Amazon started as online book store and has grown to be the worlds largest online retailer.
Amazon Buy Shipping SNAFU on Tuesday
Starting yesterday afternoon, merchants attempting to ship orders through Amazon started to be greeted by an Amazon Buy Shipping SNAFU with a message stating “No carriers are currently available for your delivery. Wait 15 minutes and try again”.
Amazon told sellers to purchase labels outside of Amazon Buy Shipping for affected orders until being told otherwise, ensuring that the shipping methods used meet the customer promise. Amazon also said that orders impacted by the Amazon Buy Shipping SNAFU would be excluded from your Buy Shipping Usage and Valid Tracking metrics when monitoring your performance.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this causes. Our engineers are aware of this issue and are diligently working to resolve it.
At this time, we are unable to provide an estimated time of resolution. We appreciate your patience while we correct this issue.
Further, note that it would not impact your performance metrics. However, if it still does please let us know by including a brief description of how this impacted your business when you respond to the relevant performance notification in Seller Central. We will consider this event when we evaluate your account’s recent performance.
Moreover, you may purchase delivery labels directly from Royal Mail, DPD, Hermes, UK Mail, Parcelforce or Yodel or any any other carrier partner of your choice provided that you confirm dispatch and provide order tracking ID in Seller Central.”
– Amazon Seller Support
The Amazon Buy Shipping SNAFU looks like it started to be resolved around 3pm and merchants were once again able to process orders, but this does highlight the need to have back up couriers in place. Many merchants would have alternative arrangements but for those that solely rely on any single carrier are in a precarious position, especially if they are using Amazon to ship orders on other platforms where protections won’t be automatically offered due to an issue on Amazon.
One problem is that you may face additional costs using an alternate carrier if you rely on Amazon for their discounted prices – even though this was only for a few hours, if you don’t have accounts with back up carriers then you might be reliant on buying labels through third party consolidators. With Prime Day coming up in June and then what’s likely to be a busy Q4 at the end of the year, consider your alternatives and make sure you have emergency carriers you can switch on at short notice in a crisis.
Edited to add:
At around 11am today (Wednesday), Amazon emailed merchants to confirm that the glitch has been rectified:
“We notified you yesterday of technical issues with purchasing shipping labels through Buy Shipping. These issues are now resolved. Please revert back to using Buy Shipping to purchase shipping labels for Seller Fulfilled Prime Orders from now on, in order to maintain Buy Shipping Usage metrics.
For all orders where you purchased labels outside of Buy Shipping on 25th May, we will exclude these from your Buy Shipping Usage and Valid Tracking metrics. These will not impact your Prime badge status.”
We are SFP and mainly use Amazon Logistics for the orders.
It was a crap day last Tuesday, good job it wasn’t peak!!
We can use Royal Mail as backup, just a change to the courier rule, however another part of the issue was that tracking for the Royal Mail labels didn’t automatically update to Amazon via our Order Management system, which as it turned out was a good thing.
We did all our other orders first and picked all the Amazon orders, just waiting for the fix, however as the 2-30pm pick up time came closer, we had to switch over to Royal Mail.
Because of the “ensuring that the shipping methods used meet the customer promise” message we got, we had to use the RM T24 service which is a £1.26 per parcel difference in cost.
This mounts up.
So we had all the parcels completed and noticed that the tracking was not updating in Amazon so started to manually dispatch orders adding the tracking.
During this, we noticed that the Buy Shipping had come back online, interestingly, Amazon had shifted the ship by date by a day.
I then took the decision to print off labels for the orders that had not been marked as dispatched, using Amazon Logistics and then cancel the RM labels.
I did it in small batches as the Pick up courier could appear at any time during the window which we were in.
Managed to get them all done bar 8 parcels, so apart from time spent on the issue, it didn’t cost us too much, but at least the Amazon customers all got their parcels by the promised date and Amazon most of their commission.
Wouldn’t surprise me if they billed me for the lost commission on the 8 parcels i had to buy outside of Amazon Buy Shipping!!