Amazon Prime has been one of Amazon’s most wildly successful initiatives. Buyers have relied on its fast shipping times and overall reliability to meet their shopping needs. Sellers have been working hard to ensure their products are Prime eligible, up to this point with the Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) program.
However, FBA is not without its own challenges for sellers. Fees can quickly accumulate, inventory can be mishandled, delays in receiving products into the system can cause delays in customer shipments, and products can be lost in the Amazon supply chain.
Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) aims to alleviate these logistical woes for business owners. By allowing sellers to use their own facilities for product fulfillment, it eliminates many hassles while encouraging competition and still bringing the best possible buying options to consumers.
Why You Need Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime
With Amazon Prime being such a popular choice among buyers, it is worth the time investment to become a Prime Seller. Many buyers filter out non-Prime sellers in an effort to make the most of their Prime membership, allowing sellers who offer Prime to climb the search ranking in their product categories.
Furthermore, it’s essential to offer Prime in order for your product listings to win a spot in the coveted Buy Box. (If you’re unfamiliar with how the Buy Box works, it’s the box on a product detail page where a shopper can add an item to their shopping cart. When multiple sellers offer the same product, the eligible sellers compete based on performance metrics and the winner lands the Buy Box for that product. Ultimately, placement in the Buy Box means more sales.)
Note: If you’re fulfilling orders outside of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), then you must use Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) in order to  offer Prime and  have a chance at winning the Buy Box.
In addition to avoiding the numerous fees that exist in the FBA program, sellers can also manage their own inventories or seek an FBA alternative to handle items that don’t qualify for the FBA program, such as hazardous materials, bulky products, and slow-moving products that may not sell for six months or more.
You will also have an easier time handling returns under Amazon SFP, with a smoother returns process, which will reduce the number of errors and fraudulent returns overall.
Why is Amazon offering Seller Fulfilled Prime?
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that fulfillment and shipping are not easy tasks to manage, even for an international conglomerate like Amazon. We believe Amazon is offering Seller Fulfilled Prime as a means to not have to build warehouses (and hire more warehouse staff) at the rate they are currently adding to the map. With Amazon’s focus on reducing shipping speed and building out their shipping service, we predict they’ll focus more of their resources on meeting those goals while they promote alternatives to Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA).
Ready to give Seller Fulfilled Prime a try? Here’s how to get started.
Step One: Premium Shipping
To begin, you will need a Professional Selling Account which is currently in good standing. You will also need to have activated Premium Shipping, either Two-Day Shipping, One-Day Shipping, or both.
Step Two: Fulfill 30 Premium Shipping Orders in the Previous Month
Over the last 30 days, you will need to send out 30 premium shipping orders. This may prove difficult for some sellers, as your listing will not show up as Prime during this period.
Step Three: Set Up Delivery Pick Up Times with Your Shipping Carriers
Amazon requires that you have established a pick up time of 4:00 pm or later with one or more of their preferred Buy Shipping Service delivery partners, which are USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
Step Four: Evaluate Your Performance
In your seller account, check your performance tab to see if you have successfully met Amazon’s baseline requirements for SFP. These include:
- A minimum review rating of 4.5 stars or higher.
- 94% or more of Prime Shipping orders sent with a valid tracking ID.
- 96% or more of Prime Shipping orders delivered on time.
- 1% or less of Prime Shipping orders cancelled.
If you do not meet these requirements for the prior 30 days, you will have to continue fulfilling orders with Prime Shipping until these criteria are met.
Important note: if you are accepted into Seller Fulfilled Prime, and your performance falls below these levels, your SFP status may be revoked. Once your performance levels return to normal, you can ask to re-apply to rejoin the SFP program.
Step Five: Sign Up for the Seller Fulfilled Prime Trial
Fill out the SFP application on the Seller Fulfilled Prime main page. They will ask for your seller information, and whether you can successfully offer Two-Day Shipping and meet customer service and return requirements.
You will also be asked to provide a recent order ID number, along with information about the services you use to print your labels and manage your Amazon orders.
Step Six: Select the Items You Are Selling During the Prime Trial
Once approved for the Prime Trial, you need to assign SKUs to the Prime Shipping Template, to ensure that they are counted for the Prime Trial. If you skip this step, Amazon will not count these orders toward your performance results.
Step Seven: Fulfill 200 Prime Trial Orders and Evaluate Your Results
You have between 5 and 90 days to fulfill 200 Prime Trial orders successfully. Once you have hit 200 orders, check your performance numbers to see if you have fulfilled the SFP requirements.
You will need:
- A 99% or higher On-Time Shipment Rate. Orders are considered shipped on time if they are shipped the same day before your cutoff time.
- A 95% or higher rate of using Buy Shipping Services.
- Less than 1% rate of order cancellations.
If you do not meet these requirements within 90 days, the trial period resets and you may try again.
Otherwise, congratulations! The Prime button should now automatically appear on all of the SKUs used during the Prime trial, and you can proudly say you are a SFP seller. Of course, if your ongoing sales performance falls below these levels, your SFP status may be revoked.
How to Outsource Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime
While the Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime sign up process may seem like a lot of work, the ultimate goal is to ensure that high quality sellers are able to meet the demands of loyal Prime buyers. The benefits to your business are well worth it, and you can proudly fulfill orders with the backing of one of the largest online retailers.
Don’t want to become an expert in fulfillment just so you can offer Prime to your customers? Finding a key partner to assist you through Amazon’s eligibility process can help you achieve Seller Fulfilled Prime status quickly and without hassle.
ShipMonk is one of the first fulfillment centers offering Seller Fulfilled Prime services. Our team will get you qualified and ensure you retain your SFP badge, so you can focus on what you do best – and leave the shipping to us. Contact us today to learn more about outsourcing Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime.