When you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you’re subscribing to many features but mostly you’re subscribing to access Amazon’s Prime items and delivery service. As part of Amazon’s plans to gain ever increasing market share of goods sold throughout the UK amazon has now opened up the amazon market place where businesses buying and selling goods can sell through Amazon’s platform to get greater exposure for their products. This is Amazon’s way of taking on companies such as eBay, even providing their own payment service, Amazon Pay, to rival PayPal.
Seller Fulfilled Prime
High performing sellers on the Amazon Market place are also invited onto the Seller Fulfilled Prime program (SFP) which is exactly what is sounds like. Instead of buying Amazon prime goods with Amazon prime shipping and Amazon prime’s no question’s asked, money-back guarantee, from Amazon, you are now able to purchase directly from a select group of sellers who will dispatch the goods themselves. These SFP orders are not sent out from an Amazon warehouse but use a select group of approved 3 rd party couriers, the largest of which, is Royal Mail.
Using Tracked 48
Royal Mail offer two services to Amazon, tracked 24 and tracked 48, although all Amazon prime orders are eligible for free next day delivery, using Royal Mail 24 for next day delivery, Amazon does give customers the option to opt out of the next day delivery to help save the environment. In addition to buyers opting out, a seller receiving an SFP order after the 2pm cut-off time, has the option to send the order 1 day early with Tracked 48 so that it will still get there within one working day.
Actually it's Tracked 72
Unfortunately Amazon have now had to remove the Tracked 48 service as an option to Seller Fulfilled Prime businesses as Royal Mail have been unable to deliver on time. In correspondence received from Amazon Seller support regarding the matter they have said “a lot of complaints were received from Buyers and sellers as the orders took more than 2 days to be delivered.” As any company using Royal Mail will tell you, 48 Services from Royal Mail are not, 48 hour, or two working day guaranteed but 2-3 day delivery. It’s understandable that quoting the ‘best case’ outcome of a delivery, “48” rolls off the tongue much better than “72” and human perception struggles to exceed three. “One day, two days, MANY DAYS!” is how our brains work so anything over 50 hours is weeks worth of time.
Extract of letter form Amazon Seller Support
How 48 actually works
The most disagreeable fact behind this controversy is how and why the 48 and second class services from Royal Mail differ from the first class and 24 services. All 24 and 48 parcels go in the same mailing bags, are collected by the same postmen, taken to the same sorting offices and passed through the same processes and delivered by the same postmen, but there is one tiny little difference between the two and that is the tags put on the bags, one saying 24 and one saying 48. So you would think that something different happens to them, that these bags would go through a different sorting procedure or shipped on a slower lorry. In reality these bags are left, in a corner, overnight, artificially forcing a longer delivery time. Logistically this has it’s benefits, in rush times the 48 packages can be left behind making space for priority mail and in slow times can be used to fill the wagons so that they’re not wasting fuel shipping fresh air. But this flexibility in where the delay’s occur can often result in packages being delayed in multiple places, spending multiple nights sat waiting in a corner to be moved. Paying the extra for next day delivery does not mean any more time, effort or fuel is used in getting them to you sooner and subsequently this can also lead to a higher percentage of them getting missed or even forgotten.
But the problem now is that Royal Mail have been ‘falsely advertising’ their second-class delivery as a premium 2 day delivery service. That’s what it is, just to be clear, not wanting to go off on a tangent but Royal Mail 48 is a rebranded (and trademarked) Second class delivery. Royal Mail have worked very closely with Amazon and eBay in the last 2 years to enable limited tracking on all orders and to provide tracking numbers for the sellers using eBay and Amazon however it would seem that Amazon has been miss-sold the last class delivery service provided by Royal Mail and hopefully there will be repercussions from it.