Amazon Adds Marketplace Merchants To Prime Shipping

Back in January, Amazon expanded eligibility for its $35 Super Saver Shipping to items shipped by merchants in its Marketplace who already offer free shipping. Merchandise that doesn’t ship from an Amazon warehouse now counts toward the $35 free shipping threshold. Now they’re adding even more sellers to the virtual Amazon warehouse: selected large shippers will now be part of the Prime unlimited 2-day shipping program.

The Amazon Marketplace has been a great way for Amazon to vastly expand its inventory without having to purchase more merchandise for its colossal warehouses. The “Fulfilled by Amazon” program means that sellers can have their items shipped directly from Amazon and participate in the Prime program that way, but sellers are charged fees to store their items in Amazon’s warehouses, as well as for packing and picking orders.

Shipping for Prime has restrictions, of course. Items need 2-day shipping, just like the packages that ship from Amazon’s warehouses. This is a cost that sellers have to take care of themselves, meaning that it’s really only worthwhile to make larger, more expensive items prime-eligible. One seller that the Wall Street Journal spoke to only offers Prime as an option on items that cost over $50, for example.

They have to ship out quickly, and Amazon keeps track of their performance, and also limits geographically which items can be “Prime” for a given buyer: an item in New Jersey might be Prime-eligible for a customer in New York, but not an item in Texas.

The seller who the WSJ spoke to believes that there are maybe ten larger retailers that have been invited to become part of the program: it could expand to other sellers who are willing to pay for expedited shipping out of pocket, and who already offer free shipping on their merchandise.

Amazon Expands Prime With Goods Shipped Directly From Merchants [Wall Street Journal]