|Mon Jan 6 2014 09:23:45|
Amazon Beats eBay to Punch in Warning Sellers of Weather Delays
By: Ina Steiner
Over the years eBay has issued warnings to users when major events (such as storms and hurricanes) impact sellers' ability to deliver orders in a timely manner. eBay generally asks sellers to communicate with buyers if they expect any delays, and has sometimes offered to protect any resulting negative feedback.
This year, Amazon came in first in issuing such a warning to sellers. On Sunday, Amazon posted a notice to sellers with the headline, "Fulfillment of Orders May Be Impacted by Winter Storm Hercules."
With 40% of Amazon's total paid units generated by third-party merchants (the percentage is likely higher when counting only physical goods), Amazon relies much more on sellers to fulfill goods these days.
In Sunday's "Technical Notification," Amazon advised sellers:
- If you anticipate that you will be unable to meet your shipping service levels, consider temporarily setting your seller-fulfilled listings to inactive. See Listing Status Settings.
- For seller-fulfilled orders to be shipped within areas potentially impacted by Winter Storm Hercules, contact buyers via the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service about the status of their orders.
Amazon also said sellers with their products in the FBA program (Fulfilled by Amazon) would not have to take any action: "No action is required for products fulfilled by Amazon, and Amazon will handle messaging for all FBA orders impacted by Winter Storm Hercules."
As of this writing (Monday morning), eBay had posted no notice about Winter Storm Hercules on its announcement boards. eBay sellers have observed differences in the level of support provided on weekends versus weekdays, so it's interesting that someone at Amazon responsible for 3P orders was working on Sunday.
It's also interesting to note that eBay no longer makes promises to protect affected sellers' feedback - instead, its messaging generally reads, "We will continue to monitor these conditions and will reach out as necessary to eBay members who may be affected."
That doesn't mean Amazon will protect a seller's performance metrics, so wherever you sell, it's important to let buyers know if they should expect any shipping delays. Customers may be particularly sensitive to delays given the recent headlines about packages not arriving in time for Christmas, and when they receive their orders, they may be looking to provide feedback irrespective of the temperature outside.