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Keeping up with Amazon: How to master Seller Fulfilled Prime

13 August 2018 / by Tony Dobson, Managing Director for Snapfulfil

As faster, cheaper shipping continues to feed higher customer expectations, retailers are more pressured than ever to offer seamless, almost instant product delivery. 

Many retailers struggle to maintain this high standard of inventory management and quick fulfilment. But there’s a growing option for retailers who are up for the challenge: Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP). 

Seller Fulfilled Prime, which allows independent retailers on Amazon’s marketplace to offer goods through Prime, can be a golden ticket: Amazon estimates that SFP listings experience an average sales uplift of more than 50 percent. 

It should come as no surprise, however, that Amazon has stringent guidelines sellers must follow to qualify for and maintain SFP status. SFP sellers must maintain eligibility for Amazon’s Premium Shipping program. This requires keeping an on-time delivery rate of at least 92 percent for Premium Shipping orders and having a valid tracking ID for at least 94 percent of those orders. Sellers must also maintain a cancellation rate of less than 1.5 percent for Premium Shipping orders. 

The qualifications tick several percentage points higher during the Seller Fulfilled Prime trial period, during which sellers must complete 200 Prime trial orders before they can obtain SFP status. 

So how can sellers rise to Amazon’s challenge? And what resources are available to help your shipping operation run like clockwork? Here are three tips for achieving Seller Fulfilled Prime status. 

Streamlining is key 

Efficiency isn’t entirely up to your warehouse management team. You must provide them the tools for success. To achieve the maximum productivity Amazon SFP requires, you must be efficient in all aspects of your warehouse. An employee’s every movement must have meaning, sacrificing neither accuracy nor speed, if you’d like to meet these standards. 

Achieving greater efficiency requires an in-depth understanding of your pain points. First, perform a productivity analysis to determine where your operations are struggling and what should be streamlined. Then, consider investing in or upgrading your Warehouse Management System (WMS) to gain deeper visibility into time spent in each process so you can best allocate resources across the warehouse. 

Quality control and accuracy should not be ignored. Amazon expects these fulfilment components, in addition to quick delivery, to provide the best customer experience possible.  

Have a method for the madness 

Maintaining an organised warehouse is key to increasing efficiency to meet the necessary Seller Fulfilled Prime shipping goals. 

Start by ensuring your warehouse layout is optimised. A WMS can help by providing insight into your current processes and how best to drive efficient operations, such as driving employees along optimal pick paths. 

If space is an issue, don’t forget about the advantages of building up. Software can help operators install different racking, slotting and picking faces and consolidate item locations to streamline processes and better utilise warehouse space. 

Don’t stop at shipping 

It takes more than fast and efficient shipping to maintain Seller Fulfilled Prime status. You need to master reverse logistics and make a thorough returns system a priority within your organisation – as Amazon requires Seller Fulfilled Prime stores to adhere to its returns policy.

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Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime is about more than just efficient delivery; it’s about seamless customer experience – forwards and backwards. Speed and organization are the key factors in mastering reverse logistics. You’ll need to adopt the proper technology to automate and streamline your product return operations. A WMS can aid in this process; with deeper visibility into your reverse logistics, you’ll be able to create an in-depth flow chart for returned products based on what’s returned, why it’s returned, whether it can be resold and where it should be stored to optimise space. 

Retailers lose nearly $600 billion per year worldwide on product returns. Instead of viewing returns management as an outdated, costly and manual process, leverage it as a strategic initiative that can ultimately add value to your bottom line. 

Keeping up and keeping ahead 

Though Amazon’s strict regulations for Seller Fulfilled Prime may seem daunting, by meeting these requirements and establishing SFP status, you’ll likely see additional gains in efficiency that will lead to better overall operations and better long-term performance. 

With approximately 8 million Amazon Prime Subscribers in the U.K., Seller Fulfilled Prime status can have a significant impact on your sales. Once you’ve invested in technology that streamlines your operations, you’ll be ready for the hunt.

 

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