The company said it would be requiring members of its Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program, which allows third-party merchants to make two-day shipping without paying for Amazon's fulfillment services, to provide delivery coverage all over the U.S. and implement delivery and pickups on Saturdays beginning in February 2021.
A note from Amazon to sellers, seen by CNBC, said the company knew that "as a seller enrolled in SFP, you work hard to provide customers with a delightful shopping experience." But the company said things would have to improve even more.
“Despite these good intentions, before COVID-19, fewer than 16 percent of SFP orders in the U.S. met the Prime two-day delivery promise customers expect, in large part because many sellers do not operate on weekends," the note said, according to CNBC.
The changes will assure that Amazon products with the Prime badge are on-par with the company's increasingly quick shipping times; while two-day shipping used to be considered an upgrade, now more of the time one-day options are preferred. Amazon made one-day shipping available in June 2019 and has been pushing that as the best option since, setting aside billions of dollars to boost the service.
Users of Amazon Prime pay $119 annually in order to access perks, such as quicker delivery and streaming services for movies and music.
The SFP program is available only to sellers who have to be on a waitlist before being greenlit for approval. Members who are enrolled can offer Prime-eligible products only in some regions right now, such as by ZIP code, and the new rule will expand the scope of the project and allow them to sell to more people.