Amazon added new map tracking for Amazon Logistics Packages. The improvement comes as speculation heats up about how Amazon's own shipping services could impact shipping carriers, including how it is leveraging its Whole Foods grocery acquisition and a new program called Shipping with Amazon (SWA).
Here's a look at the new tracking feature tweeted by an Amazon executive.
Last week's buzz about Amazon shipping began on Thursday when Amazon announced the introduction of free two-hour delivery of products from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now in four cities: Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach.
On Friday, there were reports that Amazon was looking to compete head-to-head with UPS and FedEx. It was a repeat of similar buzz from October about Amazon "Seller Flex" and from January about FBA Onsite, which takes Seller Fulfilled Prime to a new level in which Amazon takes over sellers' logistics. Amazon invited some sellers into the program, telling them, "Your inventory remains in your facility and orders are fulfilled through Amazon's transportation network."
But Amazon continues to use existing carriers for both programs.
Amazon is trying to use its shipping partners more efficiently. It already delivers some of its own packages to end-users, and is now looking to pick up packages from some sellers and drop them into the most efficient stream, whether it's UPS, FedEx, and USPS - or its own logistics operation.
Amazon wants to ensure it can get packages to customers as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. This article in DC Velocity
delves into Amazon's programs in more detail.
What's of greater concern to multi-channel sellers is Amazon Logistics tracking - "Shipped with AMZL US." Some sellers have stopped using FBA for fulfilling orders from other marketplaces such as eBay and Jet (called MCF) because of restrictions - marketplaces don't want buyers getting items in Amazon-branded boxes - and by viewing the tracking number, the marketplaces can tell when a package is being delivered by Amazon.
And speaking of eBay, it is looking into fulfillment solutions for its sellers. In a survey in September, it told sellers:
"eBay is working to create fulfillment options that are faster, more affordable and more reliable for buyers. This next exercise will help us understand your preferences for a third-party fulfillment solution."
Thanks to readers for forwarding tips about these programs - if you notice any new programs or features when it comes to shipping on any of the marketplaces, be sure to let us know.