Seller Fulfilled Prime is a viable alternative to Fulfillment by Amazon, especially if you’re tired of high storage fees, dimension restrictions, and the limited service of FBA (for example, it cannot be used for Walmart orders). For those considering taking the jump, we’re sharing a few strategies to nailing SFP.
Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) allows sellers to qualify for Amazon Prime without using Amazon’s own fulfillment service, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Instead, SFP sellers meet the SFP requirements by fulfilling orders in-house or by using a qualified outsourced SFP fulfillment provider.
Before dissecting the different SFP fulfillment strategies, it’s important to understand the requirements for Seller Fulfilled Prime.
According to Amazon, sellers must:
- Offer Premium Shipping Options
- Ship over 99% of your orders on time
- Have an order cancellation rate of less than 0.5%
- Use Amazon Buy Shipping Services for at least 98.5% of orders
- Deliver orders with our supported Seller Fulfilled Prime carriers
- Seller must agree to the Amazon Returns Policy
- Allow for all customer service inquiries to be dealt with by Amazon
No mean feat, that’s for sure, but these metrics ensure that you meet the delivery expectations of shoppers, which results in happier customers, more positive reviews, and repeat sales.
There are three main fulfillment strategies for SFP: In-house, outsourced, and a mix of both.
1. In-house fulfillment
Fulfilling orders in-house involves you picking, packing, and shipping items in accordance with the above metrics, using your own warehouse, employees, and shipping carriers.
The benefits of in-house fulfillment include:
- Control over the entire fulfillment process, giving you deeper insights
- Being able to create unboxing experiences using branded packaging
- Quick access to your products, allowing you to conduct inspections
- Limiting your external spend to shipping carriers only
The considerations of in-house fulfillment include:
- Must have the expertise and geographical warehouse locations to achieve SFP across the country
- Maintaining SFP speeds during peak periods, such as holidays or sales
- Funding and finding additional staff and warehouse space during periods of growth
- Allocating attention and resources to fulfillment, alongside other priorities that come with managing your own online business
2. Outsourced fulfillment
Outsourcing your SFP fulfillment involves you shipping your products to an outsourced fulfillment provider who picks and ships orders for you, in accordance with SFP’s metrics.
The benefits of outsourced fulfillment include:
- Access to country-wide shipping expertise, which speeds up your delivery times while reducing costs
- Widespread warehouse locations allow you to expand your sales reach
- Preferential storage and shipping rates
- Ability to scale without worrying about space, staff, or capacity
The considerations of outsourced fulfillment include:
- The inability to use branded packaging (unless you send your items pre-packaged)
- Finding and vetting a provider who can meet SFP’s requirements
- Must ship items to the fulfillment provider’s designated warehouses
3. Mixed fulfillment
The final SFP fulfillment strategy uses a combination of in-house and outsourced methods. The best mix will depend on what type of Amazon seller you are. We’ll dive into different ways to balance these below.
Let’s take a deeper look at the best fulfillment strategies for each type of Amazon seller, so that you can see which one best suits your eCommerce business.
If you sell slow-moving stock or run a lifestyle business, going with FBA or an in-house fulfillment strategy is usually the most efficient and cost-effective one for you to adopt. You’ll avoid any long-term storage fees while avoiding the need to ship your products to multiple warehouses – allowing you to increase your profit margin.
Some tips for adopting this strategy
- Create an efficient warehouse layout that minimizes the time it takes to get an order from Amazon to your shipping carrier
- Build an on-going relationship with a local agency who can provide temporary warehouse staff during peak periods
- Invest in inventory management software to ensure accurate stock levels and product information
If you’re a high-volume or growing Amazon seller, you can select your fulfillment strategy based on your existing operations and resources. If you have solid logistics and networks already in place, continue using them by adopting an in-house fulfillment strategy, following the above tips to ensure success.
If you don’t have an existing fulfillment operation in place, or the one you have can’t meet the SFP requirements, use an outsourced fulfillment strategy. This can mean FBA, if you’re selling on Amazon exclusively, or outsourcing to a partner who:
- Supports SFP and can ensure the service level agreements needed to stay on the program and avoid being penalized
- Has warehouse locations across the country
- Offers simple, transparent and affordable pricing for storage and fulfillment
Top tip: use our fulfillment cost calculator to see your live cost previews.
If you’re selling on multiple sales channels, such as eBay, Walmart, and Shopify, you should unify your eCommerce fulfillment by using an outsourced fulfillment strategy.
Look for a multi-channel fulfillment partner who:
- Has the technology to synchronize your inventory across multiple sales channels, ensuring orders are quickly received and shipped
- Supports SFP in conjunction with other marketplace programs, such as eBay Fast N’ Free and Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping
- Integrates directly with your listing tools or marketplaces to receive orders automatically
For Amazon sellers selling on international Amazon sites as well as in the US, you will need to adopt a combination fulfillment strategy – using both in-house and outsourced fulfillment.
An outsourced fulfillment provider can take the pressure of meeting SFP deliveries off of your hands, allowing you to invest time into setting up international warehouses, partnering with international shipping carriers, and jetting over there to ensure everything is in place.
SFP offers Amazon sellers an opportunity to benefit from increased visibility, higher search ranking, buy box eligibility, and inclusion in the biggest sales event of the year that Amazon Prime brings, without FBA’s costs or restrictions.
Use our tips above to find the right fulfillment strategy for your business, allowing you to benefit from Prime with inventory efficiency, and without the stress of fulfillment.
About the Author
This is a guest post from Rachel Go, who handles content and partnerships at Deliverr. Deliverr provides fast and affordable fulfillment for your Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Shopify stores, helping to boost sales through programs like Seller Fulfilled Prime, Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping and eBay Guaranteed Delivery.
Deliverr’s FBA-like multi-channel fulfillment comes with clear pricing, easy on-boarding and a hassle free experience so you can focus on growing your eCommerce business.