What happened to Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping?

Complaints from Amazon customers are similar, spreading across the United States. From western New York to central Missouri to rural Washington, some Amazon Prime members are asking the same question.

Like Amazon Brings Next Day and Same Day Prime shipping to more parts of the US, complaints from some Amazon customers About long prime delivery time It is still common in other regions. And one of its customers, a longtime Amazon employee, recently conducted an informal survey that found that Prime customers were loyal to him until delivery in various parts of Amazon’s home state of Washington. is shown to have to wait 4-5 business days.

Amazon increased the annual price of Prime to $139 this year. The registration page says, “When you shop, look for the Prime checkmark. That means fast and free delivery!” I’m surprised by the slower than expected shipping speeds. Are you intentionally slowing down shipping speeds for some Prime members?

This discrepancy is particularly baffling to former Amazon employee Peter Freese. Freese has been in corporate roles at Amazon for over 10 years of his life, three of which were leading data analytics operations in the company’s transportation and fulfillment divisions. He knows better than anyone how things work behind the scenes after a customer places an order.

But in July, I was surprised to learn that Prime’s two-day free shipping, a feature of Amazon’s membership program, was no longer available for any product in my hometown of Omak, Washington, about 200 miles northeast of Seattle. Instead, Prime’s two-day delivery has been replaced with a delivery speed reminiscent of the 1990s: five business days.

He speculated that he was witnessing either the result of a technical bug that could affect the company’s sales, or a cost-cutting move. disclosure.

After reading similar complaints on social media and being suspicious Given the potential for wider problems, Freese conducted an experiment in August to test its Prime delivery promise in all 39 Washington counties. He found that in his third of the county, 13 total, he took four to five business days for Prime orders to arrive. (He randomly picked the address of the largest city or town in each county.) or “next day” shipping. It included five best-selling products, all sold and shipped by Amazon, including a 64-ounce container.While not exhaustive, Freese’s experiment found that some of the shipments were unusually slow. It seems to corroborate customer complaints.

Amazon spokeswoman Lauren Samaha said the company had not identified widespread problems with Prime’s shipping speeds, nor was it slowing down deliveries to some members to cut costs. Instead, she said Prime delivery promises fluctuate based on many factors, including shipping capacity in a particular region and customer location. It also ruled out the possibility that it had stopped Prime delivery within two days. According to her website on Amazon, “nearly any address in the continental United States” is eligible for her Prime shipping within two days.

In its Washington-focused Prime shipping experiment, Freese was particularly surprised to find that Spokane was one of the slowest shipping counties. This is because Amazon has opened two new fulfillment centers there since 2020. With 3 more addresses in various locations in Spokane County, he added 5 more for a total of 10 Prime eligible items. He found that only one of his four shipping addresses in Spokane has a faster shipping speed than his five business days. And even with that faster address, 4 of the 10 products he didn’t qualify for Prime shipping within 2 days.

“If this is all a bug, it would be very dangerous and confusing to figure out,” Freese told Recode, referring to the discrepancy between Spokane addresses. “If it’s not a bug, are they actually excluding specific regions?”

Screenshot of the Amazon checkout page for the Ring video doorbell.

Prime orders placed on Sunday, August 28th and destined for Spokane, Washington indicate a delivery date of Saturday, September 3rd.

On social media, Amazon’s customer service representatives often refuted these complaints and questions, stating that Prime’s promise of two-day delivery starts when the item leaves the warehouse, not when the customer places the order. I’m pointing out that it’s starting. They also clarify that the phrase 2 days actually means his 2 business days, not his 2 calendar days. It has long been a feature of Prime memberships. But any longtime Prime member knows that for years, usually a customer will see their Prime package two days after he places an order. That’s what Prime members have come to expect from Amazon. And that expectation fuels the explosive growth of Amazon Prime, which today has over 200 million paying members worldwide.

However, Freese’s analysis goes beyond these semantics. What he discovered is that some customers who previously took advantage of Prime’s two-day delivery for him no longer do so, even for commonly purchased items. is. Yet, like everyone else, they’re still paying their Prime membership in full.

Of course, Prime’s shipping speeds come from the fact that the million Amazon employees in the US work under finely tuned oversight and strict quotas to pick, pack, and deliver customer orders. cannot be fully discussed without acknowledging the Delivery speed possible in the first place. According to Amazon’s own research, these conditions sometimes result in above-average injury rates and very high employee turnover, depleting the pool of people willing to work in Amazon’s warehouses in some areas. There is a risk that

There’s a reason Amazon warehouse workers for the first time in the US voted to unionize earlier this year, albeit at one of Amazon’s facilities. Efforts to vote on unions are already underway at other Amazon properties across the United States.

Amazon also said earlier this year that it needed to back off its expansion plans after recognizing that consumer demand had weakened two years after the pandemic and had overestimated the amount of warehouse space and personnel it would need. MWPVL International Inc., a logistics consultancy that tracks Amazon’s warehouse network, said, “The company estimates it has closed or canceled plans to open 42 facilities, totaling about 25 million square feet of usable space. There is space. [and] An additional 21 locations have been delayed, bringing the total to about 28 million square feet, according to Bloomberg.

Now, the mismatch in Prime delivery expectations in some regions could be cracking Amazon’s well-oiled retail machinery that has seemed to run almost flawlessly for years. It is a reminder that there is

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