Amazon indicated some sellers are disappointing its Prime shoppers when it said fewer than 16% of Seller Fulfilled Prime orders (SFP) meet the Prime 2-day delivery promise. And that was the performance record before coronavirus-related delivery disruptions.
A major reason Amazon cited for the subpar performance: many sellers do not operate on weekends.
Amazon is cracking down on sellers who are enrolled in SFP but who are not meeting its fast-delivery requirements despite "good intentions." However, it's waiting until after the Christmas shopping season to implement the changes, giving sellers a surprisingly long time to shape up.
Starting February 1, 2021, SFP sellers will be required to meet targets for one- and two-day delivery promises. And they will be required to use shipping methods that support Saturday delivery and pick-ups.
Some sellers told Bloomberg that as a result of the stricter requirements, they will be forced to switch to Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) if they want to continue reach Prime shoppers.
That may explain in part why Amazon is not implementing the new requirements right away. If the changes to SFP push sellers to FBA, Amazon might not have the capacity to handle the influx of inventory from sellers.
Amazon revealed on July 30
that it has a fulfillment-network capacity problem due to higher pandemic-related demand from customers, and there are anecdotal reports that some of its fulfillment centers are taking a long time to process inbound shipments.
Amazon expects to increase square footage of its network by 50% in 2020 - but with the majority of it coming online in the late third quarter and into Q4.
One reader who forwarded the Amazon message to SFP sellers called it "bad news." Read the following letter yourself and let us know what you think:
Important Updates to Seller Fulfilled Prime (US)
We are always listening to our customers, and Prime members consistently tell us they want free and fast shipping. This is why Amazon is making significant investments in our fulfillment and transportation capabilities to make Prime faster, transitioning from a Two-Day to a One-Day delivery program. As we continue to improve the Amazon Prime experience for customers, we want to ensure Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) meets customers’ expectations of Prime.
We know that as a seller enrolled in SFP, you work hard to provide customers with a delightful shopping experience. Despite these good intentions, even before COVID-19, fewer than 16% of SFP orders in the US met the Prime Two-Day delivery promise customers expect, in large part because many sellers do not operate on weekends. As a result, we are making the following changes to this program in the US:
- Starting February 1, 2021, SFP sellers will be required to use shipping methods that support Saturday delivery and pick-ups to provide customers with a more consistent delivery experience throughout the week. View your Shipping Settings here and click ‘General Shipping Settings’.
- Starting February 1, 2021, SFP sellers will be required to meet targets for one- and two-day delivery promises. These delivery promise metrics measure the percentage of customer page views that displayed a one or two-day delivery promise when your SFP offer was the featured offer, regardless of whether a purchase was made. The delivery speed targets ensure that customers have a consistent experience regardless of who fulfills their Prime order.
- To help you meet the targets for one- and two-day delivery promises, we are launching a new dashboard that measures the quoted delivery speed of your SFP offers (please note dashboard may not be available to all sellers until later this afternoon). This dashboard monitors two new metrics: Percent of One-Day or less Detail Page Views and Percent of Two-Day or less Detail Page Views.
- Starting February 1, 2021, SFP sellers will be required to have nationwide delivery coverage for all standard size delivery products. You can see which of your products are standard size or oversize on the Manage SFP page.
We recognize these changes are meaningful. We want to make sure you have plenty of time to determine how these changes affect your business and to make any adjustments you may need, which is why these new requirements will not take effect for more than five months. While the current performance of the program is not meeting customer expectations, these changes will help deliver an experience our Prime customers expect, including fast delivery. We will continue innovating with tools and offerings that help make SFP more compelling to you and our shared customers. You and SFP are important to Amazon and our customers, and to help you navigate these changes, we have launched a guide in Seller Central with details, examples, and answers to your questions. We have also set up a dedicated support team that you can contact at email@example.com.
The Seller Fulfilled Prime Team