Amazon Eases Third-Party Seller Delivery Requirements
Amazon.com is easing third-party seller delivery requirements, CNBC reported. This is due to ongoing constraints on major shipping carriers as a result of the coronavirus. The e-commerce giant announced in August that starting in February 2021, members of Amazon's Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program would be required to make deliveries on Saturdays, and meet one- and two-day delivery targets. The program, launched in 2016, is for third-party sellers who pack and ship their own orders for two-day shipping, and therefore can display the Prime badge on their listings without paying Amazon for its fulfillment services.
Amazon sent a note to sellers in the SFP program on Tuesday explaining that the company was temporarily relaxing the delivery speed targets as a result of logistical constraints. Third-party sellers will not be penalized for missing one- and two-day delivery targets for the time being.
Third-party sellers will only be required to guarantee delivery in two days or less for 55 percent of people who view their product listing. In June, that threshold will increase to 70 percent, CNBC reported. SFP members will still have to support Saturday or Sunday delivery and pickups.
Major carriers, such as U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx, have recently experienced significant shipping delays throughout the holiday shopping season. Carriers will also be be prioritizing shipments of the coronavirus vaccine over the next few months.
Total Retail's Take: When Amazon announced this change in the summer, it received some criticism from its third-party sellers, who were frustrated they would now have to work on weekends to meet the stringent shipping deadlines. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, third-party sellers who fulfilled their own orders were struggling to hit the delivery targets. The delays that major shipping carriers are currently experiencing is out of the control of third-party sellers, and therefore they shouldn't be penalized for them. It will be interesting to see if Amazon will need to readjust these requirements again in June, depending on the e-commerce and shipping landscape at that time.
Related story: Bracing for the Returns Avalanche
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.