Is the Amazon SFP cut off-time from 30th June workable?

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The Amazon SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime) cut off time is due to be later in the working day as of the 30th of June 2021. In addition, the requirement for Amazon SFP to also dispatch on at least one weekend day – either a Saturday or a Sunday from the same date.

We’re questioning whether this is practical for most small businesses who are dictated to by carriers what time their collections are, and many of whom don’t have and probably can’t get a collection on weekend days. With a cut off time of around 2pm it’s perfectly possible (albeit inconvenient) to do same day despatch by the time your couriers and postal services collect. A cut off time of 4pm simply won’t give sufficient time for most small businesses to pick and pack items before their collections have already taken place. Indeed, we know of many sellers whose collection times are 3pm or 4pm so there is zero chance of complying.

Amazon are obviously catering to consumer demand with this change, but they’re also tilting the playing field in favour of larger sellers who can dictate collections around 6pm or later… by which time most small businesses have locked the warehouse for the day and their employees are heading home. Similarly for a collection on a Saturday or Sunday, large businesses can negotiate collections that simply aren’t possible on these days for small businesses.

Amazon blithely say that if you can switch to using MFN or FBA if you ‘choose not to meet‘ the new Amazon SFP requirements. For many sellers however, it’s not a choice it’s a simple inability to match the stringent requirements being imposed. MFN will lower your visibility on Amazon as you’ll lose the Prime badge. FBA will restrict your ability to sell and fulfil on alternative channels. Amazon is looking like a closed shop and if you don’t (or can’t) play by their rules then they’ll happily divert sales to those that will.

What are your plans come June – will you continue with Amazon SFP or are you already making alternative plans for your operations? Let us know if your carriers can accommodate Amazon’s demands in comments below.

1) Starting 30 June 2021, the required cut-off time to maintain eligibility for SFP will be later. The minimum carrier pickup time on weekdays will be 16:30, which will set your order cut-off time to 16:00. A later order cut-off means more customers shopping on the store will see your offers with faster delivery available. You can set your cut-off time using the Order Fulfilment Settings on the shipping settings page.
 
2) Starting 30 June 2021, for your Prime orders, you will also be required to use ship methods that support pickups on at least one weekend day (Saturday or Sunday) to maintain eligibility for SFP. Shipping on weekends provides customers with a more consistent delivery experience throughout the week. You can set a different carrier pickup time on weekends vs on weekdays. The minimum carrier pickup time on weekends is 12:30. You can set your weekend shipping preferences using the Order Fulfilment Settings, check here.
 
3) While you set your order cut-off time in Seller Central, you must work with your SFP carrier(s) to ensure they will arrive for parcel pickup at an appropriate time after you process your orders. You can find instructions on how to contact your SFP carrier here.
 
If you already meet these requirements, nothing changes. If you choose not to meet these new program requirements, you are welcome to continue offering your products through our Merchant Fulfilled Network or Fulfilment by Amazon.

– Amazon

3 Responses

  1. They used to say that one of the most important things about retail is Location, Location, Location.

    I am a SFP seller on Amazon and use Amazon Logistics (AL) for most of my Amazon orders, the ones that are not sent with AL are forced up to T24, usually because AL do not service that area or cant service Next Day from our location.

    We do not use DPD as the vast majority of our items are sub 1KG.

    We are in Aldershot, and the Amazon depot is in Weybridge and we are usually the last pick up for our nominated driver before they head to Weybridge, meaning that they usually arrive between 4.00 & 4.45 to pick up. The Window is currently 2.30 – 5.30.

    Our Royal Mail (RM) pick up is 4.10 to 4.20, however they are 50 meters away from my warehouse i can just walk it round at the end of the day if necessary.

    We already have a Sunday AL pickup, which works well for me as currently we can send all the Next Day mail for Standard prices as we have not changed our settings for Monday delivery for orders placed from Friday 2pm, as their Estimated Delivery Date (EDD) will be the Tuesday, although this will be a mandatory change from 30th June. We may opt in before then.

    We have had our phone call from Amazon and filled in our “Survey” with Amazon Shipping, but whilst they have said what the minimum carrier pickup time on weekdays will be – 16:30, they have not said what the end time will be!!

    Now, i’m usually in the warehouse till 6.20pm before i ride home like the wind for dinner a 6.30, so a 6.30pm cut off is not to onerous, but what if Amazon continue with a 3 hour window and i could be here till 7.30 every night waiting for Amazon, or perhaps longer.

    I would have to see if starting later is viable, our first knocks on the door start around 9am.

    Reading the message boards, i think quite a few sellers will kick SFP into touch, but then again, if what people did what they said on the message boards, there would be no sellers left on the site!!!

    The general conspiracy theory is SFP has run its course with Amazon which was needed when they were increasing their warehouse space, but now they have more space, they need to fill it and SFP does have cost implications for Amazon in that they have to pay the pick up drivers to collect from SFP sellers, much better to get the sellers to pay to get the goods to FBA warehouses!

  2. Another piece of evidence that Amazon are moving towards squeezing out the small sellers so that they have to manage a far smaller number of large sellers.

  3. Possibly a big turning point for us, the later collection is not an issue, but we simply can not open on a weekend so we just have to accept that will lose our Prime badge.

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