New Amazon standard shipping requirements were recently announced for media sellers delivering to the contiguous United States. An official date for this change has since been made public, along with news of similar policy updates for sellers on Amazon UK.
A recent change in transit time requirements is bound to affect every third-party seller listing Books, Music, Video and DVD on Amazon. The update aims to bring merchant fulfillment in line with Amazon’s own delivery standards.
It used to be that US-based sellers had up to 14 days to deliver their books to Amazon customers who choose Standard Shipping for delivery within the lower 48 states. Starting August 31st, they only have four to eight days, excluding handling times. Sellers using USPS media mail services will need to switch to more expensive alternatives.
A similar transit time update will apply to UK sellers on September 18th. If their current transit times are faster, then no change will take place. If their carrier is slower, then they’re free to select longer transit times using the Shipping Settings menu. Sellers have also been given the option to revert to their old transit times by filling out a form.
Here is what we expect to happen to the marketplace after the change comes into effect:
- Buyers may place more MFN orders due to faster estimated delivery times;
- The market may be rid of some poor-performing sellers.
That being said, there are a few things sellers should take into account:
- The much-anticipated surge in MFN orders could fall below expectations because seasoned buyers may not place too much importance on estimated delivery dates, but checking feedback and comments before they place an order;
- Sellers may need to raise their prices to recoup their shipping costs, and they may also need to adapt logistically to new packaging requirements, collection times or changes in their software;
- As customers expect their packages to be delivered more quickly, sellers may see a rise in the amount of negative feedback they receive;
- Sellers who weren’t open about their shipping locations could simply start revealing where they’re shipping from, without changing their business model at all;
- Metrics like On Time Delivery and Valid Tracking Rate aren’t perfect, so it could be business as usual for bad sellers. Or, if bad sellers are removed from the marketplace, it may take much longer than expected.
It’s too early to tell how serious the impact of the change will be, but we’ll be keeping an eye on developments and any issues our customers may flag up. For news on these and other Amazon updates, please follow our blog.