How to get certified for Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime

by | Apr 3, 2018

You’ve no doubt heard, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

It’s true in the e-commerce supply chain world too, only this time, “Mama” is Amazon and Walmart, and if you can make them happy, you can pretty much make any retailer happy. That’s because these retail giants have such strict requirements for their marketplace vendors and third-party merchants, that if you can meet their expectations, it can teach you what it takes to work with the other big players in the retail landscape.

One of the gold standards in online merchant fulfillment is to become Amazon Certified for Seller Fulfilled Prime through Amazon Marketplace. Anyone can sell through Amazon Marketplace, qualifying for standard shipping. However, sellers that get Amazon Prime Certified could potentially make more sales because their products quality for that coveted, two-day free shipping.

Why get Amazon Prime Certified

We’ve covered pretty extensively how Amazon Marketplace and other marketplaces can be beneficial for retailers and suppliers to access more sales channels. We’ve also discussed the differences between participating in Amazon Retail vs. Amazon Marketplace, and offered advice on how to maximize sales generally on marketplaces. But of course, Amazon Marketplace is one of the most popular, both as a sales channel and for consumer buying habits, so if you’re going to add a sales channel, Amazon is probably a good place to be.

It’s worth the effort to go the extra step and get certified for Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime as part of an omnichannel or multichannel strategy. If the statistics are to be believed, with between 60 to 90 million Amazon Prime subscribers, almost half of all U.S. households have a Prime account and are shopping regularly on that channel. Additionally, Prime members spend an average of $1,200 annually with Amazon, compared to $700 for those without Prime. Then of course there’s that one special day each year called Amazon Prime Day, where so many people are shopping the site that the traffic trickles over into other e-commerce sites, too. Getting certified for Seller Fulfilled Prime could be a worthwhile endeavor for

It’s been shown that Amazon Prime Certified sellers can see a 30 to 40 percent boost in their sales. Additionally, they also have access to 60 percent cheaper couriers, more return options and access to Amazon’s customer service line of defense. To sweeten the deal for APC vendors, they even allow “regionalizing” of Prime-eligible products to buyers who are within a two-day ground shipping journey from the original warehouse.

Getting Amazon Prime Certified

Previously, the only way for items to be Prime eligible was to participate in Amazon Retail and Fulfillment By Amazon, shipping large quantities of product to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Then they opened up the possibilities with Seller Fulfilled Prime.

Of course, to qualify for SFP, Amazon makes sellers jump through some hoops.

1. The first part of qualifying for SFP is to have a Professional Seller account – this can’t be done with a casual seller or consumer account.

2. For best results, the second step is to gain eligibility for Amazon Premium Shipping. To be eligible for Premium Shipping, the seller must:

  • Sell on Amazon for 90 days or more
  • Enable Same-Day Delivery, One-Day Shipping, and/or Two-Day Shipping on shipping settings
  • Deliver orders according to Amazon’s Premium Shipping Eligibility requirements (see below) – your eligibility will be determined by your shipment history of the trailing 30 days.

3. Maintain Premium Shipping by meeting or exceeding the following requirements for the trailing 30 days:

  • Have a on-time delivery rate of at least 92 percent for Premium Shipping Orders
  • A valid tracking ID for at least 94 percent of Premium Shipping Orders (UPS, US Postal Service, FedEx, or OnTrac)
  • A seller initiated cancellation rate of less than 1.5 percent for Premium Shipping Orders

4. After you’ve mastered Premium Shipping is a great time to start your Seller Fulfilled Prime eligibility trial. Once you’ve started the trial, you have 200 Prime orders to meet the following performance requirements:

  • On-Time Shipment Rate of at least 99 percent for Prime trial orders – Regardless of the shipping speed selected by the customer, Prime trial orders must be shipped on the same day that they are received, as long as the customer places the order before your pre-determined cutoff time
  • Use of Buy Shipping Services for at last 95 percent of Prime trial orders
  • A cancelation rate of less than 1 percent of Prime trial orders

5. Lastly, sellers must agree to several specific program terms for Amazon Prime items in order to qualify, such as:

  • Buying all shipping labels for orders with a Prime item via Amazon’s Buy Shipping Services
  • Automatically directing all post-order customer service inquiries to Amazon
  • Adhering to Amazon’s returns policy
  • Offering Prime shipping benefits (seen in the image below) and guaranteed delivery dates

The trial period can last just a few days, a few weeks up to three months or more – it really just depends on how long it takes for you to reach that 200 Prime trial orders.

After you’ve been able to reach Prime eligibility, Amazon keeps track of how quickly sellers ship. Amazon requires that they meet and maintain certain standards, including 98.5% on-time shipment rating and a 1.5% or less order cancellation rate. Vendors are expected to supply the tracking information to Amazon, who monitors all of it to ensure their vendors are meeting those standards.

If you fall off of Prime eligibility, it could take an additional 30 days of proving yourself before regaining Prime status.

What about Walmart Marketplace?

Walmart has an up-and-coming online marketplace. As of June 2017, they sold 50 million products online (compared to 10 million the year before), which is a sincere effort to try to catch up to Amazon’s 350 million products. Walmart has more 1,000 online merchants, compared to Amazon’s 2 million, so with less competition there’s more opportunities to stand out from the crowd.

Walmart has similar standards for their marketplace vendors, which make up a much smaller pool of merchants.

  • 90-day order defect rate less than 2%.
  • On-time shipment rate of 99% or greater.
  • Valid tracking of 95% or greater.

Both of these retail giants have strict rules for their marketplaces, but the end, if you know what it takes to make Walmart and Amazon happy, you’re ready to meet the requirements for any other online marketplace and merchant. You’re also going to be ready to meet the expectations of consumers, which has largely been influenced by Amazon and Walmart.

To learn more about drop shipping, third-party fulfillment and e-commerce marketplaces, please visit the SPS Commerce website and ask to speak to one of our e-commerce experts about a free demonstration.

Connect to Amazon Marketplace or a marketplace you choose.

Connect to Amazon Marketplace or a marketplace you choose.

Marketplaces are great for both retailers and vendors to sell products directly to customers.

Tony Thrasher

Tony Thrasher

Group Product Manager at SPS Commerce
As an expert in retail fulfillment, Tony offers a unique viewpoint on using the latest retail technologies, including the SPS Commerce Retail Network, RFID and more to drive innovation and growth. At SPS, he is responsible for using graph-based architecture to drive meaningful insights and expand the value of the SPS Commerce Platform to customers and partners.
Tony Thrasher

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