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Reaching Amazon Prime Customers without FBA

One of the biggest advantages of using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) is to get better exposure on Amazon.com, but now, Amazon is allowing non-FBA sellers to make their products available to Prime members as “Prime eligible.”

Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh said the program, called Seller Fulfilled Prime, is currently in the very early stages, and Amazon is selectively testing the experience. This is a major development since it means Amazon is relying on third-party merchants to meet the high expectations of customers who are enrolled in Prime, one of Amazon’s most important programs.

Likewise, sellers don’t have to give up control of their inventory by sending it to Amazon’s warehouses for Seller Fulfilled Prime orders.

The Amazon website explains, “Sellers who have proven their ability to meet Prime customers’ expectations for service are now able to enroll in Seller Fulfilled Prime.”

Sellers who join Seller Fulfilled Prime must purchase shipping for all Prime items through Amazon’s Buy Shipping Service, but they can also work with ShipRush Web, which has integrated with Amazon.

ShipRush is a well-known shipping tool that works with multiple carriers, marketplaces and ecommerce platforms to help sellers automate the process of printing shipping labels, uploading tracking information to online venues, and sending post-transaction emails to buyers.

ShipRush Product Manager Rafael Zimberoff said that since Prime is a fast growing part of Amazon, there are plenty of good reasons to get items listed. However, it isn’t for everyone – Amazon has requirements including a high satisfaction rate, and he said sellers using Seller Fulfilled Prime must offer an express shipping option and have the ability to do same-day shipping until 2 or 3 pm.

All ShipRush Web features are available for Prime (and non-Prime) shipping, and ShipRush Web can be used at no charge for Amazon Prime shipping. Merchants can get their own negotiated UPS rates, but are limited to getting Amazon’s FedEx rates when purchasing shipping via ShipRush for Amazon orders. More information is available on this page of the ShipRush website.

Merchants can select which of their items to offer under the Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime program, and they can then limit those items to showing as Prime-eligible to certain geographies where they have confidence in meeting the strict express and 2-day shipping requirements.

Amazon’s Fairleigh said the marketplace is working with select sellers on an invitation-only basis as it tests the program. When asked about the criteria for using seller fulfilled prime, he said, “We are not commenting on specific details yet. Stay tuned for more in the New Year.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.