Updated February 5th, 2020
I don’t know about you but I’m ALWAYS looking for ways to automate tasks and save time.
This guide is about automating order fulfillment on your Shopify store.
There are a few ways to fulfill orders, here I’ll show you how I automate order fulfillment using Amazon FBA. If you need an alternate solution contact us we’ll help find a way.
Even if you don’t sell on Amazon you can still use FBA. By the way if you haven’t sold on Amazon yet join the party it’s an easy sales channel 💰💵
If you sell on Amazon and don’t have a website yet, check this Shopify Setup Tutorial to create a Shopify store and establish a home base + additional sales channel.
Who is this post for?
a) If you are manually fulfilling Shopify orders and want an automated solution.
b) If you currently fulfill some of your Shopify orders with Amazon FBA but have to manually “request fulfillment” on each Amazon order.
c) If you want some ideas on how to run the fulfillment side of your business more efficiently.
I’ve used a few fulfillment solutions but so far Amazon has turned out to be the most reliable + best price model.
The other 3rd party fulfillment services I’ve used were either too expensive or just not good.
Side note: Shopify Fulfillment Network
Shopify rolled out their own Shopify Fulfillment Network this year.
I haven’t used it yet but if they can compete on price and efficiency with Amazon FBA, that will be a strong option 💪
If you’re doing 10+ orders a day and not already selling on Amazon, check it out: shopify.com/fulfillment.
What is Amazon FBA vs Multi-Channel Fulfillment?
Amazon FBA: Orders placed on Amazon and fulfilled by Amazon.
Amazon MCF: Orders fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) but placed anywhere outside of Amazon.
Both are FBA but specifically Amazon MCF allows you to ship inventory directly to Amazon warehouses and use their network to fulfill your Shopify (and other channel) orders.
Here’s how Multi-Channel Fulfillment works:
MCF is easy, low cost, and efficient. It also allows you to sync your Shopify inventory with your Amazon warehouse inventory.
Here are the rates for fulfillment + standard shipping:
If you want to see expedited / priority rates check out Amazon’s MCF page.
MCF is available in these marketplaces:
How to automatically fulfill Shopify orders with Amazon FBA
Here’s an overview of the steps required:
- Register an Amazon Seller Central account and upload products
- Connect Shopify’s built in FBA service
- Configure your FBA products in Shopify
- Configure your shipping rates
- Set up automatic fulfillment
- Create a plan for international orders
As of October 2019 Shopify only supports USA and Canada marketplaces with the FBA service.
1) Register an Amazon Seller Central account and upload your products
If you don’t have an Amazon Seller Central account yet head over to sellercentral.amazon.com to set that up.
Once you have an account you can upload your products (either manually or with Shopify’s Amazon sales channel).
Make sure your Amazon product SKU’s match your Shopify SKU’s. You can change Shopify SKU’s any time, but once you create a product in Amazon you cannot change your SKU’s in Amazon.
2) Connect Shopify’s built in FBA service
Shopify has a built in FBA integration you can connect to sync and fulfill your Shopify orders.
Here’s the link: shopify.com/admin/fulfillment_services/signup_for_mws.
Follow the instructions from there to connect your Shopify and Amazon account.
3) Configure your FBA products in Shopify
With the Amazon fulfillment service connected, you’ll get some added options to the product pages in your Shopify admin.
Set the inventory management to Amazon Marketplace Web:
Now your inventory is synced with your Amazon warehouse inventory and ready to be fulfilled.
4) Set your shipping rates to match Amazon’s
Amazon offer’s these shipping rates:
- Standard Shipping
- Expedited Shipping
- Priority Shipping
For details about pricing and ship times, go to Amazon’s MCF page and scroll down to “Multi-Channel Fulfillment pricing”.
For Amazon fulfillment to work, your shipping option(s) has to match Amazon’s shipping name exactly.
Pro tip: You can edit your “theme language” to show the time frame on the checkout page like this:
- Go to Online Store > Themes
- On your theme, select Actions then Edit languages
- Select Checkout & System
- Edit the Shipping method notice field
Now your checkout page will show that custom text:
If you have a free shipping deal (like free shipping on orders over $50), set that up a second Standard Shipping with the free shipping conditions, and the checkout system will show the correct one based on the cart conditions.
5) Set up automatic fulfillment
If you’re fulfilling 100% of orders with Amazon FBA (or want to autofulfill 100% of your orders), you just need to set Shopify to autofulfill like this:
If you’re fulfilling some of your orders with Amazon FBA, or you don’t want autofulfill turned on, that setting might look like this:
Problem: Since orders need to be manually fulfilled like this, the old way was you’d need to click the request fulfillment buttons on each order (aka “send to Amazon”).
Solution: Manually requesting orders every day is a drag, so I built the Order Automator app to automate that process.
If you’re doing low volume you can stick with manually requesting fulfillment, but the app is only $10/mo so if you’re spending any time at all fulfilling orders it’s worth it.
Side bonus: the app runs 24/7 and requests fulfillment right when the order hits, generating the fulfillment request faster. It has some other features too like order tagging and emailing.
6) Create a system for international orders
I expect Amazon will expand the program at some point (I’m optimistic) but as of October 2019 Amazon MCF won’t fulfill international orders.
For international orders you’ll have to either fulfill them in-house or use a 3rd party fulfillment service.
International fulfillment options:
- Ship in-house
- Multiple Amazon marketplaces + VA
- Use another 3rd party fulfillment service
You can decide what’s best for your business, but here’s the workflow we use for orders on a US based eCommerce store I own:
Some products are fulfilled by Amazon, some in-house, and some from 3rd party dropshippers, so “autofulfill” in Shopify settings is off.
For the products set to fulfill by Amazon:
a) If it’s domestic (USA), no action needed. The Order Automator picks it up and requests fulfillment to Amazon, then when the order ships it gets marked fulfilled and sends tracking info to the customer.
b) If it’s international the auto-fulfillment will fail because Amazon MCF doesn’t ship internationally.
So for international orders, here are the steps to fulfill if doing in-house:
1. Ship the order
You get price discounts and an easier workflow if you use a dedicated shipping app.
I like Easy Ship for international shipping.
Important note about shipping to the UK: If you ship via USPS it will get handled by Royal Mail in the UK. Royal mail will charge your customer 8 pounds handling fee to accept the package 🧐
So for shipping to the UK I recommend using the GlobalPost courier instead. The shipping cost is usually lower anyway.
Anywhere else should be fine so you can just choose the best courier for the job (Check Easy Ship’s calculator for rates / couriers).
2. Request fulfillment
On the order page in Shopify admin click the More button, then Mark as fulfilled:
If the More button isn’t available you can click Request fulfillment, enter tracking, fulfill, then mark as fulfilled.
3. Enter the tracking information
Add the tracking #, carrier, and shipping method. Then click Fulfill items:
You can verify in the timeline section of the order page to make sure everything is complete, it should look something like this:
Once Amazon opens up international MCF fulfillment this step will be automated too. Hopefully soon man that would be nice!
If you want to fully automate it you could set up a 3rd party service to handle international orders.
Pros and Cons of fulfilling Shopify orders with Amazon
- automated shipping solution
- Amazon warehouses are working 24/7 and ship fast
- inventory syncing with Shopify and Amazon
- low cost
- no control over package branding
- amazon MCF doesn’t ship international (yet)
If this solution doesn’t work for your situation or you don’t want to use Amazon fulfillment, contact us. We like creating automated solutions 🤖