Everyone who has shopped online has heard of Amazon Prime and its free 2-day shipping perk. Just as there is a benefit for customers, there is also a benefit for business owners called Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP). Business owners who sell their products through Amazon have this option available and the following article will outline the specifics of becoming an SFP on Amazon and various roadblocks that will need to be overcome.


What is Seller Fulfilled Prime?

According to the Amazon Seller Center help page, Seller Fulfilled Prime “allows you to list your products as Prime-eligible and handle the fulfillment yourself.” However, before this can be achieved, an interested party must meet various performance requirements during the trial period to prove that their business can supply good customer service. After passing the trial period and being approved as a Seller, the interested party can buy shipping services with a fulfillment company which can aid them with logistical support for their product. Further, fulfillment of products by Amazon is also provided, however, one of the nicest benefits with SFP is that a business owner is free to choose their own fulfillment company and there is no requirement to use Amazon’s fulfillment services. Enrolling in the SFP program is free of charge, however, once an interested party is a SFP member, they must buy shipping services and agree to “all shipping, returns, and customer service requirements applicable to Prime products.”


Trial Period for a Seller Fulfilled Prime Member

To take part in the trial period, the interested party does not have to pay a cent. It is completely free to participate! Anyone can sign in or register on Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime main page. Once registered, enable prime shipping for your program trial through the Configure Shipping Settings page. Then, enroll items in Seller Fulfilled Prime by assigning stock-keeping units (SKUs). Finally, the products are ready to be sold with the Prime badge display on the new Seller Fulfilled Prime trial account.

During the trial period, the SFP member needs to meet the following performance requirements for a minimum of 50 prime orders:

  • On-Time Shipment Rate of at least 99% for Prime orders.
  • “Regardless of the shipping speed selected by the customer, Prime trial orders must be shipped on the same day the order is received, as long as the customer places the order before the seller’s cutoff time.”
  • Use of Buy Shipping Services for at least 99% of Prime orders.
  • Cancellation rate of 0.5% or less for Prime orders.

If an interested party does not meet these requirements, they will be eliminated from the SFP process. However, if the trial requirements are met, then the individual can list their products with the Prime badge and needs to continue meeting trial requirements to remain an eligible SFP.


FBA or Third-Party Fulfillment

Before enrolling in the SFP trial or membership, a seller must consider their fulfillment and shipping avenue. Thinking ahead, in this case, is key because the trial requires various performance markers to be met. While we know that Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is expensive, there are pros and cons about using in-house fulfillment. However, due to the following reasons below, a third-party fulfillment (3PL) company like ShipSage might be better suited for a SFP:


1. What does your product lineup consist of?

Some products sell quicker than others, and you may want to evaluate FBA’s and 3PL’s storage costs.


2. Do you have any high-priced items?

While both FBA and 3PLs have excellent security and take care when handling delicate packages, you might want to revisit which fulfillment service will cost you more at the end of the day.


3. How many marketplaces are you selling on?

If you are only listing and selling your product on Amazon, then it would make sense to take full advantage of the FBA service, if you can afford it. However, both small and big businesses who are SFP invest in 3PLs to ship their products because they have integration to more than one marketplace through Electronic Data Integration (EDI). Companies like ShipSage can help fulfill your product to various consumers on different marketplaces, and help ship your product without more fees incurred, unlike the FBA service.


4. Hazardous Materials

When it comes to products like insect repellent, oils, and fluids, each warehouse has their rules and regulations concerning these products. The FBA will not accommodate these products for example, but a 3PL might. It is good to consider all aspects before choosing either provider.


5. You Can Have It Both Ways

If you wish, you can have FBA fulfill some products and have a 3PL do the rest. Consider the shipping and storage costs for your products. However, keep in mind that in order to have the Prime badge displayed on your seller account, you or the 3PL fulfillment company must adhere to the shipping standards at Amazon. If you are eligible for SFP, the process must deliver fast gratification and excellent customer support.


Shipping Requirements for SFP and 3PL

The cut-off time used to be 4 PM PT and now it is 2 PM ET/11 AM PT. If a customer orders after the cut-off time, they will no longer be eligible for Prime’s well-known 2-day delivery convenience. Furthermore, 2-day delivery is only available to Prime members in the continental United States (48 states). The rest of the states and unincorporated territories, like Puerto Rico, will have Standard delivery available to them.


Important Things to be Aware of

  • “Same-Day Delivery is currently only available in select cities.
  • Free Standard Delivery (3-5 days) is required for all regions in the continental United States when creating a Prime template, even for regions that are not Prime-eligible.
  • Economy shipping, Same-Day Delivery, and International Delivery are optional on Prime-enabled shipping templates.
  • Expedited shipping is disabled for Seller Fulfilled Prime shipping templates.”


Shipping Carriers are selected based on Seller and 3PL discretion. However, since Amazon’s shipping labels must be used to enable QC tracking, carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, and T-Force will be compatible with SFP.

In addition, the seller must agree to Amazon’s Returns Policy which states that customers have 30 days from the date of delivery to return items free of charge (full refund) if the product is defective, damaged, or the wrong product. Items which have not been sold or fulfilled by Amazon are not eligible for free return and the customer will therefore cover the cost of return shipping. Returns must be handled by the seller’s warehouse or by the seller’s designated 3PL service and must adhere to Amazon’s return standards.


At ShipSage, we currently offer the FBA standard of fulfillment and have the resources to continue uphold fulfillment thresholds for SFP clients. With over 700,000 square feet of warehouse space and operations nationwide, we are determined to develop your business in a simple, speedy, and scalable way. Leave your fulfillment to us!