Amazon Fulfillment Centers: A Complete Guide

You’ve likely come across the term “Amazon fulfillment centers” if you’re involved in the eCommerce industry. But what exactly are these centers, and how do they operate?

What Are Amazon Fulfillment Centers?

Amazon fulfillment centers serve as vast warehouses where Amazon stores its inventory for its eCommerce business. Whenever a customer places an order on Amazon, the required stock is retrieved from these fulfillment centers and shipped out. These centers are also referred to as Amazon distribution centers.

Amazon utilizes these facilities to effectively store products until they are sold. Once a product is sold, it is shipped from the fulfillment center directly to the customer. With several hundred fulfillment centers strategically located across the globe, Amazon ensures efficient service.

How Do Amazon Fulfillment Centers Work?

Amazon fulfillment centers play a critical role in the company’s eCommerce operations. These massive warehouses house inventory from third-party sellers and facilitate the fulfillment of customer orders. Currently, Amazon operates over 175 fulfillment centers worldwide, each designed to maximize efficiency.

1. Receiving Inventory from Third-Party Sellers

Third-party sellers who use the Amazon marketplace to sell their products send their inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers. The center stores this stock until it is sold. Once a customer places an order for a particular product, it is retrieved from the shelves and shipped out.

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2. Fulfilling Orders from Customers

Amazon fulfillment centers also handle orders placed directly by customers on These orders are received electronically and subsequently picked, packed, and shipped by the workers operating within the center.

3. Shipping Products to Customers

Once an order is fulfilled, the products are shipped to the customer using one of Amazon’s shipping partners. In the United States, products are typically delivered to customers within 1-2 days, ensuring rapid service and customer satisfaction.

Benefits of Using Amazon Fulfillment Centers

Fast Shipping Times

Efficiency is optimized within Amazon’s fulfillment centers, ensuring prompt order fulfillment and swift shipping. With distribution centers spread worldwide, there’s usually a center situated close to the customer. Consequently, customers can expect fast shipping times. Moreover, Amazon offers a program called Amazon FBA, enabling businesses to store their products within Amazon’s fulfillment centers, thereby taking advantage of the company’s rapid shipping.

Wide Selection

Amazon fulfillment centers act as inventory warehouses, housing products from both third-party sellers and Amazon’s own inventory. Consequently, customers are presented with an extensive range of products when shopping on Amazon.


Amazon fulfillment centers are designed to prioritize customer convenience. Customers can easily track their orders online, receiving updates regarding the status of their shipments. Additionally, Amazon strategically locates its distribution centers across the country, ensuring efficient and rapid delivery. Furthermore, businesses utilizing Amazon FBA can benefit from Amazon Prime, which grants free two-day shipping for eligible products. In sum, Amazon fulfillment centers offer an array of benefits, ensuring customers receive their orders easily and conveniently.

Costs Associated with Amazon Fulfillment Centers

The fees associated with using Amazon fulfillment centers are calculated based on the size and weight of the stored and shipped products.

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Standard Size Products

Standard size products weigh less than 20 pounds or have dimensions smaller than 18x14x8 inches. Fees for fulfilling standard size products range from $2.41 to more than $4.71, depending on the weight. Products exceeding 2 pounds attract an additional charge of $0.38 per pound beyond the initial 2 pounds.

Oversize Products

Shipping costs for oversized items vary depending on factors such as weight and dimensions. For example, an oversize item less than 70 pounds but with dimensions above 60 inches on the longest side incurs a shipping cost of $8.13, along with a $0.38/lb fee for each pound exceeding 2 pounds.

Similarly, an oversize item over 150 pounds and with dimensions over 108 inches on the longest side attracts a shipping cost of $137.32, with an additional $0.91/lb fee for every pound beyond the initial 90 pounds.

Additional Fees

Amazon fulfillment center fees include an extra charge of $0.40 per item for products sold through the Amazon Fulfillment program. This fee applies specifically to apparel items and covers packaging, shipping, storage, and customer service costs. It is imposed in addition to standard Amazon FBA business fees.

Using Amazon fulfillment centers incurs varying costs based on the services availed:

  • Storing: Amazon charges various fees for storing inventory within their fulfillment centers. Short-term monthly storage fees range from $0.48 to $2.40 per cubic foot. Mid-term storage fees (181-365 days) amount to $3.45 per cubic foot. Beyond one year, storage fees rise to $6.90 per cubic foot.

  • Picking: Picking involves selecting the products ordered by customers from the shelves within the fulfillment center. The cost per unit for the picking process is $0.69.

  • Packing: The packing process involves preparing and packaging the products for shipment. Amazon charges $0.48 per unit packed.

  • Shipping: Shipping costs vary based on the chosen shipping method and the destination of the shipment.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fulfillment Center

While cost is an important consideration when selecting a fulfillment center, several other factors warrant attention:

  1. Location: The location of the fulfillment center can impact shipping costs and delivery times for customers.

  2. Services: The specific services provided by the fulfillment center influence the overall cost. Some centers offer storage and shipping, while others exclusively handle shipping.

  3. Capacity: The capacity of the fulfillment center affects the price per unit of storage. Larger centers typically offer more cost-effective storage solutions.

  4. Experience: The experience held by the fulfillment center’s staff affects the cost. More experienced teams tend to reduce the occurrence of errors and mistakes, translating to lower expenses.

  5. Reputation: A fulfillment center’s reputation plays a role in shaping the cost associated with using their services. Centers with stronger reputations tend to offer better customer service and returns, which can lead to reduced expenses.

Finding the Best Fulfillment Center for Your Business

To identify the most suitable fulfillment center for your business, consider the following steps:

  1. Research: Conduct thorough research on various fulfillment centers, making comparisons based on their services, prices, and locations.

  2. Read Reviews: Gain insights into the reputation and service quality of different fulfillment centers by reading reviews from other businesses.

  3. Seek Recommendations: Ask businesses within your industry for recommendations regarding fulfillment centers they have found effective.

  4. Compare Costs: To find the most affordable option for your business, compare the costs associated with different fulfillment centers.

In conclusion, Amazon fulfillment centers form an integral part of the eCommerce landscape. By understanding their operations and benefits, you can leverage them to optimize your business. If you require assistance with your fulfillment needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to Simpl Fulfillment today.

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