Updates to Amazon’s Handling Time for Fulfilled by Merchant Brands

November 14, 2023


Amazon has introduced significant updates to its handling time management for sellers who fulfill their own orders, particularly beneficial during the high-volume holiday season. These enhancements aim to present more precise delivery estimates to shoppers, potentially increasing sales for brands.

Understanding Automated Handling Time

Automated handling time, a feature determining handling times for each SKU based on historical performance, has been improved in the following ways as of September 2023:

Same-Day Handling Time: This update applies a same-day handling time for SKUs dispatched on the order day, ensuring more accurate delivery predictions.

Handling Capacity Override: Sellers can now manually adjust the automated order-handling capacity, derived from past performance, if their operational capabilities have improved.

Reverting Option: Opting out of automated handling time will reset the SKU-specific handling time to its prior state, allowing sellers to experiment with the feature without losing their original settings.

Amazon’s New Approach to Default Handling Time

Amazon has removed the 2-day default handling time option for brands in the Fulfilled by Merchant program. This change reflects the fact that 85% of sellers fulfill orders within a day. The implications are as follows:

  • 2-Day Handling for Specific SKUs: For SKUs historically taking over a day to process without a set SKU-level handling time, Amazon will automatically apply a 2-day handling time, overriding the default.

  • 1-Day Default Handling Time: SKUs historically processed in a day or less, without a specific handling time, will adhere to the updated 1-day default.

  • No Change for Existing SKU-Specific Times: SKUs with pre-set specific handling times remain unaffected.

    Additional Flexibility for Brands

    Brands can set an Order Handling Capacity to buffer against order influxes. They can also define SKU-specific Handling Times, useful for products requiring more than a day for dispatch. This customization allows brands to maintain a balance between operational efficiency and customer expectations.

    TMA Analysis

    Amazon’s move towards shorter, more precise Handling Times aligns with the trend of brands often setting needlessly extended times. This habit leads to shoppers seeing longer estimated delivery dates. By fine-tuning these settings, especially for key SKUs during the holiday season, brands can make their offers more appealing, potentially boosting sales. The Machine Agency advises a thorough review of Handling Time settings across your FBM catalog to optimize for the upcoming seasonal rush.