US Amazon sellers required to provide 95% tracking from Feb ’16

We received an email from a UK based Amazon seller who also sells on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca over the weekend. The seller received news from Amazon that come February 2016, non-FBA sellers will be required to ensure 95% of their shipments are tracked.

Amazon suggests that this isn’t necessarily going to be a major headache: “Now that all major carriers, including USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL, offer free tracking, we require that you provide tracking information for your shipments.”

As they further note in their email: “While we believe tracking will provide benefits for customers and sellers during the holiday period, we realize you may need to make changes in your existing shipping processes to meet the new requirement. Therefore, you’ll have until February 2016 to meet the 95% tracked shipment target rate. Packages without tracking that are shipped before or during this grace period won’t impact your ability to sell on Amazon. After the grace period passes, if you don’t meet the 95% target in a given category, you will risk losing your ability to sell non-FBA items within that category.”

If you’re an Amazon stateside seller this link will tell you more: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/201817070. There are others in the email.

As it stands at the moment there is no word that this will each UK shores any time soon, it’s worth considering that often what starts out in the US does come to the UK when it comes to Amazon. Indeed, with Royal Mail tracking on basic shipments as it is, that may be an obstacle.

Do you sell using Amazon.com? Will this be a problem for you to comply with?

And, for reference, here is the full text of the email that we’ve seen.

“Dear Seller,

Beginning February 2016, Amazon will require you to provide valid tracking numbers for at least 95% of your shipments. You will not need to provide tracking for freight shipments, or for items shipped in Standard Mail or First Class Mail envelopes (e.g. screen protectors, greeting cards).

Amazon provides tracking for orders because we find that this creates a better experience for customers. Customers don’t have to worry about the whereabouts of their order because they can check their shipment status at any time. Now that all major carriers, including USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL, offer free tracking, we require that you provide tracking information for your shipments.

In addition to an improved customer experience, providing valid tracking numbers for all of your shipments has several benefits:

1. Decreased order defects and better seller feedback ratings: Orders without tracking are, on average, 1.7 times more likely to also have a defect. Additionally, buyers tell us that receiving packages on time and being able to track them along the way are two of the most important reasons to leave positive feedback.

2. Fewer buyer messages: We’ve seen that an average of 40% of a seller’s contacts with buyers are about shipment status. The “Where’s My Stuff” contact rate is greater for untracked shipments than it is for shipments with valid tracking. Providing tracking numbers can help reduce the amount of time you spend answering shipping-related questions from buyers.

3. Reduced lost shipment costs: Tracking can significantly reduce the costs associated with a lost shipment. If a package is lost in transit, you can use tracking to find out where it was lost and determine responsibility.

4. Improved conversion: Tracking and delivering on time can help you become eligible for programs such as Premium Shipping options, which allows you to reduce your advertised handling and transit times.

While we believe tracking will provide benefits for customers and sellers during the holiday period, we realize you may need to make changes in your existing shipping processes to meet the new requirement. Therefore, you’ll have until February 2016 to meet the 95% tracked shipment target rate. Packages without tracking that are shipped before or during this grace period won’t impact your ability to sell on Amazon. After the grace period passes, if you don’t meet the 95% target in a given category, you will risk losing your ability to sell non-FBA items within that category.

You can view your current Valid Tracking Rate by category by going to Seller Central: Performance: Customer Satisfaction: Account Health. Tracked packages will count toward your Valid Tracking Rate when there is at least one carrier scan recorded. If you purchase postage through Amazon’s Buy Shipping service, tracking will be automatically applied to the shipment at the time of purchase.

To learn more about the new Valid Tracking Rate Policy or to contact us with any questions you may have about the policy, please go to https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/201817070. To learn more about Premium Shipping options, please go to https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/201503640. To learn more about Amazon’s Buy Shipping services, please go to https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/200472530.

Sincerely,
Amazon Seller Performance Team”