Like in many businesses, Amazon is the battlefield where speed and service quality are usually at odds.
Many Amazon sellers enjoy the benefits of the platform’s extensive warehousing and customer service through the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program.
However, it takes quite some time to deliver packages to customers.
But what if I tell you that you can subscribe to the FBA selling arrangement while also enjoying quicker delivery times and many other benefits?
Introducing: Amazon Seller Flex program.
This new Amazon service began in India around 2015.
But the flex program has also been marketed in the United States for quite some time now.
In this guide, I will help you through the platform’s new seller program.
You’ll be able to:
- Find out what the Amazon flex program for sellers is all about
- Discover how you can take advantage of this new seller scheme
- Know how you can get started with the said program
Let’s jump right in!
Table of Contents
What Is the Amazon Seller Flex Program?
You may be wondering, what is Seller Flex exactly? Why did Amazon come up with this unique seller program?
Sellers have less control in a typical FBA fulfillment process; Amazon owns the FBA warehouse and handles inventory management, having the products shipped, and managing customer service.
But with the Seller Flex Amazon program, merchants have better control over their business.
They get to manage inventories, packages, and orders. Sellers also own their warehouses in this selling scheme.
However, in Seller Flex, Amazon takes charge of transporting merchandise to and from warehouses and customers’ homes.
Trade magazine Logistics Management also mentions that even though Amazon may enlist the help of shipping companies like FedEx or UPS, the ecommerce company decides “how to send a package, as opposed to leaving that at the discretion of the seller.”
Now that you’re in the know regarding what is Amazon flex, you might be wondering, “Am I eligible for this seller program?”
If you’re curious about this, read on to learn more.
Requirements For Applying for Amazon Seller Flex Program
Usually, the Amazon Seller Flex program is “by invitation only.”
This means only those sellers who Amazon invites can participate in the program.
However, you can still apply for the program without an invitation, as you will find out later in the article.
Amazon usually invites sellers who fulfill the following criteria:
- Monthly sales of $ 0.6 million
- Amazon seller rating which is not lower than 90%
- Sales quantity of around 1,000 units per month
- Located in certain areas
As you can see, Amazon will look at your sales to see if you’re eligible for the Seller Flex program.
Whether or not you already fit in the criteria, I encourage you to read the next section on the advantages of participating in the Seller Flex Program.
After all, you don’t know when you might need the information!
Benefits Of Seller Flex Program
Amazon flex benefits include:
- Better credibility because you also get an FBA tag
- Improved customer satisfaction due to the next-day or two-day delivery guarantee. That’s way quicker and more profitable than other Amazon seller arrangements
- Better control over your inventory compared to FBA arrangements, where Amazon has both ownership and control of the inventory management
- Lower transportation costs are more likely since packages can be shipped to and from the warehouse of your choice instead of the designated Amazon warehouse facilities
Features Of Amazon Seller Flex
Among the program’s most notable features include:
- Total delegation of customer service issues to Amazon
- Extensive training on inventory and account management, care of Amazon personnel
- Inventory management software developed by Amazon (sellers have ultimate control in using the software)
- Amazon Seller Flex login credentials
Equipment Requirements To Start an Amazon Seller Flex Business
You need two things to start a Seller Flex site: your own warehouse and everything in it.
To be more specific, here are the Amazon flex requirements (the first two involve warehouse layout):
- Packing station area
- Parking area for Amazon transport vehicle
- A minimum of six staff members to run the warehouse
- UPS Inverter or power backup
- Two computers (Windows 7 or above, and a minimum of 2GB RAM)
- Two bar code scanners
- Two stable Internet connections
- Three printers: 1 for the Shipping label, 1 for Gift labels, and another one for PDF invoice files
- Labeled racks and bins to keep products organized
Though you also need packing supplies with the Amazon trademark, you don’t need to worry about these since the platform will provide you with these materials.
How To Apply For The Amazon Seller Flex Program
According to US-based eCommerce consultancy AMZ Advisers, you can contact the platform through the following channels in case you didn’t get an invitation to join the Seller Flex program:
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: (+1) 888-281-6901 or (+1) 877-212-6150
If you contact Amazon through the phone numbers above while within the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and other countries in the North American Numbering Plan, chances are you won’t get charged by your phone company since “888” and “877” are toll-free numbers.
However, your phone bill can incur additional charges if you call from other countries.
To save on costs, The Finance Buff suggests you call Amazon through Skype using your computer or smartphone.
If you’re not yet familiar with Skype, you’ll be happy to know it is free for download.
The app just needs a strong and stable Internet connection for you to use it.
Also, a landline or cellular subscription is not required for this type of software.
Once you receive an invitation or are deemed eligible by Amazon, you can proceed by doing the following in order:
1 – Fill in the registration form with all relevant information and requirements pertaining to your business
2 – Send the documents in number 1 to Amazon so the platform’s team can evaluate your documents
3 – Once deemed qualified, Amazon’s support staff will contact you to help you install the warehouse inventory management software and provide you with things like the Amazon Seller Flex app login credentials, instructions, and important information on procedures and functions.
Are There Any Issues With The Seller Flex Program?
Some sellers have encountered some problems regarding the Seller Flex program.
Among their most common complaints or concerns include:
1 – The program is only suitable for sellers who have expensive products or diverse items. In other words, sellers who have a limited portfolio of merchandise and/or sell cheap won’t benefit from the program.
2 – The equipment and performance requirements (sales figures, etc.) are unreachable for sellers with limited capital and/or who have not yet reached the required financial statistics mentioned earlier.
3 – Extra warehouse areas means additional costs for sellers
4 – High standards of selling operations need to be maintained to remain in the program
5 – The program is only available in specific locations
6 – Additional employees are needed in case of peak in orders from customers
Should I Give It A Try?
Suppose you’re a large-scale seller who has a wide variety of items in your inventory.
BUT the nearest Amazon-owned warehouse is still quite far or difficult to access from your location.
In that case, the Seller Flex program could be a good idea because you can cut shipping costs while enjoying Amazon’s other benefits.
You should also check out your product pricing and see if you still generate profit despite the costs of running the Seller Flex business plan.
Committing to the Seller Flex program is a big business move.
So I highly recommend thinking of all your questions and concerns before contacting Amazon.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply for the Amazon Flex Program for Sellers
Amazon sends invitations to eligible sellers who may want to participate in the Seller Flex scheme (see the article section with the title “Requirements For Applying for Amazon Seller Flex Program” for more information).
However, if you haven’t received an invitation and you think you’re eligible for the selling scheme, you are free to contact Amazon by phone or email.
How Do I Contact Amazon Flex Support?
You can contact Amazon Flex Support by phone or email.
You can call the platform’s team at (+1) 888-281-6901 or (+1) 877-212-6150. Omit the number “1” when dialing within the United States.
If you prefer emailing Amazon, you can do so by sending a message to [email protected]
What Is Meant By Return Rate In Seller Flex?
Since Seller Flex is not yet firmly established in the United States, the Amazon Help article on Seller Flex for India-based sellers is the next best thing to help answer this question. After all, India is the first country that tested the beta Seller Flex.
According to the said Help article, return rates for the Amazon Flex Seller program are mostly focused on the concept of seller-controllable return rates (SCRR). This rate is important to determine if sellers who participate in the flex selling arrangement are liable to pay for refunds issued to buyers.
Basically, you can calculate SCRR by dividing the number of seller-controllable returns of a particular product by the total number of shipped orders of the same product.
Seller-controllable returns occur when the seller in question can control the product-related issues which led to the returns. An example of this is when a buyer returns a product after proving that the product’s key characteristics differ from what the seller posted on the product detail page.
If sellers go beyond Amazon’s SCRR percentage standards, the platform can charge them for customer refunds.
A Few Last Words
The Amazon Seller Flex program is suitable for a particular set of sellers.
I have discussed what the selling arrangement is all about, how you can contact Amazon to know more about it, and whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
Based on this information, I hope you can find your way to growing your Amazon business.