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Boost Your Sales With Seller Fulfilled Prime: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Seller Strategy

Everyone from small, one-product businesses up to multinational household names knows the value of selling on Amazon. 

But how you get your products to your customers’ door is another story.

As an Amazon third-party seller, you’ve got three options:

  • Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)
  • Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM)
  • And Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)

This article has everything you need to know about Seller Fulfilled Prime and the stringent requirements that come with it so that you can decide if it’s the right fulfillment route for your Amazon business. 

Amazon warehouse

What is Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)?

Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP), enables third-party Amazon sellers to offer free Prime shipping to domestic Prime customers directly from their own warehouses or fulfillment centers. 

Unlike Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), this means you don’t have to store your inventory in Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Instead, you maintain control over your inventory and control the entire fulfillment process.

Taking advantage of the Prime Shipping badge on your listings is a huge incentive – but what’s the catch?

How to Enroll in Seller Fulfilled Prime

To use the Prime badge, you’re obligated to meet stringent performance standards for on-time shipping, low order cancellation rates, and the use of Amazon’s Buy Shipping Services, among others.

That’s why qualifying and enrolling for Seller Fulfilled Prime isn’t straightforward. 

Step 1: Pre-Qualify for a Seller Fulfilled Prime Trial

Amazon has set high standards to ensure that the customer experience – and their own reputation – isn’t compromised. To pre-qualify for a SFP trial, you’ll have to meet these criteria:

  • Have a domestic US address as your default shipping address
  • Have an Amazon Professional selling account
  • Hit the following metrics over the past 90 days:
    • Have self-fulfilled at least 100 packages
    • A cancellation rate of under 2.5%
    • A valid tracking rate of over 95%
    • A late shipment rate of under 4%

Step 2: Register to Start Your Trial

So you meet all of the pre-qualification criteria – now what? 

It’s time to register to start your trial period. You can do this via the Seller Fulfilled Prime page, where you’ll be directed to the right area in Seller Central. 

Step 3: Pass a 30-Day Trial Period

Once you’ve registered and been pre-qualified, you’ll be required to pass a 30-day trial period to ensure you can fulfill orders to Prime standards.

  • Ship 100 or more packages from Prime trial orders
  • Maintain an on-time delivery rate of at least 93.5%
  • Ensure a valid tracking rate of at least 99%
  • Maintain seller-initiated cancellation rate of under 0.5%
  • Meet minimum thresholds for one- and two-day delivery speeds as viewed by Prime customer detail page views

Amazon will be expecting you to maintain these standards after your trial period, so the work doesn’t stop there.

Step 4: Maintain Consistent Performance

Once you pass the SFP trial, the work doesn’t stop. You must consistently perform well in shipping and customer service to remain eligible. Amazon currently requires sellers to maintain standards across 9 different metrics: 

  • Free one- and two-day delivery for Prime customers
  • Free nationwide standard shipping for all customers (US)
  • Meet minimum thresholds for one- and two-day delivery speeds as viewed by Prime customer detail page views
  • Maintain an on-time delivery rate of over 93.5%
  • Ensure a valid tracking rate of at least 99%
  • Maintain a seller-initiated cancellation rate of less than 0.5%
  • Ship and deliver Prime orders on weekends
  • Offer Free Returns on items weighing under 50lb
  • All post-order customer service inquiries are managed by Amazon
FBA warehouse inventory

Understanding SFP Shipping Rates and Requirements: What Does it Mean for Your Bottom Line?

Whether SFP is cost-effective and profit-generating essentially comes down to the costs involved.

On one side of the coin, SFP can be more cost-effective than FBA due to the arguably high FBA handling and storage fees, and allows you to maintain more control over your inventory

On the flip side, fast and free delivery is a key part of the Prime promise and that comes at a cost

SFP often involves higher shipping rates than standard delivery as you’re expected to offer reliable, expedited shipping. And let’s not forget about free standard shipping as well, which you’ll have to bear the cost of. 

Shipping costs can also vary based on factors like order volume, packaging, and delivery locations. It’s important to understand these variables and how they affect your bottom line. 

You’ll also need to factor in the cost of your own storage facility and the fact that you’ll be required to use one of Amazon’s shipping partners. This helps maintain consistency but could mean you’re unable to choose the most cost-effective shipping option.

Is Seller Fulfilled Prime the Best Option for Your Amazon Business?

You’ve got a lot to think about before committing to enrolling in Seller Fulfilled Prime. 

Benefits of Seller Fulfilled Prime

  • The Prime badge enhances your visibility and trust, potentially boosting sales
  • Amazon has seen SFP lead to an average sales uplift of over 50%
  • You’ll maintain direct control over your inventory and fulfillment processes.
  • SFP is generally less costly than FBA, saving on storage and handling fees. This can make a significant difference to your bottom line
  • Shipping orders in your own packaging can help you establish a strong identity in a crowded marketplace versus FBA competitors shipping in Amazon-branded boxes

Drawbacks of Seller Fulfilled Prime

  • Maintaining eligibility is extremely difficult, especially for smaller sellers. If your performance drops, even briefly, you risk losing Prime status
  • High shipping rates for expedited delivery can erode profit margins
  • Handling returns and customer service can be more complex compared to FBA
  • The increased operational demands of SFP can strain your resources and infrastructure. You’ll need to be prepared to handle these challenges
  • Potentially significant upfront costs to invest in robust fulfillment systems that can uphold standards

As a third-party Amazon seller, you’ve got three options for your fulfillment. Which one you choose depends on the level of control you want to maintain, your ability to meet performance requirements, and the relative costs involved. 

Let’s compare your options. 

Fulfilled by Merchant, Fulfilled by Amazon, or Seller Fulfilled Prime?

Feature/BenefitSFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime)FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant)FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)
Control Over FulfillmentSome controlFull controlNo control
Prime BadgeYesNoYes
Performance StandardsExtremely high standards across shipping and customer service.Less stringent or costly performance standards.Shipping is controlled by Amazon so the seller isn’t responsible for fulfillment metrics.
CostsHigh shipping rates due to one- and two-day shipping requirements, as well as free standard shipping, and restrictions on which carriers can be used.Sellers have full control over which third-party logistics providers they use so they can choose the most cost-effective options.FBA storage, handling, and shipping fees can be high. Sellers must ensure they manage inventory effectively to keep costs down. 
Customer ServiceAmazonSellerAmazon
Sales BoostThe Prime badge can significantly increase sales.No sales advantagesThe Prime badge can significantly increase sales.

Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of SFP in comparison to FBA and FBM can help you make an informed decision about whether this program is right for your business. It’s a big commitment, but for many sellers, the potential rewards make it a worthwhile investment.

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