Amazon launched Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) at the end of 2015. Since then, online merchants that enrolled in Amazon’s program have seen significant growth in sales, some even up to 100 percent.
For readers unfamiliar with SFP, merchants selling on Amazon can offer customers Amazon Prime shipping options that are delivered through Amazon’s own logistics services and warehouses. SFP provides two key benefits:
1. Access to Amazon’s lucrative and sizeable Prime customer base – 63 million shoppers around the world
2. Significant savings on shipping and storage thanks to Amazon’s fulfilment centres
Not every online seller could take advantage of the initiative at the beginning. Only those with the best seller ratings were originally invited by Amazon.But many more have since joined SFP since Amazon refined its model and have seen their businesses grow at a faster pace.
How to join
Those already part of the program must ensure they keep their metrics up to the required standard. Sellers that want to qualify must organise their logistics to win the much coveted Prime badge.This indicates to Prime subscribers that their product represents great value and can be delivered free of charge.
Success with the SFP program also requires sellers to implement efficient processes across every aspect of their business, from warehouse management and stock control to fulfilment and customer service. For this, they need smart ecommerce tools that can centralise and automate all their operations. If the merchant’s chosen platform and solutions fully integrate with SFP processes as well, the retailer should see even more benefits.
Among these benefits is the ability to access multi-courier support to fulfil delivery promises, particularly crucial for sellers who want to take advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas selling peaks. Sellers also need analytics that offer a 360° view to constantly measure bestselling products, less successful stock, profit margins, stock levels, returns and delivery times.
What’s on the horizon?
The popularity of Seller Fulfilled Prime has prompted Amazon to hold new enrolments until 2017. This is so the company can strengthen its infrastructure to manage the additional transactions. This gives non-SFP sellers the chance to gear themselves up for qualification when Amazon opens the SFP gates again.
But how can multichannel merchants get themselves noticed and take advantage of the massive opportunity offered by SFP?
One way is to set up new shipping templates allowing 1-2 days shipping and extra charges for certain geographical locations. This ‘premium shipping’ option is an important metric in winning the Buy Box.
That said, sellers should keep in mind that winning the Buy Box is dependent not just on price and delivery, but also on customer experience and the seller’s track record. Make sure customer service is efficient and encourage loyal customers to leave positive reviews after purchases.
Once the merchant has processed enough premium shipping orders, they can submit a list of items they would like to be Amazon Prime labelled If they sell enough products within Amazon’s parameters, they are given the Prime badge.
Whether a company is already using the ‘Fulfilment by Amazon’ service, is an Amazon seller managing their own warehouse and fulfilment, or doesn’t even sell on Amazon yet but would like to, one thing is clear, merchants using the marketplace must establish efficient operational practices based on fit-for-purpose technology.
It is crucial to have tools capable of managing inventory and stock control, back office automation and sales order processing, right through to meeting customer demands for delivery.
SFP is an opportunity not to be missed for multichannel merchants, but the most successful are those that can guarantee efficiency, competitiveness and consistently excellent performance time after time.
By Dan Burnham, Head of Customer Success at Volo Commerce