Amazon sellers say products that normally take one or two days to arrive at customers’ addresses are suddenly taking a week or longer as the holiday shopping season gets going in earnest.
Bloomberg News reported that merchant chat rooms are abuzz with talk of delayed shipments, with more than a half-dozen sellers and consultants confirming such issues to the news service.
“The past couple of years, consumers grew accustomed to ordering products as late as Dec. 20 and having them delivered before Christmas. That is not likely to happen this year,” merchant Molson Hart, who sells stuffed animals and games via Amazon, told Bloomberg.
Hart said that about 70 percent of his inventory is being delayed by as much as a week. Other merchants told Bloomberg similar stories, saying that problems began over the weekend and that they fear issues will continue through the busy days of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
One seller said Amazon seemed to be prioritizing high-volume items for its own delivery system and requiring merchants to handle their own order fulfillment on less popular items. That’s similar to a policy that Amazon publicly announced early in the pandemic, when the online giant suddenly faced a flood of orders from consumers stuck at home by lockdown orders.
However, Bloomberg said Amazon hasn’t issued any similar warnings or explanations this time around, and a company spokesman told the news service that anecdotal merchant reports don’t mean the eCommerce giant is facing a systemic problem.
“We have not changed how offers are presented to customers to shift volume from Amazon fulfillment to seller fulfillment,” the spokesman said. “As always, product offers continue to compete to be the featured offer based on a variety of factors, including lowest price, availability, fastest delivery speed and best seller performance.”
Delivery concerns are just the latest challenge retailers have faced amid COVID-19, which analysts expect will push huge amounts of holiday shopping from brick-and-mortar retail to online channels. FedEx and United Parcel Service are reportedly already facing a shortage of vans for holiday deliveries.