What You Should Know About Amazon’s ‘North America Remote Fulfillment’ (NARF) Program

Want to sell in Canada and Mexico on Amazon? Well, a new Amazon program called North America Remote Fulfillment may make it easier than ever in the near future as it is developed and fully released (it's currently in a beta state).

What is NARF and how does it work?
Amazon’s North America Remote Fulfillment (NARF) program allows Sellers to display their U.S. FBA inventory across both country-specific Amazon sites for Canada and Mexico (Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.mx, respectively). Buyers on Amazon Mexico and Amazon Canada are shown the available inventory at your price, plus a premium to cover the import duties. If the buyer chooses to purchase, Amazon uses the Seller’s U.S. based FBA inventory to fulfill all North American international orders.
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“NARF is a U.S.-based inventory expander,” explained George Hatch, Pattern’s Director of Marketplaces. “It allows a brand to make their US inventory available for sale in Canada and Mexico without the complexity of needing to handle shipping goods directly into either Mexico or Canada.”

Hatch said that the NARF program uses a global SKU to create a fluid inventory count across the three marketplaces (U.S., Canada, and Mexico). So if a Seller has 100 products available in the U.S., both Mexican and Canadian customers will also see that 100 products are available. Similarly, if a product is purchased by a customer in any of the three markets, it will depreciate from the total and display that number.

How do you participate in NARF?
The NARF program is currently available by invite only. However, as a top 5 seller on Amazon, Pattern is involved in this beta program as well as other betas currently being tested by Walmart.com, eBay, and Google.

“You have to be approved for it. It’s currently in a beta test. Luckily, if you work with a great partner like Pattern, we’re involved in a lot of these tests,” Hatch said.

What are the advantages of using NARF?
1. It's easy.
One of the best advantages of NARF is the ability to break into new marketplaces without making a huge initial investment first, explained Kevin Lamb, Pattern’s Marketplace Insights Specialist.

“There’s all this work that would go into selling in those countries initially, but using NARF you can test how your products sell in that country,” Lamb said. “Are people willing to pay for your products plus shipping? Well, you should be selling there then.”

2. You can test market demand.
Testing market demand is crucial to international success, Hatch said. With Amazon handling transportation and the customer paying the import duties for the NARF program, it’s easy to simultaneously gather data about new marketplace demand and expand your brand presence.

“This is a great way to go in and test a market and see what type of latent demand there is. That way it gives you better insight into what SKUs to go with, should you later decide to sell products locally in either Mexico or Canada,” Hatch said.

3. Save on inventory costs.
Finally, NARF saves you the headache of finding an international shipping solution. Rather than spending more to build up your product at multiple international warehouses, NARF mirrors your inventory in all of North America, effectively letting you keep a centralized shipping point and expanding your footprint without the cost of holding additional inventory.

“You have less inventory costs, you have less complexity, and you’re getting more bang out of your inventory buck,” Hatch said. 

Want to explore how NARF and other emerging Amazon programs can help you win on eCommerce? Contact a Pattern representative below.