Amazon to have select Prime items shipped from merchants

If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, you may find many more items eligible for the service's free two-day shipping option in the near future. That's because the internet retailing giant is testing a program that has Prime items shipped directly from the independent merchants selling who sell them. Normally, only items sold directly by Amazon, or merchants' items that are stored in Amazon's warehouses, are eligible for the Prime two-day shipping option. This change benefit both customers and sellers.

One merchant, whose warehouse is based in California, was recently invited by Amazon to join Prime, but still continue shipping their items directly to customers. This merchant was apparently selected because they have consistently maintained their shipping times, often shipping same-day. So the merchant no longer has to pay to ship items to Amazon to be stored in order for them to qualify as Prime-eligible.

At this point, it seems there are only about 10 independent merchants participating in Amazon's trial program. The company has reportedly told them that if specific shipping standards are not met, they will be removed from Prime as sellers.

The way this benefits Amazon is that they can increase the number of Prime-eligible items beyond the current 20 million. It's also good for customers, as third-party items may one day be listed as Prime depending on where they are being shipped to. So items shipping from that California warehouse would be eligible for two-day shipping for a customer in Oregon, but not for someone in New York, for example.

SOURCE Wall Street Journal