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Amazon Shipping Delays – What are the reasons for slow shipping and what can sellers do if shipping is delayed?

Selling on Amazon boasts many attractive benefits – from access to a global consumer base, along with marketing opportunities and insights, to taking advantage of the extensive fulfillment options available.

But it’s not all plain sailing. And, as with any online selling platform, problems can arise when it comes to customer service and logistics. One potential challenge is shipping delays, with disappointed customers forced to wait for goods that are held up, damaged, or even lost. 

So, what can you do as a seller to avoid the impact of Amazon shipping delays and deliver a positive customer experience – even when things have gone wrong with a delivery?

In this guide, we’ll assist you through the ups and downs of Amazon shipping delays – from understanding why your orders have been delayed to finding ways to keep customers happy until they receive their packages. 

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What Are Amazon Shipping Delays?

An Amazon shipping delay is when the delivery of a package takes longer than the estimated delivery date provided by Amazon. 

It can be caused by various factors, such as high order volumes, unforeseen logistical issues, weather disruptions, or even a package getting lost in transit.

For sellers using the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) solution, these delays may even be totally out of your control, and you may need to work with Amazon to resolve the issue.

Why Are Amazon Orders Sometimes Delayed?

There can be many reasons why a package might take a detour on its way from door to door. Common reasons for shipping delays include:

  • High Order Volumes: During busy periods like holidays or big sales events, Amazon gets flooded with orders, and they must work extra hard to keep up with the demand. 
  • Logistics Hold-Ups: Sometimes, unforeseen issues arise in the shipping process, from a transport glitch to a mix-up at the sorting facility. These issues can cause delays.
  • Weather Woes: Severe weather conditions, like storms or snow, can wreak havoc on delivery schedules, forcing delays as delivery drivers navigate the harsh weather.
  • Inventory Availability: Occasionally, the item you ordered may not be readily available in the nearest fulfillment center. Amazon may then have to fetch it from another location, adding a little extra time to the delivery process.
  • Delivery Details: If there’s a mistake or confusion with the shipping address, it can cause delays while fulfillment centers figure out where the package should be headed.

What Is Amazon Doing to Prevent Shipping Delays?

As part of its FBA service, Amazon holds and ships stock for third-party sellers. And with an estimated 90% of Amazon sellers using FBA, the ecommerce giant has its hands full making sure orders are shipped and delivered on time. 

For this reason, Amazon is constantly striving to minimize shipping delays and improve the overall customer experience, taking measures including:

  • Expanding Fulfillment Networks: Amazon continues to build and expand its network of fulfillment centers, strategically located near major population centers. This helps reduce the distance packages need to travel – minimizing the risk of delays and speeding up the delivery process.
  • Advanced Logistics Technology: Amazon utilizes sophisticated logistics technology to optimize routes, manage inventory, and streamline operations. This helps improve efficiency and reduces the risk of delays.
  • Delivery Partnerships: Amazon collaborates with various delivery partners, including traditional carriers and independent contractors, to ensure a robust and diverse delivery network. This helps distribute the workload and enhance delivery capabilities.
  • Order Prioritization: During peak periods, Amazon may prioritize essential items, such as medical supplies or household essentials, to ensure their timely delivery. This helps manage high order volumes and ensures critical items – that are most likely to impact customers – reach them promptly.
  • Proactive Communication: Amazon strives to keep customers informed of any delays or changes in delivery schedules. They provide real-time tracking information and updates to help customers stay informed about the status of their packages.

How Do Amazon Shipping Delays Impact Sellers?

In the modern world of online shopping, consumers want seamless and speedy delivery – and in the case of Amazon’s Prime service, this means next-day delivery specifically.

So, when these promises are broken, and shipping is delayed, consumers are rightly angry. And angry customers are less likely to buy again.

However, there are also more complex and unique challenges facing sellers when their shipments are delayed, including:

  • Negative Customer Feedback: Shipping delays can lead to dissatisfied customers who may leave negative reviews or ratings. This can harm a seller’s reputation and make it more difficult to attract new customers.
  • Increased Customer Service Workload: Sellers may experience a surge in customer inquiries and complaints related to shipping delays. This can strain their customer service team and require additional resources to address the increased workload. 
  • Potential Order Cancellations: Customers may choose to cancel their orders if shipping delays become too long or if they find alternative sources for the desired product. This can result in lost sales and revenue for the seller.
  • Impact On Performance Metrics: Amazon sellers are evaluated based on various performance metrics, including order defect rate and late shipment rate. Shipping delays can negatively impact these metrics, potentially leading to penalties or restrictions imposed by Amazon.
  • Loss of Buy Box Eligibility: The Buy Box is a highly sought-after placement on Amazon’s product detail pages. Shipping delays can impact a seller’s chances of winning or maintaining Buy Box status, reducing visibility and potentially lowering sales.

Experiencing challenges with Amazon shipping delays? Providing quick and helpful responses to customers can protect seller reputations and future sales. 

Helium 10 Amazon Operations tools help with identifying, reviewing, and resolving these issues, including managing returns and FBA refunds.

How To Prepare for Amazon Shipping Delays

Sometimes, you can do everything right and delays can still happen – for reasons beyond your control. 

So, it’s important to plan and prepare for potential delays, so you can react quickly to avoid negative reviews, canceled orders, or worse.

When preparing for potential Amazon shipping delays, here are some steps you can take to reduce the negative impact on your business:

  • Set Realistic Expectations: Communicate clear and realistic delivery timeframes to your customers. Make sure to factor in potential delays and provide a buffer when estimating delivery dates.
  • Diversify Your Fulfillment Options: Consider utilizing Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) service or explore alternative fulfillment methods such as third-party logistics providers. This can help distribute your inventory across multiple locations, reducing the risk of delays.
  • Monitor Inventory Levels: Keep a close eye on inventory levels, so you can be confident you have sufficient stock to meet customer demand. Maintaining an adequate inventory buffer can help you fulfill orders promptly even if there are shipping delays.
  • Communicate Proactively: Keep your customers informed of any potential delays or disruptions to shipping. Send proactive updates through email or order notifications, providing them with accurate information and reassurance.
  • Optimize Packaging and Labeling: Regularly review packaging processes, making sure they are properly labeled and packed securely to minimize the risk of shipping delays due to errors or damage during transit.
  • Explore Alternative Shipping Carriers: Consider diversifying your shipping options by partnering with additional shipping carriers. This can provide you with backup options in case one carrier experiences delays or disruptions.
  • Monitor Shipping Performance: Regularly track your shipping performance metrics, such as late shipment rate and order defect rate. Identifying any trends or issues can help you proactively address them and improve your overall shipping efficiency.

What To Do When Your Amazon Package Is Late

As a seller, if your Amazon package suffers unforeseen delays, here’s what you can do to soften the impact on both customers and your own reputation:

  • Monitor the Tracking Information: Keep a close eye on the tracking details, proactively checking if there are any updates or indications of delays. It’s best you find out about potential delays before the customer, so you can get a handle on the situation.
  • Communicate With the Customer: Proactively reach out to the customer and inform them about the delay. Apologize for the inconvenience caused and provide them with an updated estimated delivery date. Clear and timely communication can help manage customer expectations and maintain a positive relationship.
  • Investigate the Issue: Investigate the reasons behind the delay. Check if there were any issues with inventory availability, fulfillment processes, or carrier delays. Understanding the cause can help you identify areas for improvement and prevent similar delays in the future.
  • Take Corrective Actions: Depending on the situation, take appropriate actions to rectify the delay. This could involve expediting the shipment, providing a partial refund or discount, or offering alternative solutions to satisfy the customer.
  • Follow Up with the Carrier: If the delay is due to issues with the shipping carrier, contact them regarding the status and express your concern. They may be able to provide additional information or take necessary steps to speed up delivery.
  • Stay in Touch with Amazon Seller Support: If the delay persists, or if you need further assistance, reach out to Amazon Seller Support. They can help investigate the issue, provide guidance, and offer potential solutions to resolve the situation.
  • Learn From the Experience: Use the situation as a learning opportunity to improve your fulfillment processes. Identify any gaps or areas for improvement in your inventory management, order processing, or carrier selection to minimize the chances of future delays.

Looking for support managing Amazon shipping delays and other common seller challenges?

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Enjoy a hassle-free platform for tackling unresolved customer reimbursements, effectively processing customer returns, addressing lost or damaged inventory, and identifying inaccurate inventory adjustments today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You cannot typically get a refund and keep the item if your Amazon package is late. While you will be eligible for a refund if the package is lost or severely damaged, this is not the case if it is simply late. However, you may be eligible for a refund of any associated express shipping fees if it doesn’t arrive by the promised delivery date.

Amazon delivery times are typically very accurate – with the latest statistics suggesting 95% of deliveries arrive on time. However, factors like weather, carrier delays, or high demand can sometimes cause delays. It’s recommended to check the estimated delivery date provided by Amazon for the most up-to-date information.

Amazon’s ‘late grace period’ refers to the additional time beyond the estimated delivery date that customers are advised to allow for potential delays before taking further action or contacting customer service.

Customers may be eligible for compensation relating to a delayed package in certain cases. Amazon’s policies vary, but customers can contact customer service to enquire about compensation options, such as refunded shipping fees or promotional credits, depending on the specific circumstances of the delay.


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A dedicated copywriter with nearly 4 years of experience, Josh works with Amazon sellers and helps his clients succeed on the platform.

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