Seller Fulfilled Prime: Answers to Your Questions About Amazon’s Newest Changes

30/01/2021

Brands By ChannelAdvisor

As most Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) participants know, Amazon has set new, stricter requirements for its SFP program, which are in effect as of February 1. 

In an effort to “provide customers with a more consistent delivery experience throughout the week,” the new rules require SFP participants to use shipping methods that support Saturday delivery and pick-ups, as well as meet targets for one- and two-day delivery promises. Sellers will also be required to have nationwide delivery coverage for all standard-size delivery products.

We recently held a webinar to address the latest changes: Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime: How Sellers Should React to the New Requirements.

During that webinar, we received dozens of questions from concerned brands and retailers (many about the same subjects), so we thought it would be beneficial to others if we collected, combined and answered many of the most common questions below. (You can find a blog post we published in November about the Amazon changes here.) 

Regional SFP and Package Sizes

Q: Does this change mean regional Prime is no longer a thing? Are regional templates no longer supported?

A: Regional Prime is available for “oversize” items. All “standard” items are now expected to be listed on nationwide templates. 

Q: Are there SFP requirements for oversize as well as standard-sized products?

A: Yes, there are separate sets of requirements for both standard-size and oversize products.

Q: What defines oversize?

A: The dimensions of an item will determine if it falls into standard or oversize classifications. Details on whether your products are classified as oversize or standard can be found here under the “Size Tier” section. Size, weight, and dimension details can be found here.

Q: Does the promise of two-day delivery “for all standard-sized products” to the Lower 48 states mean only those products we place on an SFP-enabled shipping template or EVERY standard-sized product in our catalog?

A: This would apply only to standard-size products enrolled in SFP

Amazon Settings and Metrics

Q: Is there a separate place to set your handling time for SFP versus non-SFP?

A: This can be done by creating separate shipping templates for SFP versus non-SFP and assigning your products accordingly.

Q: Where do we find these metric screens?

A: The metric screens can be found by navigating within your Amazon Seller Central account to the “Manage Seller Fulfilled Prime” page in the “Inventory” drop down tab.  From that page, you will see “View SFP Performance” in the top right corner. Clicking that link will direct you to the metric dashboards.

Q: If we do not hit the delivery speed metrics, will we be shut down on SFP? It doesn’t currently say that delivery speed metrics will impact your eligibility, unless I am missing something.

A: As far as we are aware, delivery speed metrics will be factored in. According to Amazon, “SFP Program eligibility is calculated across a seven-day timeframe using only On-Time Shipment, Buy Shipping Usage, Cancellation Rate and Delivery Speed (Standard-Size and Oversize) metrics.”

Q: Do the Delivery Metrics only count for my offers on an ASIN or is it across all sellers?

A: The page views would only affect your metrics when your offer is winning the Buy Box.

Q: What do the percentages in the Delivery Speed Metrics mean? Can you give a specific example?

A: The percentages are related to page views. For example, if 80% of the consumers who view your listing see a two-day delivery window (based upon the Estimated Delivery Date), you will be well within metrics. However, if 60% of the consumers who view your listing see a delivery window of three days or later, then you will be missing the target metric.

Q: Are the Delivery Speed Metrics mostly measured in seven-day timeframes? Or 30 days?

A: Eligibility for the SFP program is calculated across a seven-day timeframe.

Q: Can you explain the accountability side of Delivery Speed Metrics? At what point does our account or Prime badge risk suspension?

A: According to Amazon: “SFP Program eligibility is calculated across a seven-day timeframe using only On-Time Shipment, Buy Shipping Usage, Cancellation Rate and Delivery Speed (standard-size and oversize)metrics.”  

Unfortunately, we can’t speculate at what point Amazon will step in to suspend SFP privileges, but we do know this metric will be weighed toward program eligibility.

Delivery Carriers and Weekend Hours

Q: When the carrier, for example, USPS, has no idea where the package is, and Amazon is the seller of record (Vendor Central), are we still dinged on our metric? 

Related question: Is it okay to ship on Saturday even if the carrier doesn’t deliver within the Amazon required timeframe?

A: Amazon has stated that “Units that are shipped late but are delivered on-time are considered shipped on-time.” However, they have not explicitly stated (to our knowledge) whether your metrics will be affected if your package is shipped on time, but delivered late.

Q: If we ship on Saturday but the carrier doesn’t origin scan the unit on the same day, will we be considered to have shipped late?

A: This scenario would likely be okay as long as the scan happens on Sunday, since Amazon is requesting that sellers hit “weekend” delivery as opposed to just Saturday. However, a scan on Monday would likely not suffice.

Q: If we enable Sunday but carriers don’t pick up on Sunday, would the expectation be to create and process orders on Sunday and then have the actual pick-up on Monday? This wouldn’t be considered a late-ship?

A: Amazon is requesting that pick-up take place on the weekends.

Miscellaneous

Q: Do you think Amazon is forcing sellers to use FBA? 

A: We do not. We see this as Amazon trying to provide a consistent consumer experience whenever there’s a Prime badge assigned to a listing.

Q: How will one-day SFP shipping affect Buy Box competition?

A: We cannot speculate on this as Amazon has not shared details around this. 

Q: Is same-day handling required, or is it just highly suggested?

A: Same-day handling isn’t required, but it will certainly help with your delivery speed metrics. 

Q: Can we turn Prime on and off to avoid the weekends?

A: Amazon has stated that doing so could negatively impact your SFP eligibility.

If you still have questions about Seller Fulfilled Prime and how the latest changes will affect your business, check out our original blog post on the new changes. Or check out our recent webinar that’s now available on-demand. Two of our in-house Amazon experts walked through the meaning of the new requirements, potential steps sellers can take to succeed once they’re in place and even alternatives to consider if SFP no longer works for your business. 

If you have any questions that weren’t addressed, please reach out today and one of our e-commerce consultants will be in touch soon. If you’re a ChannelAdvisor customer, please reach out to your account manager.

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