Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Dec 6 2017 10:23:53

Do You Ship in Amazon Boxes to Speed Delivery?

By: Ina Steiner

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Of all the tips sellers share, this one is the most intriguing we've seen in a while: ship your item in an Amazon-branded box to speed delivery.

The advice came up in a recent blog post about the challenge of Christmas Day falling on a Monday this year, since Sunday-delivery on Christmas Eve may not be possible for all sellers.

RL15 suggested, "Just use Amazon boxes, they will get delivered on Christmas Eve."

That led Chicago48 to ask, "Where can I buy Amazon boxes? We know and it's known that the Post office gives priority to Amazon boxes when it comes to shipping."

It may not be a stated policy handed down by USPS management to carriers, but even the perception on the part of postal workers that Amazon is an important customer (and possibly a key to its survival) could lead to favored treatment of its packages. 

But can postal workers easily discern when an Amazon box is not sent from Amazon?

The question becomes even more relevant as Walmart has taken to branding its boxes and as eBay tries to get sellers to use eBay-branded packaging to ship their orders. (It's even part of eBay's marketing strategy with TV commercials featuring colorful boxes and referencing Amazon's "boring" beige boxes.)

What do you think of the strategy of using Amazon boxes to ship your orders? Do postal carriers treat Amazon boxes with greater care, and are any there downsides to using an Amazon box to ship items even if you made the sale off-Amazon?




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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 6 11:03:26 2017

We use just the plain old vanilla boxes. If amazon and or ebay, walmart wants use to use something with their name on it,we are more than willing when they send use a check for doing so.

As for the post office giving preferred treatment to amazon it a known fact they do. Why would the post office bite the hand than in the long run just might keep it afloat.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Dec 6 11:20:04 2017

I would NEVER use the enemies boxes!

90% of the boxes I use are US Priority Mail

The other 10% are eBay branded bubble mailers

But if I were a seller using both Amazon & eBay I would use the Amazon box because the USPS treats them as GOLD. . .

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 6 11:36:36 2017

Yes I do whenever I have a suitable box. Since I pulled a great deal of my FBA inventory back to seller fulfilled I have a good stock of Amazon boxes.

I use three different Post Office locations in shipping. The manager of the larger one was working the desk when I bought in some shipments in Amazon boxes. She laughed and said taking advantage huh? So I asked, and she said that "unless something was wrong with the address the package will be assumed Amazon and move right along the system pretty quickly".

Of course, she could have been just pushing the rumor along without any actual basis in fact.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Dec 6 12:17:26 2017

I recycle Amazon boxes since I don't purchase ULine boxes in every size, and sometimes I need a box that happens to be the size that I have from Amazon. I don't expect or want special treatment from the post office.  

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 6 12:29:29 2017

1) I highly doubt that reusing an Amazon box will help speed things up ... is this an old wives tale or reality? the label gets scanned and thats it - they dont look at the side of the box to see whos it is

2) theres TONS of Amazon boxes around all the time - if they are neat and clean we reuse them. Why not? a penny saved is a penny earned.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Dec 6 12:51:17 2017

I don't buy from Amazon after their mugging attempt.  Trying to be professional, I did order a few sizes of Uline boxes and peanuts.  I don't do enough trading that reusing boxes would've worked anyway.

Frankly, the hard part is making the sale.  USPS has always done an outstanding job of delivering to my customers.  I don't need Amazon.  If we'd all come to that realization, they'd fall apart.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Dec 6 13:47:38 2017

The only advantage I can see to using Amazon's boxes is Sunday delivery if that's important to a seller or their buyer, but frankly I think Sunday deliveries are feeding into the enlargement of the gotta-have-it now whiny Princess buyer mentality Amazon and ebafia created.

This encouragement and escalation of infantile impatience has, in my opinion, become a cancer in the marketplace that has metastasized and is at least partially responsible for the growing number of buyers who make unreasonable, often extortionate demands on sellers whom these marketplaces have rendered defenseless.

Every year procrastinating buyers wait until the last minute and then some demand sellers provide free overnight shipping. As far as I'm concerned, their procrastination is their problem not mine.

I find it odd that ebafia couldn't negotiate Sunday delivery after introducing their cart full of color branded boxes to compete beige and black smiles.

So, no, I won't be re using Amazon boxes. I recycle them.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 6 13:47:53 2017

Amazon boxes also are secured with Amazon tape, and always have an Amazon fulfillment center return address on the label, with an instruction to carrier to leave it even if no answer at the address.  Meaning even if stolen, Amazon will make good.  And that label always 'looks' the same, typically with multiple bar codes.

They are also delivered to the station from the regional sort centers palletized together, not 'mixed' with other boxes.  So if anyone is picturing the station sort involving searching for and selecting Amazon boxes first out of any 'pile' being parced for delivery, that would be an incorrect assumption.

So, IF all that can be 'counterfeited' somehow, then yes, those 'imposters' MAY get sort preference above others except registered, certified, and PRI Express.  But only at the moment of sort; all pallets (received) that day get processed that day.  Worst case (volume exceeds day's capability) is they are sorted that afternoon while carriers are out, (before any next day Amazon), parsed out to carrier bins for loading next AM, and delivered the next day, but there are also a cadre of carrier assistants that are typically assigned to deliver the day's 'excess' boxes separately, that same day.

And yes, clerks and carriers know the difference, based on the attributes above.  The 'box' branding is not really the factor; lots of boxes are recycled too - it's encouraged.  

That stated, while it is 'possible' a reused box MIGHT nevertheless get a 'slight preference' from the USPS, any such 'time advantage' isn't materially significant, and certainly not something to 'bank' on.  One may also have to deal with a buyer wondering why their eBay purchase 'seems' to have been fulfilled by Amazon.

Can't speak for what other carriers might do, or how.  

BTW - lots of 'spurs' (small poly bags, etc.) also are Amazon.  Those ARE typically received 'mixed' and due to small size, will typically ALL be sorted and parsed that AM for delivery.  Along with all those Chinese ePaks.  

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 6 14:58:57 2017

I don't buy the notion that you have to treat the whole market place as though it has a single Microwave Mentality.
I ship the same or next day via 1st Class or Priority Mail...delivery is what it is.
I've had multiple packages delivered TWO DAYS after mailing...crickets feedback.
Maybe they expected that speed, maybe not. I have no way to discern, so I'll just assume NOT.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Dec 7 00:15:02 2017

I agree with @pace. I find it dubious that beleaguered USPS postal workers 'sort out' Amazon boxes for special handling.  

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 00:40:07 2017

I don't have many so I would use one if it were the right size or if I really thought I needed to get it delivered faster than normal I might try that.

I had an ebay buyer complain that the Post office tried to deliver her mail on Sunday after Thanksgiving at her work address. Don't know if it was an ebay or plain box.  I told her they were probably just trying to keep up with the volume.

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by: Duster This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 00:54:43 2017

This is all very interesting information.  I never reused Amazon boxes due to the fear that they would be targets for the porch pirates/mailbox pirates. I've covered the ''eBay and Etsy'' names on the printable shipping labels for the same reason. Plain packages with no shop names in the return address were policy all these years. Only one package theft in 20 years of online selling, and that was pulled off with lies and deception.  I doubt that package appearance would matter in such a case.
Though I often reused clean boxes to ship items out in, I'd never use anything with other companies logos on them.  Reminds me of a shipment I once received that came in a rum shipping box. Worse still, I've heard of customers receiving shipments in adult diaper cartons. How Tacky!

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Dec 7 01:32:47 2017

I'm on the Amazon Vine program which means I get more than my fair share of boxes in all sorts of sizes from Amazon. I have found that even sending something sent via Priority in a 'plain' brown box is usually cheaper than Amazons flat rate boxes. So I recycle Amazon boxes when needed. I have no clue if they get delivered faster or not because most of my feedback is about fast shipping whether in a FCM bubble envelope or an old Amazon box.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 06:42:42 2017

I use Amazon boxes when I can find them and recycle them.  I also use Ebay branded tape on some boxes.  Anything that speeds or helps with delivery works for me.  I do see more AMZ boxes in the mail bins than I do any other boxes.

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by: ewegolf This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 07:57:14 2017

For postal workers low on seniority or on probationary status Amazon provides more hours for them.  I drive by my local USPS site around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings and there are usually 10-12 employee cars in the lot.  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 08:07:48 2017

targets for the porch pirates/mailbox pirates
^^
It's up to the buyer/consumer to protect their packages, not the seller.  I wouldn't worry too much about it being stolen.  That's the buyer's problem.

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by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 08:43:22 2017

I order a lot from Amazon and always reuse the Amazon boxes (plus FBA removals deliver in boxes back to me). I have not tracked if they are delivered any faster by the USPS, however, I have seen a day shaved off of ups delivery.

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by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 09:32:49 2017

This is tin foil hat stuff.

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by: toyman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 10:56:11 2017

I use Amazon boxes, but mainly, because my extended family always saves their boxes when they receive a mail order shipment and, apparently, a lot of those shipments come from Amazon!    ;>)

I use Priority Mail boxes when they fit my needs, but I have to buy a large quantity of boxes wholesale, because our inventory is generally larger than 12x12 in size. So, any "free" boxes are appreciated...and used.

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by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 7 14:10:22 2017

I supported equipment at Amazon Sites. The packages are all sorted to destination and Amazon even has lots of sort centers where the packages are sorted further down to zip code for the post office. With millions of packages a day and most of the processing automated (with the exception of you handing it to the postal employee, and the delivery by the same), the automation can't tell what is what. They use bar codes to distinguish between packages. The Identifiers used on the Amazon boxes are for the water spiders use to make sure they put the right size box in the right slot at the packing station. I think that using an Amazon box to get better treatment is an urban legend

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