Central National, a distributor of pulp, newsprint, wood products, metals and other commodities, is finding that selling online is quite suitable to shipping bulk orders.
In the past few years, Central National has worked with Amazon Business to go beyond shipping mainly a single ream of paper to also handling bulk shipments, allowing customers to place truckload orders “in a click of button,” Jason Horst, vice president and commercial director for Central National, said during a June 25 presentation on working with Amazon Business at the IRCE @ RetailX conference in Chicago. Central National, a division of commodities supplier Central National-Gottesman, was the first seller on Amazon business to ship a truckload for an online order, said Rob Green, director and general manager of business development at Amazon Business, who participated in the presentation with Horst.
Horst said Central National has taken several steps to support its Amazon Business transactions, including adding several people to its IT, customer service and product management teams.
Shipping with FBA Onsite
Amazon FBA Onsite program, under which Central National uses assistance from Amazon in terms of warehousing technology and management expertise in its own warehouse facilities improve how it fulfills and ships orders it receives through Amazon Business.
But one major development backing the shipments of bulk online orders has been participating in Amazon’s FBA Onsite program, under which Central National uses software and technical assistance from Amazon to better configure its warehouses to process orders for truckload and other bulk shipments. Orders that Central National ships through the FBA Onsite are eligible under the Business Prime expedited shipping program, Green said.
The FBA Onsite program is billed as a system that provides similar advantages offered by Amazon’s Fulfillment By Amazon program, under which third-party sellers on Amazon use FBA warehouses to ship their orders; and the Seller-Fulfilled Prime program, under which Amazon certifies a third-party seller’s fulfillment and distribution centers as meeting FBA standards. Using those services has helped Central National to reduce fulfillment and shipping costs and stand out better as a seller on Amazon Business, Horst said.
Horst, whose IRCE presentation was during a track called “Amazon and Me,” advised during his presentation that third-party sellers on Amazon learn as much as they can about how to use Amazon programs to increase sales and levels of service to customers. Participate in Amazon forums and observe blogs to “learn what other people are doing, and don’t hesitate to learn from their mistakes,” he said.
Although not all pilots are successful, observing helps sellers stay on the leading edge of marketplace technology and strategies. “You’ll see a lot of what’s applicable to you, and you’ll learn a lot,” he said.