Amazon Tells Third-Party Booksellers To Speed Up Deliveries

Image courtesy of Alan Rappa

That paperback book you ordered from Amazon for your upcoming beach vacation might just arrive faster than you thought. But it’ll come at a new cost for the third-party seller providing the title: Amazon is once again tightening the reins on sellers who don’t use the company’s fulfillment services, reducing their required delivery window.

Just days after Amazon changed the way returns work for third-party merchants — bringing the experience more in line with Prime services — CNBC reports the e-commerce giant is making a similar change to the way the sellers who fulfill their own book, CD, and DVD orders deliver the goods.

Get It There Faster

A recent email sent to third-party merchants revamps the timeframe in which these sellers are required to deliver orders, starting Aug. 31.

Instead of allowing sellers four to 14 days to deliver orders, the company now requires orders to be delivered within four to eight days.

A rep for Amazon tells CNBC that the change was made as the company launches new capabilities to help set faster delivery times for seller-fulfilled products.

Amazon seems to believe that the change will result in more customers for these sellers, as it notes that shoppers are more likely to purchase a product if it has a faster delivery estimate.

Rising Costs

While this means we can all get our hands on books, CDs, and DVDs a bit sooner than we might have in the past, it will come at a cost to the seller, who could theoretically pass along the cost to customers.

One seller, who has made more than $1 million in transactions on the site, tells CNBC that he estimates his shipping costs will increase 25% to 50% with the new requirement.

The man says the new timeframe will mostly affect his cross-country deliveries, as he won’t be able to use the U.S. Postal Service for those shipments.

While CNBC notes that the USPS advertises that media items can be delivered in two to eight days, some sellers say that doesn’t always happen. So, to ensure delivery, they’ll have to turn to other services.

The new estimated costs will come in addition to other rising costs third-party sellers have recently felt from Amazon.

CNBC reports that earlier this year Amazon raised the fees these merchants have to pay for their items from $1.35 to $1.80, while also requiring the sellers to provide invoices for each product before listing them for sale.

Just last week, Amazon revealed that sellers who ship their own goods must allow customers to instantly print return labels. Before, shoppers who wished to return products had to contact the seller and request to do so.

Creating A Divide

While it seems that Amazon is trying to make the process of purchasing from third-party merchants who fulfill their own orders more like what customers expect from Prime, the changes could prove a turn-off for such sellers.

Many Amazon sellers who felt unappreciated by the retailer have already fled to, where they have fewer competitors and pay smaller commissions.

Some of the defecting sellers cited Amazon’s changing requirements and a never-ending list of competitors for their decision to change platforms.

Amazon has since begun hosting invite-only seller events to keep merchants on board.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.