What exactly is the Seller Fulfilled Prime model offered by Amazon?
- Published: 10.11.2022
- Updated: 24.01.2023
One of the criteria that is fundamental to succeed on Amazon is a speedy and reliable shipping process as well as possible product returns. To achieve this, most sellers take one of the two routes.
1. Some take advantage of the FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) service and under this service Amazon is responsible for all shipping and returns issues. Delivery of the goods to the FBA warehouses is the seller’s responsibility. By doing so, they automatically achieve Prime status and a high chance of getting a buy box, i.e. Amazon’s preferred offer, which is automatically selected when the user clicks ‘add to cart’.
2. Other sellers ship products from their own warehouses, without Amazon’s support. This approach is less favoured by Amazon, does not provide Prime status, and reduces the chance of getting a buy box. However, it avoids the additional costs and commissions associated with FBA sales.
However, in the latter, Amazon permits an option, which still allows us to compete for buy boxes with other FBA vendors, even though we are shipping goods from our own warehouses. We are talking about the Seller Fulfilled Prime programme and the following article will answer the most important questions related to:
- What is the Seller Fulfilled Prime programme?
- What advantages does it offer sellers who have gained the SFP status?
- How does the application process for the SFP programme work and what conditions do you need to meet in order to receive it?
- What is the difference between SFP and FBA?
The eternal battle over buy boxes and the sympathetic eye of Amazon's algorithm
Selling on Amazon is significantly different compared to most marketplaces, and it’s all due to the so-called buy boxes, as mentioned in the introduction. Unlike most competitive platforms, different vendors selling the same products cannot add separate listings, which they describe themselves and add their own photos.
They instead pin to a single product card and based on a range of vendor parameters, such as shipping speed, price or customer service, Amazon’s algorithm singles out the most attractive and trusted offer.
Prime status, which can be achieved precisely by selling through the Fulfillment by Amazon model or through the Seller Fulfilled Prime programme, plays an immensely important role in this competition.
What is the Seller Fulfilled Prime model?
The Seller Fulfilled Prime programme was created for sellers who want to ship products from their own warehouses and still provide a rapid shipping process and compete with other vendors in the FBA model. Once Amazon’s strict conditions are met, sellers can receive Prime designation next to their listings, making it far easier for users to find listings and consequently boost sales.
For sellers who are interested in the programme, Amazon is helping to partner with its authorised carriers to help maintain impeccable delivery speed and efficiency statistics.
Please be aware that the programme is currently not active in Poland, but operates in other countries such as Germany, Spain and the UK.
It is worth mentioning that the SFP programme, and thus the Prime status that will cover the vendor’s offers, is limited only to the country in which the goods are warehoused. Obviously, this is because speedy delivery is a key condition for meeting its requirements, and this may not be feasible when you dispatch goods to another country.
How does the Seller Fulfilled Prime programme promote sales?
In a nutshell, it can be said that the main benefit for vendors using Seller Fulfilled Prime is increased sales. As we have already mentioned, more than 80% of sales on Amazon are made by clicking on a buy box, and a SFP improves the chances of getting one. A buy box alone is not the only advantage that the Prime status offers.
By marking Prime next to listings, it is easier for Amazon Prime membership users to find the seller’s listings using search filters and when browsing categories.
SFP can also facilitate inventory management processes, since we only store goods in our own warehouses. FBA would require shipping to Amazon warehouses and reporting on stock transfers.
How does the application process work, and what conditions must be met at Seller Fulfilled Prime?
The procedure itself is relatively easy. You need to submit an application and successfully complete the trial period. Meeting all the conditions that qualify for the programme is more challenging. These may vary slightly from market to market, but in most cases they are:
- Setting up an Amazon Professional account
- Storing and dispatching products exclusively from your warehouse
- Shipping via Amazon-approved carriers
- Dispatching shipments on the same day the order is received
- Delivering at least 99% of all packages within the indicated time frame
- Less than 0.5% of orders cancelled by the vendor
- Agreeing to use Amazon’s Returns Policy
- Allowing Amazon to handle all customer enquiries
SFP and FBA complement each other very well
For certain products, Amazon imposes restrictions that prevent them from being sold under the FBA model. This mostly concerns goods which do not comply with standard sizes or dimensions, which would be problematic during storage or shipping. Some other product features that make them unsuitable for sale through FBA include:
- high-value products
- seasonal products and others that may remain in stock for a long period of time
- products requiring special packaging or preparation
For more on products that cannot be sold on Amazon, please read the following article.
Sellers who find themselves in this situation can use the FBA model to sell part of their merchandise while selling part of it through Seller Fulfilled Prime, provided that their shipping standards comply with the SFP’s strict requirements.
When is it worth becoming interested in the SFP programme?
Seller Fulfilled Prime is a programme designed for vendors who, e.g. due to product specifications, are unable to sell through the FBA model, yet still wish to provide the highest level of customer experience and compete with other vendors.
However, be aware that the terms and conditions for joining the programme can be challenging and if the nature of the product in question does not stand in your way, using a slightly more expensive, but easier to implement, Amazon FBA model may turn out to be the better option.
For more on Amazon sales models and costs, check out the following articles: