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Amazon VTR (Valid Tracking Rate) comes into effect today

By Chris Dawson April 19, 2021 - 6:00 am

The much discussed and potentially very troublesome Amazon VTR (Valid Tracking Rate) came into effect today. Merchants selling on the marketplace under MFN (Merchant Fulfilled Network) are now required to maintain an Amazon VTR of 95%.

It’s worth noting that Amazon VTR kicks in on the big five Amazon marketplaces across Europe, but for some countries there is an exclusion for products below a specific price. In Spain, items with a total price of below €15 are excluded from the metric, In Germany the exclusion is items below €20 and in France items below €10 are excluded.

Unfortunately, in the UK and in Spain there is no minimum price and so all items are included in the new Amazon VTR metric. We don’t know Amazon’s reasoning for this, but it may be based on country norms and the postal options available that can offer tracking. Whilst in the UK a humble 1st class stamp doesn’t include tracking, there are services where the stamp comes with a barcode and so does get a scan on the doorstep… so long as the Postie delivering performs the scan and that’s where the issues arise.

Amazon VTR requirements

You must provide during Ship Confirm:

  • The name of the delivery service provider and the specific delivery service used for all merchant fulfilled orders; and
  • The tracking ID for merchant fulfilled orders that are delivered with a tracked delivery method or the unique parcel ID (located above the 2D barcode on the label) in case you use the Royal Mail 24®/48® delivery methods.
  • Tracking numbers are only considered valid if they have at least one carrier scan recorded by Amazon

You will be required to reach 95% Valid Tracking Rate:

  • On your domestic orders through Amazon UK over a rolling 30-day period i.e. if you dispatch from an address in the UK to a delivery address in the UK.
  • Amazon will measure the Valid Tracking Rate for non-prime merchant fulfilled orders at a category level.
  • Amazon Valid Tracking Rate will be measured on all domestic orders delivered through integrated delivery service providers including any orders delivered with Royal Mail 24®/48® delivery methods.

VTR Exclusions

  • Domestic items delivered by carrier/delivery service provider not integrated with Amazon
  • Domestic items delivered with untracked delivery services/delivery methods
  • Digital products, e.g. audio book

UK couriers integrated with Amazon

DHL, DPD, Hermes, Parcelforce, Royal Mail, TNT, Tuffnells, UPS, Yodel

  • mark
    4 weeks ago

    Its all geared around forcing sellers to use Amazon delivery or match the Prime shipping rates so they control everything.
    Its bordering on stupidity now. But everyone keeps bending till evntually they break and amazon introduce evenm more rules.

    The best bit is they just refund anyway evn if an item is sent with full tracking and the GPS shows the postie was stood at the customers house they said sorry “insufficient tracking”
    which i then enquired about as it seems crazy so asked if they could advise what sufficient tracking is and whio i should use to be covered and they would not comment or reply.
    maybe Tamebay can ask them and get an answer or should we all just send cheap and use the money saved to offset the Amazon refund ripoff fiasco.

  • Mark G
    4 weeks ago

    I have been monitoring our VTR metrics and it is presently standing at 80% , but that means if Amazon start suspending categories that have not met the 95% minimum level, we would only have 2 categories left and that would mean 15 listings left out of 3,500 listings. I have downloaded the report and every problem is a Royal Mail 24 or 48 – 2D barcode not being scanned by the postie. These orders are less than £15 and is the only viable courier service to use to remain competitive and still make money.
    Amazon is going to lose huge numbers of items from their platform it will no longer be the “Everything Store”.
    The only benefit I can see is that we will have to increase the price on Amazon to cover the increased tracked delivery and that hopefully buyers will go to seller’s own website where it will be much cheaper, can still be sent Royal Mail Tracked and Sellers actually make a good margin.

  • Nick
    4 weeks ago

    I have stopped selling all smaller items that would normally be sent by Royal Mail to avoid the risk of losing the ability to sell all other items in the category that go by courier. It is not worth the risk of continuing to have < 95% VTR due to a few Royal Mail items not being scanned. Such a shame! It hardly improves trust with sellers!

  • 4 weeks ago

    Is anybody doing this that uses a shipping warehouse? Ours won’t give us the tracking numbers until the next day.

  • Gareth
    4 weeks ago

    Every year it’s about greater and greater control. Sure it’s all wrapped up with PR and made out that it’s a great benefit to all, but tech companies are becoming monsters, and I think we’re only just at the edge of what’s to come.

  • 4 weeks ago

    As mentioned by Nick the Posties often don’t scan Royal Mail 48 items so I’m pretty sure that we’ll drop below the required 95% because of this. TBH our Amazon sales have been on the slide for a couple of years now whilst our Etsy sales have soared. I don’t want to stop to selling on Amazon but think it inevitable that we’ll be forced off of there unless we increase our prices (and take a further sales hit) to cover additional shipping costs.

  • Technology (medical science/ drone on Mars etc…) is exciting and we need to embrace and adapt IMHO but yes it is most worrying when the big tech companies are either above the law or at the very least in front of it. (it seems like by the time issues are discussed in parliament etc… the big 6 have moved on to a new algorithm!)

    How do you stop these juggernaut dictating so much… especially when the mass population (myself included) use them on a daily basis!

  • Alan Paterson
    3 weeks ago

    @ Mark G

    Be careful when increasing your prices to cover the extra cost for tracked postage. Amazon have removed many listings of many sellers who have done exactly the same (they sight it as a pricing error). Be sure to increase by a min percentage. one seller had all his listings deactivated.

    With the “glitches” identifying Valid tracking Numbers on Amazon , I believe it makes sense to go for an “exempt” service until the problems are resolved. Too many sellers striving for an arguabley unachievable 95% when they should be looking for a N/A.

    If you want to know what is working for “exempt” on RM let me know, or the services that SHOULD be working for positive VTR and aren’t.

  • Alan Paterson
    3 weeks ago

    @ Nick few posts up.

    have you considered sending your items through a service that is “exempt” from the VTR?

    Exempt services do not effect VTR positively or negatively and therefore wont count against you. For example, stamps work if you write the correct wording in the boxes. I assume you are talking about large letters as you mentioned small items ?

  • Nick
    3 weeks ago

    @Alan we use Linnworks to process our orders, and it also prints our Royal Mail Large Letter shipping labels automatically, so we can’t simply switch to an exempt service without significant disruption. Fortunately most of our Royal Mail sales are on eBay, few in Amazon, so we’ll make do, and by doing this we are sure not to be affected by the lack of Royal Mail scans. We were about to launch a new product on Amazon but no longer as that would have been Royal Mail 48 Large Letter too.

  • 2 days ago

    Fascinating seeing all the replies looking how to comply, the biggest problem I’m seeing with the VTR is non-scans from Royal Mail for 24/48 services. Can I do anything about this; Nope. So my action plan to Amazon when they suspend my products is to sell the item cheaper on eBay thus driving business away from Amazon.

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