Amazon has resumed the shipping service it shuttered during the pandemic.
As The Associated Press reported Friday (Aug. 18), the company says it has relaunched Amazon Shipping, which competes with the likes of UPS and FedEx and allows sellers to ship Amazon orders or products sold on other sites.
Amazon had been testing the program, but put it on hold in 2020. As noted here at the time, the company needed to focus more on its own platform as it dealt with staffing shortages and a wave of online shopping.
“We’re always working to develop new, innovative ways to support Amazon’s selling partners, and Amazon Shipping is another option for shipping packages to customers quickly and cost-effectively,” Amazon spokesperson Olivia Connors told the AP.
“We’ve been providing this service for a while with positive feedback so we’re now making it available to more selling partners.”
PYMNTS has contacted Amazon for comment but has not yet received a reply.
The news came days after reports that Amazon was preparing to impose a new fee on third-party merchants who don’t use its logistics services. Beginning in October, sellers who handle their own shipping will pay a 2% fee on each sale, on top of the commission they already pay to sell products on Amazon’s platform.
“Seller Fulfilled Prime is a voluntary, optional program that enables sellers who independently handle the fulfillment of their products to have their offers receive the Prime badge,” an Amazon spokesperson told PYMNTS.
“Due in part to the investment needed to develop and run this program and associated costs, there is a small fee associated with units sold through this program.”
A report by Bloomberg News says the fee has attracted criticism from sellers, who argue it is a tactic to pressure them into using Amazon’s logistics, rather than fulfilling orders independently. Amazon contends that the fee is needed to cover the costs of maintaining a separate infrastructure and determine its effectiveness.
As PYMNTS reported earlier this month, Amazon is continuing to work on its strategy to streamline its fulfillment and logistics services.
CEO Andy Jassy said during the company’s most recent earnings call that progress is being made to transition Amazon stores’ fulfillment and transportation network from a national network in the U.S. to a eight separate regions serving smaller geographic areas.
“Regionalization is working and has delivered a 20% reduction in number of touches for our delivered package, a 19% reduction in miles traveled to deliver packages to customers, and more than a 1,000-basis-point increase in deliveries fulfilled within region,” Jassy said.
“So far this year, we’ve delivered more than 1.8 billion units to U.S. Prime members the same or next day, nearly four times what we delivered at those speeds by this point in 2019.”