SFP enrollment is back?!

I just saw this and I am ROFL

June 13, 2023

Seller Fulfilled Prime will reopen new enrollment in 2023

We are excited to announce that we will reopen new seller enrollment for the Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program later this year.

We first launched SFP in 2015. Our goal was to allow sellers to independently handle the fulfillment of their products while also making them available to Prime customers with the same fast, free delivery they have come to expect.

As the program grew, we unfortunately realized that SFP was not providing the same high-quality experience that customers expect from Prime. As a result, we paused new seller enrollment while we worked to make sure we had more support for sellers and clear standards in place for the SFP program to ensure it provides customers a great Prime experience. We appreciate the sellers that have helped us work through this, and we are excited to be at the point where we will soon reopen enrollment.

We will update you in the coming months with enrollment details and updated requirements to ensure that it meets Prime customers’ high expectations. We look forward to the improved customer experience that these changes will bring. For those of you that have been interested in joining SFP and waiting, we thank you for your patience. To learn more about the program, go to Seller Fulfilled Prime.

They say they are going to update the requirements, but I’m expecting they will be the same or more restrictive, not less. I expect this relaunch will be an NSFE style failure and I’m wildly amused. To be fair, some of that might be from the cold meds.

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…and neither was Prime by Amazon

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Ain’t that the truth? For me, most times, Prime is about 4-5 business day delivery.

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Wow… Where do you live? - no need to be specific.

Our stuff gets here within 18 hours and sometimes less…

One benefit of living in a borough of NYC…

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Prime for us is about 3-5 business day delivery.

We qualified for SFP with the first go around. Once we saw the parameters, we never linked up any listings to it. We couldn’t bring ourselves to let Amazon control the returns / refunds since we do custom products.

If we ever find a way to opt out with a toggle, we probably will.

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You mean like getting something 6 days after you order it, but it doesn’t ship till 4 days later. Getting items late because Amazon doesn’t ship till the day they are due to be delivered?

I am about 30 mi to the east of you

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I’m in Michigan, a few hours from Detroit…

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I expect this relaunch will be an NSFE style failure and I’m wildly amused

Agreed.
Oh, Amazon…
:roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:
:woman_facepalming: :woman_facepalming: :woman_facepalming:

We are excited to announce that we will reopen new seller enrollment for the Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program later this year.

Here’s what immediately jumps out at me from this.

Amazon continues to show signs of desperation.

As with any program, sellers will try to find a way to work it to their advantage - not Amazon’s. So what would Amazon stand to gain from this? :thinking:

Money

For those who don’t know, SFP requires you to buy your shipping label for SPF orders through Amazon because, supposedly only Amazon can accurately predict which shipping service can deliver on time. This means, you’re often forced into using 2-day air, when priority mail would do just fine.

Realizing that Amazon takes a big cut of the shipping cost - offering us a $30 price, while paying UPS only $10 or less due to their volume - it benefits Amazon financially to push more of their sellers to buy labels through their site.

There’s a good chance this ‘we’re reopening SFP to you’ is more about generating more income for Amazon through shipping labels.

It’s also possible this is a tool to try and drum up Prime membership. As several of you have pointed out, your $139 annual fee rarely gets you 2-day delivery on anything anymore. I don’t follow Prime membership numbers, so have no idea how many people still subscribe solely for the benefits other than the 2-day shipping.

Any sellers offering SFP will have to deliver in 2 days (or 1), which might kick up the perceived value of Prime for those who buy it for the fast delivery that Amazon no longer provides.

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I think it’s about that and that Amazon is facing increased competition from, well, everyone, and one of the ways they are trying to maintain their advantage is by offering shipping that’s even faster than before! Problem is, they can’t actually keep that up so they want more of us to do it for them.

Honestly, I don’t even mind this, and I would gladly go back to SFP if they let us restrict our regions again instead of forcing nationwide SFP. I don’t like the weekend shipping, and I don’t like the shipping label restrictions, etc… but the part that killed it for us, and the part that makes NO sense if the nationwide requirement. Letting SFP sellers limit their regions would still provide superior shipping options for many customers, even if not every customer.

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I think it’s about that and that Amazon is facing increased competition from, well, everyone, and one of the ways they are trying to maintain their advantage is by offering shipping that’s even faster than before!

I’m honestly not sure that customers care that much about fast shipping anymore. I know others may disagree, and there’s a wide range of opinions among customers, but I think 3-5 days is something most people would see as satisfactory.

As a W+ member, I do filter by 2-day delivery when ordering shipping supplies that I’m almost out of, and thank you very much Walmart (sarcasm) for delaying both of my boxes of bubble mailers this time around. :angry: At least they sent me email saying there may be a delay, we’ll see if there actually is.

Speaking for myself, reliability is a more important factor to me than either speed or price. I signed up for W+ strictly for the ‘free’ (plus tip… grrr) delivery from the grocery store. I use the free 1 day/2 day delivery occasionally just because it’s included, but I wouldn’t buy a membership just for that. Waiting an extra 2 or 3 days would be fine.

I would gladly go back to SFP if they let us restrict our regions again instead of forcing nationwide SFP.

How do you feel about the forced Next Day delivery to a big part of the country too, on top of the nationwide 2 day? You can guess how * I * feel about it. :laughing: I’m still eligible for SFP because I stopped using it well before they implemented the metrics based on “views”. I was making better sales without SFP, and not having to deal with Amazon giving my money away, so I turned it off and left it that way.

It will be interesting to see if the revamped version brings back the regional options again. Because that was the really good part of it - for both buyers and sellers.

Letting SFP sellers limit their regions would still provide superior shipping options for many customers

Agreed. But I really really wish they’d do away with the Buy Shipping requirement too. Tell sellers they have to maintain 97% on-time delivery and let them see if they can pick the right shipping services to meet it. Suspend them from SFP if they can’t. Simple.

But for me, I don’t see that much promise in SFP anymore. To get the Prime shopper base, you have to basically thumb your nose at non-Prime shoppers. I do better when I ignore the Prime members and target non-Prime. Sometimes, you’ll get a Prime member who will buy your non-Prime offer too, because I suspect many of them have given up on the ‘Show Prime only’ button, as they figured out they were missing out on so many products.

It’s better for you, the seller, to avoid Prime transactions, because Amazon doesn’t take charge of them and give your money away at will. Unless the badge gives your sales enough of a boost to offset that and still make it worth your while, you’re just creating unnecessary headaches for yourself.

It didn’t do it for me. Since COVID, I’ve stayed with 2-day handling time, so no more pressure of rushing to get things out the same day, or making a special trip to the post office in the afternoon because the carrier did their pick-up before the Prime order came in. The freedom from that stress has been wonderful, and I don’t want to go back.

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Us too. I would be happy to start again, I enjoyed the game. But I need to adjust to parts of the country at some days of the week. That and forget about views. Many of our products are low or very low volume.

On the customer side, while some arrive to us in 1-2 days most do not. Especially the ones that Amazon Drop Ships. Like Stayflat envelopes. Just ordered some yesterday, Wednesday, the commitment was arrival next Friday.

And Amazon does not indicate this is a dropship, they make you feel like it is direct from Amazon. Those of us in the trade can tell Amazon. You are not fooling everyone.

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Over in the mod-infested forums, Amazon claims that they have changed SFP.

We are excited to announce that we will reopen new seller enrollment for the Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program later this year.

We first launched SFP in 2015. Our goal was to allow sellers to independently handle the fulfillment of their products while also making them available to Prime customers with the same fast, free delivery they have come to expect.

As the program grew, we unfortunately realized that SFP was not providing the same high-quality experience that customers expect from Prime. As a result, we paused new seller enrollment while we worked to make sure we had more support for sellers and clear standards in place for the SFP program to ensure it provides customers a great Prime experience. We appreciate the sellers that have helped us work through this, and we are excited to be at the point where we will soon reopen enrollment.

We will update you in the coming months with enrollment details and updated requirements to ensure that it meets Prime customers’ high expectations. We look forward to the improved customer experience that these changes will bring. For those of you that have been interested in joining SFP and waiting, we thank you for your patience.

That does not tell me much. The previous SFP morphed into something that was a guaranteed loss for the seller. Have they fixed it? Is it safe to try SFP again?

I want answers. I want to have an up-close and personal conversation with the Amazon exec who is in charge.

Is it safe

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You and I are not standard Amazon customers. The average online shopper wants their stuff before they finish inputting the payment information. Amazon actively encourages this mindset, then they lean on us to fulfill it. Getting things to customers the quickest is a lure to use one platform over another, and it always will be.

It’s all one package to me. Allowing us to set our SFP regions was both reasonable and constructive. Forcing us to service the whole country forced nearly all SFP sellers out, and the buyers suffered a reduction in options. Nobody won except some Amazon exec who got a bonus for pushing this through.

I don’t disagree, it just bothers me less than it bothers you. ;p

I understand. For a one-woman show, I can see how the benefits don’t warrant the stress. For us, it was very worth the time and effort for the extra sales. It would have taken some adjustment to deal with the weekend shipping requirements, but we would have figured something out.

Did they mention what they changed it into? Because even if this is true that doesn’t mean it changed into something better. My money is on one or two small changes that do nothing to resolve the larger issue, which is that they made SFP too awful to use.

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No. That is why I want to have the aforementioned conversation.

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Of course not.

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I’m also still SFP eligible because I turned it off early in the pandemic.

I am not SFP capable, though. There’s no way for a one-warehouse gig to be, without actively losing money.

Which to Amazon is totally cool, as long as you delight the customers they’ve trained to expect orders delivered by immediate Transfiguration.

I doubt that revamped SFP will be any friendlier to most Sellers.

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Well, considering that being seller friendly was what led to this -

As the program grew, we unfortunately realized that SFP was not providing the same high-quality experience that customers expect from Prime.

it seems unlikely they would want to make it easier.

There’s no way for a one-warehouse gig to be, without actively losing money.

I think it could be possible to do 2-day nationwide, depending on what you sell. For instance, if you sold expensive jewelry that could still be profitable, even if you were forced to pay $30 for 2-day air shipping.

It’s the 1-day delivery that would be the problem for most, I assume, because of the new “views” requirement. I haven’t played around with it, because my strategy was to put it on hold until/unless something changed.

If Amazon does make it feasible again, I feel sorry for the suspended SFP’ers who kept trying to work with the new eligibility until they wound up suspended.

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I’m not sure that’s true. I have an item that sells all the time, despite my settings for a really long (like 2 weeks) delivery time to California buyers. A few of them upgrade to expedited, but most California buyers pick the really long standard shipping. It doesn’t seem to discourage them from buying at all. Of course, if there’s a competitor with 2-day delivery for the same price, they’ll choose that, but they don’t seem to pick not buying over buying with long delivery. :woman_shrugging:

Let’s take a poll among our members and see.

https://sellersasksellers.com/t/as-buyers-what-is-a-reasonable-delivery-time-to-you/1384

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I will stipulate that expectations do vary by item type. Customers buying books, clothes, window AC units, and oven repair parts would not necessarily have the same expectations on when stuff should arrive.

I also don’t think the SAS community at large is a representational cross section of Amazon customers. :zipper_mouth_face:

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I also don’t think the SAS community at large is a representational cross section of Amazon customers. :zipper_mouth_face:

Maybe not, but then again, maybe so, and we can collect some data quickly with relative ease.

It’s interesting though, isn’t it? It seems that roughly a week is good enough for most (so far). What’s also interesting is the comments about processing time. People do want their orders handled/processed/filled quickly, and that seems to be more important than the delivery time. Something Amazon might want to pay more attention to.

But we’ll see how many others answer throughout the day, and what they have to say.

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