Since Amazon rolled out its new Multichannel Fulfillment (MCF) program, ecommerce shippers have been noticing some big challenges with the flow of the service.
Known to consumers as “Buy with Prime” this new Amazon service allows both shoppers and merchants to extend the benefits of Amazon Prime outside of the Amazon platform. In essence consumers can buy products from the brand’s own website or a Shopify page but get Amazon quality fulfillment and logistics (fast and free shipping).
While there are some clear benefits to this program, for many ecommerce businesses, and their customers, the challenges may outweigh the advantages.
More Clicks to Purchase
The Buy with Prime program touts a speedy checkout experience. Which is true, but merchants shouldn’t expect it to be as fast as on the Amazon platform.
Every ecommerce business owner knows that the more clicks a consumer must pass through during checkout, the more likely they’ll abandon their cart.
Within the Buy with Prime purchase flow, customers need to pass through an Amazon login page, and an Amazon policy page that pops up in the middle of the checkout process
This could be a big turn off for buyers for a few reasons:
- Because these prompts require switching between platforms, there could be a long load time, which may cause disinterest or frustration, and consequently lost sales.
- The number of clicks and window changes may feel like it’s a step beyond what they are willing to do for a product purchase.
Confusing User Experience
Adding one more way for consumers to get your products may seem like a win, but it may not be. Buy with Prime involves a very specific user experience.
- If a customer is looking to connect with your brand but finds the Buy with Prime button first, they may be put off by having to go through Amazon to get their product.
- On the flip side, a customer looking for the Buy with Prime experience may have a hard time finding that button and instead end up going elsewhere for the products they need.
It’s still unclear how easy it is for brands to create a smooth user experience for this new program. Merchants may not have much choice when it comes to branding their customer’s experience.
Standard Amazon Packaging
It’s no surprise that if products are fulfilled by Amazon they will get put into Amazon-branded packaging. What may surprise some merchants who haven’t relied heavily on Amazon services in the past is that the packaging may not be as secure or presentable as their own.
Every ecommerce brand wants to stand out from their competition. Packaging and the unboxing experience are huge ways for brands to leave their mark. With the Buy with Prime program, merchants cannot control any of the fulfillment, packing, or packaging of their products. This may lead to brand confusion, damaged goods, and unhappy customers.
In the end, consumers will look to the brand if products are unattractive or damaged. Amazon’s mistakes may cause lost revenue for the brand.
Lack of Branded Customer Communication
Online shoppers have come to expect direct and frequent communication. Amazon has (yet again) set the bar high for this. Amazon Prime customers now expect any or all the following notifications when they make a purchase:
- Order confirmation
- Ready to ship confirmation
- Shipped notice
- Tracking information
- Out for delivery
- Delivered confirmation
- Ad hoc notices of delays, issues, or additional information
Through the Buy with Prime program, Amazon will send out some customer communication, but it will be branded with Amazon information.
If a consumer buys through a brand’s website, but gets only Amazon communication, it’s a lost opportunity to connect with new customers.
Disconnected Return Procedure
It is unclear with this new program how returns will work. Should the merchant be contacted and held responsible for returns?
With no direct brand communication upon purchase, how is a customer supposed to know where to go to initiate a return? It’s a part of the Buy with Prime program that needs to be addressed. The last thing a small ecommerce business needs is a lot of returns on their hands and no way to process them effectively and quickly.
If you are a MCF or Amazon seller seeking fulfillment support, DCL Logistics has worked with the Amazon platform for years. We can help you make sense of the changes happening at Amazon. Reach out for a quote or to hear more about our fulfillment services.
Tags: Online Marketplace