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Tue Sept 6 2016 20:02:23

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers who list items on Amazon that can be shipped in small envelopes are struggling with a policy change that could impact their profitability in a big way. The policy change will impact sellers of low-price ephemera and collectibles such as stamps and trading cards and is somewhat similar to an eBay change in 2012 that impacted sellers' ability to retain Top Rated Seller status. 

Effective October 12, 2016, Amazon's package tracking requirement will extend to small and light items that are priced over $10 USD (including shipping).

Previously Amazon exempted small items from its Valid Tracking Rate - the policy states: 

"You are required to provide valid tracking numbers for 95% of your U.S. shipments, not including items shipped by freight with a carrier not integrated with Amazon or small items (such as screen protectors, greeting cards, etc.) that are shipped in Standard Mail envelopes or First Class Mail envelopes."

But next month, Amazon will require tracking for small and light items over $10. Here's why: "Amazon displays package tracking information buyers because we find that being able to check an order's shipment status and not worry about its whereabouts creates a better experience for buyers. This peace of mind is especially important for higher-priced orders."

Amazon has a suggestion for sellers, but it will still result in higher shipping costs: 

"If you choose to fulfill the tracking requirement by shipping your item as a parcel, there may be a $1-2 increase in base shipping cost but you will receive complimentary tracking on the parcel. You can access parcel rates while using the same packaging that you typically use by wrapping your item lightly in bubble wrap before putting it in the packaging, such that the thickness is more than 3/4" thick."

What are the consequences of not complying with the new policy? You risk losing your ability to sell non-FBA items within that category.

A seller on the Amazon boards described the dilemma - it costs the seller $2.60 for a tracked package, and it costs 50 cents for an envelope. "We will be adding tracking to what we need to in order to meet policy, we are just going to have to change a lot of costs to make up for the extra two dollars of shipping costs. We work on very low margins, so its way more of a problem than one may expect."




Comments (12) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Sep 6 20:24:40 2016

I already adhere to this, so for me it is no problem.

FYI, that statement about FCP needing to be 3/4" thick is only partially correct.  It needs to be 3/4" thick at some POINT [not the whole package] OR rigid.  It doesn't have to be both and it doesn't have to be the entire package that is rigid.  

The problem that some sellers are seeing on Amazon is the same thing as we have seen on Ebay for a long time now.  

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 20:52:14 2016

Oh..no! There's that dreaded 'experience' carp again!

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 7 02:24:43 2016

If we were chinese we could pay less then a stamp and get free tracking.

America needs to revolt if this isnt changed.


Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Wed Sep 7 11:14:46 2016

I was ''burned'' many, many years ago by a buyer who won an eBay claim because a package did not have tracking. So all packages have a tracking number. Always.

Heck, I did not know anyone even sent items untracked on Amazon until I got the e-mail from them. So the sellers that enjoy the $3.99 or $4.99 shipping allowance for a 47 cent stamp will have to increase prices to achieve the same profit margin.

It is no problem to stiffen a package to ship FCM, especially when it now costs $2.60 for all first class parcels from 0-8 ounces. Or one could add a small piece of rolled up bubble wrap or packing peanuts to the envelope to make 3/4'' or more thick.

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Sep 7 17:29:43 2016

I don't understand why any seller would not have a tracking number on everything they mail. How could a seller ever prevail in an INR claim if they don't have a tracking number to reference? I'm sure there are many online buyers who love it when they see there's no tracking number on a package since that will mean another freebie they can obtain.

Also, in the article it references trading cards as being shipped in small envelopes. Technically, that is against USPS policy since everything shipped as first class mail is supposed to be bendable, which trading cards are not.  

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 7 18:28:31 2016

@iheartjacksparrow

One of our stores sells collector stamps. ie postage stamps. 100 per cent of our orders are shipped first class mail in a business envelope.

We ship hundreds of these envelopes each month. In two years of doing this we have had exactly three people claim INR. We just refunded, blocked and moved on.

Could you imagine shipping these at 2.65 each just to get tracking that everyone thinks is the cats meow. Only a carrot jumper would do that.

I do need to clarify part of the above. If the order is over 20.00 we will use tracking.

Also any buyer with 0 feedback gets his money return and we don't EVER ship to them. We have found we don't get any back reversals via paypig when we do that.

People are just so paranoid about tracking we laugh all the way to the back with our savings.

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 7 23:10:18 2016

Tracking should be free with every stamp..dont you think its the shippers responsibility to always know where your parcel is?? You are utilizing their service. Somehow weve allowed them to chargevus for doing their job correctly..look at insurence..pay more so you are fovered when they fail to do their job??? That should be a given and free

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 00:44:29 2016

I have never measured my padded envelopes to see if they are 3/4". I am not going to either, never had a problem. But I am glad to hear that if any of my competitors are currently shipping anything 2.00 cheaper than me, they will be raising their prices.

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 02:47:25 2016

Non-bendable first class letters are classified as non-machinable and a 21-cent surcharge applies.

I too send stamps and postcards in first class letters (non-bendable) with no tracking available and claims of non-receipt are exceedingly rare.

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 09:45:12 2016

I have been using tracking on everything for a long time. I just don't sell anything so low that, with tracking, I would not make a profit.  

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Thu Sep 8 11:01:45 2016

I am sure that this negatively impacts sellers who sell the lowest of the low value merchandise, but my question is:
"Why even bother selling such cheap items?" E-Commerce is hard enough!

Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy   Amazon Hits Sellers with New Tracking Policy

by: FH991586 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 9 10:40:14 2016

As a Canadian, where you can't send anything under $7 if you need a tracking, it would seriously disturb my business if I had one as a seller.  But as a buyer, I buy less and less from the USA because I get stupid quotes like $15 for shipping a dvd (not even under the GSP!)...  Small items selling is doomed on those platforms.  Doomed.



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