Every business owner is looking for ways to reach more customers. Multichannel eCommerce — selling your products on more than one website or marketplace — is one of the best solutions for doing so. Amazon is a common choice for multichannel sales due to its huge customer base and services like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) that offer new opportunities for retailers.
Many brands have had great success selling on both Amazon and their own websites, but one of the pitfalls of multichannel eCommerce is the extra work involved in managing orders from multiple channels at once. That's why Shift4Shop makes it possible for you to import your orders from Amazon so you can manage all your orders in a single interface. This saves time and effort, makes accounting easier, and more.
In case you're new to the idea of selling on Amazon alongside your own eCommerce website, we'll go over the basics as to why this is an effective strategy for growing your business. Then we'll explain the process for setting up your Amazon and Shift4Shop store integration.
Why Sell on Amazon?
The biggest reason to sell on Amazon is visibility. Amazon is so popular that many online shoppers today go straight to Amazon to search for products. This type of customer skips search engines like Google entirely, and often doesn't bother with looking for individual retailers' websites. This means that on Amazon, your products can be found by millions of customers who might otherwise never hear of your business.
Customers may prefer to buy from Amazon because they like the return and shipping policies, they have a gift card, or simply because Amazon is most familiar and convenient to them.
Why Should Amazon Sellers Also Have Their Own eCommerce Website?
We've explained the benefits of selling on Amazon, but you may also be asking yourself the opposite question. If you sell on Amazon, why should you have your own website too?
There are several benefits to running your own website. Your business can operate independently, with the freedom to set your own policies for purchases made directly from you rather than from your Amazon listings. You can also build your own brand image without tying yourself completely to Amazon. Some customers also don't trust brands on Amazon unless they also have their own website.
While many customers shop almost exclusively on Amazon, others use it more like a search engine. These customers look for products and brands, and will browse Amazon reviews, but don't necessarily plan to purchase from Amazon itself. Instead, they often visit the seller's website directly once discovering it in an Amazon product listing, and buy from there.
Customers may prefer to buy from your website because they prefer your policies over Amazon's policies, they appreciate your customer service, or because they trust a brand's own website over an Amazon listing.
Why Use Shift4Shop to Manage Amazon Orders?
Shift4Shop makes it easy to run your own online store and sell on Amazon at the same time, without a lot of extra work or hassle.
With Shift4Shop, you can import your Amazon orders into your Shift4Shop Online Store Manager dashboard, which allows you to manage all your orders from a centralized interface. This saves time by reducing the need to log into and monitor your Amazon account. It also provides an easier way to keep track of your sales so you can get a better picture of your revenue across both channels at once. Overall, it's a great solution for multichannel sales without drastically increasing your workload even as you grow.
How Does Shift4Shop's Amazon Order Integration Work?
Shift4Shop's Amazon Order Integration module forms a connection between your Shift4Shop store and your Amazon Seller Central account. The module uses Amazon's API (Application Programming Interface) to do this. The API acts as the "link" that allows Amazon and the Shift4Shop module to connect, so features in the module are dependent on what Amazon allows to be done with its API.
The module pulls information about orders placed for your products on Amazon and sends the orders to your Shift4Shop Online Store Manager for processing. Once you've shipped out an order, your store will send an update back to Amazon including the shipment's tracking information which will be passed along to the customer.
The Amazon Integration module cannot be used to list products from your Shift4Shop store onto Amazon at this time.
Should You Use Fulfillment by Amazon?
FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is a service in which you send products to Amazon for warehousing, and Amazon will pick, pack, and ship these products when they're ordered. FBA is an alternative to fulfilling products yourself, and is a huge time-saver. It's also the only way your products on Amazon can be eligible for Prime shipping.
Technically, if you're using FBA, you don't need to import Amazon orders into your Shift4Shop store to process them, since Amazon would already be handling that. However, you can choose to import FBA orders into your store for reporting purposes. You can turn this feature on in the settings, which we'll cover shortly.
The Amazon Order Integration module is mainly intended for businesses that want to sell on Amazon but handle all the fulfillment themselves, so this article assumes you're going to be shipping from your own inventory. If you decide to use FBA, you can still import the orders (for reporting, as discussed), but you can further enhance your Amazon FBA experience by using different modules offered by Shift4Shop. These allow you to sell products from your website itself and still use FBA for fulfillment. Our basic FBA integration is built into the Shift4Shop software, but you can add extra capabilities to it by using our Fulfillment by Amazon Connector, created and supported by Amazon itself.
Now that we've explained the basics, are you ready to start using Shift4Shop and Amazon together to grow your business? Let's go over the steps you'll need to follow to connect your accounts and start selling.
Set Up Your Amazon Seller Central Account
If you're not already selling on Amazon, you'll need to create an Amazon Seller Central account before you can begin.
Amazon charges $39.99 per month for a Professional seller account, which is a feature-rich plan intended for businesses selling on its platform. Before you get started, you should do some math to see how well this fits in your budget.
Amazon also offers an Individual seller account that has no monthly fee, and instead charges a flat rate of $0.99 for each sale. However, you'll need the Professional seller account to connect your Amazon account to your Shift4Shop store.
This is because Amazon limits access to its API to Professional sellers (in simple terms, this means Amazon won't allow sellers to connect software like Shift4Shop to it without a Professional seller account).
Once your Amazon Seller Central Professional account is set up, you're ready to connect it to your Shift4Shop store.
Locate the Shift4Shop Amazon Order Integration Module
To start setting up your Amazon order integration, you'll need to find the module in your Shift4Shop Online Store Manager. Simply log into your Shift4Shop store and visit Modules in the left-hand navigation bar. You can browse the modules if you wish, but the fastest way to find it is to use the Search bar to search for "Amazon Integration."
The Amazon Order Integration module is built into all current Shift4Shop plans for free. If you're using an older plan that doesn't include the module, and you want to add it to your store without changing your plan, you can find the Amazon Integration in our app store as well.
Once you've found the module in your store's dashboard, click the Settings button.
Connect Your Shift4Shop Store to Your Amazon Seller Account
Connecting your Amazon seller account to your Shift4Shop store only takes a few minutes. The entire process is managed through a simple onboarding process that streamlines the integration.
Click on Initiate Onboard Process and log into your Amazon seller account. Remember you need a Professional account before Amazon will allow you to integrate with Shift4Shop. If you set up 2-factor authentication on your Amazon seller account, you'll need to enter the code that is sent to you for logging in.
Once you've logged into your Amazon seller account, Amazon will ask you to confirm the integration. Simply check the box to authorize third party access, then click Next.
You'll then be brought to a page informing you that the authorization is almost complete. Click Continue to finish the process.
Once you've followed those steps, you've completed the onboarding process. Your web browser will take you back to the Amazon Integration module in your Shift4Shop dashboard. Now that you've connected your Amazon account, it's time to adjust your settings and start integrating your orders.
Understanding the Settings in Shift4Shop's Amazon Order Integration
The module's settings control certain aspects of your initial connection to Amazon as well as your ongoing order imports. This section will serve as a guide for all these settings.
These settings relate to the script that runs to import your orders from Amazon to your Shift4Shop Online Store Manager. They are:
- Enable Amazon Order: This setting is what allows the module to start importing your order information from your Amazon seller account. If you don't have this checked, the module will stop importing orders.
- Disconnect Store: As the name suggests, this option lets you disconnect your Shift4Shop store from your Amazon account. There are a few reasons you might want to do this at some point — for example, if you decide to stop using the integration, or if you want to run through the onboarding process again to set it up from scratch. (This option doesn't appear until after you've completed the onboarding process to set up the integration.)
- Last Order Imported: This option simply displays the most recent order imported by the module. You can use this for quick reference if you just need to know the last time an order came in, for example.
- Last Script Run: This option displays the date and time during which the order import script last ran, so you'll know how "fresh" your imported order data is.
- Import Orders From: This is an option that you'll only use during the initial setup process. It provides you with a calendar you can use to choose the timeframe containing the orders you want to import; for example, all orders from the last week, the last month, or as you see fit. You only need to do this once, since orders will be imported automatically afterward.
- Import FBA Orders: Since Amazon handles fulfillment for FBA products, these orders normally aren't imported into your Shift4Shop store via this module. This is because there's no need for you to fulfill the orders yourself. However, you can check this box to import your FBA orders as well, for reporting purposes as we discussed earlier in this article. Imported FBA orders will show up with "FBA Orders" in place of the customer's name, and their address will not be included. This is because Amazon does not provide this information.
- Send log to (email): The script generates a log every time it runs, including information on the orders that were imported. This is where you enter the email address where you would like to receive these logs.
Order mapping refers to how the imported orders will be displayed in your Shift4Shop Online Store Manager. You can map them to specific order statuses as well as to a payment method for reporting purposes and to make it easier to view them before processing.
- Order Status (Fulfilled by Merchant): These are orders coming in from Amazon that you'll be shipping out to the customer yourself. You can choose to map them to either the New order status or Unpaid order status. When you process the order and move it into the Shipped status, and include tracking numbers, your store will soon export the information back to Amazon to update the order on your Amazon Seller Central account. The tracking number will be made available to the customer.
- Order Status (Fulfilled by Amazon): If you're also importing FBA orders as we described above, this option lets you select how they'll be imported for display in your store. You can place FBA orders into any of your order status queues, rather than just New or Unpaid. This is because the order is already being fulfilled by Amazon and there's nothing more for you to do to complete it. Like the rest of the FBA functionality in our Amazon Order Integration, this is mainly for sales reporting purposes.
- Payment Type: This setting allows you to map the payment type on the Amazon order to one of the payment options in your store. The payment was technically already made through Amazon, but this setting shows the orders as having been paid with a valid payment option rather than being left blank. This ensures proper reporting for those orders.
These settings control certain aspects of how your orders are displayed and recorded.
- Invoice Number Prefix: If you want to make sure your Amazon orders stand out from orders that came through your Shift4Shop store, you can create a unique prefix that will be added to all orders imported from Amazon.
- Deduct inventory when order is shipped: Check this box if you want Amazon inventory to be deducted from your Shift4Shop store's inventory when the orders are marked as shipped. This setting is primarily for items you're selling on both Amazon and your Shift4Shop store, to keep your inventory count consistent.
There is only one setting necessary for reports:
- Don't consider Amazon orders in sales reports: This checkbox allows you to exclude imported Amazon orders from your Shift4Shop store's built-in sales reporting. Most sellers find it most convenient to include the reports, but this option is available for those who prefer to keep their reporting separate.
This section allows you to map the shipping methods that are recorded on your imported Amazon orders to make them correspond to the shipping methods you've made available in your store. Like the Payment Type setting, this is specifically for reporting purposes to display your orders as having been shipped by a specific method you offer. You can select a shipping method from the dropdown menu corresponding to each of Amazon's shipping methods. The main purpose of this is to ensure the shipping method of each order is represented in your store's reports, even if you're importing FBA orders that were shipped by Amazon and not by you.
Setting Up Your Amazon Orders Integration Module
Now that you understand what each of these settings mean, it will only take you a few minutes to set up your Amazon Orders integration. Before you begin, consider how you'll be using your Amazon and Shift4Shop channels together.
- What is the timeframe for the orders you want to import during initial setup?
- Have you decided on an email address where you'd most prefer to receive the import script logs?
- Are you using Fulfillment by Amazon?
- If so, do you want to import those orders along with the rest, for reporting purposes only, since you don't need to fulfill them yourself?
- How do you want to map your Order Statuses? Your options vary depending on whether the order is fulfilled through Amazon or by you.
- How do you want to map your Payment Types? Since payment came through Amazon, this is also just for reporting.
- Do you want to add a prefix to all imported orders to make it easier to tell at a glance that they came from Amazon? As an example, you could use an abbreviation like AMAZ or a sequence of numbers. It will be added to the beginning of all order numbers from imported orders.
- Do you want inventory to be deducted when an order is shipped?
- Do you want Amazon orders included in sales reports?
- Which of your shipping methods best correspond to Amazon's shipping methods (for reporting purposes only)?
Once you've chosen your settings, remember to Save.
Limitations on Amazon's Data Sharing
As we mentioned earlier, FBA orders will not include the customer's name or other identifying information. This is because Amazon does not share these details due to privacy reasons.
For orders you import to fulfill yourself, you will receive the necessary information like the customer's name and address so you can ship out the order. However, there's a limit on how long this information will be available to you. Amazon has taken steps to protect customer data sent through their API, and their security policies state that PII (Personally Identifiable Information) can only be retained for a maximum of 30 days.
When your Shift4Shop store synchronizes with your Amazon orders, in addition to importing any new orders, the module will also update any orders older than 30 days to remove the PII. The customer's personal information will be replaced with the phrase "Amazon Replaced."
In all cases, your store's records will keep order details like payment amounts and products in the order, but customer names, addresses, phone numbers, and other identifiable information will be removed as per Amazon's policy. So, all the data needed for thorough sales reporting will still be available.
Processing Orders from Amazon
When your Shift4Shop store imports orders from Amazon, they will appear in your Orders with the status you have assigned to them for mapping. If you've defined a prefix, this will be included in the order numbers.
FBA orders require no further action from you, since Amazon handles the process. Merchant-fulfilled orders are the ones you need to ship out yourself through your store's normal fulfillment workflow.
By using this module, you're reducing the effort needed to sell on Amazon and your own website simultaneously by having all your orders appear together within your Shift4Shop store. You won't need to log into Amazon to check for new orders or fulfill the ones that have come in; you can do it all from your Shift4Shop Online Store Manager.
Ready to Streamline Your Amazon Sales?
Shift4Shop's Amazon Order Integration simplifies the process of selling on Amazon alongside your own eCommerce website. By doing so, you can reap the benefits of multichannel selling (like increased visibility and association with Amazon while still keeping your business's independence) without the drawbacks of managing each channel separately. Here's a quick summary of the process:
- Set up an Amazon Professional Seller account.
- Have an email address where you'd like to receive import logs.
- Find and activate the Amazon Integration in your Shift4Shop modules.
- Set up the module's Script Settings.
- Set up your Order Mapping and Order Settings.
- Choose your Report Settings.
- Set up your Shipping Mapping.
- Save before leaving the module's page.
Once you've completed these steps, your integration is complete, and selling on Amazon will be easier than ever before. We're excited to see how your business grows!