Amazon's Two-Day Shipping Standard? Not on Prime Day.

Date : 07/17/2019 @ 1:23AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Amazon com (AMZN)
Quote : 1749.62  -55.98 (-3.10%) @ 12:59AM

Amazon's Two-Day Shipping Standard? Not on Prime Day.

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By Sebastian Herrera 

Tim Chauvin said he eagerly signed up for an Amazon Prime membership Monday to take part in the shopping extravaganza known as Prime Day. Like many Inc. customers, Mr. Chauvin, a 39-year-old laundry worker in Milford, Conn., expected to get his order in two days, a delivery window that Amazon promotes and Prime members have become accustomed to the company meeting.

But when he clicked to buy an Amazon Echo home system, the scheduled delivery date was four days later.

"Even though I'm a new customer, they still didn't fulfill their two-day shipping promise," Mr. Chauvin said. "It was also on their own product. They should have those things ready to go."

Within hours of Amazon's Prime Day event, which started early Monday, shoppers were greeted with longer-than-expected delivery times as purchases flooded the company's site. Amazon described Monday as the largest sales day for third-party sellers world-wide on its platform in the company's history, without providing financial information.

Shipping delays are affecting products ranging from technology devices to home-care items and video games, according to interviews with customers and a Wall Street Journal analysis, prompting some customers to call out the company on social media.

"If you can't fulfill it, don't promise it," said Jason Livingston, a 44-year-old software engineer and longtime Prime customer from Colorado Springs, Colo.

Retailers including Amazon have spent billions of dollars in recent years to push the boundaries in fast shipping. Those investments, which have ranged from investing directly in delivery companies to expanding order fulfillment operations, have also reshaped expectations for when customers expect to get orders placed online.

In April, Amazon said it would spend $800 million during the second quarter to make one-day free shipping the standard for Prime. Amazon said in June it would rent 15 more Boeing Co. 737-800 jets as part of expanding its domestic air-cargo operation.

Amazon has for years offered free two-day shipping as the standard for Prime, which costs $119 a year and covers more than 100 million products on its retail platform.

One- and two-day shipping options were likely unavailable in many U.S. major markets due to the volume of sales during Prime Day, which ends late Tuesday, Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law said in an interview.

Amazon expected faster delivery times for a wide range of products to become quickly booked during the shopping spree, Ms. Law said. Amazon said that two-day shipping refers to the amount of time it takes for a product to get to a customer after it has shipped and not from the time it is ordered.

"People are not focused on speed, they are focused on deals," Ms. Law said. "We don't want to disappoint customers ever, but our capacity for shipping has limits."

Prime Day, which began in 2015, has become one of Amazon's leading ways of signing up new subscribers. Other retailers, such as Walmart Inc., have sought to promote their own range of product discounts and pledged to match Amazon's prices. Amazon has said it has more than 100 million Prime members world-wide, a program that also offers member benefits like access to video-streaming services and free delivery from its Whole Foods subsidiary.

Analysts said slower shipping times shouldn't hurt Amazon's sales. Charles O'Shea, an analyst with Moody's Investors Service, said delays are common during peak shopping times such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday and that it is likely Amazon will fix any glitches seen on Prime Day by the holiday season.

For Mr. Livingston, the software engineer in Colorado Springs, that might be too late. "I expected at most two days to wait for my orders" Mr. Livingston said. "I'm fed up."

Write to Sebastian Herrera at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 16, 2019 20:08 ET (00:08 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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