Amazon is blocking FedEx Ground for certain Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) orders during the holiday shopping season. SFP are items that display the Prime badge indicating 2-day delivery, but are fulfilled by sellers rather than by Amazon. (See clarification below.)
Amazon had instituted a similar block last year from mid-December through mid-January, which gave rise to much speculation about the relationship between Amazon and FedEx when the Wall Street Journal broke the news. In its article, the Journal reported that Amazon had cited “a decline in FedEx performance heading into the final holiday push” as reason for the policy.
This year, a FedEx spokesperson told EcommerceBytes it was temporarily extending FedEx Ground Peak transit times in certain lanes beginning November 2. “This will provide increased flexibility allowing us to optimize the use of our capacity and best serve the needs of all of our customers during this busy time. The changes will be communicated on a customer-by-customer basis as appropriate.”
Here is the message Amazon sent to sellers this week:
This is an update on recent changes by FedEx to their transit times that will be in effect from November 2, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery is adjusting shipping speeds by adding 1 transit day on some lanes during the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season. As a result, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will not be available for Seller Fulfilled Prime shipments when these services do not meet the Prime promise. If you do not see these services in Buy Shipping, please select a shipping option that’s able to fulfill your Prime orders.
The Seller Fulfilled Prime team
Update 11/13/2020: A FedEx spokesperson asked us to add the following clarification: “The temporary extension of FedEx Ground transit times in certain lanes does not impact an SFP merchant from choosing FedEx Ground if the Prime badge isn’t present.”
And we would point out to readers that, as Amazon noted in its notification to merchants, “FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will not be available for Seller Fulfilled Prime shipments when these services do not meet the Prime promise.”