Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) is a tempting option for many amazon seller. Getting a Prime badge from Amazon means access to a large pool of shoppers. That might be what you need to make this year the best so far.
What is Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)?
Amazon SFP is a sales service from Amazon that gives businesses the “Prime” badge on products they list on Amazon’s marketplace. Normally you would need to join the FBA program and sent your products to an Amazon warehouse to get that badge. That not only costs extra shipping, but you would also need to pay lofty monthly storage fees and fulfillment fees. With SFP you can send the products directly from your own warehouse to customers. On one hand it will save you the commission, but on the other hand you’re then responsible for the whole shipping process and that takes effort.
The benefit of a Prime badge is that many customers sort and look for products that have that badge. Because they come with free shipping at a two-day delivery rate. Your listings are also more likely to be listed as the featured offer for a product. According to Amazon, being the featured offer means that you’re the default purchase option when someone clicks “Add to Basket” to buy that product.
There are some requirements and restrictions essential to know, to help you determine if this is the right path for your business or not.
Amazon SFP Requirements
SFP isn’t open to all sellers. Since Amazon wants to protect its Prime reputation, SFP is not made broadly accessible. They’ve set pretty high eligibility requirements to sell via SFP.
That’s why only top sellers can qualify and even then, they will have to meet two criteria:
- Pass the trial period of SFP
- Qualify for Premium Shipping
Keep in mind that during the trial period, the Prime badge is not shown yet, and a seller should ship orders the same day. Only if a seller completes the trial period successfully, he or she can join the Amazon SFP program and only at this point, the Prime badge is highlighted on the product listings.
Before you think of enrolling, make sure that these requirements can be met for you:
- Ship over 99% of orders on time
- Order cancellation rate of less than 0.5%
- Offer premium shipping to customers
- Use “Amazon Buy Shipping” for at least 99% of orders
- Meet Amazon targets for 1-day and 2-day delivery
- Use Amazon’s list of SFP carriers
- Have nationwide delivery coverage, with weekend delivery and same-day order processing in most instances
- Let Amazon handle all the customer inquiries
Right now, Amazon isn’t accepting fresh applications for SFP in the US. However, you can join the waitlist and you’ll be notified once it’s available again.
Amazon SFP waitlist status
It sounds easy to just join the waitlist, but it may be the biggest hurdle in the entire process. You can try your luck signing up here [https://sell.amazon.com/programs/seller-fulfilled-prime], but we haven’t seen Amazon make any move on the waitlist for quite some time. Businesses in Amazon’s seller forums have said they’ve heard nothing since January 2021.
Keep in mind that Amazon makes more money through its FBA program and has invested significantly in its own logistics network in the past years. This is why more sellers are being pushed into FBA and away from SFP.
You might not have much luck getting into the SFP program. It feels like Amazon is quietly winding down the SFP program. But let’s look at your other big options from Amazon.
SFP or FBA
Even when Amazon SFP feels out of reach, the Prime badge is very tempting. If you really want to have the badge, you’ll need to consider the Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) program instead. Under that Amazon’s warehouses will fill your orders for you. You’ll need to ship the products to Amazon, and they will do the rest and make sure that the customer gets it in a two-day window. They also oversee inventory processing and storage, inventory counts, picking and packing orders, creating shipping labels and tracking details, and sending goods to customers via preferred carriers. It’s a tempting prospect.
Why did Amazon come up with SFP?
Amazon is very customer obsessed. They have a long-term relationship with their customers, particularly the ones who are loyal to them by being a Prime subscriber. So the reason Amazon launched SFP is to:
- Not charge customers extra on shipping
- Help customers to get their orders reliably and quickly
- Have as many product choices as possible
Main differences between FBA & SFP
|Buy Boy Perk||Yes||No||Yes|
|Control Over Shipping||Some||Complete||N/A|
|Shipping Performance Standard||Too High||High||N/A|
|Own Shipping Operation||Yes||Yes||No|
|Who pays for the shipping?||Seller||Seller gets to choose||Yes|
The main difference between FBA and SFP is shipping. A major drawback of SFP is that a sellers absorb the shipping cost, so that customers can receive their orders quickly without any extra cost. An FBA seller on the other hand don’t need to think about it at all. It’s taken care of by Amazon. The only downside there is the fee that applies. The FBA charges may end up being almost the same as if you would ship the orders yourself.
Is a change in sight?
In late April 2022, Amazon has created a new “Buy with Prime” program that will extend the Prime badge and benefits to other marketplaces and websites, areas outside of Amazon.com. Maybe Amazon paused the SFP program to get ready for a big rollout like Buy with Prime. That’s all speculation for now, but it’s one of the clearest paths forward for Amazon SFP and it would make sense why Amazon hasn’t shut down the program or removed the web page for a service that seems to be paused.