already know the benefits of selling on the retail behemoth’s platform. With unparalleled traffic and reach, fraud protection, brand recognition, and scalability, sellers know that it pays off to expand to Amazon. For millions of consumers, Amazon is the first platform to check when looking to buy a product; not only is the sheer volume of available products staggering, but the delivery speed is unbeatable.
For consumers, the choice is simple. But behind Amazon’s incredible delivery times lies an immense, intricate logistics network that enables the eCommerce giant to fulfill its promise of delivering millions of products to every corner of the country and beyond– quickly and for free.
While consumers rarely look beyond the cardboard box on their doorstep, merchants understand the reality of shipping to Amazon FBA. It’s relatively easy, but it takes work and requires an acute awareness of and compliance with Amazon’s strict guidelines. These guidelines are in place due to the massive amounts of inventory that Amazon receives every day. For your products to be allowed into Amazon FBA’s warehouses, they must be shipped, labeled, and prepped for safety in accordance with Amazon’s rules. Failure to comply with the guidelines under which the warehouses operate puts sellers at risk of penalties and additional fees.
This can initially be daunting for sellers, but it’s worth it to do the work and reap the benefits of FBA’s streamlined approach to order fulfillment. It’s not just because Amazon will pick, pack, and ship orders for you while also handling customer service and returns. The primary advantage is that your products will also be Amazon Prime eligible, giving you access to even bigger sales opportunities.
Having said that, it’s essential to understand Amazon’s guidelines and familiarize yourself with their fulfillment and monthly storage fees. It’s equally important to understand the restrictions that sellers and carriers have to comply with. When you partner with eShipper, we ensure that your inventory only ships to Amazon warehouses with Amazon-approved carriers. But even when the carriers do everything right, there are several factors that only Amazon can control, which can impact you as a seller, from delays to extra charges.
Here are 9 things you should know about shipping to Amazon:
- All carriers consolidate freight headed to Amazon warehouses. This is because Amazon does not accept individual shipments, even with Flash transport. So when you ship less than a truckload load (LTL) to Amazon, your boxes are mixed with those of other LTL shippers, and more time is needed to consolidate goods and coordinate their delivery to Amazon locations– making this the main reason for delays on Amazon shipments.
- Since carriers must wait for a trailer to fill up before requesting an appointment from Amazon, delays are common. Once the trailer is reasonably full, carriers are required to send an appointment request through Amazon’s online portal, Carrier Central, in order to deliver your products to the designated warehouse. The carriers will provide Amazon with your FBA # and reference ID in order to book an appointment for that shipment, so it’s important that you provide the correct FBA # and reference ID prior to pickup. This can be included in the special instructions of the BOL.
- At this point, it’s up to Amazon to provide a scheduled appointment time for the freight. Amazon aims to reply to carriers on time, but sometimes there are delays and these are not within the carrier’s control.
- Once an appointment is set by Amazon, the carrier must accept it. Occasionally, carriers try to reschedule appointments due to driver shortages.
- Carriers have no control over when a delivery is scheduled, and appointments may be set outside the regular hours of 9 AM - 5 PM. This means that appointments can potentially be scheduled on weekends or evenings, leaving sellers responsible for after-hours or weekend delivery charges on these shipments. It’s not ideal when this happens, but it’s an unavoidable risk when shipping to Amazon, and neither your 3PL nor the carrier has any control over when appointments are scheduled.
- Most of the time, freight is delivered to Amazon without any hiccups, but it’s possible for scheduled delivery to be rejected if Amazon is unable to offload a trailer due to lack of space, or if there’s no available dock at the time of delivery. When this happens, sellers must accept a redelivery charge and are responsible for storage fees resulting from this delivery delay.
- While the carrier is responsible for booking an appointment once a shipment arrives at the final terminal, the delivery charge does not cover after-hours charges or storage fees at the time of the quote when booking the shipment. This is because we only know about the potential of additional charges when the appointment is provided by Amazon through Carrier Central or after it’s delivered (e.g. waiting time).
- It can be difficult to track shipments since Amazon does not consistently sign for them and a Proof of Delivery (POD) isn’t always provided, but carriers assume delivery as soon as trailers are dropped off. The best way for customers to verify a delivery is to check the Amazon quantity status for that product.
- When planning your shipments, please be aware that Amazon warehouses across both Canada and the US are facing frequent delays and backlogs. To prevent further unnecessary delays, sellers should ensure accuracy when creating their Amazon Bill of Lading (BOL); this includes clearly stating the business name as AMAZON and entering the full delivery address, rather than the location code. Always be sure to provide the correct FBA # and Reference ID to make sure there are no unnecessary delays.
Now that we’ve covered these essentials, here are the key carriers that eShipper has negotiated rates with and that are approved by Amazon to move your LTL freight inland– both cross-border and within Canada.
|Day and Ross||Canada-wide|
|Fastfrate||Ontario to the rest of Canada||Full truckloads|
|Fast Freight||Ontario to the rest of Canada|
|Flash Transport||Within the GTA||Navan, ON not covered|
|Kindersley||Ontario to the rest of Canada|
|Speedy||Within the GTA||Currently disabled on the eShipper platform|
CANADA TO THE U.S.
|Holland Motor||East Side|
|UPS Freight||All terminals|
U.S. TO CANADA
|Day and Ross||All terminals|
|FedEx Freight||All terminals|
|Holland Motor||Ontario - All terminals|
|UPS Freight||All terminals|
WITHIN THE U.S.
You can use eShipper’s discounted UPS courier rates to ship to Amazon as well. By default, you get discounted courier rates in your Seller Central account; however, these are only for domestic shipments. If you have a courier shipment to send across the border either from Canada to the US, US to Canada or even internationally, eShipper provides discounted courier rates from UPS that can be used in these instances.
Because it gives you an instant storefront, exposure to millions of potential buyers, and hands-off order fulfillment, there’s no gateway to success like Amazon FBA. But as with everything in the fast-paced world of eCommerce, sellers must navigate this world with an awareness of the logistic limitations that are well out of their control. Having a clear understanding of these limitations, especially when shipping to Amazon, can help you devise an effective strategy so you’re better prepared for unforeseen delays– and having a trusted 3PL partner is a great place to start. Reach out to us today to learn how we can support you in continuing your growth.