Ever since Amazon introduced Prime over a decade ago in 2005, online shopping has never been the same.
Prime has made it possible for anyone to order as many products as they want in less time and with discounted or free shipping—all for a low annual fee.
Naturally, Prime customers are a vast and enticing market for Amazon sellers. At first, sellers had to join Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), where Amazon handled all the logistics.
However, FBA was pricey, which shut out sellers running with tight budgets.
And so, Amazon created Seller Fulfilled Prime.
What is Seller Fulfilled Prime?
Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime, or SFP, allows sellers to take advantage of the Prime market by putting the Prime badge on their products without using Amazon’s fulfillment services. Sellers can use their own or a third party, giving them more options.
What are the Seller Fulfilled Prime requirements?
To qualify for SFP, you must first be qualified for Amazon’s Premium Shipping program (a separate program entirely). Once you’re qualified, you go through a trial period where you must fulfill 200 orders in 5–90 days while offering one-day and two-day shipping options to prove you can handle it. You also need to maintain high seller stats (Amazon isn’t transparent on exact numbers).
Pass the trial, and the Prime badge appears automatically on your products. Fail, and the trial resets and allows you to try again.
Then, to maintain SFP status, you must meet these ongoing requirements:
- Offer Premium Shipping options
- Ship more than 99% of your orders on time
- Have a 0.5% or lower-order cancellation rate
- Use Amazon Buy Shipping services for a minimum of 99% of orders
- Agree to the Amazon returns policy
- Have nationwide delivery coverage for all standard-sized products
- Use ship methods that support weekend delivery and pick up
- Meet 1-day and 2-day delivery promise targets
- Deliver orders with Amazon’s supported SFP carriers
- Allow Amazon to deal with all customer service inquiries
At the time of writing, SFP is closed, but you can join the waitlist and receive a notification when enrollment opens.
Seller Fulfilled Prime pros and cons
Access to hundreds of millions of Prime customers
SFP grants you access to hundreds of millions of Amazon Prime members. The Prime badge confers instant credibility on your products, meaning more sales.
On top of that, you can expect plenty of shopping from Prime members since Amazon Prime’s shipping is nearly unbeatable in the industry.
More control over your business
SFP offers you more control over your business than FBA. For one, there are fewer Amazon logos on your packages—you can replace those with your logo.
You also have more control and visibility into your inventory and logistics since you rely on your warehouse instead of Amazon’s. You won’t have to worry as much about running out of stock, and you’ll avoid the lag time when sending your item to an FBA warehouse.
Buy Box competitiveness
Customers have several options for buying a product when they click on a list. However, if they click “Add to Cart” without choosing a seller, whoever is in the Buy Box gets the sale.
Thus, if you have the Buy Box, your sales can increase dramatically.
Being eligible for Amazon Prime is crucial in winning the Buy Box, making SFP quite valuable in winning it and boosting your sales.
SFP has strict rules (mentioned above) to protect Amazon’s reputation and ensure high levels of customer satisfaction. These standards can evolve and become even more challenging to maintain, too.
Yet, if you fail to meet these standards continually, Amazon may revoke your Prime eligibility.
You handle storage, shipping, and returns
Taking control of storage, shipping, and returns can be a plus. It allows flexibility in cutting costs and building trust with customers.
However, it also increases your workload—especially when you begin to scale. You must figure out and implement smooth processes in your business as your volume increases. Otherwise, you risk upsetting many customers and, ultimately, Amazon (which means your SFP status could be revoked).
Higher shipping rates
Since SFP puts you in charge of shipping, you have to handle the shipping costs. Faster shipping options—such as next-day delivery—will cost you much more than standard shipping options.
Prime’s credibility and the number of Prime members can help offset this, but many Amazon SFP sellers struggle to keep up with the increased costs. Therefore, you need to do your best to keep these costs under control—such as by limiting shipping distance for shorter-term shipping.
Who is Seller Fulfilled Prime best for?
SFP can be a great choice if you sell items classified as “large” and require special packaging—especially if you want to put your branding on the packaging. It also works well if you want more control over your Amazon business. Still, be sure that you’re maintaining Amazon’s requirements and accounting for the extra costs SFP makes you responsible for.
Need help managing your Amazon business? At AccelerList, we can help you create product listings and reprice your products as required. Plus, you can access a full accounting suite tailored to Amazon businesses. Book your free demo today to learn more.