Amazon taking away SFP due to Delivery speed metric page views


#1

Is any one else having a problem with Amazons new speed metrics page views? Or understand what it means?


#2

Yes. Even though we have 100% Account Health, Perfect on-time Ship and Delivery, 100% Tracking Numbers and otherwise GOOD or Perfect Metrics in every REAL metric, we too were just suspended from SFP because of this Fictional Delivery Speed Performance Metric.

After a futile, extensive back and forth with an SFP Rep, we were advised our only option was to increase our One Day Next Day Shipping Coverage. This is cost prohibitive for our 18x6x6, 3lb box that would cost between $50 and $75 to ship UPS Red/Next Day Nationwide.

What was truly frustrating was that the SFP Rep absolutely refused to send the details of our case along with our documentation up to a Senior Program Policy Manager - who might have been able to modify or adjust the program.

Instead the rep was fixated on the fact that “This was the new Delivery Speed Performance Policy, No exceptions would be made, facts did not matter, READ YOUR Marketplace SFP requirements - Have a nice day.” Obviously a policy enforcer and lemming.

It is unfortunate that Amazon has chosen to display a fiction based on when the customer is BROWSING vs relying on actual required ship date and delivery date once the customer ACTUALLY ORDERS the product.

The unintended consequence is that today we received an order and a customer who would have been entitled to FREE Two Day Prime Shipping had to pay extra for it.

Candidly, perhaps my concern is misplaced as maybe Amazon has done me a favor. Since I am no longer SFP, I probably do not need to ship six days a week, can make my cut-off time earlier, and perhaps even add a processing day. Shipping costs for UPS Ground/Priority Mail are certainly lower than sending things out UPS Second Day Air. (Although we do have an insane discount with UPS - even deeper than the SFP UPS program.)

We are the exclusive manufacturer and trademark owner of our brand. If a customer wants the genuine article we are it - except perhaps for one of our authorized dealers nationwide.

We have determined that the underlying problem is not necessarily the metric itself - although it absolutely penalizes low page view, high ticket sellers - but the fact that we continue to see shipping day calculation errors in the relatively new Automated Regional Shipping Template Calculations which manifest themselves when we use “Amazon Buy Shipping.”

It is not uncommon to see the ARST suggest one day shipping because it does NOT recognize Saturday or more correctly Monday as the proper delivery day for a Thursday shipment. Or it will suggest Three Day instead of Two Day or Ground to get the package there in the Two Day SFP requirement window. My favorite is an order received at 11pm local time Wednesday. Amazon Buy Shipping offered to ship dates, Wednesday - which at 11pm is well after cut-off for any Carrier and Friday. Notice that THURSDAY, the actual next business day was completely MISSING.


#3

This isn’t a ‘fictional’ metric, it’s an actual, concrete, real-life, existing one, as you found out if you were suspended for not meeting it.

But that said, Amazon did a horrendously lousy job of explaining what the ‘page views’ stuff is all about. I tried to explain my interpretation of it to someone recently here -

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the new rules, I’m only trying to translate what Amazon says (which is basically gibberish, since almost nobody understood it) into what I think they meant. I was a long-time SFP seller myself, but I gave it up long before the new metrics came into play because sales started to be worse with it than without it.

we were advised our only option was to increase our One Day Next Day Shipping Coverage. This is cost prohibitive for our 18x6x6, 3lb box

Meeting the new Next Day requirement is cost prohibitive for almost everybody, at least unless you have multiple warehouses across the US like Amazon does, which is why most long-time SFP sellers are no longer. Amazon has no obligation to make the program cost-effective for any of us, they simply set the rules and leave it to us to figure out if we can meet them or not. If it’s cost-prohibitive for someone, then they would choose to opt out.

SFP Rep absolutely refused to send the details of our case along with our documentation up to a Senior Program Policy Manager - who might have been able to modify or adjust the program.

Well, yeah. Because no one is going to modify the program for one particular seller. It’s up to the seller to either meet the program requirements, or not participate. Again, I’m not saying Amazon was right to change the rules, just that you don’t have any grounds for escalation if you can’t meet the rules.

This was the new Delivery Speed Performance Policy, No exceptions would be made

Unfortunately, that’s correct. It’s a new policy and you need to meet it to stay in SFP.

It is unfortunate that Amazon has chosen to display a fiction based on when the customer is BROWSING vs relying on actual required ship date

It sounds like you don’t understand what the goal of the rules change is. Again, I’m NOT defending them, just explaining them, as I understand them. Amazon apparently wants buyers to see TRUE 1-day and 2-day delivery promises. Any time they view a seller’s offers after that seller’s daily cut-off time, buyers are seeing “+1 day” delivery promises, that is, 1-day service shows 2-days delivery and 2-day service shows 3 days.

They want to increase the percentage of time buyers see TRUE 1- and 2-day offers. At least that’s how I interpret the reason behind this rule. It isn’t about the timeliness of your chosen delivery service, but about the delivery promise the buyer sees when browsing.

Candidly, perhaps my concern is misplaced as maybe Amazon has done me a favor.

It certainly takes a lot of pressure off a seller not having to adhere to SFP’s rules and Amazon’s whim to refund buyers just because they put on blue socks today.

the underlying problem is not necessarily the metric itself - although it absolutely penalizes low page view, high ticket sellers

The sellers it really penalizes are those with a single warehouse. If you’re a large entity with ships-from locations in both Denver and Nashville, then you could meet 2-day delivery to almost the entire country using Ground:

Your Next Day delivery costs should be much lower too, since every region would be within your 2-day Ground areas. Nothing would have to incur the really expensive cross-country rates. Unfortunately, those of us with just one location, which I assume is almost everybody, can’t meet the new requirements.

we continue to see shipping day calculation errors in the relatively new Automated Regional Shipping Template Calculations which manifest themselves when we use “Amazon Buy Shipping.”

That’s a separate issue, but one of those problems you won’t have to deal with anymore. I could have been far more successful at SFP when I did it (and this was long before the shipping template automation, which I won’t use), if I hadn’t been restricted by Amazon’s stupid ‘you must use Buy Shipping’ rule. I know far better than Buy Shipping does, which service I can use to deliver a package in 2 days.

It was always my pet peeve being forced to use a faulty system which denied me the ability to use the best delivery service that was available.


#4

I appreciate your thoughtful and comprehensive reply. I do understand exactly how this is being calculated and was advised that the delivery date math is based on the Automated Regional Shipping Template - which is having significant issues and, I believe, a contributing factor to incorrect Speed Performance Delivery Metrics.

And you are absolutely correct: If I had my own fulfillment centers where the entire nation was Zone 2 to each warehouse, this would not be an issue. And, probably would not need to sell on Amazon as I would be a nationwide retailer.

Yes. You can say it is a real metric because it has real consequences but the calculation is a fiction because 4pm Local Time is the approximate cut-off time for all shipping. Therefore anyone viewing a detail product page in the evening, when many tend to shop, will probably see a FICTIONAL three day delivery time - which just makes no sense - when in fact if they were to place the actual order, they would be receiving the product in TWO BUSINESS/DELIVERY DAYS - which was the definition of SFP. Only Amazon FBA or the few super large resellers who can tap into the Amazon Nationwide Shipping Network have true 24/7/365 delivery capability.

Amazon is calculating this as a Three Day Speed Performance Delivery metric when in fact the item will absolutely be delivered in the Two DELIVERY Day Prime Window - with the exception of Sunday.

So, the metric is skewed if the customer is looking on a Thursday or Friday, where Saturday Delivery may not be an option, and delivery date truly is Monday.

It is maddening and short-sighted.

In Amazon’s effort to get everyone to One Day, it instead created a situation where a good portion of the catalog is being pushed out to three to seven days - assuming the Marketplace Reseller did not just pickup and leave.

How does it serve Amazon Shoppers to see LONGER lead times?

Here are two examples of how our suspension from SFP due to the Speed Delivery Metric negatively impacted the Customer shopping/delivery experience with a more costly or longer delivery time and yet absolutely benefited us.

A Prime Customer ordered an item and PAID EXTRA for Two Day Guaranteed Delivery. Were we still SFP, would have been no extra charge to customer and delivered in Two Days - as we had been doing just last week. So for the first time in a while, we were properly compensated for the cost of expedited, two day shipping - instead of relying on everything averaging out between USPS, Ground, and 2DA.

Prime customer ordered item with Standard delivery time. Instead of shipping Wednesday via UPS Two Day for Friday at our expense, Amazon suggested Parcel Select, Cubic, Priority Mail at 1/3rd the cost with a Delivery Date between Monday and Wednesday of next week. For the approximately $2 difference, we opted for UPS Ground so Customer will have this Saturday. We came out ahead by saving the more than $15 additional we would have paid to send this item to Sunny Florida via Two Day.

We are exceptionally fortunate. Sales are consistent and we expect they will remain so as we are both the manufacturer and trademark holder of our exclusive brand. It is only available from us or one of our authorized dealers in our nationwide network.

We were on Amazon for a few years prior to being invited in to apply/qualify for SFP and it was a great run, but as others have noted, Amazon has become significantly more rigid and sadly it seems absolutely no one is monitoring the support cases on this issue nor even reviewing these Seller Forum Threads.

Nothing would make me happier than for Amazon to bring back its’ Wholesale Direct Purchase Program - Amazon Vendor Express. Amazon placed Purchase Orders, we sent a number of cartons to their various warehouses and sixty days later payment showed up.

Then all my products would “Sold and Shipped by Amazon” and none of this would be an issue.