We don’t need to tell you that Amazon has a huge number of customers – and, of those customers, 100 million are Amazon Prime Members. Amazon Prime allows members to have access to a large number of products sold by reliable sellers and streaming of films and television programme.
For an Amazon seller, tapping into the Amazon Prime market is often the ultimate goal and, in this article we’ll tell you how it’s done through Seller Fulfilled Prime – and whether it’s worth it.
Seller Fulfilled Prime allows Merchant Fulfilled Network sellers to reach those important Amazon Prime members and sell their products to them. Seller Fulfilled Prime members are able to list their products as eligible for Prime, whilst still maintaining control of their own fulfillment rather than entrusting this to Amazon.
As well as saving on fees, SFP allows members access to a high-spending range of customers – which their competitors may not have. As a high standard of service is required by Prime customers, not every seller is eligible for Seller Fulfilled Prime and, we’ll talk about the requirements later in this article.
The Benefits Of Seller Fulfilled Prime
Compete more effectively for the Buy Box
Products listed by Seller Fulfilled Prime have a better chance of winning the Buy Box due to the fact that, when a customer adds one of these products to their basket, buying the product is the default option.
Guaranteed Delivery Date messaging
The fact that SFP’s orders display one-day delivery messaging to those important Prime customers, makes those customers much more likely to buy more – and more often.
Amazon’s 24/7 after-sale customer service
A great benefit of SFP is that once an order has been shipped, Amazon handles the customer service free of charge, including order tracking, returns, and refunds.
Lightning Deals Promotion
Products with a Prime badge can be featured in Amazon’s ‘Today’s Deals’ section to offer even more exposure to Prime customers.
Easily manage your stock across multiple channels
As SFP sellers operate from their own warehouse, this makes it much easier for sellers to manage orders across a number of different channels.
Before applying to become Seller Fulfilled Prime seller, you must make sure that you have Premium Shipping set up for your seller account. SFP sellers need to offer fast, same day shipping and your application will not be approved if you do not have Premium Shipping.
Once this is set, you can then create different shipping profiles within your account in order to offer one and two day shipping services to your customers.
To begin with, Amazon requires a trial period to be completed before it will accept a seller into Seller Fulfilled Prime. During the trial period, you will need to show Amazon that you can achieve – and maintain – the performance requirements. The trial period can last anywhere from 5 to 90 days depending on how well you do.
During this trial period, you will choose a number of your products to display the Prime badge. You will then need to complete at least 200 Prime orders to Amazon’s standards in order to be accepted. After this period, if have satisfied all of the criteria, your account will automatically be upgraded to a full Seller Fulfilled Prime account.
Once you’ve been accepted, you first need to be prepared for the fact that you are likely to start receiving increased orders – and so you need to make sure that you have the stock available to cover those orders.
As a Seller Fulfilled Prime member, you get to store and ship your product to customers yourself and, your products will be able to proudly boast an Amazon Prime label- but there are a few rules to follow.
- All of your Prime orders must be dispatched using shipping labels purchased from Amazon approved carriers.
- All Amazon Prime orders must be picked, packed and shipped on the day that the order was received.
- All of your Prime products must be listed with free standard shipping – and so you’ll need to remember to factor this into your product pricing.
Amazon takes its Prime customers very seriously – as it does its Prime sellers. Before you get too excited about becoming a Seller Fulfilled Prime seller, first, there are some strict eligibility requirements for those wishing to become Seller Fulfilled Prime members.
It’s all in the timing
In order to be a Seller Fulfilled Prime member, over 99% of your orders need to be dispatched on time. Failing to meet this requirement is possibly the fastest way to have your membership revoked.
Amazon considers cancellations to be an indicator of customer satisfaction – and so, Prime sellers must have an order cancellation rate of less than 1% in order to be eligible. This may mean that you may have to up your game in terms of customer service in order to keep those cancellations down to an absolute minimum.
Packing and shipping
As mentioned, to maintain your Seller Fulfilled Prime membership, you are required to purchase shipping labels from Amazon’s shipping website. You are also required to use Amazon-supported carriers for shipping your products.
As a Seller Fulfilled Prime member, you must adhere strictly to Amazon’s returns policies – it’s important that you familiarize yourself with these before starting out to make sure that you are able to comply.
Prime sellers must store their stock in the same country that they are selling from – for example, Seller Fulfilled Prime US members must hold their product in a storage facility within the USA.
All of these requirements are strictly monitored by Amazon so it’s important that you make sure that you are able to comply with all of them before going ahead and making your application.
As with anything to do with selling, this option may not be for everybody. We take a look at some of the pros and cons of becoming a Seller Fulfilled Prime member:
The Pros of Seller Fulfilled Prime
Eliminate fees – Becoming a Seller Fulfilled Prime member means that you no longer have to fork out for FBA shipping, inventory and storage costs; which can add up to a fair amount over a year.
Increased customers – Becoming a member allows sellers to tap into the lucrative Amazon Prime market. As Amazon Prime members are, essentially, VIP members, they tend to have a high spending power and a commitment to buying products on Amazon – in fact, many Prime members spend around $1300 a year on the site.
Get ahead of the competition – By enrolling with Seller Fulfilled Prime, sellers automatically have an advantage over those sellers who are not with the program.
The Cons of Seller Fulfilled Prime
Shipping costs – Although sellers may save money on FBA fees, under Seller Fulfilled Prime, they are responsible for the cost of packing and shipping their product as well as paying for labels.
Strict rules – Seller Fulfilled Prime’s rules are in place to ensure a high standard for customers. For sellers, this does unfortunately mean that falling foul of any of the standards can result in being removed from the program.
Inconvenience – One of Seller Fulfilled Prime’s major regulations is that all Prime orders must be dispatched same day. This does mean that this needs to be done even if a seller is sick, at work or away from home, in order to maintain the standard and, therefore, membership.
Q: How much does Seller Fulfilled Prime cost?
Although sellers will incur the cost of using Amazon approved carriers, there is no sign up or membership cost attached to becoming a Seller Fulfilled Prime member.
Q: How long is the SFP trial period?
The length of the trial period is determined by the seller’s performance and can last between a few days to a few weeks.
Q: What do I need to do to complete the trial period?
You need to ship at least one Prime order and maintain a 99% record for shipping on time.
Q: What happens if my Seller Fulfilled Prime application is rejected during the trial period?
Rejection of your application won’t affect your normal seller account – and you will be able to reapply for SFP straight away.
Q: What are the eligibility requirements for SFP?
- Access to a warehouse in the same country as your business
- Ship at least 99% of orders on time
- Have a cancellation rate of less than 1%
- Use Amazon Prime delivery labels
- Use Amazon Prime approved carriers
Q: Can I cancel my Seller Fulfilled Prime membership?
You can disable and enable Seller Fulfilled Prime at any time as long as you don’t have outstanding orders.
If you are a serious, full-time seller, then the answer may be yes. As a Seller Fulfilled Prime member, you’ll almost certainly receive more orders – particularly through events such as Amazon Prime Day which tends to see around a massive 60% increase in orders – which may offset the charges that you’ll incur through offering free standard shipping.
The fact is that you will probably need to increase the price of your product to offset shipping charges so, you’ll need to be confident that customers will pay a slightly higher price for your product.
You’ll also need to be confident that you are able to achieve and maintain Amazon’s high standards of service – including same day shipping. If you take a lot of vacations or, are unable to keep on top of your service for other reasons, you may find that your membership is quickly suspended or revoked.
Within this, it’s important to look at the sourcing of your product and the reliability of the service from your supplier(s). The increase in orders – and strict rules – for Seller Fulfilled Prime means that there’s very little wiggle room in terms of delivery.
In order to meet the delivery requirements that Amazon demands, you’ll need to make sure that you’re also able to get hold of your stock – fast!
Tips for success with Seller Fulfilled Prime
Be selective – As we’ve mentioned, as a Prime seller, you need to offer free and fast delivery to your customers. This is the requirement which causes the most problems for SFP sellers. You can limit problems by being selective about the parts of the country that you offer your Prime products to. By only offering this within a small radius, you can then choose more economical shipping options such as UPS Ground and FedEx Ground.
Keep on top of your reporting – Life as an SFP seller can be fast-paced and, at times, stressful. By making sure that you’re on top of your monitoring and reporting, you can spot any potential issues quickly and deal with them before they become a more serious problem. This will also help you to spot any patterns in terms of issues such as late scanning by your carrier or multiple penalties on orders.
Savvy shipping – Trudging to and from the post office or carrier depot can take up a big chunk of time for the busy seller. Take advantage of Package Pick Up to help you to manage your time more effectively. SFP does not count Saturday against you within your two day delivery time so, where possible ship your orders from Thursday to Saturday.
Seller Fulfilled Prime is a great way of gaining a lot of new customers fairly quickly and, at a relatively low cost – although you’ll now be paying for shipping, you will no longer be paying FBA fees and, it doesn’t cost anything to enroll in SFP.
For serious Amazon sellers, being able to tap into those 100 million Prime members can be a game-changer – and an extremely lucrative one.
As mentioned above, if you’re confident that you can easily absorb any extra costs in the product price – and that you will be able to maintain the high standards required, Seller Fulfilled Prime could be a great option for you.