Amazon sent an email to third-party merchants informing them of new policies going into effect next month in an email titled, “Upcoming Changes to Shipping Options on Amazon.” The new policies appear to be part of a proactive attempt to avoid the problems that Amazon and other retailers experienced during last year’s holiday shopping season when some shoppers failed to receive their orders in time for holiday gift-giving.
The company had announced some changes with regard to stricter shipping requirements last month, as was discussed by sellers in threads such as this one.
One significant change: “Beginning November 13, 2014, the One-Day Shipping option will no longer be available as a U.S. domestic shipping option for your merchant-fulfilled items on Amazon.com.” That means only sellers who use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) will have access to the one-day shipping option.
Amazon said, “Sellers can offer Two-Day, Expedited, or Standard Shipping.” However, it is instituting stricter requirements for those wishing to offer 2-day shipping – for example, they are required to use UPS, US Postal Service, FedEx or OnTrac – “We will evaluate adding more carriers in the future,” Amazon stated.
And in a section called, “Other Delivery Performance Requirements,” Amazon said sellers’ defect rates must be less than 0.5%, but that appears to be only for sellers who wish to offer two-day shipping. The current Order Defect Rate for Amazon sellers is “less than 1%.”
Amazon said it would also add estimated delivery dates (EDDs) for each shipping option on the order check-out pages. “This change will help increase buyer confidence in purchasing items from sellers.”
Last month, Amazon also changed the way it calculates sellers’ Late Shipment Rate (LSR), a metric factored in to their Order Defect Rate performance standings.
When asked what he thought of the latest changes, a reader told EcommerceBytes it was Amazon’s selling platform, “they make the rules and it really doesn’t matter what I think. I just persevere and do the best job I can and if I make a mistake I try to right it. I consistently do well on the numbers that Amazon tracks to rate sellers so I’m not too concerned about the changes.”
However, he added, “What concerns me is when management tries to use numbers to judge sellers with no other input. A spreadsheet is easy for an MBA to read and judge, the particulars for problem orders are more difficult to quantify.”