Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) - External Fulfilment Service

If you utilise a third-party fulfilment service such as Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) to ship your orders, you can connect the service to DEAR as an external inventory management location. 


DEAR allows your external warehouse/fulfilment centre to be created as a separate location in DEAR as well as allow sales order details to be communicated to your external fulfilment centre. It also has the ability to synchronise inventory quantities once orders are fulfilled and receive shipping/tracking information from the fulfilment service.


In addition, you can set up this integration in such a way that FBA stores all your stock and takes and fulfills orders, while DEAR only tracks what you've sold, what you're owed, and what stock is remaining.


Prerequisites

  • Amazon Seller Pro account (required)
  • Familiarity with the Processing a Sale process (required) 


Table of Contents

  1. Preparing your Amazon Seller Pro Account for DEAR Integration
  2. Connecting to FBA
  3. Setting Up FBA
  4. Managing Fulfilment Orders
  5. Catalogue


Preparing your Amazon Seller Pro Account for DEAR Integration

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You must have an Amazon Seller Pro account to integrate your Amazon FBA account with DEAR. If you have an Amazon Individual Seller account, you need to upgrade it to an Amazon Seller Pro account before you can integrate with DEAR.


To prepare your Amazon Seller Pro Account for integration:

  1. Go to the Manage your apps page in Amazon Seller Central and log in to your Amazon selling account as the primary user.
  2. Click the Authorize new developer button and follow the authorisation workflow.
  3. When prompted, authorize DEAR to access your account using the following details:
    • Developer Name: DEARInventory
    • Developer ID:
      • 4103-6238-5902 (for the US and Canada)
      • 3077-2674-3899 (for Europe)
      • 0490-2413-7225 (for Europe)
  4. Amazon will give you an MWS Auth Token at the end of this procedure. You will use this together with your SellerID to authorize DEAR Inventory in the next steps below.


Connecting to FBA

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First, you need to connect your fulfilment centre to DEAR Inventory. If you have an existing Amazon store already integrated to DEAR, see the Using an Existing Store section. If you do not have an Amazon store set up in DEAR, see the Manual Setup section below. 


Using an Existing Amazon Store Integration

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To connect FBA to DEAR:

  1. Navigate to Integration > Fulfilment by Amazon
  2. On the Fulfilment by Amazon page, click the + button. 
  3. Under the Use an existing Amazon connection tab, select the Amazon store to be connected to DEAR and the warehouse location to be used for external fulfilment from your list of warehouses. If you do not want to use an existing warehouse location, leave the already selected Create a new location option as is, then click Connect.


Manual Setup

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  1. Navigate to Integration > Fulfilment by Amazon
  2. On the Fulfilment by Amazon page, click the + button. 
  3. Click the Connect manually tab.
  4. Enter your Amazon Merchant ID (Seller ID), Marketplace ID, and MWS Auth Token, which you should have already gotten following the steps in Preparing Your Amazon Seller Pro Account for DEAR Integration.
  5. Select an existing warehouse location to be used with the fulfilment service or select Create a new location.
  6. Click Connect to FBA.


IMPORTANT! DEAR will make an inventory report request to Amazon every hour. The default setting is to send an email notification whenever an inventory report is requested. To avoid getting spammed with Amazon notifications, go to Seller Central>Settings>Notification Preferences in Amazon and disable Open Listings Report.



Setting up FBA

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After setting up the connection, you will need to set up FBA in DEAR next.


External Fulfilment Location

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If Create a new location was selected, a new location with the name of the FBA account will be created within DEAR, which will then try to match the created location with an existing DEAR location of the same name. If the DEAR location contains bins, a new location will be created and named using the following convention: FBA account name + a numerical suffix. 


External locations cannot contain bins nor can they be renamed or deleted while the fulfilment service is connected. 


You can view the new location by navigating to Settings > Reference Books > Locations and Bins. There will be a note next to the location identifying it as being used for external fulfilment.



Setup Options

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The FBA Integration allows some options to be customised. These are found by navigating to Integration > FBA and then selecting your Amazon connection.



Price Tier for downloaded products: Select which Price Tier will be used for FBA customers. See Managing Price Tiers for more information. 


Fulfilment Order Status: Choose what status the fulfilment order will have upon creation. On Hold means the order will be sent to the fulfilment centre but will not be shipped until a manual action has been taken (for example, if you are waiting on the customer making a payment) but the inventory will be reserved. Shipped means the product will be shipped out as soon as the fulfilment centre has it ready. 


Manual/Automatic Order Processing: Choose whether orders are sent directly to the fulfilment centre or if a manual action is required first. 


Create Products in DEAR: If you have FBA products that have not yet been imported to DEAR, setting this option to Allowed will create them as Zero Stock on Hand products during the initial stocktake.


Auto-Sync Stock with FBA: When set, this allows auto-synchronisation of stock levels from the FBA account to the DEAR location. The auto-synchronisation can be set at daily, weekly or monthly intervals. By default, this is set to Never.


Start date for auto-sync stock: Sets the hour when stock level is synced on a daily basis. This option appears if the Auto-Sync Stock with FBA is set to a value other than Never.


Initial Stocktake

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Once the external location has been created or mapped, you will need to perform a stocktake at that location to synchronise quantities between the external service and DEAR Inventory. The stock take function can be used at any time to synchronise quantities between the two systems. 


To synchronise quantities: 

  1. Navigate to Inventory -> Stocktake.
  2. Select your FBA Location and click Start.



  3. Click the Sync button at the top of the screen. All the inventory quantities from FBA are then imported into DEAR.
    • Non-Zero Stock-on-hand products will have quantities automatically synced.
    • Zero Stock-on-hand products will have quantities automatically synced, but unit cost must be entered manually.
  4. Complete the stocktake.

IMPORTANT!  It is best to not use other applications that can affect quantities in your external fulfilment service. If this is not possible, then stocktake/inventory count must be performed as soon as order fulfilment is triggered by the third-party application (this could take anywhere from hours to weeks, depending on your business needs). If quantities are not correctly synchronised, there is a risk of placing orders for items that are out of stock.



Fulfilment Orders

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To Create a Fulfilment Order

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Fulfilment orders are created in the same way as a typical sale, from the Sales module.


To create a fulfilment order: 

  1. Navigate to Sale > New > Sale.
  2. Enter the customer details as shown in Processing a Sale.  
  3. Add items to the sale order and click Authorise.
  4. Under the Pick tab, make sure that the Location is set to your external fulfilment location.



  1. In the Pack tab, if you have external fulfilment items and items from your own inventory in the same order, they will be placed in different boxes. You can also select more than one box for your external fulfilment order if required. The external fulfilment service may also decide to use more than one box. 
  2. In the Ship tab, you can choose to copy the order from the Pack tab or manually Add a line for external fulfilment. Select your shipping option from the list and click Authorise. A fulfilment order is then created with a link. 
  3. If during setup you selected Process fulfilment orders automatically, the order is sent directly to the fulfilment centre. If not, you need to go to the fulfilment order and click Process for it to be sent. 
  4. If during setup you selected Create FBA fulfilment order with status On Hold, you will also have to click Ship on the fulfilment order for the ship to be authorised.


One or all of the Pick, Pack and Ship processes can be automated. To automate the Pick stage, the product's default location must be the external fulfilment location (so at the time of the sale you cannot choose to sell the product either from external fulfilment or your own inventory). To do this, go to Settings > General Settings > Sales Process Customisation and set Pick, Pack and/or Ship to automatic.


Existing Fulfilment Orders can be viewed by navigating to Sale > Fulfilment Orders.


Order Statuses

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There are seven (7) types of DEAR fulfilment order statuses.


Depending on what setup criteria were selected, DEAR Fulfilment orders can be created with status: Queued, On Hold or Shipped.


Queued: This status is assigned to newly created fulfilment orders which have not been sent to (processed by) the fulfilment service. While the fulfilment order has this status, it can be voided, edited/saved or processed.


On Hold: This status shows that the fulfilment order has been sent to (processed by) the fulfilment service. Only applicable if the External fulfilment service supports this status. It means that the external fulfilment service has received the order, validated it (for example, checked if the address is valid) and products for this order have been reserved in the warehouse. When the order is in this status, no inventory will be sent. In some cases, it could be used to hold the order, pending customer payment, before shipping the goods. While a fulfilment order is in this status, the user can cancel, edit/save or ship it.


Shipped: This status shows that the order was sent to the fulfilment service, which then processed it. The fulfilment order remains in this status until the customer receives the shipment. While a fulfilment order is in this status, the user cannot make any changes but is allowed to cancel the order, where the fulfilment service allows order cancellation. Usually cancellation is available until the fulfilment centre staff begin the pick/pack process.


Completed: In situations where the Delivery status has not been returned, DEAR considers that the order was completed in the estimated arrival timeframe. This could occur if the fulfilment service or carrier does not provide tracking details which are used by DEAR to change the order status.


Delivered: This status shows that the fulfilment order was successfully accomplished.


Cancelled: This status shows that the fulfilment order was cancelled by the user.


Failed: DEAR fulfilment order shows this status only in cases where the external fulfilment service rejects the fulfilment request with an error (for example, if a fulfilment order has the wrong shipping address). This error is saved to the fulfilment order log.


Tracking Information

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Twice a day, DEAR (at 00:51 and 12:51 UTC time) will try to update tracking details and statuses for all fulfilment orders with Shipped status. If any information is updated, an appropriate message is logged.


Independently from DEAR packing lines, the external fulfilment service can separate the fulfilment order into several packages. If the external fulfilment service splits one shipment line into multiple packages, multiple tracking numbers will be shown for a single shipment line, separated by commas. 


When DEAR is notified that a new tracking number was assigned to a fulfilment order, DEAR stores this information inside the fulfilment order and generates an appropriate message in the fulfilment order log and the sale order log.


If the Sale order was changed after the fulfilment order was processed by the fulfilment service (for example, it was undone and the user changed the shipping lines and re-authorised the shipment), then the tracking number will be written in the sale order log.


Returns

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At the moment, returns are not supported.



Catalogue

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The catalogue for each external fulfilment location can be viewed in Integration > FBA > Catalogue. To synchronise product quantities, click Force Sync.




Clicking an individual product opens a pop-up window with the product info. The Product Info window shows more information about the product quantity available and allows the product mapping for that product to be changed if required.


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