Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is an excellent program that allows you to earn the elusive Prime badge for your listing while giving up the hassle of having to package, ship, and fulfill your products. However, many sellers are reluctant to hand over the fulfillment process to Amazon. Luckily, there’s an option to nab the Prime badge while retaining control over your inventory. Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) is another Amazon program that gives you certain benefits that may be worth considering if you’re not interested in joining FBA. We’ll go over everything you need to know about Seller Fulfilled Prime, how it can benefit your business, and how to get started.
Seller Fulfilled Prime is a program that allows sellers to offer 2-day Prime shipping to their customers while still fulfilling orders from their own warehouse or via a third-party fulfillment center. Unlike Fulfillment by Amazon, in which Amazon packages, ships, and handles the fulfillment of your products from their own warehouse, SFP allows you to maintain full control over your inventory.
Seller Fulfilled Prime is beneficial to sellers in that it allows you to have a Prime badge on your listing without having to give up control of the fulfillment process. It also benefits Amazon in that they can expand their list of Prime products without having to handle more inventory in their warehouse. However, in order to take part in the Seller Fulfilled Prime Program, you do have to maintain the Prime standard of fast, two-day shipping for no extra charge for all of your customers.
By far the best way that Seller Fulfilled Prime can help brand owners is by gaining access to the 150 million Amazon Prime members. Not only are Amazon Prime members loyal shoppers to Amazon, but they will also often stick primarily to products that are Prime listings. If you have the Prime badge on your listing, then Prime members will see your product come up in the event that they search exclusively for Prime products.
The two-day Prime guaranteed delivery date may be a hassle for some sellers, but it is extremely attractive to most buyers. Many of them will only consider products that have the two-day guaranteed delivery date, as buyers (especially Prime buyers) have come to expect fast and free shipping as part of their online shopping experience. By having the guaranteed delivery date stamped on your product listing, Prime customers will be more likely to make repeat purchases.
One of the downsides of using Fulfillment by Amazon is that you give up a lot of control over your inventory. When you’re not the one directly packaging, shipping, and fulfilling your orders, you have to factor in things transportation time when sending inventory to the Amazon warehouse. You may also be more likely to run out of stock of items without realizing it because of the delay. However, you don’t have to fulfill orders yourself if you use SFP, because you can still outsource your fulfillment process to a third-party center if you choose.
Winning the Amazon Buy Box is a lucrative goal for most sellers, as this will make you the default seller to sell your product whenever customers click on the “Add to Cart” button. If you have a Prime badge on your listing, then you have a much better chance to win the Buy Box than a Fulfillment by Merchant listing. This keeps you from having to lower your prices in order to be competitive to win the Buy Box.
Dealing with Amazon’s FBA and storage fees can be a major hassle. Depending on the size and weight of your products, it can be cheaper to fulfill orders yourself. Make sure to run the numbers to determine whether or not you can save money by fulfilling your orders yourself or with a third-party fulfillment center instead of an Amazon warehouse. By using Seller Fulfilled Prime instead of Fulfillment by Amazon, you can skip the added fees and potentially lower the cost of fulfillment.
In addition to being able to meet the guaranteed two-day delivery date, you have to meet several unique requirements in order to be eligible for Seller Fulfilled Prime.
Here are the requirements for eligibility:
Unfortunately, Seller Fulfilled Prime is not currently accepting new registrations. However, there is an option for you to join the waitlist and be notified when enrollment is open again. Until enrollment reopens, you should calculate the costs of fulfillment to determine whether it’s cheaper to fulfill your products yourself or to outsource fulfillment. Then, once you’re able to enroll, you should try out several of your products with SFP to determine whether or not it’s right for you.
Seller Fulfilled Prime is easy to get started with. All you have to do is qualify and then complete the trial period. Then, you’ll store your inventory in your own warehouse, process your orders, and buy shipping labels from Amazon approved carriers. You’ll do same-day fulfillment for your orders, handing them off to Seller Fulfilled Prime carriers to collect and deliver to customers.
Seller Fulfilled Prime does have strict eligibility requirements that can make it difficult to qualify. But if you’re looking for an alternative to FBA that helps you retain control over your fulfillment process, then SFP may be right for you.