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Fully Connected Shipping

What retailers can learn from Amazon’s 'try before you buy’

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Currently in beta, Amazon will soon roll out its new ‘try before you buy’ feature exclusively to Prime members.

The latest release comes in a bid to make clothing purchases easier for consumers. But how does it work and what can retailers adopt or learn from Amazon’s latest approach?

3 Shipping Strategies to Compete Like Amazon

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Amazon sure knows how to make a splash, sparking a broad range of fears and commentary with their recent $14B bid to acquire Whole Foods. Forbes contributor Steve Dennis had one of the more interesting reactions, asking whether we should worry if Amazon appears to be absorbing $7B+ in shipping losses per year to put the hurt on brick-and-mortar stores.

Competitive reactions were swift with some players like Walmart appearing to tell partners and suppliers not to run their software services on Amazon Web Services, while finance news outlets like CNN Money are speculating that we might yet see a bidding war for Whole Foods. Still others, like Forbes contributor John Wasik, have tried to put the focus on the “real Amazon agenda” of completely reinventing the delivery experience by massively optimizing the supply chain for yet another retail category.

Instead of worrying if your industry might be “next to get wrecked” by Amazon, now would be a good time to consider some lessons learned from Amazon’s success. Shipping that’s fast, free, and easy is clearly at the top of the Amazon list of differentiators, so what shipping strategies can other businesses use to get those same kind of difference-making benefits? Here are three competitive shipping strategies to get you started.

What You Need to Know About Amazon This Holiday Season

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Amazon is a key selling channel for many online retailers, whether your company is Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) or Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP.) In fact, 55% of online retailers expect to generate their biggest percentage of sales on Amazon this holiday season, according to a survey from ChannelAdvisor and Morar Consulting featured in Internet Retailer. With so many sales flowing through Amazon, the company is working hard to keep up with demand.

Here's what you need to know about Amazon this holiday season.

Integrated Shipping for Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime

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Amazon now allows sellers to fulfill some Amazon Prime orders as a variation on the Seller Fulfilled Prime program (also known as Merchant Fulfilled Network or MFN Prime) This means if you are a fast-shipping vendor, you can increase sales of Prime-eligible merchandise while leveraging your own inventory and fulfillment investments. How much of an impact can this make? Internet Retailer notes that Prime buyers spend on average  $500 more per year, compared to regular Amazon buyers. They also found that one company, Quick Candles, saw a 20% increase in sales of items newly marked Amazon Prime after their SFP program launched.

While Seller Fulfilled Prime can be a great way to increase order volume and overall revenue, there are several steps you need to take to make sure you are ready for Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime shipping. 

  1. You need to be aware of some of the challenges of the SFP program, which include strict on-time shipping requirements (e.g. 98.5%), the requirement to purchase parcel shipping services through Amazon, and the need for fast status updates as shipments are completed.
  2. You need to make sure your shipping software supports Seller Fulfilled Prime. With a new Pacejet integration via Amazon Marketplace Web Service, we can provide an Amazon shipping integration with your ERP to make fulfillment and compliance faster, easier, and more automated. We've been working with customers on this new program and you can learn more about the experience of SoTel Systems below.