Amazon shipping – pros, cons and everything in between

Picking up and delivering online orders to your customers, seven days a week, Amazon Shipping sounds like the online seller’s dream. But is it?

Picking up and delivering online orders to your customers, seven days a week, Amazon Shipping sounds like the online seller’s dream. But is it?

This week, we’re examining Amazon Shipping in-depth – covering what it is, who it’s for and how it compares to a 3PL.

What is Amazon Shipping?

Amazon Shipping is a premium eCommerce shipping service for next-day deliveries in the UK. It operates seven days per week and charges no additional fee or surcharge for peak pickups or deliveries – making it an interesting service for online sellers.

Even more intriguing, is the fact that Amazon Shipping is available to retailers whichever marketplaces or eCommerce platform they sell on, meaning that you don’t have to sell on Amazon to use the service.

Relevant reading: Considerations when selecting the best courier service for your business

The benefits of Amazon Shipping

Amazon Shipping has entered a buzzing market of shipping carriers and couriers across the UK – how do they think they stand out?

Expertise

Amazon has exploded from a humble online bookstore into a trillion-dollar company, specialising in products, services, technology and fast shipping. Amazon knows what online shoppers and sellers want from a premium shipping service, and offers it by way of fast, reliable and tracked deliveries.

Clear pricing

While Amazon Shipping hasn’t publicly released its pricing tiers (you must apply for a quote), it  promises clear and competitive pricing, with no additional fees for residential or peak deliveries. However, to obtain details of Amazon’s prices, Amazon must approve you to use the service first – making it difficult to research your options beforehand.

Weekend shipping

Amazon Shipping operates seven days per week – collecting and delivering items from Monday to Sunday. This is not only great for customers, but it also allows you to run a week-long fulfilment operation, without a backlog of orders on Monday morning.

Easy claiming

Amazon guarantees reliable shipping, but when things don’t go to plan, it provides an easy claims process to reimburse you for rogue parcels, quickly.

The considerations of Amazon Shipping

For large and growth brands, changing shipping carrier is a big and risky decision – especially when they’re the new kid on the block. Amazon Shipping may be in its early stages, but there are already some emerging considerations for those considering the service.

Shipping speed

Amazon is synonymous with fast shipping, so it’s no surprise they only offer next-day delivery for items sold on non-Amazon marketplaces. If you provide customers with a variety of delivery speeds and shipping options, Amazon Shipping can’t accommodate that.

Restrictions

Amazon Shipping does not handle hazmat products (such as lithium batteries) or age-restricted items (such as alcohol). Delivery size and weight are also restricted to a maximum of 120 x 60 x 60 cm and 23kg. If you sell restricted products, you must use a different carrier alongside Amazon or avoid Amazon altogether.

Cut off times

Perhaps one of the biggest limitations of Amazon Shipping is the inability to choose your own pickup time. This means you cannot guarantee customers a late order cut-off – in fact, some sellers have complained of pickup times as early as 2:30 pm. This could severely limit your ability to promise next-day delivery or convert last-minute shoppers, especially during the holiday periods.

Reliability

Amazon Shipping describes itself as “delivery you can count on,” but can you? If you’re an existing Amazon seller, you know all-too-well that FBA increased its Prime delivery speeds from one-day to one-month at the beginning of the pandemic. Over in the US, the Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon Shipping recently paused its service due to a surge in its own customer orders. And, following Amazon’s warning that FBA will no longer transfer products into Europe once Brexit comes into force, it’s not yet clear whether Amazon Shipping accommodates international deliveries (or how much extra you must pay).

Serious considerations for larger brands who rely extensively on their shipping carrier.

Thoughts about Amazon Shipping

Will Amazon Shipping be successful? Almost definitely – Amazon has proven that when it wants success, it achieves success.

Is Amazon Shipping right for your business? It depends. For small online retailers, Amazon Shipping is certainly attractive. You can offer customers fast delivery speeds and ship orders seven days per week, at competitive prices.

For medium, large and growth online retailers, the benefits of Amazon Shipping are less clear. While fast and affordable shipping is still important, the scale of your fulfilment operation and your volume of orders can make outsourcing your fulfilment to a 3PL more cost-effective. An experienced eCommerce fulfilment partner will already use the most reliable and cost-effective shipping carriers for each order – which might be Amazon Shipping or it might be someone else – the process of figuring that out is done for you.

It’s also important to note Amazon Shipping is not a fulfilment service. Therefore, if you’re looking for someone to reduce the burden of fulfilling orders, Amazon Shipping isn’t going to help. And, Amazon Shipping isn’t available to everyone. You must use an approved order and delivery management system, and Amazon must verify you first.

If you’re not happy with your current shipping carrier and are wondering whether Amazon Shipping can help, get in touch so we can discuss the options with you and find the besting shipping carrier and fulfilment process for your business.

About Synergy Retail Support

Synergy Retail Support works with a network of shipping carriers to fulfil your orders in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. We keep ahead of the latest eCommerce trends, emerging fulfilment technology and new players to deliver success to your business and orders to your customers.

Get in touch to discuss your fulfilment needs and see how we can help.

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Gary Rees

Gary Rees

Gary Rees is the owner of Synergy Retail Support, one of the leading SME fulfilment centres in the UK. Having successfully grown the business for over 30 years and with relationships with most household brands, he now looks to partner with customers rather than just act as a supplier so that both parties can grow together. Gary has extensive knowledge in retail compliance, production technologies, shipping details and customer service.

Feel free to contact me personally if you’d like to discuss your business.

gary.rees@synergyretailsupport.co.uk
+44 (0)3453 402 980