One of the greatest things about Amazon is how convenient it is. Who wants to drive to a store, find a parking spot, search for the correct aisle, only to discover that the item you’re looking for is not available in the size, color, or quantity they want? Amazon solves all of that. Not only do you have a world of items at your fingertips, for Amazon Prime members you can get those items today! This is why Amazon shoppers are always on the lookout for products that have that little sticker of goodness. You know what I’m talking about. The Prime sticker. And that sticker is worth its weight in gold! Statistics show that seller-fulfilled listings who gain Prime status show an average of 50% growth in sales!
As a consumer, if something isn’t Prime I am much less likely to purchase said item. But as part of an Amazon consulting firm, I recognize that going Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) just isn’t the best fit for every company. If you prefer to do your own shipping Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) is a fine option, but you won’t get the Prime sticker and for some, that’s a deal-breaker. The solution? Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) may be the answer you’ve been looking for. It gives you both the ability to ship your own inventory AND get the precious Prime sticker!
So, how do you decide between FBA and SFP? In this age of oversaturation on Amazon, if you want to compete, Prime is often an important element to your listing’s ability to convert! In most circumstances, FBA is amazing, but there are some situations that make keeping your shipping in-house a better option. Some of the reasons you might want shy away from FBA are:
- Your product is large, oddly shaped, or heavy,
- You already have an efficient shipping operation in your own warehouse,
- Your current shipping rates are better than what Amazon offers,
- You want to have more control over your inventory or do not want to designate certain allotments of product to Amazon warehouses.
That’s where Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) comes in! This fulfillment option allows you to ship products like FBM, but you also get the benefits of having a Prime listing. Amazon is LOVING this option for its sellers because it cuts down on the need to build even more warehouses, thereby saving money. However, that doesn’t mean they are making the opportunity easy to qualify for. So if this is a route you want to pursue, be sure you are clear on the current requirements.
Every seller who wants to qualify for SFP must first go through a trial period. This is a chance to prove to Amazon that they can consistently meet the standards of Prime shipping (including the ability to ship orders out same day). To start the trial, you’ll need a Professional Seller account that is eligible for Amazon Premium Shipping. If you meet these criteria, visit the Seller Fulfilled Prime page and sign up to start your trial. Don’t forget to enable Prime delivery in your settings and enroll the items you’d like to be Prime eligible in SFP. During the 200 order trial period, you must have the following stats on all SFP enabled product listings:
- An on-time delivery rate of at least 99%
- A Buy Shipping Services usage rate of at least 98.5%
- A cancellation rate of less than .5%
There are also a few other specifics that Amazon requires for staying compliant with SFP, like buying Amazon’s shipping labels and adhering to Amazon’s return policy.
Any well-oiled fulfillment operation should be able to achieve the first two bullets with relative ease. Most sellers find that keeping the order cancellation rate low is the biggest challenge when attempting to qualify for SFP. If you do not meet the requirements the first time, don’t panic! You can always reset the trial period and try again.
While it may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, when you consider the money you can save by eliminating the shipping, handling, and storage fees associated with FBA or the increased revenue you’ll receive compared to FBM, the pros typically far outweigh the cons. Still not sure which option is best for your Amazon business? Let us at TurnKey help you optimize your fulfillment process today!