Just as Amazon is popular with online consumers, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is popular with online sellers. With benefits including hands-off fulfillment and automatic Prime eligibility, FBA is great for small eCommerce businesses.
However, with Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) offering an alternative way to access Amazon Prime status while maintaining control, profits, and brand image, is it time that you made the switch?
We’re here to explain the top 6 reasons why you should consider moving to SFP.
FBA v SFP: the differences
FBA and SFP both have the same goal: fast shipping of your products to your customers. The difference is who is responsible for achieving that goal.
Fulfillment by Amazon
With FBA, you ship your products to an Amazon warehouse, for Amazon to pick and ship those items to the customer. This has many benefits including automatic Prime eligibility, high shipping standards, fulfillment expertise, and competitive fulfillment rates. However, anyone using FBA will also be familiar with FBA’s additional (and expensive) fees, items going missing, and a lack of control over shipping carriers and non-Amazon branding.
Seller Fulfilled Prime
SFP offers an alternative way to wear the Amazon Prime badge, without using Amazon to fulfill your orders. With SFP, you are responsible for the whole fulfillment process – either in-house or by enlisting the help of an outsourced fulfillment partner. The benefits include control over shipping methods, visibility of your inventory, and the ability to reduce shipping and fulfillment costs.
Reasons to move to SFP
Two Amazon fulfillment options, both capable of achieving fast deliveries for your customers. So what are the reasons for moving from FBA to SFP?
1. You’re not happy with FBA
Not everyone is happy with the service that they or their customers receive from FBA. Whether it’s delayed deliveries, missing packages, or damaged boxes – it all affects your brand image and seller ratings. SFP gives you more control over delivery quality – allowing you to choose a shipping carrier or fulfillment provider that guarantees excellence for your customers and more repeat orders for you.
2. Your inventory consists of large or heavy items
Large and heavy items attract hefty storage and fulfillment fees when using FBA. If these items are slow-moving too (which large and heavy products often are), you’ll also pay FBA’s long-term storage and removal fees – further impacting your profits.
With SFP, your warehouse costs remain the same regardless of item size, meaning that you’re under no pressure to heavily discount items to move them quicker than you want to.
It’s also good to note that some items not approved for the FBA program may have a place in other warehouses.
3. You sell seasonal items
Seasonable items are great – attracting a higher price tag just because of the time of year. They’re not so great if you’re using FBA – attracting long-term storage fees or removal costs if they’re not sold quick enough (not to mention the wasted time in shipping these items to Amazon in the first place). With SFP, you can hold onto seasonal items until the next sales surge without worrying about these costs. You can also sync your inventory across your sales channels, enabling you to view and accurately pre-plan your stock levels in accordance with demand, to avoid unsold items.
4. You want to sell on multiple sales channels
Whether you’re multi-channel selling, or that’s your next step, multi-channel FBA is expensive, and it’s not allowed by all sales channels. The alternative is splitting your stock between Amazon’s warehouses and your own, but this just complicates matters and limits your potential sales. SFP allows you to keep all of your inventory in one place, keeping your low shipping costs consistent across all of your sales channels, and making your eligible for Amazon Prime, alongside other fast shipping programs such as Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping.
5. You want to build your own brand
Amazon’s brand is fantastic – attracting millions of customers across the world to its website and your products. But, Amazon’s brand doesn’t stop there. When using FBA, your products are shipped in Amazon packaging, filled with Amazon inserts, and your brand goes unnoticed. With SFP, you can begin to build your own brand, even when using unbranded packaging to increase delivery speeds. Amazon’s logo is removed, and the focus is instead on your product and brand – enabling you to build a direct relationship with the customer.
6. You can achieve fast deliveries at a lower cost
Today, replicating FBA’s speed of delivery is easy with outsourced fulfillment partners like Deliverr. It can also be cheaper once you’ve taken into account Amazon’s extra charges mentioned above. With SFP, you can choose the fulfillment partner that saves you the most money across your entire eCommerce business – enabling you to offer low shipping costs and fast deliveries.
Tip: Take a look at how low your SFP fulfillment costs could be with our fulfillment calculator.
How to activate SFP
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to move to SFP, making the move is easy. Simply:
Run down your FBA stock
Stop shipping your items to Amazon’s warehouses to start running down your stock, and pay for slow-moving items to be returned to your warehouse.
Decide your SFP fulfillment method
Calculate the delivery costs and speeds you can achieve across your sales channels in-house, against those that can be achieved using a third-party multi-channel fulfillment partner.
Sign up for an SFP trial
Switch your listings to merchant-fulfilled and sign up for an SFP trial – ensuring that you can meet the shipping standards required.
Complete the trial
Once you’ve finished the trial, away you go, enjoying the benefits of Amazon Prime status, while also saving time, money, and control. Just be sure to keep your delivery metrics inline with SFP’s shipping standards and customer expectations.
FBA is a great way to begin and scale your Amazon business, without worrying about the fulfillment expertise and resources required to achieve fast deliveries for your customers. But, for many online sellers, SFP offers an attractive alternative to achieve Amazon Prime status and shipping speeds while maintaining control, profits and brand image. Happy SFP selling.