Amazon posted an announcement on Tuesday, “Important: Drop Shipping Policy update.” Sellers said the post made Amazon’s policy clearer, though there was a debate about whether there was actually anything new in the announcement.
As ecommerce platform Shopify explains in a guide published this month, “Dropshipping is a business model that allows entrepreneurs to start an online business and sell products to their buyers without ever actually stocking the items themselves. Instead, when a dropshipping store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer.”
Amazon (and eBay) are okay with sellers who use drop-shipping, as long as it looks to the buyer like the item is coming from the seller and meets the marketplaces’ standards.
As EcommerceBytes reported in 2019, marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are especially concerned about buyers receiving orders in a rival’s packaging. That can happen if an Amazon seller fulfills an order by purchasing an item from eBay but provides the address of the Amazon buyer so that the eBay seller ships the item directly to the Amazon customer (and vice versa).
eBay’s policy states, “Drop shipping, where you fulfill orders directly from a wholesale supplier, is allowed on eBay,” but it also states, “However, listing an item on eBay and then purchasing the item from another retailer or marketplace that ships directly to your customer is not allowed on eBay.”
Many shoppers are peeved to think they ordered something on one marketplace and ended up getting it from a seller on a different marketplace.
Amazon’s post stated, “If you fulfill orders using a third party, a practice known as drop shipping, you must follow all Amazon policies in order to ensure a consistent customer experience that easily identifies only you as the seller of record.” That includes the following provision: “You may not ship orders with packing slips, invoices, external packaging, or other information indicating a seller name or contact information other than your own.”
Some sellers said they would welcome it if Amazon enforced the policy, and said other sellers turn to them to fulfill their orders. “I would just be happy if other sellers would quit using us as their drop shipper,” one seller wrote. “You always get the same message from them, Please do not include the packaging slip, price blah blah blah…”
Note that Amazon also expects sellers who dropship to be responsible for accepting and processing customer returns.
Sellers who dropship should review Amazon’s latest post for the full details.