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Fulfilling Amazon and external orders with the Selling Partner API

How to use the Selling Partner API (SP-API) to create an order fulfillment ecosystem for your customers.

by Federico R., Solutions Architect, Selling Partner Developer Services | December 14, 2023


This blog post describes the various fulfillment options that Amazon offers to selling partners, such as Fulfillment by Amazon and Multi-Channel Fulfillment, and how to integrate them using SP-API.

By expanding your solution with automation for additional fulfillment use cases, you can help your selling partners grow their business by offering the best, most convenient delivery option to buyers on and off Amazon marketplace.

Fulfillment options

  • Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN): For merchants taking their first steps in selling on Amazon, onboarding to the Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) is the go-to option. This method allows them to fulfill incoming orders from their warehouses using their own services, or by relying on third-party shipping providers. It also means that the merchant owns the whole order lifecycle, including packing the products, managing returns, and providing timely customer service.

  • Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA): FBA provides an end-to-end, fully managed fulfillment experience to merchants. With FBA, Amazon takes care of storing, picking, packing and shipping products, handling returns, and providing customer service. Merchants benefit from Amazon's fast and reliable delivery network to provide the best experience for their customers.

  • Amazon Easy Ship: A hybrid approach that merchants can take to fulfill Amazon orders is to use Amazon Easy Ship. When choosing this service, available in selected marketplaces, their orders are picked up from a specified location and delivered to the customer's doorstep. This provides merchants with competitive rate cards, along with fast and reliable delivery.

  • Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF): For merchants offering their products through other sales channels, such as their own e-commerce website, Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) provides a solution to fulfill orders with Prime-like delivery speeds using inventory stored in Amazon's warehouses. This way, merchants can simplify their inventory management and provide an optimal delivery experience to customers across all their sales channels.

  • Vendor Direct Fulfillment: Amazon vendors can also benefit from alternate fulfillment options. In this case, manufacturers and retailers enrolled in the Vendor Direct Fulfillment program receive orders from Amazon that they ship to customers directly from their own warehouses. This way they can extend their selection with items not suitable for Amazon fulfillment centers and prevent losing orders during supply chain disruptions.

Combined, these alternatives provide a wide range of possibilities to selling partners that help optimize their businesses. Different fulfillment options can be mixed and matched to find the right solution for each product that is sold on and off Amazon. In the following sections, we take a deeper insight into each of these options, and explain how to integrate them using SP-API.

Merchant Fulfilled Network

MFN refers to a model where sellers list their products on Amazon, but own the whole order lifecycle, such as product storage, shipping, and customer support. It is usually the starting point for merchants that decide to onboard to the Amazon marketplace. In general, MFN is the best solution for merchants that sell a low volume of products, have their own warehouses, have established/matured logistics already in place, and are able to provide customer service and handle returns.

Since MFN merchants own the end-to-end fulfillment process, it is important for them to process orders in a timely manner and meet the shipping promise, in order to provide the best customer experience and keep a healthy selling account rating. SP-API helps achieve this goal by providing a wide range of resources.

The Orders API, the ORDER_CHANGE notification and the Order reports provide information about new orders and updates to existing orders. With them, sellers can receive and process orders in near-real time and start the fulfillment workflow.

Merchants who want to buy shipping from Amazon for their Prime and non-Prime orders can use the Merchant Fulfillment API and the Shipping API v2. These APIs simplify finding available shipping providers based on the order's requirements, like latest delivery date. They also allow receiving and printing of shipping labels, and automate paying for shipping and providing tracking information to Amazon. A key difference between these two APIs is that, while the functionality of the Merchant Fulfillment API is limited to Amazon orders, the Shipping API v2 supports orders originating on both Amazon marketplaces and external channels.

For a reference implementation of a seller-fulfilled order workflow that follows best practices, like the use of notifications, explore the Merchant Fulfillment API sample solution.

Fulfillment By Amazon

With FBA, merchants can outsource the order fulfillment process by sending their products to Amazon's global network of fulfillment centers where orders are processed, packed, and shipped to customers. Products listed on FBA are eligible for Amazon Prime and qualify for free two-day shipping. Additionally, the cost of shipping is considerably reduced, with prices being up to 30% below standard rates offered by major carriers.

Finally, because Amazon manages customer service and returns, merchants can focus on growing their business instead of dealing with these tasks. These features make FBA a great option for merchants that have a quick inventory turnover, have little to no storage, don't have an established logistics solution in place, or can't handle customer service and returns.

Merchants that decide to onboard to FBA can use SP-API to automate, improve, and grow their business.

With the FBA Inbound Eligibility API, sellers can get eligibility previews for items before shipping them to Amazon's fulfillment centers. They can use this information to make business decisions regarding product storage and order fulfillment.

For items that the seller decides to onboard to FBA, the Fulfillment Inbound API provides the features required to create and update inbound shipments of inventory to Amazon's fulfillment network. It also allows sellers to receive guidance on whether Amazon recommends sending specific items to a marketplace or not, buy shipping from Amazon-partnered carriers, and get package/pallet labels for faster and more accurate shipment processing at the Amazon fulfillment center.

Finally, once the items are in Amazon fulfillment centers, the FBA Inventory API helps sellers track the real-time availability of inventory at the marketplace level.

In addition, SP-API provides a number of FBA reports that cover various use cases such as product fees estimation, customer returns and replacements, and the Subscribe and Save program, among others.

Easy Ship

Easy Ship is a delivery service for sellers in which package picking and delivery to customers is handled entirely by Amazon. As part of the Easy Ship setup, sellers need to specify a pickup location. When new orders arrive, they pack the products and select a time slot for them to be picked up. The main benefit of this service is that merchants can provide fast and reliable delivery to their customers without having to deal with the complexities associated with shipping, while using the competitive rate cards that Easy Ship offers.

In order to help sellers automate their Easy Ship order management, SP-API provides a wide range of resources. To identify Easy Ship orders that have to be prepared for pickup in real time, merchants can use the ORDER_CHANGE notification (for messages with EasyShipShipmentStatus attribute). This is the recommended, optimal approach. For merchants that decide not to use SP-API notifications, the same can be accomplished using the Orders API. In particular, the getOrders operation accepts the EasyShipShipmentStatuses parameter, which allows the requester to filter Easy Ship orders only. Finally, the available Easy Ship reports provide the same functionality.

With the Easy Ship API, merchants can find time slots for package pick-up, create and update schedules, and retrieve package details and status. The corresponding Easy Ship feed allows sellers to get invoices, shipping labels, and warranties for orders that are scheduled for handover. In combination with the aforementioned order management features, the Easy Ship API and feed provide all required resources to implement an end-to-end Easy Ship order fulfillment workflow.



Easy Ship operations are only available in select marketplaces. You can find a table with supported operations by marketplace in the Easy Ship API Use Case Guide.

Multi-Channel Fulfillment

Multi-Channel Fulfillment is a third-party logistics solution run by Amazon that allows sellers to use its fulfillment network to provide delivery for orders originating from other sales channels. Merchants can grow their businesses by offering optimal delivery performance at low, predictable rates. Because inventory can be used to fulfill FBA and also off-Amazon orders, storage is optimized, resulting in time and money savings. With up-to-date tracking information, Prime-like delivery speeds, and > 97% on-time delivery rates, MCF provides a best-in-class experience for both buyers and sellers.

Setting up an MCF solution is done by sending the products to Amazon, where they are distributed and stored in different fulfillment centers. When new orders are placed, for example, on the merchant's e-commerce website, a signal is sent to Amazon, where picking and packing takes place. Finally, the products are delivered to customers within two to five days, depending on the shipping category selected.

In order to allow merchants to automate their off-Amazon order fulfillment using MCF, SP-API provides the Fulfillment Outbound API. With it, sellers can get a list of fulfillment options for their orders based on a shipping criteria, and after selecting the best option, request Amazon to ship items to a destination. The API also allows merchants to retrieve tracking information, update or cancel shipments, and create returns.

When it comes to testing, the Fulfillment Outbound API offers a dynamic sandbox environment that allows you to exercise the implemented workflows without affecting production data or triggering real-world events. This provides improved testing capabilities, which helps build more robust systems.

For a reference implementation of a Multi-Channel Fulfillment workflow that follows best practices, explore the Fulfillment Outbound API sample solution.

Vendor Direct Fulfillment

Direct Fulfillment (DF) is a supply chain strategy that allows vendors to offer products to customers without having to ship the inventory into an Amazon fulfillment center. In this model, when a new order is placed in the marketplace, Amazon forwards it to the vendor, who is then responsible for picking and packing the products. The last step, shipping, can be performed using an Amazon carrier (AC) or a Vendor Own carrier (VOC). With the former, an Amazon appointed carrier manages collection and delivery. As soon as the shipment is handed over, the vendor can invoice Amazon for the products. With the VOC model, vendors can choose their own carriers instead. This allows vendors to extend their DF offering to products not supported by Amazon carriers, such as fully regulated Hazmat and super heavy bulky.

One of the key requirements for vendors to onboard to the DF program is having the ability to provide updated inventory for all catalog items every day. This way, Amazon's customer experience can be guaranteed. Additionally, vendors need to have the operational ability to pick, pack, and ship single orders directly to customers in plain, unbranded boxes.

The main benefits of DF are being able to extend selection, especially for items that are not suitable or are not to be ordered by Amazon fulfillment centers, and having selection immediately available to customers after adding inventory. All this while keeping the "Sold and fulfilled by Amazon" label on the product details page.

The Vendor DF program is supported in SP-API through five different APIs:

  • Inventory API: The Inventory API allows vendors to update DF quantities for their products. Both partial and full updates are supported, which gives vendors the ability to specify stock levels just for the products that changed since last submission, or override all their previous inventory data with the most up-to-date information.

  • Orders API: In order to receive DF purchase orders and send order acknowledgements, vendors can use the Orders API. With it, new orders (created in a time window of choice) can be queried, and specific orders can be retrieved. Finally, orders can be acknowledged individually and in bulk, which helps SP-API developers implement optimized workflows.

  • Shipping API: To handle the shipping process, SP-API provides the Shipping API. Vendors can use it to request and download shipping labels, send shipment confirmation and tracking updates to Amazon, get packing slips, and retrieve invoices.

  • Payments API: With the Payments API, vendors can exchange payment-related documents with Amazon. In particular, it provides functionality to send vendor invoices to Amazon for confirmed and shipped orders.

  • Transaction Status API: For better monitoring and validation of the data submitted to Amazon, vendors can use the Transaction Status API. With it, vendors can validate the correct reception and processing of inventory updates, order acknowledgements, shipment confirmations, and invoice submissions, among others.

Comparison Table

The table below lists all the fulfillment options described in the previous sections, and specifies the business segment (seller or vendor) to which they apply, how inventory is stored in each of them, and who owns the shipping experience.

ProgramSegmentInventory storageShipping
Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN)SellerSeller's warehouseSeller
Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)SellerAmazon fulfillment centerAmazon
Easy ShipSellerSeller's warehouseAmazon
Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF)SellerAmazon fulfillment centerAmazon
Vendor Direct Fulfillment (DF)VendorVendor's warehouseAmazon and Vendor


In order to provide a best-in-class customer experience to buyers, Amazon offers a variety of fulfillment options to its selling partners. Based on their specific needs, operational capacities, and business interests, selling partners can choose one or many of them. In this post, we presented the different alternatives that are available, how they work, and how to automate and optimize these use cases with features that SP-API offers.


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